Baby in Bed Taking a Bottle

How to Properly Prepare and Store Baby Formula

Following the recent recall of powdered infant formula made at the Abbott Nutrition facility in Michigan, there is now a nationwide shortage of baby formula. This baby formula shortage has received national attention.

AltaMed wants to take this opportunity to remind parents about the proper ways to prepare and store formula and breastmilk. A few simple steps will ensure your baby is as healthy as possible.

Measuring Spoon for Baby Milk Preparation

Preparing Formula

Always start with clean hands and a clean work surface when preparing infant formula. Bottles also need to be cleaned and sanitized.

It’s not necessary to warm formula before feeding. You might find your baby prefers it. Don’t microwave a bottle to warm it. Microwaves can warm foods unevenly and create hot spots that will burn a baby’s throat or mouth. It’s best to place the bottle under running warm water then test the formula on the back of your hand.

Use a safe water source to mix infant formula. Only use the recommended amount of formula. Using too much can reduce the amount of nutrition your baby gets. Not enough water can dehydrate your baby.

Use It or Lose It

Infant formula can spoil after two hours at room temperature. Refrigerate it if you don’t plan on using it in the next two hours and use it within 24 hours of preparation.

Throw out any formula your baby doesn’t finish. Bacteria can grow when the formula is combined with your baby’s saliva. Make sure to clean and sanitize the bottle before using it again.

Unopened containers of formula should be stored in cool, dry, indoor places. The same is true for opened containers. Make sure the lids are secure. Don’t store them in the refrigerator.

Try to use the formula within one month of opening it. Write on the lid the date you first opened it. Never use formula after the “use by” date.

Baby Bottle with Breast Pump

Best Breast Milk Practices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidelines for safely handling and storing expressed breast milk.

Always wash your hands with soap and water before expressing or handling breast milk. You can also use sanitizer if no soap or water are available.

If using a pump, inspect your pump and tubing to make sure everything is clean. Discard any moldy tubing. Use a disinfecting wipe to clean the pump dials, power switch, and countertop if using a shared pump.

Storing Breast Milk 

There are breast milk storage bags, but you can also use clean glass or plastic food-grade containers with tight-fitting lids. Try to avoid bottles with the recycle symbol number 7. These containers may contain harmful plastics. Don’t use disposable bottle liners.

Freshly expressed or pumped milk can be stored:

  • 4 hours at 77 degrees or colder (room temperature)
  • 4 days in the refrigerator
  • 6 to 12 months in the freezer

Clearly date expressed breast milk and always use the “oldest” milk first. Freeze it immediately if you don’t think you will use it within four days. Don’t store it in the door of your refrigerator or freezer to protect it from temperature changes when the door opens.

Breast milk expands when it freezes so leave some room at the top of the container. Thaw breast milk in a pot of warm water or run it under warm water. Never use a microwave. Also shake the bottle as the fat might have separated.

With You at the Start

At AltaMed, we care for all mothers and their babies. We know mothering is a big job and we’re here for you, so you don’t have to do it alone. If you are having difficulty finding formula, or breastfeeding, contact your provider. We want to help you and your baby to be as healthy as possible. Contact us at (888) 499-9303.

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Mother and Baby

Tips to Keep Your Baby Safe

Babies depend on us for everything — feeding, dressing, changing, bathing. Parents are caregivers and protectors. It’s a full-time job.

Expectant parents, grandparents, or anyone who plans to have babies in the house — even for a visit — should take some time to look at the basics for keeping babies safe in a number of situations.

Dad Holding His New Born

Baby-proofing basics

Babies are tiny, helpless things that usually stay where you put them — at least for a few months. It doesn’t take long until they start crawling, scooting, cruising, and eventually toddling. You would be surprised the things a baby can get into, so take the time to literally get on their level. Crawl around and actively look for potential hazards.

  • Electrical outlets — These are easy to fill with plastic covers.
  • Curtains — Hang them up out of baby’s way.
  • Cords — Keep blind and electric cords out of reach.
  • Tablecloths — Babies can pull on these and bring whatever is on the table tumbling down.
  • Tall furniture — Anchor entertainment centers and dressers to the wall for when babies start climbing.
  • Cabinets — It’s easy to install pantry locks inside the doors to keep out curious babies.
  • Gates — Put these up early so the baby won’t see them as barriers to exploration.
Mom Bathing Her Baby

Making bath time safe

Bath time should be a fun experience for a baby. It’s important to get clean but just as important for the baby to experience the water and see it as something positive. Here are some tips for making bath time a safe time for your baby.

  • Prepare — Get everything you need for the bath before bringing the baby to the bathroom.
  • Fill the tub — Check the water temperature to make sure it’s not too hot before putting the baby in the water. Adjust the hot water heater so it’s no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Stay put — Never leave a baby unattended or in the care of an older child. Babies can drown in one inch of water.
  • Cover it — Put a cushioned cover or a hand towel on the faucet to protect the baby’s head, should they bump it.
  • Bath seats — Place them far enough from the faucet so baby can’t reach. Also never lift the seat with the baby in it.
  • Lock it — Close the toilet lid and get a lock. A curious baby could fall in. Also use pantry locks for the bathroom cabinets.
Mom Securing Her Baby in Chair

Getting ready to ride

Everyone needs to be buckled up in a car, especially babies. They should always ride in rear-facing seats until they reach the maximum height and weight listed on the instructions.

