36 answers

Lumpy Formula

Hi, Tonight I spent an hour making bottles! I just had to switch to the Doc Browns bottles, so some extra time was spent on that. The rest of the time was trying to stir the formula lumps out. I use Enfamil Gentle formula, Browns bottles..add water, add the rice cereal (1/2 tsp per 2oz due to reflux) and formula and stir. I have tried a fork, a butter knife and if I could find a wisk small enough I would try that! Am I missing something? Please educate me if I am!
Thanks for any insight!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Hi all..let me say I was overwhelmed by the number of wonderful suggestions! It's really nice to know there are other mothers out there with this problem, that compared to some problems this is a small issue, yet a frustrating and time consuming one! We live in a rural area and I love this site, makes me feel a little more connected. Anyway..after reading and trying several suggestions, I think tonight I found what works. First instead of making up 8 individual bottles I opted for a large container to store and use to fill one bottle at a time as needed. When a few people mentioned the Pampered Chef, I was reminded that as a white elephant gift I had gotten one of those pitchers with the handle that you push the "blades" up and down. LOW and BEHOLD my container of formula had NO lumps and minimal foam! It sure was a lot easier to make one big container (duh). I also listened to what many said about not putting the rice cereal in the bottle and began feeding it to him separately and do you know what happened? First, he looked at me funny and smacked his lips and second, he seemed not to cry so much over gas/reflux pain. Very interesting I thought. Again, I thank all of you wonderful mothers who felt my pain and took the time to make a suggestions!
P.S. The original Dr. Browns do contain PBA (gasp) Mine are almost 3 years old. It didn't even cross my mind till now. I will be buying new bottles.
The site states:
Our original bottle is made of durable polycarbonate plastic. Our newest bottles, which do not contain bisphenol-A (BPA), come in glass and polypropylene plastic.

Featured Answers

When I worked in an infant program we used to have that problem. I found that using very hot water helped. I would put some water in that was boiling hot and mix the entire ration of formula and cereal with that. When there was no more lumps add the rest of the water. All you need is a little really hot water.

1 mom found this helpful

My son has acid reflux which he takes Prevacid for. I have found that it is easier to make the formula is a mixing cup or bowl rather than in the bottle. Because for me I have to stir not shake his formula and scoop out the bubbles. Give tha a try. Hope it helps.

I used the Dr. Brown bottles. Instead of shaking the bottles with all of the parts in them, I would shake the bottles with only a travel cap on top which would help get the formula lumps out.

More Answers

When I worked in an infant program we used to have that problem. I found that using very hot water helped. I would put some water in that was boiling hot and mix the entire ration of formula and cereal with that. When there was no more lumps add the rest of the water. All you need is a little really hot water.

1 mom found this helpful

Pampered chef makes a measure mix and pour for salad dressings, and all sorts of other uses, I used to use it for formula all the time. It has a whisk inside that you pump up and down it's big enough to make 2 8 oz bottles ( I think) or we (I am a consultant) have a pitcher that has it's own paddles in the bottom that you pump up and down to mix if you want 2 qts. They work great for formula!
Let me know if you have questions.... I'd be happy to let you see the items! they are only about 11 -15 dollers.

Hi S.,
We used to make a large container of formula (Alimentum) each day and then pour it into bottles as needed. However, unless Alimentum (used because of reflux) is less lumpy, that doesn't really help. We also used Dr. Brown's. Are the BPA-free now? I wish we had known about BPA five years ago. The last thing I want to mention is that our son's pediatrician and two pediatric GIs (one from CPMC and one from UCSF and considered by many to be the best in SF) were adamant that we not add rice cereal (or any other solid) to our son's bottle, despite his reflux, which was relatively severe. I do not remember the exact reason why, but I do know that if it had not been compelling, I would have tried it anyway in lieu of meds. We went with a combo of meds. Please ask a good pediatric GI about adding rice cereal/other cereals to bottles. I know lots of people do this (and some books/pediatricians) may even recommend it. However, both pediatric GIs were strongly against our doing this, and they are the experts. Best to you, and get lots of cheap cloth diapers to keep on your shoulders!

