Sometimes, feeding your baby can be a real quest – various health issues, bad mood, distractions, and other factors might lead to your little one losing his/her appetite. If you’re breastfeeding, that’s not a big deal – you can just offer your baby a nipple again in an hour or so, but with bottle-feeding it’s not that simple. Prepared and unused formula or formula leftovers, if expired or spoiled, can make your baby sick. To avoid this, you need to know how to store baby food correctly and for how long. Luckily, we’ve gathered all the right info about it for you and will happily share
Can you safely store prepared but unused formula?
Powdered formula. Yes, if you haven’t given it to your baby yet, and only for up to 24 hours in a fridge. However, we’re talking about formula prepared in a sterilized bottle. If your little one has put the bottle nipple in his/her mouth and saliva has gotten into formula milk, your time decreases to 1 hour. Only prepared and not used or heated baby formula can be stored for later, but it has to be refrigerated immediately and not for longer than 24 hours.
Ready-to-feed or liquid concentrate formula. Unused opened bottles of ready-to-feed baby formula or prepared liquid concentrate formula can safely be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours. However, always read the label on a bottle or container – some baby products have a shorter duration and this info will be mentioned in the preparation guideline.
Warmed unused baby food should not be put in the fridge for later use.
Unused prepared formula can be refrigerated (40°F / 4.4°C or cooler) but not frozen. Freezing infant or toddler formula milk will change the texture.
Can you safely store formula leftovers?
It is NOT recommended to give a baby formula leftovers that have been stored for longer than 1 hour. The general rule is to throw away unfinished baby food and prepare a fresh portion for the next meal. When a baby’s saliva gets into a bottle of formula, harmful bacteria start to grow there, as warm milk-based foods are a perfect environment for these bacteria. So, it’s extremely dangerous to store, even in a fridge, formula leftovers and then feed your little one with them. To avoid food poisoning, always wash and sanitize the bottle and nipple before preparing formula.
Can you safely store prepared formula at room temperature?
Untouched and unheated prepared baby formula can be stored at room temperature only for about 2 hours. Generally, it’s unsafe to store any milk-based products at room temperature for long, as bacteria grow extremely fast in such an environment. No matter whether it’s powdered or read-to-feed infant formula, use it within 2 hours after preparation unless you can refrigerate it.
However, many organic baby formulas can only last for 1 hour at room temperature. This information is typically mentioned on the bottle or container label, so read the instructions to be sure.
How long can you store unopened, unmixed formula?
Powdered, liquid concentrate, and ready-to-feed formula bottles and containers that haven’t been opened yet can be stored for a pretty long time – about 6 months or even more. However, there are certain conditions for safe storage:
● the container / bottle has to be tightly sealed, with no damaging
● store unopened, unmixed formula in a cool and dry place
● don’t store it in a fridge
● don’t store it outdoors, in a garage, or vehicle
Useful tips for parents who need to prepare formula ahead of time
Ideally, baby formula milk should be prepared right before feeding, a fresh portion every time. But in reality, it’s not always possible, so there are several tips to safely prepare formula beforehand.
- Store prepared formula in the fridge for 24 hours. Untouched and unheated infant or toddler formula can be stored in a refrigerator for 24 hours and opened ready-to-feed bottles – for 48 hours.
- Limit ready formula supply. Your baby’s prepared food supply should be limited to what he/she can physically eat in 24 hours.
- Put fresh bottles of prepared formula behind older ones – this will make sure no expired bottles of baby food stay in your fridge.
- Write the date on the lid. When you’re opening a ready-to-feed bottle or preparing powdered / liquid concentrate formula, write the date on the lid to know for sure whether you can still use it. This way, you won’t get lost on dates and won’t risk giving expired or spoiled baby food to your precious one.
- Short hints for European opened unused formula storage time. Hipp ready-to-feed formula – 24 hours. Kendamil and Jovie powdered formula – 4 weeks. Hipp powdered formula – 3 weeks. Organic formula from Holle, Lebenswert bio, and Löwenzahn organics powdered formula – 2 weeks.
What happens if a baby drinks spoiled formula milk?
Expired formula (that is no longer safe for your infant or toddler) and spoiled formula (contaminated with bacteria or toxins) are extremely dangerous and can make your baby sick. Avoid feeding your little champ with suspicious and spoiled baby food at all costs because it can cause food poisoning, allergic reactions, and various other health conditions. Even if you don’t immediately see a physical reaction to bad formula, it doesn’t mean it’s safe to give it to your child. In expired or spoiled baby food, formula’s nutrients may degrade and your little one would not be getting the vitamins and minerals he/she should – it can influence the normal development of your baby’s main systems of the body.
There are strict rules regarding the storage of baby formula that parents should know and follow – this will ensure your child’s health and well-being. Wrong conditions of storing and preparing formula milk can lead to food poisoning, allergic reactions, and other dangerous situations. So, time is of great importance. Remember that prepared but unused formula can be stored in a fridge for 24 hours, opened ready-to-feed formula – for up to 48 hours, formula leftovers should be used within 1 hour, untouched and unheated prepared baby formula can be stored at room temperature only for about 2 hours. A general rule is that it’s better to prepare fresh baby formula for every meal, but if it’s not possible, you can refrigerate prepared formula (as long as it’s untouched and unheated) and use it later.