How Long does Formula Last Out of the Fridge?

Don’t leave your baby’s formula bottle at room temperature after you’ve prepared it for more time than is necessary to feed them. That is roughly one hour.

Dangerous bacteria may develop in the milk if you keep it out of the fridge for more than an hour.

Throw away the remainder of your baby’s bottle once she has finished it. Throw away the feed you made if your baby doesn’t want it, and it has been sitting at room temperature for more than an hour. There could be germs in the milk, which quickly multiply when it gets to room temperature.


What is Formula?

Baby milk, infant milk, or first milk (in British English) is a manufactured food intended and sold for feeding to babies and infants under the age of one year. It is typically made for bottle-feeding or cup-feeding from liquid or powder (combined with water) (with or without additional water).

Infant formula is defined as “a food which purports to be or is represented for special dietary use solely as a food for infants by reason of its simulation of human milk or its suitability as a complete or partial substitute for human milk” by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) of the United States.

How Long does Formula Last Out of the Fridge?

How long a bottle of baby formula can be left out or kept at room temperature may have been a question for you. Leaving the prepared formula at room temperature for an extended time is not a good idea. Use the prepared formula two hours after mixing it and one hour after feeding your baby.

Make sure to throw away any formula in the bottle after you’ve given it to your baby. It can now grow dangerous bacteria and is no longer safe to eat because it was contaminated with your baby’s spit. And before the next usage, be sure to clean your baby’s bottle.

Once prepared, a bottle of powdered formula is secure for up to two hours at room temperature. The head pediatrician and chief medical officer of Brave Care in Portland, Oregon, Corey Fish, M.D., advises parents to use the bottle within an hour of starting to feed their infant.

“When the bottle is left out to sit after a partial feed, harmful germs can multiply in the bottle and cause your baby to contract a foodborne illness,” warns Dr. Fish. The effects “may be severe to lethal due to their young age and lack of a fully established immune system.”

How to Prepare Formula for Babies?

Verify the expiration date on the formula tin before preparing the baby formula. After one month, throw away any formula tins that have been opened.

The basic procedures for mixing the powder with water to create a formula are as follows:

Consult the formula tin’s instructions. You can follow these guidelines to determine how much powder and water to use.

Fill the sterilized bottle to the proper level with cooled, boiling water.

Measure the appropriate amount of scoops into the bottle using the scoop from the formula tin. After each scoop, level off. Use a sterile knife or something similar to accomplish this.

The bottle is closed with a lid and ring. To let the powder fall into the water, gently tap the bottle against the bench.

Gently swirl the bottle, then shake it ferociously. In doing so, the powder and water are thoroughly combined.

Remove the cap and insert a teat in its place.

By applying a few drops of the formula to the inside of your wrist, you may check the temperature of the formula before feeding your baby. Make sure the mixture is just warm; it shouldn’t be heated.

When your infant drinks from a bottle of formula, bacteria from their lips enter the milk, making it unsafe to store half-finished bottles of formula for later. If you give your infant the partially consumed bottle later, these bacteria may develop and make them sick. Throw away any leftover formula in the following hour if your kid doesn’t consume it all.

Do Bottles Need to be Sterilised Before Filling the Bottle with Formula?

Bottles can be cleaned with soap and water to remove germs, but sterilizing them at a high temperature goes one step further. Before using them for the first time, sanitizing bottles and nipples is advised, according to Adler. “However, following that, it’s good to properly wash them with soap and water.”

However, you might need to sterilize your child’s bottles often if they have a weakened immune system or were born too soon. If your child has to take this action, ask your pediatrician.

Sterilizing bottles can be done in a few different ways. The quickest and least expensive method is to boil the items for five minutes. A bottle sterilizer, on the other hand, may be purchased and uses steam to eliminate bacteria.

Read what a pediatrician has to say about the safety of plastic bottles and other options if you’re unsure what containers to use.

How do I Heat the Formula to the Proper Temperature So My Baby can Consume it?

Powdered formula is too hot for your baby to consume when freshly produced. You can cool it by placing the bottle in a basin of ice and cold water or under cold running water.

Your infant can be given cold or reheated formula stored in the refrigerator. Your youngster will make their preferences clear to you. Place the bottle in a basin of hot water or warmer for no longer than 15 minutes to warm it. Ensure the tap water does not contact the bottle’s ring or nipple.

Pour a few drops of the formula on your wrist to check the temperature after shaking the bottle one to two times. You can give the formula to your infant if it feels warm but not hot.

