Skip to content

How to Prepare Powdered Formula for Your Tube Fed Child

For most parents, a mealtime challenge is getting a child to eat his or her vegetables or clean the plate.

For parents who tube feed children with special needs at home, making sure a child is getting the proper nourishment is much more complicated. There’s a lot to learn, and they may worry about doing it right—which is why PHS dietitians work closely with families to provide education, assistance, and advice that can help put their minds at ease.

Here’s one example:

Watch PHS Dietitian Gwen Pritchard, RD, LD, demonstrate the proper techniques for preparing powdered formula at home for use in feeding pumps.

Eight easy steps

Before you begin, make sure you have everything you need: your child’s formula recipe, standard measuring cups, a liquid measuring cup, your child’s physician-prescribed formula powder, a blender, and your child’s tube feeding bag.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. See Hand Hygiene How-To’s from PHS nurse Jill Wall.
  2. Consult your recipe and put cold tap water in the liquid measure (PHS recommends using cold water, but be sure to check the instructions on the formula can in case the manufacturer recommends a different temperature for the formula preparation).
  3. Pour the water into a blender for mixing (PHS recommends using a blender to ensure the granules are thoroughly dissolved; powdered formula granules may set off alarms with the food pump).
  4. Measure the proper amount of powdered formula—leveling with a straight edge to get an accurate measurement—and then add the powder to the blender.
  5. Blend until well mixed and the powdered granules are dissolved—this may take a little longer at home. You should see some frothy bubbles when formula is completely mixed.
  6. Set the blended formula aside and let it rest for about 15 minutes to allow the bubbles to settle (bubbles, like granules, can cause errors in the tube feeding.)
  7. Once the mixture has settled, you are ready to give your child a tube feeding. Pour the desired amount into your liquid measuring cup, and then pour that into your tube feeding. Connect the tube feeding to your child’s extension and pump and begin the feeding.
  8. Put any extra formula into a storage container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

If you have any nutrition concerns, be sure to call PHS at 654-642-1825 and ask to speak to any of our registered dietitians.

Do you have any strategies that may help other parents whose children have feeding challenges? Is there a story you’d like to share or any advice or thoughts about formula preparation or recipes? What kinds of experiences have you had with tube feeding your child at home? We’d love to hear from you.

Originally published: January 7, 2011