How long does formula last in the fridge? (+7 tips)

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

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

How long does the formula last in the fridge?

An unused formula that has already been prepared from the powder lasts for 24 hours in the fridge if stored in an air-tight bottle or air-tight container at or below 40°F. 

You can read more about preparing and storing formula here.

How long does the unmixed formula last once the container is opened?

It is recommended to use the unmixed but opened formula within a month.

How long does an unopened unmixed formula last?

The unopened unmixed formula lasts for a long time. Moreover, there are expiry dates written on the packaging of these formulas so you should collider these. But mostly an unopened unmixed formula lasts for more than a year if stored in a cool, dry, and dark place away from direct sunlight and heat.

How long does a partially used bottle of formula last?

So a bottle of prepared formula 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 the 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.

If you have heated a bottle of prepared formula can you refrigerate the unused portion?

So it is not recommended to refrigerate the prepared formula that is heated and partially used. When you heat the formula the milk warm-up and this provides a good environment for the bacteria to thrive upon as the bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F.

So you should use the heated prepared formula within an hour.

What is the optimum temperature to store formula in the fridge?

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

How long does prepared formula last at room temperature?

Prepared formula (the one that has already been made from the powder) that is unheated and untouched lasts for about 2 hours when left at room temperature. 

Milk-based products are highly perishable so if it is kept out for more than 2 hours, bacteria and other microbes will find their way into the formula and will spoil it.

Moreover, the heated prepared formula lasts for only an hour at room temperature. 

How long does the formula last in the freezer?

It is worth mentioning that it is not recommended to store the formula in the freezer. The reason behind it is that the flavor and the texture of the formula change when stored in the freezer. So freezing a formula is a big “No”.

What is the meaning of different dates written on the formula?

  1. “Sell by” date indicates the particular date before which formula should be sold to the customer, it is the recommended date before which formula should be sold.
  2. “Best before” date tells the time during which the formula has its best or peak quality. It is an indicator of quality rather than safety.
  3. “Expires on” date refers to the date after which the flavor and overall quality of the formula begins to deteriorate gradually

How can you store formulas properly?

  1. An opened unmixed formula 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. 
  2. It is better to store the formula 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 the formula.
  3. You should never leave a bottle of prepared formula at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  4. You should never keep the partially used prepared formula for more than an hour.
  5. It is best to use the refrigerated ready-to-feed infant formula or the concentrated formula within 48 hours.
  6. You should always store the formula at or below 40°F in the fridge.
  7. 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 does formula last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of formula in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed the tips to properly store the formula.

Citations

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

https://parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/8402/how-long-can-formula-be-stored-in-fridge-and-freezer

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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