by Anna Karsten

Does Baby Formula Expire?

Many parents wonder does baby formula expire or how long does baby formula last? It’s a fair question considering the price of the formula and the fact that a baby might have a preference or suddenly require certain dietary needs.

There are some differences in terms of expire date of baby formula depending on whether it’s been opened, the seal on the can is unopened or you still want to put some ready-to-go bottle in the fridge.

Does Baby Formula Expire?

Yes, sadly baby formula does expire.

Unopened Baby Formula Cans:

If you suddenly find an unopened can of baby formula if you look at bottom of your baby formula canister you’ll find a use-by or expiration date to indicate its unopened shelf life. This is usually about a year after the manufacture date.

Freezing and refrigeration of the powder is not recommended, as it can introduce moisture and cause changes to the formula’s composition (this also applies to opened cans!).

Opened Baby Powder Cans Expiry Date:

What is the baby formula expiration date after opening? If you or someone else already opened a can of formula you only have 30 days after opening before it expires.

Make sure to store the formula following the standard storage procedure of keeping it somewhere indoors in a dry, cool place. The expiry date of opened cans of baby formula are less to do with the loss and breakdown of nutrition, but more to do with the risk of bacteria.

Premixed Baby Formula:

Many parents like to mix up baby formula ahead of time and use a bottle warmer to make life easier, but it’s generally not recommended with baby formula. It’s easier and safer to get a water warmer.

If you pre-mixed your formula and put it in the fridge it has to be consumed within 24 hours safely, but you should cover the bottle with a cap. This does not apply to bottles left in room temperature.

Your baby’s bottle is good for 1 hour after you have given it to them. Do NOT store your formula after your baby already tasted some because baby’s mouth already introduced some bacteria into the formula liquid and making it spoil quicker.


How Does Expired Formula Look Like?

Common signs of expired powdered infant formula include clumping, discoloration or foul smell. If something doesn’t smell right, or you can see clumps or formula don’t risk it.

Expiry date and methods mentioned above don’t apply to toddler powder milk – for example, this one. Shelf life of powdered milk is much longer than baby formula.

Most manufacturers recommend using powdered milk (also known as dried milk) within 18 months to keep things safe, but in reality according to the USDA, powdered milk can be stored indefinitely up to around 2-10 years.

Can You Use Expired Baby Formula?

The expired baby formula might still mix well and look like it’s fine to use, but it will no longer have all the nutrients your baby needed for them to grow. It’s basically a useless liquid at this point and might cause some serious health issues or delays to your baby.

Before you throw away your old cans, there are certain things you can do with expired baby formula – as long it’s not mixed with water yet!

Animal shelters will gladly accept expired cans of baby formula for puppies and kittens.

Another use of the expired formula is using it in your garden. The nutrients inside baby food can serve as compost to help your garden flourish, and is considered a sort of pseudo-fertilizer that’s organic.

What are some expired formula side effects?

If you accidentally gave your baby some expired formula (it can happen, some stores might not remove it from their shelves by mistake), don’t stress too much. While certainly not ideal, it’s very unlikely that feeding an infant out-of-date formula will result in any illness (according to Enfamil formula makers).

Think about it when you eat something rotten – you don’t always get sick. While you should surely avoid feeding the baby expired formula, it doesn’t always mean they get sick. Don’t panic, but if your baby starts having diarrhea or vomiting call your doctor!

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