How Long is Formula Good For and What Happens When It Expires

When you’re a new mom, there are so many things to remember that it can be easy to miss something. Such as the expiration date on your cans of formula. But even if you don’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Even if your can feels perfectly sealed, most powdered infant formula will have an expiration date on the inside of the lid. Thankfully, while this might seem like a challenging detail to keep track of, understanding when and how to use your formula is actually pretty simple. To help you get through those early weeks and months with baby as smoothly as possible, we’ve got all the answers you need right here!

If you’re wondering how long is formula good for, the answer is that it’s always best to discard it after 6 months from the date of manufacture. Even if it still looks and smells fresh. And even if your baby has already used it for a while. Your baby’s growing needs also change as time passes, so the composition of formula also has to change. In fact, every batch of formula is made with a target “best by” date. That day represents the date during which the manufacturer believes the formula will still be nutritionally suitable for your baby.

What Happens When Formula Expires?


If you’re wondering what happens when formula expires, it’s a good idea to know that it’s not instantly harmful. In fact, expiration dates are required by law to indicate when the nutritional value of the formula will fall below the standard of acceptable nutrition. To help put your mind at ease, we’ve compiled a list of what happens to your formula when it expires. It can:

  • Develop a weakened smell and taste
  • Be less creamy
  • Take longer to dissolve in water
  • Appear to be more granular
  • Taste more “chemical”
  • Have a reduced nutritional value.

How to Tell if Your Formula Has Gone Bad


There are a few ways to tell if your formula has gone bad. Firstly, if the formula has expired, there’s a good chance it’s no longer fit for consumption. Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell just by looking at it if it’s gone bad. However, you can scour the label and product information to check if there are any specific instructions. If your baby has been consuming the formula and you’re concerned that it might have gone bad, there are a few telltale signs to keep an eye out for. Your baby may start to show certain side effects, such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive gas
  • Bloody stools
  • Steatorrhea (fatty stool)
  • Poor weight gain
  • Poor appetite

Most of these symptoms are also likely to be caused by other factors, so take them with a grain of salt. If you’re still unsure, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard your formula.

As a new parent, there are so many details to pay attention to, it can be easy to miss the expiration date on your cans of formula. Thankfully, though, even if your formula still looks and smells fresh, it’s best to discard it after 6 months from the date of manufacture. It’s important to know how long is prepared formula good forand always check the dates on your cans to make sure you’re using it before it expires!

Louise Author