Scrub Your Hands, Avoid the Microwave, and Other Tips for Safe Bottle Prep

By: Dr. Meg Meeker

When it comes to our children, there isn’t much moms and dads don’t worry about.  Maybe you are not a worrier, but I sure was (actually, still am!). One thing we parents stress most about is feeding our babies.  My theory is that subconsciously we feel like failures if feeding isn’t going well, and like good parents when it is. Feeding our children can be very emotional stuff.

One of the greatest joys I have as a pediatrician is helping parents worry less because I have learned a secret: When we feel calmer, our children are calmer. So let’s alleviate one of those stresses right now by reviewing good bottle preparation. Once you get a rhythm down, then you can relax and not worry about making a mistake when you stumble into the kitchen half asleep in the middle of the night looking for a bottle to fill and warm.

Whether you decide to use formula or breast milk in bottles, there are some basic rules to follow. To start, always wash your hands before and after feeding. If you use formula, make sure to mix it correctly (read those directions!). Never use a microwave to warm bottles; put them in warm water on top of the stove. Here is a really thorough checklist of all the steps you should take when preparing bottles.

Feeding our babies- whether with a bottle or breast- can and should be fun. When we follow these few simple rules, we can relax and savor special moments bonding with our children.