What formula to use?

First infant formula is suitable for your newborn baby through to 1 year of age. ‘hungry baby milks’ or ‘second milks’ contain more of the protein casein than first infant formula and this is thought to make your baby feel more full. However, there is no evidence that babies settle better or sleep longer when fed this formula. At 1 year old you can now introduce pasteurised full fat cows milk.


However you decide to feed your baby parents can build a loving relationship with their baby by:

  1. Having regular skin to skin contact
  2. Holding baby close when feeding and looking into their eyes.
  3. Limiting the number of people who feed the baby
  4. Understanding that cuddles cannot spoil your baby

By implementing these strategies you are encouraging optimal brain development by allowing your baby to release high levels of oxytocin and low levels of stress hormones.


If you are concerned about any aspects of your baby’s feeding please contact your Health Visiting team – full details on the Contact Us page.


Alternatively; you can email lg.breastfeedingsupport@nhs.net

How to prepare a powdered formula feed:

Good hygiene is essential when making up a feed as a baby’s immune system is not as strong as an adult’s. All equipment used to feed your baby must be sterilised before each feed to reduce the chances of your baby becoming unwell.

  1. Fill the kettle with at least 1 litre of fresh tap water from the cold tap (do not use water that has been previously boiled or artificially softened water because the balance of minerals may not be suitable for making up formula feeds.)
  2. Boil the water. Leave the water to cool in the kettle for no more than 30 minutes so that it remains at a temperature of at least 70°C.
  3. Clean and disinfect the surface you are going to use & WASH YOUR HANDS.
  4. If you are using a cold-water steriliser, shake off any excess solution from the bottle and the teat, or rinse the bottle with cooled boiled water from the kettle (not the tap).
  5. Stand the bottle on a clean surface.
  6. Keep the teat and cap on the upturned lid of the steriliser. Avoid putting them on the work surface.
  7. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and pour the correct amount of water into the bottle. Double check that the water level is correct.
  8. Fill the scoop loosely, level off with either the flat edge of a clean, dry knife or a leveler if provided and add to the bottle.
  9. Holding the edge of the teat, put it on the bottle. Then screw the retaining ring onto the bottle.
  10. Cover the teat with the cap.
  11. Shake the bottle until the powder is dissolved.
  12. Cool the formula so it is not too hot to drink – hold the bottom half of the bottle under cold running water. Move the bottle about under the tap to ensure even cooling. Make sure that the water does not touch the cap covering the teat.
  13. Test the temperature of the infant formula on the inside of your wrist before giving it to your baby. It should be body temperature, which means it should feel warm or cool, but not hot.
  14. If there is any made-up infant formula left after a feed, throw it away.

How to formula feed responsively?

  • Like breastfeeding make sure you are sitting comfortably.
  • To make your baby feel safe and loved, hold your baby close to you and look into their eyes when feeding
  • Hold your baby fairly upright for feeds, support their head so that they can breathe and swallow comfortably.
  • Brush the teat against your baby’s lips and, when your baby opens their mouth wide, allow them to draw in the teat.
  • If the teat becomes flattened while you are feeding, pull gently on the corner of your baby’s mouth to release the vacuum.
  • Your baby may need short breaks during the feed and may need to be burped.
  • When your baby does not want any more feed, hold them upright and gently rub or pat their back to bring up any wind.
  • Reduce the amount of people who feed your baby, this helps to build the loving relationship between you and your baby and reduces stress hormones.

Never leave your baby alone to feed with a propped-up bottle as they may choke on the milk.

You can watch a video on how to bond with your baby whilst bottle feeding by clicking here.

Infant Formula and Responsive Bottle Feeding

This simple, concise guide provides parents who are bottle feeding with an overview on how to bottle feed responsively and, for parents who are formula feeding, how to choose an infant formula.


Bottle feeding as responsively as possible can help support the development of a close and loving parent-infant relationship. More tips on building a close and loving relationship with babies can be found in this Building a Happy Baby leaflet for parents.

Further information

First Steps Nutrition Trust is an independent public health nutrition charity. They endeavour to fill practical and policy-relevant information gaps and provide resources for eating well from pre-conception to five years.

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