How Long Is Formula Good For? [New Mom's Guide]

a parent feeding their baby with a bottle of formula

Sometimes you’re not able to breastfeed as much as you’d like. Whether it’s because of personal milk production or a busy work schedule, baby formula is a gamechanger.

The only problem with baby formula is figuring out if you can keep it safe in the long-term. What happens when you have a half-full bottle that’s been sitting in the fridge for several hours? Learning the ins and outs of your baby formula will be a winning scenario for everyone involved.

How long is formula good for? We’ll explain below the benefits of baby formula, how to keep it safe to eat, and how to prepare it properly.

What’s in Baby Formula?

Baby formula replicates the benefits of a mother’s milk as closely as possible. While different formula brands will have subtle changes in ingredients, the foundation is the same.

The goal with baby formula is to ensure your child isn’t just full, but receiving the full range of vitamins and minerals. Today’s most commonly used ingredients for baby formula are purified cow’s milk, protein substitute, and calcium substitute. Some baby formulas will also use vegetable oils and fats to create the healthiest result possible.

Like keeping breast milk in the fridge, manage your baby formula carefully to keep it safe to eat.

Related: Is My Baby Allergic to Breastmilk?

a baby sleeping on a white blanket in a basket

How Long Does Unmixed, Unopened Baby Formula Last?

Thinking of stocking up on baby formula? The recent baby formula shortage has many parents worried and understandably so.

As long as you store your baby powder in a cool, dry place, you can expect to enjoy some longevity. The majority of baby formula powder brands will last up to a year unmixed and unopened. Double-check the expiration date on the bottle or the tin to be sure. 

If you find your baby formula exposed to extreme heat or freezing, we recommend throwing it out. You don’t want to feed your child spoiled formula, as this could make them sick.

How Long Does Baby Formula Last Room Temperature?

Baby formula generally comes in the form of powder. This form is able to last for up to a month once you open the can or the tin. 

Write down the time and date once you mix the formula with water. Most baby formula is only suitable for up to two hours at room temperature after mixing it. Make sure you don’t heat the recipe, as this will shorten the duration further.

A good rule of thumb is to double-check the instructions on the baby formula. Some brands only recommend one hour at room temperature due to different ingredients.

Related: Amazing Tips for Relieving Engorged Breasts

Take some of the guesswork out of being a new mother. We established 123 Baby Box to relieve the stress of new moms with tools and tips.

How Long Does Baby Formula Last in the Fridge?

One or two hours might not be enough time. Consider putting your baby formula in the fridge, as the formula can last a solid twenty-four hours.

When you have an exhausting work or school schedule, you need all the flexibility. Consider making several batches of baby formula early in the morning so you can jump straight to feeding time throughout the day. 

Keep your fridge temperature around thirty-five to forty degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re not sure how cold your fridge is, buy a fridge thermometer. 

Can I Use Partially Consumed Baby Formula?

This part gets a little tricky. We don’t recommend using partially consumed bottles of baby formula, since babies can sometimes spit back into the bottle and ruin the food.

If your baby doesn’t finish all of the formula, we suggest dumping it out and mixing a fresh batch. It’ll taste better and have a lower chance of spoiling. Keep in mind bacteria is always trying to grow in your baby’s bottle, which you don’t want to feed to your child!

Sticking to a feeding chart will make it easy to get used to mixing, storing, and throwing out unwanted formulas. Charts also give your baby a schedule to adhere to, reducing their anxiety and making it easy to sleep.

Related: What To Know About Baby Growth Spurts

a baby in a teal onesie rolling in a crib

Baby Formula is Safe and Healthy

Baby formula is a fantastic equalizer among mothers of all backgrounds and experience levels. This tool allows you to enjoy a more flexible schedule while ensuring your baby enjoys a healthy meal.

Unopened and unmixed baby formula is usually good for a year as long as you store it in a dry, cool place. Once you mix the baby formula, the bottle will be good for up to two hours at room temperature. Putting the bottle in the fridge will keep the formula safe to eat for twenty-four hours.

Remember not to use partially consumed formula, since babies can sometimes spit back into the bottle. This will cause the formula to spoil faster than usual.

Nervous about being a new mom? Contact us today for your customized baby box subscription.

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