For many first time parents, there are countless aspects of having a newborn that can be overwhelming and feeding your baby is on the top of many’s lists. If you are opting to formula feed or needing it to supplement your baby’s diet, there are some important things to know in bottle preparation to make sure it is safe is of the utmost importance. One of those things to know when preparing for a baby is how many scoops of formula for four ounces of water.
How Many Scoops are Needed?
The general rule for making a bottle using powdered formula is one scoop of formula for every two fluid ounces of water, or about 29.5 milliliters of water. However, there could be slight variations in the ratio that is recommended, so it is always best to read the manufacturer’s label on the specific formula that will be used. This is especially true if you buy baby formula in another country that may use different measurements/ratios than you’re familiar with.
Dos and Don’ts of Mixing Formula
As mentioned above, you will need one scoop of formula for every two ounces of water that is added for the bottle. So, for six ounces of water, you will need three scoops of formula.
Dos for Mixing Formula
All powdered formulas will come with a scoop inside the container. You should only use the scoop for that container. Each formula type and brand will have a slightly different scooper inside and the scoop should not be interchanged with the formula.
When mixing powdered formula it is best to follow the following steps:
- Measure water for the bottle
- Add formula
- Mix: shake the bottle mixture well
*Note: certain formulas may have specific instructions about mixing, for example if the formula has added rice starch, you may have to shake it, wait, then shake it again in a few minutes. Each formula box should have instructions.
Using the chart below can help you when making a bottle. But remember: always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing a bottle using formula:
|Bottle Size||Amount of Water||Number of Scoops|
|2 ounce bottle||2 ounces||1 scoop|
|4 ounce bottle||4 ounces||2 scoops|
|6 ounce bottle||6 ounces||3 scoops|
|8 ounce bottle||8 ounces||4 scoops|
|10 ounce bottle||10 ounces||5 scoops|
To know how many ounces are in a fluid cup, try out our ounces to cups converter.
Tips for Making and Feeding With Formula
- Check with your pediatrician to make sure the formula is right for your baby
- Mix and measure carefully
- Store undrunk formula in the refrigerator
- Sterilize bottles before adding formula
- Discard formula after 24 hours
- Hold your baby while feeding
Don’ts for Mixing Formula
It is incredibly important to ensure that you are mixing the baby’s formula correctly. This is especially true if your baby is premature or has a low birth weight as it could lead to trouble digesting the formula due to their weakened system development.
If the formula is mixed with too much water, it will contain fewer calories than what is needed for the baby and could lead to some serious health risks like seizures or even brain damage.
Things to Avoid When Making and Feeding With Formula
It is important to remember:
- Don’t water down the formula
- Don’t mix and match the scoopers
- Don’t warm the bottle in the microwave
- Don’t use formula that has been out at room temperature for more than two hours
- Don’t reheat a bottle
- Don’t force your baby to drink the entire bottle
- Don’t freeze formula
How Much Is a Scoop of Formula?
Most powdered formulas come with a scoop inside the container. However, when measured out, each scoop is about 3.5 tablespoons of powdered formula. It is not recommended to measure powdered formula by tablespoons or weight, because every formula is different.
Type of Water Used to Make a Formula Bottle
According to the Mayo Clinic, babies do not require warmed formula. So the temperature of the bottle will be more of what your baby prefers rather than what is required. Babies can drink room temperature or even cold bottles.
There are three main sources of water that can be used to make a powdered formula bottle: well water, tap water and bottled water.
If you are on a well for your water supply, it is recommended to boil the water before preparing the bottle. You will only need to let it boil for about one minute and then allow it to cool to body temperature, 98.6 degrees fahrenheit, before it is given to a baby.
Well water is not regulated, unlike tap or bottled water, so there may be more nitrates and other dangerous chemicals for an infant. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to have the well water tested every three months for a year before using it for the water in a powdered formula bottle.
If you are planning on using tap water you can consult your doctor and call your local water treatment facility as they should be able to test the water and give you information about what is in the water which will help you to determine if it is safe to use or not. Otherwise, using a water filter and/or boiling the water as an extra precaution can be the way to go.
If your infant will be or is consuming solely powdered or liquid concentrated formula, knowing the fluoride content in the water is important. If the fluoride levels are too high, there is a chance that the baby can develop dental fluorosis. Dental fluorosis is very mild typically in the United States and in most cases shows as white spots on the gums.
Bottled water is the safest and most stress-free option for new parents making formula bottles. Keep in mind that the type of water in a bottle that is sold for adults may have other chemicals and minerals in it and it is still recommended to boil it prior to making the bottle.
Instead, there is bottled water that is sold specifically for making formula bottles that can usually be found in the same aisle as formula in the grocery store.
The downside to using bottled water—especially the kind made for making formula bottles—is that it can be more difficult to find, expensive, and not particularly great for the environment.
How To Prepare Different Types of Formula
There are other options of pre-made formulas that could be used to feed your baby. While the most popular formulas are powdered formulas, there are other types that could be used:
- Ready-to-feed formula
- Liquid concentrate formula
Ready-to-feed formulas also known as ready-to-eat formulas are the most expensive—but the most convenient of the formula options. You don’t need to mix this formula. Just give it to your baby. This is a great option for traveling with a baby as you just open it and discard it when you’re done, but if you use it at home, be sure to read the instructions on how to store it and use it.
Liquid Concentrate Formulas
Liquid concentrate formulas, also known as just concentrates, are more similar to powdered formulas. Water is needed to dilute the concentrate before it can be fed to a baby.
Get Ready for Baby
No matter which option you choose to feed your baby, ensuring that you are making the bottle the correct way and the safest is what is really important. From knowing how many scoops of formula for a 4 oz bottle, a 2 oz bottle, or an 8 oz bottle, parents who are using formula hopefully will find it helpful to know the different ratios. But, always follow the manufacturer’s directions, too.
Disclaimer: Gigacalculator is not a medical professional website and the information here is for educational purposes ONLY. It should not be a substitute for medical advice and we are not liable for any issues associated with using or acting on the information on this website. Always consult a medical professional if you have questions about feeding your baby.
Emily is a freelance writer and teacher. Originally from New York, Emily now lives and works in Europe.