What to Do with Expired Baby Formula

(Last Updated On: November 4, 2023)

As new parents, it is perfectly normal to feel frantic and panicked about what needs to be done before the arrival of a child.

In this process of buying items for the baby or preparing ourselves physically, many things are bought that may expire by the time we use them.

Almost everything has an expiration date, so infant formula isn’t any different, but once they pass, there’s the real question: “What to do with expired baby formula?”

The best solution for what to do with expired baby formula seems simple: throw them out in a trash can (or recycle bin) and send them off as donations to animal shelters or another charitable organization rather than letting them take up space at your house longer than needed.

The next question is, “Why are expired products not good for a baby’s health?” It can depend on the product. Baby food loses its nutrients if it expires and no longer has the necessary ingredients to satisfy a baby’s nutritional requirements.

In severe cases, expiration dates sometimes mark when babies could die from eating moldy foods or getting sick in some other way by ingesting something rotten inside before they had eaten any of it at all.

You should always check for an expiry date on your baby’s formula to ensure there isn’t anything wrong with it since no matter how much you trust what people say about their taste-testing skills, nobody knows better than your child, whether their food tastes good enough.

You might want to check the formula if your baby starts feeling nauseous, crying more often, or suffering from symptoms like fever, diarrhea, and vomiting.

This article will help parents recognize expired formulas in the future so they can discard them promptly.

Does Baby Formula Expire?

Yes, the shelf life of baby formula is generally within a year. After that point, it becomes expired, and experts advise against using this for your child as nutritional value has broken down in an unacceptably shorter period than what’s established by manufacturers’ guidelines, so don’t even think about using those old cans.

baby formula

The recommended time frames on labels can change based on factors like storage conditions (elevated temperature will speed up the degradation of vitamins). Still, they typically range from 2 to 5 years before being considered “expired.”

Furthermore, these formulas for babies can be costly, and if you buy them in ready-to-feed form or make batches yourself at home, then there’s a good chance that they’ll spoil before long.

The freshly mixed formula needs cold storage with a fridge setting below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius). It also doesn’t like high humidity levels, and these issues are more during the hot summer months.

Remember, unlike powder formula, you can’t just give away the prepared baby bottles if they have developed a funky odor.

It’s an excellent approach to always wash your baby bottle immediately after use because you don’t want any formula residues from one batch contaminating future batches.

Read more: Is it Safe for a Women to Take Emergen C While Breastfeeding?

What To Do With Expired Baby Formula?

The truth is that expired baby food can no longer be used for human babies. But it doesn’t mean that it’s a waste. You could give some of the following alternatives a try:

Exchanging For A New Formula

Don’t forget that you can always exchange formulas. Even if you or the child consuming it no longer needs this food, it could still be exchanged to give out new packages or even send over some cash for someone who will benefit from what we have left.

Make sure you speak with someone at the store first to avoid surprises.

Donating It To An Animal Shelter

Knowing the best way to dispose of expired baby food and what to do with expired baby formula is not always easy.

Still, one thing that will work well and be appreciated by anyone is to donate these expired formulas to the animal shelter.

Due to the high nutrient content, expired formulas can be recycled and provide nutrients otherwise lost in spoilage or thrown away by people.

If the formula isn’t too far past its shelf life, and spoilage is minimal or non-existent, then it would make sense for you to gather up all of this nutritious goodness so that other animals may benefit from these nutrients just as much as our child does when they eat their daily dose.

In this way, you can make a big difference in the lives of these animals. Plus, you’ll feel great by helping with the precious little scamps.

But be sure to check what they’re eating because even our furry friends have trouble with food contaminated by bacteria or toxins.

Use in Your Garden

You may have heard that expired baby formula is an excellent fertilizer for your garden.

The reason is that gardeners notice their plants growing more heartily after fertilizing them with expired baby formula. They often mention how much better it makes the soil quality.

This will probably not provide all your desired nutrients but might be good enough to supplement certain types of needy gardens. But seek advice from an extension office on whether this could work well.

Read More: Is Ready-to-Feed Formula Easier to Digest?

What Are The Options To Prevent The Baby Formula From Expiring?

When you have a baby, there is no time to waste. The expired or moldy formula can immediately harm your child and may result in lost money if not dealt with soon enough.

Take the following preventive measures so you do not need to wonder what to do with expired baby formula.

Check The Expiration Date.

The formula can expire; you should always check the expiration date before buying. So that in the future, there will be no need to think about what to do with expired baby formula.

A common mistake people make when purchasing baby food is thinking their store-bought variety can last forever because of how long these items have been on shelves, but you needn’t take such risks.

It’s also essential for retailers to sell close to expired products since they will no longer use them properly.

Don’t Buy In Bulk

Don’t buy in bulk. Smaller quantities are easier to manage, and you can always resupply when necessary. Buying larger quantities may seem cheaper initially, but it’s not always worth the cost.

It increases your chances of reaching the expiration date printed on cans, which could make one or more spoil before their time.

Store The Formula Properly.

Once you have your baby food or snack recipe, following a standard storage procedure is essential to keep them away from direct sunlight so they don’t get spoiled.

A pantry works well if there isn’t too much humidity nearby (mold loves rainy days).

