Baby Formula
Submitted by Joyce Wong, registered dietitian, public health

Few people would blame a sleep-deprived parent for taking shortcuts. But using an automatic baby formula or food maker may not be the safest route.

Products like automatic infant formula makers and baby food warmers offer the convenience of preparing your baby’s food at the touch of a button. Although the best nutrition for your baby in the first six months is breast milk, there may be medical or personal reasons for using formula. If you are thinking about buying one of these products, there are some health risks to consider when preparing formula and food with these automated machines.

Automatic infant formula makers mix infant formula with water and heat, and then dispense the formula straight into a bottle. Basically, a coffee maker for baby formula. However, the water added to an automatic infant formula maker may not heat up to a full rolling boil for two minutes before it is mixed with infant formula powder or concentrate. This is an important step to kill any harmful bacteria that may cause your baby to get sick.

Another issue to consider is that the inside of an automatic infant formula maker may not be able to be properly sterilized. It is recommended that all bottle-making equipment is sterilized until your baby is at least four months of age. Find tips on how to safely prepare and store formula.

Baby food makers grind and blend baby food. Some electric models have defrosting, steaming and re-heating features; however, these machines do not reach high enough temperatures needed to kill harmful bacteria that may be found in meats, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood. Use a digital thermometer to check the internal cooking temperature of a food to make sure it is fully cooked to the right temperature before offering it to your baby. It is not always possible to tell if food is safe by its colour or how long it has been cooked.

As your baby’s immune system develops, it’s important to reduce any potential health risks from unsafe foods. Despite the convenience of these automated machines, it’s best to take the extra time to prepare your baby’s food safely.

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