Can You Pre-Make Bottles for Night Feeds? Storage and Heating Tips

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Nighttime feeding sessions with your baby can be stressful for everyone involved. For starters, you’re dealing with a fussing baby who seems to grow more impatient with every extra minute it takes you to prepare a bottle. To streamline the process, you may have thought of making pre-make bottles for night feedings. 

The good news is that you can prepare baby bottles in advance for nighttime feeds, provided that they are prepared and stored correctly. Simply make the bottles as you normally would and store them in the refrigerator. When the bottle is needed, you can either warm it up or serve it cold. 

Key takeaways

  • You can pre-make bottles but shouldn’t store them for more than 24 hours.
  • Pre-made bottles can’t be reheated a second time as this will increase the chance of bacteria.
  • All pre-made bottles should be stored in the fridge.
  • Measure out the closest estimate of formula and use small bottles where necessary to avoid wasting the formula.
  • Warm the bottle when the baby is ready to feed but never place the bottle in the microwave oven.
  • Always shake a heated bottle to ensure there are no hot pockets.

Can you pre-make formula for night feeds?

Yes, you can pre-make formula for your night feeds! There’s no need to struggle with a fussing baby, feeling tired and then still preparing a bottle. The most important criterion is that the bottles must be washed thoroughly before preparation and stored correctly. 

Pre-made bottles should always be stored in the refrigerator and should be used within 24 hours. When it’s time to feed the baby, either heat the bottle or serve it cold. If your baby drinks cold formula, you might have to wait a few minutes before giving it to them if it’s too cold.

Are there any health risks if you pre-make baby formula?

There are some safety pointers to keep in mind when you’re pre-making baby formula. Keep the following considerations in mind. 

  • Ideally, the formula should be used within a one to two hours of being made. Therefore, it must be used within 24 hours. Don’t return any used formula to the fridge if it’s been out for more than 20 minutes. 
  • A bottle that has been heated up shouldn’t be reused after an hour–it also shouldn’t be reheated as this will generate bacteria, which could make your baby ill. That means, only warm the formula when you need it and don’t leave it standing out on the counter or table as it will be at risk of bacteria.
  • Reheating the formula also destroys any nutrients in the formula. This means that the reheating formula will essentially not be providing your little one with any nutrients. Rather make a fresh bottle of formula. 

Why would you want to pre-make baby bottles for the evening?

When you’re just starting on your parenting journey, you might have all the intentions of being the type of parent who prepares every bottle exactly on time. However, there may be times your baby won’t follow your plan. 

Some of the instances you may need to pre-make a bottle include the following: 

  • To save time: Ensuring that your feeding routine is as streamlined as possible makes the whole process easy. Having bottles ready to use will save you from having to make them in the middle of the night. It also makes it considerably easier if someone else is feeding the baby.
  • A quick feed for fussy babies: Your little one doesn’t understand the concept of waiting several minutes when they’re hungry. To prevent mild fussing from turning into full-blown screaming, and your baby intensely hitting the bottle, have a bottle ready to be heated in a few minutes. 
  • Easier to put the baby back to bed afterward: The quicker your little one finishes their bottle, the easier it will be to put them back to sleep afterward. They won’t be stressed from fussing for a long time–a more relaxed baby can easily go back to sleep, which means, so can you. 

How to prepare formula for nighttime feeds

Preparing formula for nighttime feeds is essentially not much different from making feeding bottles the regular way. The essential difference is the way you store the formula, once you’ve made it.

Get the right-sized bottle

If you know that your baby won’t finish a regular-sized bottle, it’s recommended that you opt for smaller bottles. Rather make some small bottles than one or two big bottles where you know you’re going to have to throw some out. Keep in mind that you can’t reheat the formula a second time.

Prepare the formula how you would normally

There’s no different way to prepare the formula for a nighttime bottle. Simply prepare the formula how you would normally do it. The only difference would of course be smaller bottles if necessary.

Wait for the formula to cool down

Once you’ve made the formula, let it cool down before placing it in the refrigerator. Placing a hot formula mixture in the fridge may cause it to go sour.

Store it in the fridge 

Once the bottle has cooled down, you can place it in the fridge away from anything with a strong odor. You also don’t want to place it where it can get too cold. To simplify the process even more, you might consider adding a mini fridge in your nursery.

Can be stored for up to 24 hours

A freshly made bottle of the formula shouldn’t be stored for more than 24 hours. Ideally, you shouldn’t pre-make formulas for more than one night at a time. That way you’ll ensure that the milk remains fresh and bacteria-free. Where ever possible, make the bottles before going to bed to ensure that they are as fresh as possible when you need them.

Reheating Methods for the formula for nighttime feeds

There are some quick and easy ways to reheat your formula once you have taken it out of the fridge. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t reheat more than you think your baby will drink. If you don’t think your little one will drink a full bottle, rather make a smaller bottle. Alternatively, you can simply pour out the amount of formula you need into a smaller bottle before heating the formula.

Microwave hot water in a jug

A quick way to get your feeding bottle warm is to heat hot water in a jug in the microwave. Take the jug out and place the bottle in the jug to warm up. Don’t place the baby bottle in the microwave to heat as this creates hot pockets that could scald your baby when they’re drinking.

Hot tap water

You can also run the bottle under a tap of hot running water, or to not waste too much water, pour hot tap water in a jug and then place the bottle in the jug for a few minutes. Once the bottle feels warm enough, give it a good shake and test it before giving it to your baby.

Boiling water on the stove 

If you have the time, you could boil water on the stove. But, don’t put the baby bottle in the pot of hot water while it’s still on the stove. Be sure to shake the bottle after it has been warmed to ensure there are no hot pockets. Shaking the bottle will ensure that the formula is evenly heated.

Here’s a short clip to show you just how easy it is to warm up a baby’s bottle. 


While making formula in advance will certainly make nighttime feeding sessions considerably easier, it’s important to remember that you can’t reheat the formula a second time. Any leftover formula will have to be discarded. 

With that in mind, it’s crucial to make the right size bottles to avoid wasting formula. This is why I advocate trying out different bottles, including various sizes to find the right now for the given age of your child. Furthermore, ensure that the bottles are thoroughly cleaned before preparing them for nighttime use. Preparing your bottles the right way will ensure that late-night feeding sessions go down smoothly! Oh, and make sure you avoid bottle feeding in the actual bed!

Photo of author


I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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