"Shaken, not stirred". I put mine in a small hard plastic bottle and shake it hard for a few seconds and it's fine.

I use to use my old bottles and shake it in that and then poor it into the Doc Brown bottles; but that may be why they didn't do much for my daughter.

My ped. suggested using a blender :)

Are you using warm water to help dissolve the formula? With my kids, I used to make the formula the night before (for daycare).

I would put in the powder formula, then use about 1-2 oz hot water to dissolve the formula (and shake to make sure it was all dissolved), then add the rest of the water cold. I noticed that most brands require the warm water to actually mix properly.

I hope this helps!

: ) E.

I have no experience with Doc Browns bottles.
But I did use formula and rice cereal.
I would advise warming the water prior to adding the formula and cereal. Use a jar with a lid to shake it. Warm water, formula....shake shake shake. Then a little more warm water to add the cereal and shake shake shake shake.
It's kind of like making a base for gravy. Put it all in a jar and shake it until you have no lumps. Just add a little of each at a time. And shake in between. Leave the lid off for a while afterwards and then stir to get the air out, but you should turn out with a nice mixture that you can fill bottles with. I actually had a large glass mayonnaise jar from Costco that I did my shaking in. If you just add a little at a time of each and shake in between, you won't need to stir. And, you'll get a pretty good upper body work out.

Get yourself a Tupperware quick shake with a blender wheel...it's the best for blending!!
Email me a ____@____.com if you have any questions...be glad to help!!

S. - we can help with this....We use Doc Brown's bottles as well. We also use Enfamil Gentlease lipil in the purple containers. We use Glass bottles for home and plastic for our daycare. There is a pitcher that you can buy for mixing the formula. It is AWESOME. It blends the formula and gets all the lumps out. We used the playtex inserts, and then Avent...then we learned about BPA and switched to Doc Brown and we have LOVED these bottles. The pitcher is $13 or so. We bought one for home and daycare and our daycare provider loves it and uses it for all of the kids on formula. Our son no longer spits up at all......The switch to the bottles and the formula has been awesome. PS we don't add cereal to formula.

How about trying a blender?

First of all if you put the water in first then the formula/cereal that helps a lot. Also I always shake the bottle to mix it and that works too. Before you shake it though give it a swirl to start the mixing or else dry formula gets up into the nipple and it is hard to get out.
S. R

Hi S.,

When this happened to me I made to use warm water, and I also did my batches in the blender, and then poured it into a pitcher to store in the fridge! This made totally lump free batches, even with the cereal added in! I too used Dr. Brown's for all 4 of my boys, they saved my sanity! All of my biys had colic, and the last two were twins, so you can only imagine the joyous songs of life we all had the privilege of listening too! I hope this helps!

A little about me:

I am 34, and married to my best friend for nearly 11 years. I am a stay at home mama to 4 boys ages 9,6, and twins that are 4. We are a Christian family, and I home school my two oldest boys. I love to sing, cook, hike, camp, and spend time with friends and family!

I have seen a small battery powered wisk at Wal-mart and at Target, less than 4 dollars. It's on the bottle isle. I thought about getting one but we'll be off formula soon (maybe, if mommy can handle him becoming a big boy)

Good luck

I always found putting the water in first then putting in the formula, mixing and then putting in the cereal and mixing worked best for me. Or just put formula and cereal in then water and mixing. I've never used the brown bottles but I would think it would work similarly. As well, you may be able to find a really small whisk at walmart or target.

hi S.-
when we did formula bottles for the twins, we just shook all the ingredients up in the bottle. Formula, water and rice cereal...put the top on the bottle and shake. THat took out the lumps and everything.
Mom to Taylor and Dylan
almost 5...8-18-03

I use the same bottle and formula and also have lumpiness problems. Plus, I'm too lazy/time-starved to use a blender :) Even though the Dr. Brown's pamphlet recommends against it, I give the bottle several good shakes. This generally works for me. But be careful - as you probably already know, the bottle leaks unless you have the straw part in.

You poor thing, that bites! We used rice cereal in the bottle too, just a tad. We put the water in first, make sure to use the lid & shook the hell out of it - no lumps. Good luck.


