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5 times you need to throw out a formula bottle

by Kim Chappell, Milk Drunk Editor

Formula can be pricey and it’s hard not to cringe if you end up pouring a perfectly good bottle down the drain. But as much as you want to salvage every ounce, there are times when you need to toss it for the safety of your baby. Here are five circumstances when you need to toss the bottle. 

  1. Your baby started the bottle but didn’t finish it within 2 hours: Toss it 

The moment the bottle hits your baby’s lips and she starts chugging away, the expiration clock starts on that bottle. It has a two hour life after the feeding has started. That means, if your little one gets distracted and wants to play, and you set the bottle down, you can’t reach for it again after that two hour limit. The combination of the formula plus your baby’s saliva could cause bacteria to grow. Whatever is left sadly goes down the drain. 

  1. If the formula bottle is made and left out in room temperature for more than an hour: Toss it 

Once you make the formula bottle you have two options: put in the fridge for later or feed it to your baby. If you leave it out at room temperature for too long, the bottle can spoil and shouldn’t be fed to your baby. 

  1. You made the bottle 24 hours ago and haven’t used it yet: Toss it 

Once you make the formula bottle and keep it in the fridge, try to use it within a 24 hour window. The bottle was not meant to last, even refrigerated, beyond a day. Try to only make what you know you will need for the immediate future to avoid having to throw away any bottles sitting in the fridge! 

  1. Someone put the bottle on the bottom shelf of the fridge where food spillage could drip down (yuk!). 

Any kind of food contamination, especially raw meat, potentially dripping onto your bottle is enough of a reason to toss it. The bacteria could be dangerous to a new digestive system still building antibodies. This 

  1. You left the lid off your formula near potential allergens: depends. 

So you frantically made a bottle and forgot to put the lid back on during the craziness. Most of the time, it’s not a big deal. However, if the formula was left open near other open snacks or meals with allergens, like nuts and shellfish, you might want to consider tossing it all. Especially any life threatening allergies run in the family.

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