Formula: Can you save the leftovers?

I was wondering if you can save formula after it's been offered to your baby.

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

If the formula has been fed to your baby, and they haven't finished the bottle, then it is best to discard the unused portion. This is because the formula has come in contact with digestive enzymes and bacteria that may cause deterioration or contamination of the leftovers.

Untouched formula, either mixed up in advance as a batch, or prepared in a single bottle and not used, should be refrigerated immediately. It is fine to refrigerate formula that has been heated up to use again. The gentle heating that is done will not cause any significant destruction of nutrients if it is allowed to cool down quickly. It is not unusual to offer a baby a warm bottle of formula only to find out that hunger is not the problem. If this is the case, there is no need to discard the bottle of formula. Putting it right back into the refrigerator for later use is fine.

The guidelines for heated formula may be summarized as follows --- discard the leftovers, but unused, (i.e. untouched) heated formula can be refrigerated for later use.

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