How long can I keep formula milk in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can I keep formula milk in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of formula milk. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store formula milk.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can I keep formula milk in the fridge?

Once you have prepared formula milk, it lasts for about a day (24 hours) if stored in an air-tight bottle or container in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Moreover, the shelf life of a partially consumed bottle of formula milk is only an hour. A bottle of prepared formula milk lasts for as long as an hour once the feeding gets started and you should discard it afterward. So if you have made the formula in a bottle and the baby has just drunk half of it and does not want to gulp in the whole of the formula then it is better to discard it. 

As formula milk is a highly perishable commodity and bacteria can ruin it. So the used bottle of formula already has some bacteria introduced in it (saliva of the baby at the bottle nipple) therefore it is better to discard it.

Moreover, when it comes to open, ready-made or liquid concentrates, they last for about 48 hours when stored properly in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the case of unmixed powdered formula milk, once you have opened the unmixed formula milk, it lasts for about a month if stored properly.

How long can formula milk be left out?

Prepared formula milk lasts for about 2 hours when left out at room temperature.

You should discard the prepared formula milk that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the prepared formula milk being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard prepared formula milk that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, when it comes to unopened unmixed formula milk, it is shelf-stable and lasts for more than a year if stored in a cool, dry, and dark corner of the pantry away from direct sunlight and heat.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of prepared formula milk.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

How long can fresh milk be left out?

Can milk curdle in your stomach?

Can milk help you gain weight?

What is the optimum temperature to store prepared formula milk?

You should always store your prepared formula milk at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the fridge. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store prepared formula milk at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.

Is formula milk safe to use after the use-by date?

It is recommended by USDA to use the formula milk within the use by date written on it. You should neither buy nor use formula milk that is past the use-by date written on it.

You can read breastfeeding vs formula feeding here.

Tips to properly store prepared formula milk

  1. Prepared formula milk can pick up odors therefore it should be stored in an air-tight container or bottle in the fridge. Moreover, it should be stored away from strong-smelling food items like garlic, onion, etc. 
  1. It is better to store prepared formula milk on a shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge and that can harm the quality of prepared formula milk.
  1. Prepared formula milk should be stored on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator as it is the coldest part of the refrigerator and has a temperature between 38 °F to 40 °F.
  1. It is best to use the refrigerated ready-to-feed infant formula or the concentrated formula within 48 hours.
  1. An unopened unmixed formula should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight. Thus you can store your unopened package of formula in a cool and dry corner of your pantry.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can I keep formula milk in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of formula milk. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store formula milk

Citations

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/formulafeed-storing.html#:~:text=Formula%20may%20be%20prepared%20ahead,for%20up%20to%2048%20hours.

https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/Can-infant-formula-and-baby-food-be-used-after-the-date-expires

https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/how-long-is-formula-good-for

https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/infantandtoddlernutrition/formula-feeding/infant-formula-preparation-and-storage.html