Get Up and Grow: Infant formula

Infant formula is the only safe alternative to breastmilk in the first 12 months.

Page last updated: August 2012

Commonwealth of Australia 2012
State of Queensland 2012 (marked photographs only)

Health disclaimer

The information in this publication is for general information only, and must not be used as a substitute for medical advice. You must seek independent professional medical advice before relying on any information contained in this publication.
Readers should be aware that these resources may contain images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are now deceased.



What can baby drink?

Baby can drink breastmilk or formula or a combination of both breastmilk and formula.
  • Babies who are formula fed can also have cooled boiled water at any age.
  • Babies who are breastfed can have cooled boiled water from around 6 months.

Cow’s milk

Babies under 12 months should not drink cow’s milk as the main drink because:
  • they can’t process the protein and salt well
  • it can cause their blood to be low in iron.
Small amounts of cow’s milk can be mixed with baby’s food.

Never give baby sweet drinks

  • Never give baby sweet drinks such as soft drinks, flavoured milk, juice or cordial.
  • Sweet drinks can reduce the intake of breastmilk or formula and can cause tooth decay and weight problems.

Making up formula

  • Wash your hands.
  • Use a clean work space.
  • Boil clean water for 30 seconds and let it
  • cool to room temperature.
  • Pour the right amount of cooled boiled water into a sterilised bottle.
  • Use the scoop provided to add the right amount of formula.
  • Follow the instructions on the formula tin – don’t add anything else.
  • Heat the bottle in a container of warm water.
  • Shake the bottle well to make sure the heat is spread evenly.
  • Always check the temperature of the formula before giving it to baby. Pour a few drops on unbroken skin on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel warm, not hot.
  • Do not use a microwave to heat up formula as this can make the milk too hot and can burn baby’s mouth. Top of page
  • Formula should be made up just before baby’s feed.
  • Extra bottles can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Throw out any unused formula after 24 hours.

Feeding baby

  • Bottle feeding is a chance to cuddle up with your baby.
  • Baby can have formula cold or warm.
  • Propping up and giving baby a bottle can lead to choking and ear infections.
  • Throw away any formula left in the bottle.
  • Re-using
  • formula can make baby sick.

Cleaning bottles and teats

  • Sterilising bottles and teats kills germs.
  • Wash bottles and teats in warm soapy water and rinse off detergent and bubbles.
  • Sterilise bottles and teats. Choose a method for sterilisation such as boiling.
  • Ask a childcare educator or a health worker for advice.

Infant formula and childcare

  • Explain baby’s feeding routine to staff.
  • Provide the centre with sterilised bottles and teats and the right amount of formula.
  • Label everything with your baby’s name and the amount of water the formula should be mixed with.
  • A childcare educator might ask you to bring bottlesalready filled with cooled boiled water.
  • Don’t mix up formula at home and bring it to the centre – bacteria can grow in formula not kept in the fridge.

Information and help