How To Prepare Formula Safely

How To Prepare Formula Safely

July 09, 2024

If your little one has just finished up eating, yet there is still some formula left in the bottom of their bottle, you may be wondering if you can just pop it in the refrigerator and save it for later! No one wants to waste unused formula, and this scenario is quite common. On the flipside, perhaps you are going to be heading out for the day with your baby and want to prepare some bottles in advance. Is this ok to do? Let’s dive in and explore when it is ok to reheat formula, as well as how to go about doing it safely to avoid harmful bacteria growth.

Common Scenarios That Make This Worth Exploring

Infants eat frequently, and you may want to prepare bottles ahead of time so that they are ready to go when the baby gets hungry. Perhaps you will be taking your baby on an outing and prepping their formula before you head out would make things easier. Additionally, you may finish feeding your baby and notice they didn’t quite want all of the formula. Should you keep that remaining formula or should you toss it? These are all scenarios that parents encounter and begin to wonder about, and rightfully so. Making bottles and tending to baby’s hunger cues can feel like a full-time job, so wanting to streamline the process is totally understandable!

When It Is Advisable to Reheat Prepared Formula

Mixing up formula and placing it into the refrigerator completely untouched (meaning baby’s saliva has not come in contact with it yet through bottle feeding) is safe! That is of course as long as you plan to heat the portion needed for feeding within the next 24 hours. That being said, if you are wanting to simply prep bottles for the day ahead or know that you will be heading out somewhere and want to be prepared, mixing up formula and placing it right in the refrigerator is safe. To do this, you will want to ensure that the formula is mixed on a clean and sanitized surface. Next, be sure that the bottles you will be placing the formula in are clean and sterilized.

Once you have prepared the formula, it can only sit out at room temperature for about an hour, so it is best to place it in the fridge once prepared. Avoid placing the formula in the freezer however, as the freezing process can cause formula to lose nutrients. When you are ready to feed your baby an already prepared bottle within 24 hours, reheat only one bottle at a time and use it right away. Any formula that is leftover at the end of the feeding will need to be tossed because once a baby’s saliva has been introduced to the formula through a bottle, it can cause harmful bacteria to grow if left for longer than the feeding lasts. This is important whether you have prepared bottles in advance, or as needed, since bacteria growth is something you will want to avoid at all costs!

Methods To Heat Up Formula

One of the most common ways to heat up a bottle of formula is by using a bottle warmer. If you do not have a bottle warmer handy, you can simply microwave a mug of water and place the bottle into the mug for a few minutes. Just be sure to never place a bottle of formula directly into the microwave as this can cause hot spots in the milk, and possibly burn the baby's mouth when they eat. If you do not have a microwave available, you can run the bottle under warm water. Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to always test the formula on your wrist before feeding the baby to be sure that the temperature is right.

Tips To Avoid Wasting Formula

  • Prepare smaller portions at a time if you notice that the baby consistently leaves some formula at the bottom of the bottle. You may be preparing just a little too much and overtime, that formula can add up to extra that is being wasted! Make note of how much your baby is comfortably drinking at each feeding and try to prep bottles accordingly.
  • Remember to place prepared formula into the fridge as soon as you can. While it is safe for it to sit out for just a bit (about an hour), reminding yourself to put it into the fridge right away can help avoid possibly forgetting that you made it and having to toss the whole bottle of formula.
  • Follow the manufacturer instructions when preparing formulas to be sure that you are following the steps accurately to avoid waste and to ensure safe handling practices.

Points To Remember

  • Formula can only be heated one time 
  • Leftover formula in a bottle following a feeding should always be tossed 
  • Prepared formula should never be placed in the freezer
  • Prepared formula should always be placed into the refrigerator within an hour after preparations and should always be used within 24 hours.

Choosing The Right Formula

Choosing the best formula for your baby’s needs can feel like a challenge. When you go with an organic, European formula however, you can be sure that your baby is being provided with all the nutrients they need, and none of the yucky additives that they don’t. Options such as Lebenswert, Holle & HiPP are all great choices to explore. Goat Milk formula is also a good option, especially if your baby has a sensitivity to cow’s milk. Likewise, HiPP Hypoallergenic formula is a great option if your baby has a milk protein allergy or is lactose intolerant.

Learn More

If you want to read more on this topic, be sure to checkout these related posts below:
How To Pick The Best Bottle Warmer
Tips & Tricks For Formula Feeding On The Go
Signs That Your Baby Is On The Right Formula
Easy Solutions to Formula Feeding Struggles
How To Calculate The Amount of Formula Your Baby Needs

Do you have any questions regarding heating up prepared formula!? If so, please leave them below.

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