I don't know if I missed something or not, but why are you adding rice cereal to the bottle? Normally pediatricians don't recommend that because of choking hazards. Feed your baby rice cereal separate from the bottle.

As far as the formula goes, try making the bottles with warm water and then add the formula. If you use cold water, it tends to get lumpy.

Take care,


I used to make my sons' formula in a blender. I would make enough for the day/night. I used warm to hot water and would measure the water and formula like I was making a bottle, ex. 20 oz of water 10 scoops of formula. You can add the cereal in the same manner, (if needed you can add it when you make all the formula or at each bottle.)
I hope this helps.
Also Pampered Chef sales mini whisks.
Shannon - working stay at home mom to 4(boys 13, 12, 10 and daughter 3) working as a day care provider.

I had to add rice to my daughter's formula too, she is now 7 months and I have backed off the rice a lot. However, I have been dealing with lumpy formula for months. I mixed the formula, rice, and now constipation meds before then add the h20. It seems to help a bit. And, what I do is mix lots of bottles and only add the water when it is going to be used. Best of luck, I was nervous about reducing the cereal but once she went off of the reflux medication I was more comforatable with it. She is fine with the reflux now, she is just used to the thicker formula and so it is a process to get her off of that. Baby steps. Best of luck.

I've been there w/ 2 babies before and finally found the solution the 2nd time around. First Get a pitcher or some container (covered) to store formula in and a blender if you don't already have one. Start out filling the blender 1/2 - 3/4 full of water and figure out how formula for the amount of water and blend. It's great! You can make a large amount, comes out nice & smooth (good for baby's tummy) and it's on hand anytime! After u blend it maybe foamy, so give it a lil time to settle. I just wish that I would have known that with the 1st baby!

Yeah, that stinks -- I've been there. I ended up switching to Enfamil A.R., which has the rice cereal already in it. It helped with the lumps, but I had to make the holes in the nipples bigger because the formula is thicker and doesn't fit through the normal nipples (even the fast flow). I wish I could've found a nipple designed for use with thicker formula -- that would've helped. Instead I made the holes bigger, and as the nipples were used and washed the holes would get bigger and bigger until the formula was coming out way too fast and I had to replace them. If I had to go through it again, I would contact Enfamil and ask for a bottle/nipple recommendation for that formula, because other than that it worked well. It reduced my daughters spit-up considerably.


you should combine the formula and then add the cereal to the completed milk after. it's the cereal powder and the formula powder reacting and causing it to be lumpy. I always shook the formula and water and never had a problem (my Godson was recently on that formula). you can also premake it in bigger quantities in a larger vessel so you can use a regular wisk if you're more comfortable with that. You don't NEED to spend the extra money on gadgets. I don't know anything about the brown's bottles but I quickly looked on a website and did find a product specificly for mixing from them. I hope I was a little helpful.


D.-mother of 8 (19-12yrs old) foster mom to 2 and Godmom to 2 Good Luck!!


I'm a daycare provider and for a while I had 4 infants at one time and the were all on the Dr. Brown's bottles and the Gentle formula and you're right it is frustrating especially for me making about 16-20 bottles a day. I find putting the water in the bottles first (slightly warm it disolves better) then add the formula but the caps on and shake it vigioursly and they always turned out fine for me. Make sure your formula isn't expired (I'm sure you did that). Hope this helps.
Ms. smooth formula!

I have never put cereal in a bottle... when I gave my older daughter cereal it was with a very small amount of milk (I breast fed.) All I can say is try mixing the cereal with a very small amount of formula until it is smooth (no lumps) and then add it to the rest of the bottle. Good luck!

You can get little formula whisks at babies r us. very handy. Although I'm not sure whether you *can* get cereal/formula non-lumpy.


The best thing to use is a shaker cup. My mom gave me a couple she had when she used to do protein drinks at work. It's plastic & holds 8 oz & has a plastic wheel that you lay on top before you put the lid on. The lid has a spout & top. The wheel helps break up the formula lumps while you shake it up.

