You can probably prepare your baby's bottle with your eyes closed and one arm tied behind your back, but no matter how seasoned a veteran you are, lumpy formula is a fact of life. When the contents of your baby's bottle are lumpy, however, it makes it harder for her to suck the formula out of the nipple. Fortunately, it's simple to remove the lumps from your baby's bottle and it'll only add a few seconds to your already established bottle-preparing routine.
Mix It First
Instead of mixing the formula right in the bottle, mix it separately and then pour it into the bottle. Combine the water and formula powder in a mixing bowl or a large liquid measuring cup and then stir it vigorously with a wire whisk. The wire whisk will break up any clumps of formula so the finished product is smooth and well blended. An advantage to doing it this way is that you can mix two or three bottles at once so all you have to do is grab one when your baby gets hungry. Make sure to refrigerate bottles you make ahead of time, which helps prevent harmful bacteria from growing in the formula.
Shake the Bottle
Perhaps the fastest way to prepare a bottle is to dump the formula and water into the bottle at the same time and turn the bottle over a few times to mix it together. Don't stop there, however, because this can leave a lumpy mess of formula behind. Instead, put the lid and nipple on the bottle tightly, place your finger over the nipple opening and shake the bottle up and down several times. Shake the bottle vigorously, which will incorporate the formula powder into the water without becoming lumpy.
Blend It Gradually
Instead of dumping all of the formula you need into the bottle at one time, do it a scoop at a time. Place the water in the bottle first, and then add one scoop of formula and shake the bottle until it's well incorporated. Then add a second scoop of formula and shake the bottle. Keep adding scoops until you've put the right amount of formula into the water. Be sure to follow the mixing directions on the formula canister exactly because an improper ratio of water and formula can cause health problems such as dehydration. By blending each scoop before adding another, there's less formula to combine each time, which makes it easier to rid the ingredients of any lumps.
Use hot water to make your baby's bottle. Hot water makes it easier for the formula powder to dissolve. Be sure to let the bottle cool before giving it to your baby, though.
Use a salad-dressing-making gadget. The blades on these kitchen tools completely mix formula and water the same way they incorporate oil into water or vinegar. These tools are available at most retail stores that sell kitchen equipment and they're fairly inexpensive, too.
Don't add rice or other infant cereal to the formula. These tend to clump, which will make it even more difficult to prepare a well-mixed, smooth formula.
Check the size of the nipple on your baby's bottle. If your baby is sucking hard but is having a hard time getting the formula out, the nipple hole might be too small, which makes it hard to drink no matter how smooth the formula is. Trade it for a nipple with a larger hole and your baby will have an easier time feeding.