It’s an important point to remember that the fridge isn’t a dry place, so avoid storing your baby’s formula there. Specifically, baby formula can get mixed in with other things and ruin them together.

A food safety expert will tell you to keep your formula tightly closed once it’s opened.

If the bag has a hole, get an elastic band or clothespin specifically for storing foods so that air cannot enter and contaminate the product.

Related: Does Foam in Formula Cause Gas?

After Opening, Use The Formula Quickly.

Opening multiple packs at a time is not a good idea. Use each one up before opening another, or else you risk spoilage.

The amount of time recommended on a specific can will vary depending on its variety, but most should be used within one month from the opening date.

Read labels carefully, as some kinds may not hold their nutritional value long after being opened.

Read More: Your Ultimate Baby Registry Checklist

Final Thought

When it comes to baby food, you need to pay for extra care. But what to do with expired baby formula?

Can you still use them for your little one after the expiration date has passed and gone? The answer is “No,” we can’t give our babies any food stored in storage since last year.

Remember that our child’s health is worth more than any other thing.

FAQs – What to Do with Expired Baby Formula

What does the formula look like?

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell if you’re looking at the expired formula. It might look like mold growing on the powder or frosted up in appearance- but these are signs that something could be wrong!
If a nasty smell comes from your container of ready-made baby food, throw it away immediately and wash it thoroughly afterward because this indicates contamination with bacteria, which can cause disease (specifically E. coli).

What to do with prepared expired baby formula?

Expired or used-up formulas can be safely disposed of. Throw them away immediately because they are unsafe for use and may potentially harm your child in some way, even if it’s just an upset stomach from eating contaminated food.
The general rule is that a bottle will last 2 hours at room temperature unless heated. Refrigerated bottles should keep good until 24 hours before their expiration date.

What happens if you give the baby expired formula?

Keeping the baby safe is a priority for many parents. One way to do this is to ensure they get the best care from you. If something wrong happened with them while using formula or milk powder products, then “Stay calm.”
Expired food can cause problems such as diarrhea, vomiting, and potential harm. During this timeseek professional help and give your baby the best chance to recover by keeping yourself grounded.

Can you freeze baby formula?

You may be wondering if you should freeze baby formula. Freezing is not an option for powdered and liquid formulas. You cannot store it for later use.
Even when refrigerated, any freezing will cause a change inconsistency that is undesirable to the consumer or parent who has already paid good money for these products.
Fortunately, there’s no need to freeze them because the quick preparation methods ensure convenience.

Is there such a thing as mixed baby formula?

Yes, it does. But it would help if you never fed your infant anything different because old or improperly made foods can be dangerous to young kids’ stomachs and intestines, which is why they need constant care from parents at all times of day in order not to have any adverse effects on their health over time.

Can an expired baby formula be used for anything?

Expired baby formula should not be used to feed infants or children as it may have degraded quality and be unsafe. It is best to discard expired formula and not repurpose it for other uses.

What can I do with unused baby formula?

If you have an unused baby formula that has not expired, you can consider donating it to local charities, food banks, or organizations supporting needy families. However, if the formula has expired or you’re unsure about its safety, it is recommended to discard it.

How long does expired baby formula last?

Expired baby formula has passed its recommended date for consumption, and its quality and nutritional value may have deteriorated. The specific duration for how long expired formula lasts can vary depending on the brand and formulation. Still, it is generally best to follow the expiration date on the packaging and not use it beyond that point.

How do you use an expired baby formula in the garden?

Using expired baby formula in the garden is not a recommended practice. Baby formula is not designed to be used as a fertilizer or soil amendment. It may contain ingredients unsuitable for plants and could potentially harm them. It’s better to use proper fertilizers or compost for gardening purposes.

Should I throw away an expired formula?

Yes, it is advisable to throw away the expired baby formula. The expired formula may have degraded in quality, and its safety and nutritional value cannot be guaranteed. It is better to err on caution and discard it rather than risk using it.

Is it okay to give an expired formula?

No, giving expired formula to infants or children is not okay. The expiration date is provided for a reason, indicating the recommended period during which the formula maintains its quality and nutritional value. Using expired formulas can pose health risks and should be avoided.

Can you sell expired baby formula?

Selling expired baby formula is generally not allowed and is against regulations in many countries. Selling expired products, especially those intended for consumption, can be unsafe and unethical. It is recommended to discard an expired formula instead of attempting to sell it.

How do you use expired milk as fertilizer?

Expired milk can be used as a fertilizer in limited quantities but should be used cautiously. Milk contains nutrients that can benefit plants but can also attract pests and create unpleasant odors when used in large amounts. Dilute the expired milk with water (around a 50:50 ratio) and use it as a liquid fertilizer for non-edible plants. Avoid using it on edible crops to prevent potential health risks.

Why does the formula expire after 30 days?

The formula typically comes with an expiration date to ensure its quality and safety. After 30 days, the nutritional content of the formula may deteriorate, and the product might become less stable. Environmental factors, such as exposure to heat or humidity, can accelerate the degradation process. Therefore, it is essential to use formula within the recommended timeframe to provide infants with the best nutrition and minimize potential health risks.

Related: What Kind of Water Should Babies Drink?