How Long Does Formula Last?

Claire Dowell
June 14, 2021

Keeping a growing baby fed is a full time job! Just like the milk in our fridges, formula can spoil as well. Making sure that baby formula is properly stored and prepared is important for getting your baby the nutrition they need, and staying safe while doing it. One of our top feeding tips is to print out the guidelines to put on your fridge so that the information is always on hand. Let’s break down the storage recommendations for formula!

How long can formula be left out … ?

Powdered formula is an excellent resource for many parents. It’s quick to whip up and a great source of nutrition for little ones. The powder used to create the formula is relatively shelf stable, but should ideally be used within a month of opening. It can be helpful to write the date of opening on the top, especially if you don’t anticipate using all of the powder. Formula containers should be stored indoors in a cool place.

To prepare the formula, measure out the required amount of water and add the suggested amount of powder. Adding enough water is important to avoid dehydration. Once your formula is ready, it’s recommended to be consumed within two hours. Once your baby starts drinking, it should be consumed within one hour to avoid the growth of bacteria.

Graphic by Kaylah Nicholson

How should formula be stored … ?

Infant formula is typically used quickly after preparation, and does not require storage in a freezer. If your formula is made ahead of time, you can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. To keep track of how long the formula is edible for, try putting masking tape on the bottle and recording the time it was made! To store, use a sanitized bottle and place it on a stable shelf inside the refrigerator. Avoid placing milk on the door to keep the bottle’s temperature stable. Once your baby is ready for their bottle, you can remove it from the refrigerator and use it right away. Warming the formula is not necessary, but if you prefer to use a warm bottle, place it under running water until the desired temperature. Test the temperature of the milk on your skin to avoid any painful burns on your baby.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, May 19). Infant Formula Preparation and Storage. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.