Millions of parents worldwide use baby formula to nurse their children. Formula is a convenient and safe alternative to breast milk, and it can be purchased from the grocery or pharmacy.
Formula comes in different forms, from powdered to ready-to-drink mixtures. And most of them can last a long time in your cupboard.
But people make mistakes, and you might accidentally forget that a box of baby formula is stocked in your pantry. And when you look at the label, you see it is expired! So what do you do?
How Long Can You Store Baby Formula?
Different brands produce different qualities of baby formulas. Expiration dates vary among manufacturers. But most products (especially powdered ones) can last around 1 month if stored correctly.
Once opened, your formula is susceptible to bacteria and molds. If stored incorrectly, you can expect that one-month expiration date to come earlier. So it is crucial to stock your baby’s formula correctly (more on that later).
How Can I Tell if My Formula is Expired or Not?
The best way to say if your formula is expired or not is to look at the label. Most companies print the expiration dates on the box of their products, and you should be able to find them easily.
Some brands offer organic baby formulas that use fewer preservatives. However, these brands tend to have a shorter shelf life than mainstream products.
Besides the expiration date, you might see changes in the appearance and consistency of your baby formula. Formula should have a milky, off-white color and should not smell sour or rancid.
Regardless of how your formula looks and smells, expired products should never be consumed, especially by your child. Giving expired food to a baby raises the risk of foodborne illnesses. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration.
What To Do With Expired Baby Formula?
In some unavoidable cases, you might end up with a box of expired formula in your cupboard. But don’t panic! Spoiled baby formula can still have its use outside of junior’s dinner.
Use It in the Garden as Fertilizer
Baby formula is a biodegradable product. While its nutritional content usually lowers as it expires, you can still use it to keep your plants healthy.
Mix the formula into your potting soil or compost pit as fertilizer. Not only that, you can save money by not buying commercial fertilizer.
Research on milk as an antifungal is still undergoing. However, there are signs that milk is effective against the fungal Candida, a common problem for plants. Besides being fertilizer, it might not hurt to try using baby formula as a makeshift fungicide.
Donate It To An Animal Shelter
Another way people repurpose baby formula is to donate it to animal shelters. Many baby animals need extra milk to grow strong and healthy, and formula seems to work just right with them.
Most animals have no problem drinking baby formula, even if it is a day or two past its expiration date. Make sure your product has not yet produced molds or has significant changes in its appearance.
Use It in a Milk Bath
Milk has plenty of nutritional properties that can keep your skin glowing and soft. A milk bath can also help with skin problems like eczema and acne. For babies, a good soak can also soothe diaper rash.
A milk bath with fresh ingredients can be very pricey. Fortunately, you and your baby can use expired formula to make a simple milk bath at home. Add the milk to your bath water and soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Both you and your baby can enjoy the rejuvenating effects of a milk bath while saving some cash.
Create Soap Bars From It
As mentioned above, milk has plenty of benefits for the skin. But what if you are not a big fan of taking baths? You can still use expired milk on your skin by turning it into soap bars.
Soap made from milk can be very pricey. So many skin care enthusiasts would rather DIY their soaps at home. You can find tutorials online on how to make soaps with milk. Who knows, you might even discover this new hobby!
Have It Exchanged At the Grocery
You might purchase something at the store only to find it is expired. Some grocery stores are willing to exchange your expired products for brand-new ones.
It can be as easy as bringing the product back to the store with the receipt. However, be aware if the store accepts already opened products or if they will only take them back if it has never been unsealed.
How Do I Prevent Baby Formula From Expiring?
It can be frustrating to spend money and not use the product. To prevent baby formula from going bad overnight, you must store it safely and soundly.
The best place to put your unopened and opened formula is somewhere inside your house that is cool and dry. Avoid storing them outdoors or somewhere where it frequently gets wet.
Make sure the container is sealed tight to avoid dirt and pathogen from sneaking inside. And do not let pets or kids near it to prevent spillage and contamination. If stored properly, you can have formula that can last for a long time.
Do food banks accept unused baby formula?
Some food banks and shelters accept unused baby formula. However, they are very particular about what products they receive and will not take anything expired or previously opened.
Can I give my baby formula past its expiration date?
Giving formula to your child past its expiration date puts them at risk for food poisoning. Avoid giving them expired milk at all costs.
Many people tend to throw away their expired baby formula. But there are plenty of ways you can repurpose your baby’s milk.
Formula can be used around the house, from caring for plants to using as skin care. You can also donate your expired milk to a shelter and help out cute kittens and puppies.
You do not have to feel sad about expired milk. The least you can do is give it new life as either fertilizer or a bar of soap.