279photo/Fotolia

Does Formula Expire? There's A "Use By" Date For A Reason

Pretty much everything comes with an expiration date, from a box of cookies to bottled water. And it isn't uncommon to use these dates as more of a guideline than a rule, especially if you're of the thrifty sort. (Hey, stale-ish crackers never hurt anybody). But when you have a baby, you may wonder: does formula expire? Because you probably want to adhere more closely to those expiration dates when it comes to your baby.

Unfortunately for busy parents everywhere, formula can indeed expire. However, there are many steps you can take to make sure your baby's formula is nice and fresh. For starters, it's smart to make a habit of checking the expiration date on each can of formula you use. As noted in Baby Center, making sure you're using the can of formula by the "use by" date, and also checking the can for any dents or holes, is good practice. (As though you don't already have enough to do, right?) And if you do happen across a can of formula that has expired, then you may be able to exchange it for a new one, as further noted by Baby Center. Although baby formula may be shelf-stable for a while, it does not last forever.

GIPHY

With that in mind, what about formula that is already mixed? It is not especially long-lived. According to Eat By Date, LLC, infant formula is generally good for about 24 hours once it is open, although the time may vary slightly depending on the particular brand and its ingredients. In general, though, it's best to use mixed-up formula ASAP.

Along with using formula quickly, there are a few other safety tips that can help you formula feed like a pro. According to Today's Parent, you should refrain from freezing formula and discard any leftovers quickly. Although feeding your baby formula comes with its own unique set of struggles, for many families it's a great way to keep your little one happy and full. And with these safety tips in mind, your baby can chow down with no worries.