Formula Feeding

Breastfeeding brings lots of benefits to babies and mums, and so we encourage women to breastfeed. However, if you are unable to breastfeed or choose not to, here are some tips for safe formula feeding that will help keep your baby safe and healthy.

Staying Healthy / Family Eating
  • first-stage milk is recommended for your baby's first year. Unless advised by a health professional, this is the only milk that should be given to babies under one year. Milks aimed at "hungry baby" do not contain any extra nutrients for your baby and will not satisfy them any more than first milk. There is no evidence for recommending one brand over the other.
  • make sure you wash equipment thoroughly with hot soapy water then sterilise it. Sterilising alone will not kill any bacteria if any residue has been left.
  • make up one feed at a time and use it within two hours, or bacteria will build up.
  • once opened, formula in containers is more likely to harbour bacteria. Using water over 70°C with the formula to make up a bottle will kill any bacteria, making it safer for your baby's delicate tummy.


  • when feeding your baby, use this time to bond with your baby. Hold baby close, look at them and talk to them. Although it might be difficult, try to limit who feeds the baby, as babies will feed better and are more relaxed if the same one or two adults feed them. Everyone has different feeding techniques and that can cause the baby to become stressed, causing increased wind.
  • go at your baby's pace and never force a "full" feed. Your baby will take exactly what he or she needs.

If you'd like additional information about local groups or services, your midwife or heath visitor will be able to advise you.

NHSScotland has prepared a booklet on formula feeding that has lots of useful information. You can order these from the Public Health Resource Directory (PHRD) - limited quantities to people living or working in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

You can also get advice from First Steps Nutrition Trust, an independent public health nutrition charity that provides information and resources to support eating well from pre-conception to after birth.

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