How Long Can Formula Sit Out?

Written by Renee    Published on 04/01/24     Read Time 7 min

Formula Can next to Formula Bottle | My Organic Company

As a new parent, formula feeding can feel overwhelming with all the rules around preparation and storage. But don't worry; we're here to assist you in mastering these guidelines step by step!

This article will tackle one of the most critical questions: how long can you leave the formula out? We'll cover proper storage for both unopened and prepared formulas and answer the question of how long it's safe to use. That way, you can be confident that your little one is getting a safe and healthy feed every time.

Clock Timer | My Organic Company

After Preparation, How Long Can Baby Formula Sit Out At Room Temperature?

Are you curious about the best way to store prepared infant formula? It's safe to leave bottles at room temperature for no more than two hours. However, it's essential to know that bacteria thrive at room temperature and are especially active in milk-based products such as warm baby formula.

If you have prepared a bottle of infant formula and haven't used it to feed your baby, you can store it in the fridge. The refrigerator time varies depending on the formula type and manufacturer’s guidelines. A pre-mixed powdered formula can last up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

If you use ready-to-feed or liquid concentrate formulas, keep them in the fridge for up to 48 hours after opening the container or mixing the concentrate with water.

It's vital to remember that you should never keep leftover formula. If your baby didn't finish their bottle, discard any remaining formula immediately. Even keeping it in the fridge won't help prevent bacteria growth that may have transferred from your baby's saliva, and reheating it later is unsafe.

When In Doubt, Toss Unused Formula After 1 Hour At Room Temperature

Heath organizations have varying recommendations on how long you can safely keep freshly prepared baby formula at room temperature before it becomes unsafe for consumption if not used. 

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), any formula left at room temperature for more than an hour should be discarded. However, the formula left out for less than an hour can be safely stored in the refrigerator.

On the other hand, the Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that formula can be safely consumed if it has not been outside the refrigerator for more than two hours. They also recommend keeping formula in the fridge if it has been outside for less than two hours to avoid potential spoilage.

To ensure top safety, it is recommended to avoid caution when choosing your baby's formula for safe and healthy consumption.

European Baby Formula: Room Temperature Recommendations

European baby formula manufacturers recommend using infant formula that has not been touched or heated within 1-2 hours of being left at room temperature. To assist you in making a well-informed decision, we have created a comprehensive list of the top European brands and their specific recommendations.

Room Temperature Recommendations Chart | My Organic Company

How Long Does The Prepared Formula Last In The Fridge?

As a parent, you may find it helpful to prepare powdered formula in advance and store it in the refrigerator for convenience when feeding your little one. However, it's essential to remember that different brands and types of formulas may have other safety guidelines for storing pre-made formulas.

Most European formulas can typically be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. But remember to check the specific guidelines for the brand and type of formula you're using. Some may have a shorter safe storage time. Let's look at some of the most well-loved European baby formula manufacturers. 

Refrigerator Storage Recommendations Chart | My Organic Company

How Long Can Unopened Baby Formula Sit Out?

There is good news if you are curious about how long powdered baby formula can last. Unopened baby formula can typically last six months or more, but the duration may vary depending on the brand. 

To ensure the safety and quality of the formula, always check the expiration date printed on the packaging and use it before that date. Moreover, it's essential to never use infant formula after the "use by" date as it can be harmful to your baby's health. If the formula has expired, it's best to discard it immediately.

European Expiration Dates

An important note to consider: Expiration dates on European baby formulas are written differently than you may see in the US counterpart. You will notice the stamp as day-month-year.

For example, the American system will list March 24, 2024, or 03-24-24. On the other hand, European-designed powders will look more like 24.03.24 for the same date. 

European Date Format | My Organic Company

How Long Does An Opened Baby Formula Container Last?

After opening your baby's formula box or can, you should use it within 2 to 4 weeks. However, the exact duration may vary depending on the specific formula brand you are using, so it is essential to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Shelf Life Chart | My Organic Company

What You Should Know About Formula Safety

If you're considering infant formula to nourish your little one, it's good to know that the quality of the formula is carefully regulated and monitored. But did you know how you prepare the formula is just as important? 

Following the proper preparation routines ensures that your baby gets the best care and nutrition to help them grow and thrive. 

  • Use prepared, refrigerated formula within 24 hours.
  • Always read the label for specific instructions.
  • Refrigerate unused formula within an hour of mixing.
  • Discard any leftover formula from a bottle your baby drank from.
  • Heat bottles safely and never in the microwave.
  • Do not use a formula past its expiration date.

Mom kissing baby on head while feeding baby | My Organic Company

Final Thoughts

We understand the importance of your feeding journey and your baby's safety. That's why we have ensured that our formulas have a minimum shelf life of six months for our customers in the US. You can stock up on your baby’s favorite European baby formula without worries and always have a supply.

At My Organic Company, we believe every baby deserves the best possible start, so we have worked hard to find pure, clean formulas that meet the highest quality and safety standards. Each stage we carry caters to your baby's digestive needs, ensuring they grow and thrive. You can trust us to provide your baby with the best nutrition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can Pre-Mixed Baby Formula Sit Out?

Use prepared formula within two hours of mixing and within one hour of starting your baby's feeding.

How Long Can A Bottle Be Kept At Room Temperature?

Throw out any prepared or ready-to-feed formula sitting out for 2 hours or more.

Can I Freeze Baby Formula For Long-Term Storage?

It is not recommended to freeze powdered or prepared baby formula, as the process can lead to various adverse effects. Freezing can alter the formula's texture, encourage the growth of harmful bacteria, and cause the loss of essential nutrients, which may negatively impact the baby's health and development.


Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.

Author Bio:

Renee is an infant nutrition consultant and a full-time writer. Due to her experience in seeking better nutrition for her premature daughter, she advocates for European baby formula. Renee is fully committed to contributing value to this critical area of child development as a mother of a large family, foster parent, and adoption supporter.

Renee enjoys camping outdoors, swimming, and hiking with her family when she is not working.

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