Never microwave baby formula to reheat it. Hot areas are produced, and the microwave heats unevenly. Your baby’s mouth could become burned by hot spots in the formula.

You must use the bottle within two hours of starting to feed. Throw away any formula that is left over. Never refrigerate a partially used bottle of formula or reheat the formula during feeding.

Is Changing to a Different Formula Okay?

Switching brands of the same kind of formula is probably acceptable. For instance, parents may choose to switch to an organic formula out of worry for pesticides or purchase a different brand of cow’s milk formula because it is on sale or to test if it helps with constipation.

Some parents may believe that a baby’s fussiness, flatulence, spitting up, or constipation are caused by formula. However, that isn’t typically the case. Your doctor can recommend the best formula for your infant and assist in determining what might be causing these symptoms. However, consult your doctor before changing formulations.

How can you Tell if your Formula is Contaminated?

You might be curious about how to tell whether the formula is spoiled even if your baby’s supply is not affected by the recall. According to Dr. Adams, you can start by examining the formula for an odd scent, color change, or consistency variation. The liquid ingredients may also separate or seem clumpy if the formula is ready to feed.

The shape or appearance of the can is “another warning sign that the formula may be tainted,” Dr. Adams continues. “Additionally, bacteria can develop on the lid’s rims and furry, green-brown growths. Additionally, when a can or bottle is rotten, it may expand or indent.”

The head of clinical nutrition services at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, Stanford Medicine, Jami Zamyad, DCN, RD, warns that formula can degrade if it has been poorly stored or if it has been exposed to air, moisture, heat, or extremely cold or hot temperatures. You should prepare your formula according to the directions on the packaging and store it properly to prevent spoilage.

To avoid forgetting, Dr. Adams advises writing the date on the lid as soon as the container is opened.

Soniya Mehra, MD, MPH, a pediatrician at Bayside Medical Group at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, notes that once opened, the unprepared formula in a can needs to be consumed within a month. Meanwhile, throwing away any prepared formula an hour after feeding your infant would be best.

What are the Side Effects of Feeding Formula to the Babies?

There are several difficulties to consider when determining whether to formula feed, just like breastfeeding.

Insufficient antibodies The produced formula contains none of the antibodies seen in breast milk. Therefore, the formula cannot offer a newborn the additional defense against infection and disease that breast milk can.

It can’t compete with breast milk’s intricacy. Breast milk is more sophisticated than manufactured formulae can ever hope to be since it adapts to the baby’s changing demands.

Organization and planning. Formula feeding your infant involves preparation and organization to ensure that you have what you need when you need it, unlike breastfeeding, which is unlimited, always available, and served at the proper temperature. To avoid making late-night grocery visits, parents must purchase formula and make sure it is constantly available.

Additionally, it’s crucial always to keep the appropriate materials (like bottles and nipples) clean, handy, and prepared to use; otherwise, you’ll have a very hungry, cranky baby to deal with. Parents who are unprepared and disorganized may rapidly get overwhelmed with 8–10 feedings in 24 hours.

Expense. The formula can get expensive. The price of basic formula throughout the first year of life can be around $1,500. The least expensive form of formula is powdered, followed by concentrated, and ready-to-feed is the most expensive. Additionally, specialist formulas (such as soy and hypoallergenic) can cost far more than standard formulas.

Gas production and constipation potential. Compared to breastfed babies, formula-fed infants may experience more gas and harder bowel movements.

Reference: Global Standard for the Composition of Infant Formula: Recommendations of an ESPGHAN Coordinated International Expert Group

Minimum and maximum values apply to the overall nutritional content of infant formulas made by the manufacturer’s recommendations. According to the IEG, these minimum and maximum levels should be based, when available, on sufficient scientific data on newborn requirements and the lack of harmful effects. Minimum and maximum values should be based on a known history of usage that appears safe in the absence of an adequate scientific review. Additional aspects, including bioavailability, processing losses, and shelf life, should also be considered when determining the minimum and maximum values.


If you have opened a container of ready-to-feed formula, it’s best to use it as soon as possible. However, if you’re unsure how long a container will last, it’s best to refer to the package for specific instructions. Most ready-to-feed formulas last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours out of the refrigerator, depending on the expiration date and type of formula.

While the shelf-life of ready-to-feed formulas is relatively short, they can be dangerous if you leave them out in the sun for more than a day. A stale bottle of formula can contain harmful bacteria that can be transferred to your baby by direct contact with saliva. This means that formula should be discarded within one month after opening. Parents must also inspect the bottle for any damage before opening the bottle.