Why Can’t I Use Formula after 48 hours

Why Can’t I Use Formula after 48 hours?

by TW

I am a breast feeding mother. I don’t make enough milk to keep up with my son’s needs. I am mixing 3 ounces of breast milk with 1.5 ounces of ready to feed liquid formula. Therefore, I do not go through the entire bottle in a 48 hour period. Why can’t you use it after 48 hours? I have been giving it to him. Am I harming him in some way? I just don’t need all of the formula in a 48 hour period. I don’t want to waste it. Please respond. Thanks!


It’s All about Germs

Dear TW,

Formula is a nutrient rich liquid that is great for your baby’s growth and development. Unfortunately, it’s also great for bacterial growth too. An opened can of ready-to-feed formula will be exposed to the surrounding air which has invisible-to-the-eye microbes. It is almost certain that some bacteria will get into the can even if you are super careful. The big question is: is there enough bacteria in the formula to make your baby sick? Or is there so little bacteria that the formula is still OK?

Formula manufacturers err on the safe side and recommend that you discard formula that has been opened for more than 48 hours. It’s better to be safe that sorry. Babies are small and delicate – their immune systems are not 100% functional yet and their bellies have not been exposed to everyday germs. If your baby got food poisoning, vomit, and/or had diarrhea, would you not be worried? Would you rush him to the hospital just in case he’s seriously ill? Was using the leftover formula “worth it” compared to the anxiety and the trip to the hospital?

Some parents feel that a 48 hr time limit is over cautious. Other parents want to be on the safe side and use formula as instructed by the manufacturer. The final answer is up to you.

Another option for you is to buy powdered formula. You can prepare 2 ounces at a time and therefore not have to waste any. Powdered formula is also cheaper than ready-to-serve formula.

I hope you find a good balance and enjoy this precious time with your new baby. breastfeeding-mom.com

Please be aware that this information is NOT medical advice and is NOT from a professional. Please consult a doctor or pediatrician for professional advice.