To everyone, formula seems simple. Powder plus water, and shake, right? Think again. Based solely on the number of times I've had to explain to my kids' grandparents the correct way to make their bottles, it's not that easy. Sterilizing bottles, using the correct water, and the proper power to liquid ratio — everything has to be perfect to ensure your baby isn't inadvertently sucking up some e.coli with her favorite drink. Storing the formula is equally important, and if you're formula-feeding, you'll be glad you know these places you should never store formula, for your baby's safety.
You should never store your baby's formula in direct sunlight, high humidity, or in extreme temperatures. There is an optimal temperature at which you should be storing your formula, and that's between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. BabyCenter explained, "Heat and cold can degrade the nutrients in formula, so keep unopened liquid and powdered formula in a cool place."
How long should you keep formula? Well, make sure you're aware of the expiration date to ensure you aren't using it past its prime. Once opened, powdered formula typically needs to be disposed of within one month, but check the back of your formula can for the exact timeline. If you pre-make formula using powder, you can only store that mixture in the fridge for up to 24 hours before it needs to go down the drain.
For formula storage, both powdered and pre-mixed liquid, here's what you need to know to keep your baby safe and healthy.
1. In Extreme Heat
While BabyCenter advises against storing formula in temperatures over 75 degrees Farenheit if at all possible, they really warn parents not to store formula at temperatures over 99 degrees, so make sure your ambient temperature stays cool and don't store formula next to heating pipes or vents.
2. In Extreme Cold
Likewise, extreme cold can also degrade the quality of formula, so you don't want to store the powdered version in the fridge or freezer hoping it extends its shelf life. Before you open liquid formula, make sure that it isn't in a place where it's susceptible to freezing as well. Once you open a pre-mixed liquid can or bottle, that formula can be stored in the fridge for up to 48 hours before it needs to be thrown away, explained the American Academy of Pediatrics.
4. In Humid Places
Humidity can make powdered formula clump, according to WikiHow, which can make measuring it less accurate and can make it more difficult for the formula powder to dissolve in the bottle. Humidity can also make formula more concentrated than it is intended to be, which can change the amount of nutrients your baby is getting, so if you open the can and the texture is all off, it may be time to get a new one.
3. In The Fridge
Isn't the fridge supposed to preserve everything? For powdered formula, this is a big no-no. The fridge is one of the most humid places you could store powdered formula, so you won't want to store your canisters in there. You can and should, however, always store opened liquid formula in the fridge to ensure it stays fresh for your baby, advised Kids Health.
5. With Dirty Utensils
If you use something other than the scoop the formula comes with (which isn't advisable but occasionally necessary if you lose the scoop!), make sure it's properly cleaned and dried before you put it into the formula canister or store it there. The scoop that comes in the formula container is the best option for mixing formula because it results in the intended ratio of powder to water. Dr. Dyan Hes, MD, of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York explained to WebMD, "If you dilute the formula with more water, it will contain fewer calories per ounce and not provide enough calories for your baby to thrive."
6. In Direct Sunlight
Sunlight can also degrade the nutrients in formula, so you'll want to ensure your formula isn't stored in a sunny spot. Instead, a cool, dark spot is the best place for storing formula, reported WikiHow.
While these are the general guidelines of storing liquid and powder formula, you should always read the back label to ensure that you are following the brand's specific directions.
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