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Infant Formula-Safety Guidelines

Expiration Dates

  • All formulas are marked with a “use by” or “use before” date to ensure a fresh, high-quality product. Formula should not be bought or fed beyond the expiration date.
  • Return any formula which is out of date at the time of the purchase to the store it was purchased from for exchange or reimbursement.

Sterilizing Bottles & Nipples

  • Sterilize all equipment and water used in preparing infant formula until a doctor or other health professional decides it is unnecessary.
  • If available, wash bottles, nipples, lids and rings in the dishwasher. Otherwise, wash in hot, soapy water. Use a brush to clean the inside of the bottle. Rinse a minimum of three times with the hottest tap water (180°F). If unsure of rinse-water temperature, dip bottles, nipples, lids and rings in boiling water for 30 seconds. Use clean tongs or two forks to transfer boiled equipment to a clean towel to drain before filling.
  • To sterilize water, boil for five minutes and use. Refrigerated sterilized water should be used within 24 hours.

Storing Opened Formula

  • Opened cans of formula may be tightly covered and immediately refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Formula should be placed in clean, sterilized bottles for feeding and should be refrigerated and used within 24 hours.
  • Infant formula should not be frozen because physical separation of the product may occur.

Heating Formula

  • Methods of heating infant formula include:
    • Heating the formula separately in a pan and transferring to a clean, sterilized bottle
    • Heating the bottle containing the formula by placing in a pan containing simmering water
    • Heating the bottle containing the formula in the microwave oven
  • Caution must be used when microwaving the bottle, as the bottle may remain cool while the formula in the bottle is heating, potentially resulting in burning the infant.
  • After heating formula, always shake the bottle to evenly distribute the heat. Then check the temperature of the formula by testing a few drops on the inside of your wrist before feeding.