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How Long Does Baby Formula Last? [Shelf Life Guide]

The formula is a vital part of how parents feed their babies.

Two significant factors affect how long the formula will last: how it’s stored and what type of formula is being used.

Many concerns come with deciding the type of formula to use.

For example, some parents are concerned about cost and how they will afford it for their children over a long period.

Other parents might not want their babies drinking milk from cows or soybeans because of religious beliefs.

This article will discuss how to store formula, the different types of formula, and how long the formula lasts so you don’t need to worry about it going bad.

What is Baby Formula?

what is baby formula

When pregnant, it can be challenging to decide whether or not you should try to breastfeed your baby.

Some mothers find themselves unable to produce enough milk for their children and are forced to give up breastfeeding early on.

This is when infant formula comes into play.

Manufactured by companies like Nestle and Similac, these products provide infants with the necessary nutrients they need from birth until at least 12 months of age (when most babies can eat solid foods).

Even though there have been many advances in recent years that make breastfeeding easier and more successful than ever before, bottle-feeding formulas remain a popular choice for many parents as well.

Baby formula is available in both ready-to-feed and powdered form.

If you choose to buy the pre-made liquid, it is typically stored at room temperature or cooler temperatures if not immediately used.

The powdered formula must be mixed with water before creating a milk substitute for your child (typically measured by how many ounces).

Both formulas are made up of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and other nutrients that help babies grow correctly during their first year on earth.

Once opened, boxed baby formulas have an expiration date stamped on them, which tells how long they will last until spoiling occurs – usually three months from the opening day back when the product was manufactured.

However, this can vary depending upon how well it has been stored since then and how long it has been sitting on the shelf before you purchase it.

Different Types of Baby Formula

different types of baby formula

One of the most important decisions that new parents will make is what type of baby formula to use for their child.

With so many different types and brands on the market, it cannot be easy to find out which one is best.

Some formulas are better suited for babies who have problems digesting food quickly, while other formulas may not be healthy because they contain unnecessary additives like sugar or salt.

When looking at these types of products, make sure they have not been adulterated or mixed with anything else, as this will affect how well the baby digests them (as each person has different sensitivities).

Some babies may do better on soy-based formulas, while others may do better on dairy-free alternatives such as Alimentum.

Another point to consider is how the baby will react after drinking it.

Some babies may have an adverse reaction, while others might not be sensitive and can digest them better.

Also, make sure your child doesn’t drink too much at once because this could lead to digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation.

Drinking water in between feedings also helps maintain hydration levels which are essential for healthy brain development and growth (other bodily functions).

It’s best to consult with a pediatrician before trying any new type of formula so they can determine if any specific needs need attention.

How to Store Baby Formula?

how to store baby formula

The storage of baby formula is a concern for any new parent.

Many questions arise, and one of the most common ones is how to store baby formula.

There are a few guidelines that may help parents decide which approach is best for them.

The first thing you need to know about storing your baby’s formula is that it should be stored in its original container and not opened or transferred.

If the packaging has been opened, it needs to be resealed tightly with a lid or plastic wrap because oxygen damages the nutrients in milk-based formulas and could cause spoilage.

An excellent way to tell if there has been spoilage would be when mold appears on the surface of any unused portions of milk-based formulas.

The USFDA recommends that parents do not store their baby’s formula in the refrigerator.

Storing your baby’s milk in the fridge decreases its nutritional value, as it causes spoilage.

If you have an extra formula for your little one, it also needs to be stored properly so you can use it at a later time.

It is also universally recommended that a baby should never be given formula that was frozen.

Freezing could cause the food to become separated and will have a weak smell.

How Long Does Baby Formula Last?

how long does baby formula last

If you plan to have a baby, one of the first things you will need is some formula.

It might be helpful to know that most formulas last about 12 months before they expire.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that every mother and baby is different.

Every child consumes food at different rates and has varying nutritional needs as well, so consult your healthcare provider for specific information on how long your particular bottle of formula should last.

The expiration dates on the labels of most formulas are estimates, but they do discuss varying nutritional needs depending on a mother’s circumstance and baby’s age.

If you have any concerns about the best course of action after contact with the healthcare provider, please consider discarding unopened bottles before their expiration date.

A prepared formula can stay cold for 24 hours, while an opened container stays good for 48 hours.

Powdered pre-mixed formulas are good for only one month of use from the date of opening.

It’s not advisable to freeze baby formula.

The main reason is that it can cause the formula to become too thick and clumpy.

When you thaw a frozen bottle of baby formula, the milk might have an unpleasant taste or smell.

How to Tell if Formula is Bad?

how to tell if formula is bad

It’s essential to make sure your baby is getting the proper nutrition when using formula.

If you notice any of these signs, it could be time for a new batch of the formula:

  • The formula has an off odor or color.
  • The formula could cause your baby to have a tummy ache.
  • Frequent spitting after feedings or vomiting after feedings are signs of either too much air in the formula, bacteria in the milk replacer, or an allergy.
  • Orange-colored urine is one symptom of dehydration, and it’s important not to give them more fluid than they need because you don’t want their electrolytes to be out of balance. This could lead to seizures (which can happen within hours) and kidney damage due to overhydration.
  • If your baby has bloody poop, this might mean that they’re getting something from outside sources like infection or food allergies, requiring medical attention by a pediatrician if persistent symptoms continue longer than four hours.

If one or more of these symptoms persist for a long time, it might be best to stop the formula and contact your pediatrician.


It is essential to make sure that your baby or toddler gets the nutrients they need, and formula can be a great way to do this.

However, it’s also essential to store any unused product properly to waste anything.

Storing unopened bottles of infant formula in their original container will keep them fresh for up to two years from the date on the bottom of the package.

Opened containers should be stored appropriately and used within one month after opening.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your baby’s health, so make sure you’re storing formula properly.

does baby formula go bad

How Long Does Baby Formula Last? Does Baby Formula Go Bad?

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Shelf Life
Servings 1 Serving


  • Baby formula
  • Air-tight containers
  • Labels and markers


  • Read the guide thoroughly to learn how long it lasts.
  • Check the u0022Best-by-dateu0022 to know when it expires.
  • Make sure to store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (pantry or fridge).
  • Always check for signs of spoilage before using.
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