Every state has unique requirements about children riding in car seats. For California, car seats are required by law. The California Department of Highway Patrol provides a breakdown of current car seat laws for infants and children based on age and weight. Additionally, the California Office of Traffic Safety has information on where new parents can get discounted car seats, or in some cases, for free.

It is also important to use a new car seat whenever possible as safety standards are constantly evolving. Never use a damaged car seat or one that has been in an accident, and never leave a child alone in a car, even for a moment. Put things you need near your baby to remind you to take your baby out of the car.

Babies Playing with Cubes

Playing it safe

Toys, clothes, and other items come with age recommendations for a reason. Babies are always putting things in their mouths, so age-appropriate toys shouldn’t have anything that could be a choking hazard. There also shouldn’t be any cords, sharp edges, or other potential dangers.

  • Stay close — Don’t leave a baby unattended in a swing, bouncer, or activity center.
  • Stay grounded — Don’t put play items on beds or sofas where the child can roll off.
  • Check surroundings — Make sure there are no cords, plants, or other items near where your baby is playing.
  • Sleep right — Swings, bouncers, and other similar items should not be used as substitutes for cribs.
  • Move on — Stop using anything your baby outgrows, or anything that becomes damaged.
  • Register — Register items with the manufacturer in case there is ever a product recall.

Keeping babies healthy

Keeping babies safe includes making sure they have the proper immunizations. AltaMed pediatric patients can get their vaccinations for mumps, measles, HPV, and the flu, to keep them, and the community, healthy.

We can also direct you to social services that can help you with your child’s nutrition and other resources. For information or to make an appointment call (888) 499-9303.

Child Feeling a Child

Tips for Mother and Baby Before, During and After Pregnancy

Humans have been getting pregnant and giving birth for hundreds of thousands of years. The basics have remained constant during that time.

Nutrition and science, however, have advanced to the point that people who once had no chance of ever getting pregnant, can how have healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy children.

Parents play a big part — beyond the donation of genetic material — in healthy pregnancies and birth. Here are some checklists of things you can do before, during and after pregnancy to keep yourself, your partner, and your baby well.

Before Pregnancy

  1. Start planning — Just like you take steps to prevent pregnancy, you should take steps to keep yourself and baby healthy when you decide it’s time to have a baby.
  2. Visit your doctor — Let your doctor know your plans. Discuss any family history regarding pregnancy, medical conditions, medications, lifestyle, and vaccinations.
  3. Take folic acidYou should take 400 micrograms starting at least a month before getting pregnant and continue through pregnancy.
  4. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking, and drug use — These are all leading factors in birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.
  5. Avoid toxins — Cat and rat feces can affect the human reproductive system. So can manmade toxins in fertilizer, bug spray, or synthetic chemicals. Try to avoid exposure.
  6. Find the right weight — Obesity during pregnancy can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. It’s not healthy to be underweight either. Talk to your doctor about finding the right weight.
  7. Find help for family violence — Partner violence is always wrong and dangerous. Pregnancy adds a new element to the equation. Get help to find a safe situation.
  8. Know your family’s medical history — Ask questions. There may be traits you don’t know about that would be helpful to share with your doctor.
  9. Get mentally focused — Pregnancy can be stressful. Don’t let that stress interfere with your daily activities. Talk to your doctor about thoughts and feelings, and treatment if you feel overwhelmed.
  10. Keep at it — You may be building new habits. Stick with them to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy.

During Pregnancy

Keeping yourself and your baby healthy will be your focus once you become pregnant. It’s important to keep doing the good things you did before getting pregnant. It is also important to make sure you are fully vaccinated. That includes having the COVID-19 vaccine. It is safe for expectant mothers to get the vaccine. It’s also important for passing those antibodies onto their newborns.

Other steps include:

  • Regular prenatal checkups
  • Taking folic acid
  • Continuing to be tobacco, alcohol, and drug free
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding exposure to environmental toxins
  • Checking with your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications

It’s important for mothers to listen to their bodies and observe changes that may seem surprising. Talk with your doctor about warning signs and don’t be embarrassed to raise an alarm.

Pregnant Woman Being Weighed by Nurse

After Delivery

Most expectant mothers cannot WAIT to give birth. But once you’ve delivered there are new things to think about. They include:

  1. BreastfeedingThere are multiple benefits for mother and child. Lactation counselors can help with any problems you may encounter, getting your baby to latch. It’s important to safely handle and storage breast milk if you do breastfeed.
  2. Postpartum depressionTalk to your doctor if you feel depressed after delivery.
  3. Vaccinations — It is crucial to get your baby vaccinated. Follow this immunization schedule from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  4. JaundiceNewborns sometimes have too much bilirubin in their bloodstream which causes their skin and eyes to appear yellow. It can lead to brain damage in newborns if untreated.
Woman Holding Her New Born

Parents need to be on the lookout for healthy and normal development in their baby. Make sure to attend well-baby visits and get all the recommended immunizations. You should also track your baby’s development and visit their pediatrician if you have any questions.

It Takes a Village

Parenting is a big job, but you don’t have to do it alone. AltaMed is available to provide specialized care to expectant mothers, new mothers, and newborns, giving them the best start at life. That includes age-appropriate immunizations and screenings. Our pediatricians also have information on early childhood development milestones and can talk to you about any concerns you may have during your child’s first few years of life.

Get started by contacting us today at (877) 462-2582.

How to Properly Prepare and Store Baby Formula