For larger batches, Pampered Chef used to sell a plastic pitcher that included a stirrer piece. . . I breastfed my twins & only supplemented with 2 oz a formula at a feeding so I never tried the pitcher but formula only twin moms swear by it!

I invested in the QuickShake container from Tupperware (currently $11 it says on their website). You can mix (shake) 16 ounces in that at once. Thirteen years later we still use for mixing instant iced tea, gatorade, and other powdered things.

I had to feed my daughter the same way. I found that if I made the formula in a small juice picture, or a pyrex measureing cup and used a wisk I could get the lumps out. Because it took so long to get the bottle ready I would make up a few bottles at a time and store them in the frig. It really cut down the extra time needed during the night and the amount of brain power when you are half a sleep. I also used a blender that worked great.

I always put the water in first. I found lumps and clumps when I did it formula, then water. I just shook the heck out of the bottles. The blender idea below is a good one. You can make batches and just fill bottles to store in the frig. Wish I had thought of that!

I say avoid warm anything. If they get used to warm formula, they will want it.

I used the Dr. Brown bottles. Instead of shaking the bottles with all of the parts in them, I would shake the bottles with only a travel cap on top which would help get the formula lumps out.

Hello S.,
I'm not sure if you figured it out yet, but I thought I would share with you what worked for me. I too used the browns bottles with my daughter (5 months) in the beginning. And I would swear by them. They rock. But we did switch to the playtex disposables, because you can be sure she's not getting any air. Anyways, what I did was got a 1 quart juice container, wash it out really good, and mix the powder with HOT water in the container. I figured out the measurements and marked the container, so I could make up to 24oz of formula at a time. (I think it was 1 cup of powder to 24 oz of water) This made making bottles alot quicker, and more convenient. I found that enfamil dissolves better than any other formula, but no matter what you do or what "they" say, powder formula just doesn't dissolve all the way, it may look dissolved but it's not; and it is hard for babies to digest, thats why you get fussy babies with reflux. We ended up switching from enfamil powder, to the liquid premixed cans. That stopped all of my daughters gas, fussiness, and spiting up. It's more expensive(about $6.00 + a can) but it is more convenient and totally worth her comfort. As for the rice cereal, I wouldn't mix it with the formula. My doctor told me to mix the rice cereal in a bowl with already made formula, till its thin, then spoon feed it to the baby. At this stage, babies have that reflex that makes them push anything foreign out of their mouth, and you need to get them past that in order for them to start on solids. And when you mix cereal in their bottles it doesn't really do anything for them. I was told by friends that if I fed her cereal before bed, that she would sleep through the night. so I did, and all it did was clog the nipple of the bottle. And she still woke up, more fussy than before. I hope I was of some help to you. Let me know okay. And trust that you are not alone, I too am a stay at home mom, of only one child, but It is the hardest job I have ever had to do in my life. I some times find my self looking through the want adds, dreaming of working outside of the home. But then I come back to reality, and realize my job at home is the most important job in the world, it's hard, the benefits are greater than I could ever imagined! Good luck -----A.-----

We did not have the reflux issue...so no cereal...but when I did give bottles, I would measure the water (room temp.) in the bottles then add the scoops of formula on top. To mix I would pinch the nipple and shake vigorously. If that does not work for you they do sell little electric formula wisk at Baby's r Us. Good luck!

My son has acid reflux which he takes Prevacid for. I have found that it is easier to make the formula is a mixing cup or bowl rather than in the bottle. Because for me I have to stir not shake his formula and scoop out the bubbles. Give tha a try. Hope it helps.

You need a plain bottle with a lid. or a cocktail shaker. use very hot water add formula, rice cerial, and two ice cubes. shake hard for 30 seconds. It will work!
Sincearly,G.,- mother of three, 2yrs, 4yrs, 7yrs, expecting my fourth the end of August. I also had two brothers born when I was a youg woman, one when I was sixteen and another when I was 21. I'm what you call a seasoned veteran!
p.S. If you are giving the bottle striaght away. you may need a couple more ice cubes to bring down the temp after the formula is mixed. The hot hot water is the secret!

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