“Can I put leftover formula milk in the fridge?” Find out the answer here.
What can you read in this article?
- How much milk does my child need per feeding?
- Can I put leftover formula milk in the fridge?
- Tips on preparing and storing infant formula milk
“Every drop counts.” That’s the mantra of breastfeeding moms who pump their milk to feed their babies. The same goes for formula-feeding moms. Since formula milk is so expensive these days, it would be a shame to just let it go to waste.
So a lot of moms are asking, “Can I put leftover formula milk in the fridge?”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the simplest answer is NO. But why? Let’s talk about that in a little bit.
How much milk does my baby need?
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Whether you’re breastfeeding or giving your child infant formula milk, the golden rule is to try not to be wasteful. And compared to breastfeeding where you don’t know the specific amount of milk your child is getting every time he feeds, you can actually measure the milk that your child should consume when you’re preparing formula milk.
So, how much milk does your child actually need in a day and for each feeding?
According to Dr. Ruth Alejandro, a pediatrician from the Makati Medical Center, the amount of milk that you should give your child actually depends on his age and the capacity of his stomach to store it. For newborns, you don’t need a lot, but it increases as your child’s stomach grows.
“Ang guide kasi natin sa pagpapadede sa baby ng artificial na milk o formula is pagkapanganak ang stomach capacity ng baby ay maliit lang na kalamansi. So hindi talaga sila kailangan ng sobrang dami ng gatas.
During the first week nag-iincrease na, nag-eexpand na iyongstomach capacity ng baby,” she said.
She even added a quick guide or formula on how to compute the right amount of formula milk your infant needs per feeding.
“Ang guide natin usually lalo na kapag months old na ay age and months plus 3. Kunyare 1 month iyong baby plus 3 so sa age ng 1 month old, 4 ounces iyong nadede niya o 120 ml per feeding,” shared Dr. Alejandro.
This computation can help you prepare the right amount of formula milk for your baby per feeding to prevent wastage.
Can I put leftover formula milk in the fridge?
So you prepared only the right amount of milk for your child to consume, but for some reason (maybe he’s too sleepy or too fussy to feed), he didn’t finish it. Is it okay to put it in the fridge first and then offer it to him again later, when he’s in a better mood to drink it?
As much as we hate wasting, the answer is NO. Any leftover milk that is left in the bottle after baby feeds should be thrown out immediately.
It is because the milk has already been contaminated with your child’s saliva from sucking on the bottle teat. According to CDC, the combination of infant formula and your baby’s saliva can cause bacteria to grow in the leftover milk.
At the same time, prepared formula milk that has been sitting in room temperature can spoil easily, so don’t let your child’s feeding session last for over an hour.
The dangers of giving leftover formula milk
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Remember, milk is a perishable food and can develop bacteria between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
And since your baby’s immune system is still developing, the risk of getting a bacterial infection or food poisoning from leftover formula milk is high.
Another disease that your child can get from drinking leftover formula milk is cronobacter infection. It is caused by a germ called cronobacter sakazakii, which is found naturally in the environment. These germs can live in dry foods, such as powdered infant formula and powdered milk.
Cronobacter infection can cause diarrhea and urinary tract infection in people of all ages. And while getting sick from this disease do not happen very often, it can be very serious and potentially fatal in infants. This infection can lead to septis and meningitis for infants 2 months old and below.
According to CDC, symptoms of cronobacter infection in infants are fever accompanied by poor feeding, crying, or very low energy. For babies age 4 months old and below, fever always warrants a trip to the doctor or emergency room.
To protect your child from these kinds of diseases and infections, you must learn the proper way of preparing and storing your baby’s formula milk.
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Tips on preparing and storing formula milk
For the first few months of his life, your child’s milk will be his only source of nutrition. So it’s important that you follow your child’s pediatrician’s instructions in preparing and storing his formula milk to prevent wastage and food-borne diseases.
Here are some things to remember when preparing and storing your child’s formula milk:
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- Ask your baby’s pediatrician on what formula milk brand is recommended for baby (take note, she will consider your baby’s needs and restrictions like food allergies). Don’t give your child a different brand of formula milk without consulting her doctor first.
- Also check the expiration date on the packaging. Always store the can in a cool and dry place.
- Always wash your hands before preparing and when handling your baby’s milk.
- Wash and sterilize all bottles, teats, nipples, and even pacifiers before using it for baby.
- Use only clean water to prepare baby’s milk. Also, make sure that it’s the right temperature. If your baby prefers to drink it warm, heat it by placing the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. Don’t microwave baby’s bottle as it might cause hot spots that can burn baby’s mouth. Before giving it to baby, try putting a few drops on your hand. The milk should feel lukewarm, not hot.
- Measure the amount of water and formula you add carefully. Putting too much water might cause the formula to fail to meet your baby’s nutritional needs while too little might cause your baby to become dehydrated.
- Once you have prepared your baby’s formula milk, it’s best to offer it to him right away. Again, throw out any leftover formula at the end of each feeding if it has been more than an hour from the start of a feeding.
While being frugal and wise is a good trait to have, don’t sacrifice your child’s health over it. Resist the urge to put leftover formula milk in the fridge to prevent the spread of bacteria. Always give your baby a fresh bottle when he asks for it. Yes, formula milk is expensive, but your baby’s safety is more important.
If you have any questions about preparing and storing formula milk and other feeding concerns, don’t hesitate to ask your child’s pediatrician.
CDC, Mayo Clinic
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