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How To Tell If Powdered Formula Is Bad? (5 Different Signs)

Mothers have been using baby formula for a long time to feed their children. Baby formula provides essential nutrition and can be used either on its own or alongside breastfeeding.

However, it’s important to know more about buying, preparing, and storing baby formula to keep it safe and meet your child’s nutritional requirements.

In particular, powdered formula needs extra attention because it can spoil over time and become unsuitable for babies.

If you’re wondering how to tell if powdered formula has gone bad, don’t worry! Here’s a helpful guide to answer your question and ensure your baby’s safety.

How To Tell If Powdered Formula Is Bad?


Always prioritize your baby’s well-being and safety. If you have any doubts about the powdered formula’s safety, it’s better to be cautious and throw it away. Replace it with a new container of formula that you are sure is safe for your baby.

Always prioritize your baby’s well-being and safety. If you have any doubts about the powdered formula’s safety, it’s better to be cautious and throw it away. Replace it with a new container of formula that you are sure is safe for your baby.

Here are some signs that your powdered formula might not be safe to use:

  1. Past the Expiry Date: Check the can for the expiration date or use-by date. If the formula has passed this date, even if it looks and smells fine, it’s best to discard it. The vitamins and nutrients in the formula can degrade over time, making it less effective.
  2. Opened for More Than 30 Days: Most formula brands should be used within 30 days after opening. Consider marking the opening date on the can or lid as a reminder of its shelf life. Different brands may have varying shelf lives, and organic formulas might have shorter ones.
  3. Discolored Powder: Infant formula typically has a milky, slightly off white color. If you notice any other colors, it could indicate contamination from moisture and mold or separation of ingredients.
  4. Unpleasant Smell: Fresh baby formula may have specific smells due to ingredients that make it nutritionally balanced. However, it should not smell sour or rancid. Different formulas may have various scents, but if it smells off or different from what you’re used to, it’s best not to use it.

Remember, when in doubt, choose a safe and fresh container of formula for your baby.

How Long Does Prepared Formula Last? Must Know

When using prepared formula, the same rules apply as with unprepared powder. If you notice any changes like discoloration, smell, or separation of its liquid components, it’s time to throw away the formula.

Once you mix powdered formula with water, its shelf life changes. If the prepared formula hasn’t been consumed, you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours at temperatures of 40°F (4.4°C) or lower. Some parents prefer making a whole day’s supply of formula at once and storing it in the fridge like this.

However, if the prepared formula is left at room temperature, it’s only safe to keep it for 2 hours, after which it should be discarded. If you warm the formula, it can be kept for just an hour because the combination of warm temperature and high nutrient content creates a favorable environment for bacteria to grow. So, it’s essential to follow these guidelines to ensure your baby’s safety and health.

Signs of Bad Formula Consumption in Children

When babies are given contaminated or bad formula, they may show different symptoms. Some signs of bad formula include:

  1. Poor Feeding: The baby might not want to drink the formula or eat as much as usual.
  2. Grunting Breaths: The baby may make grunting noises while breathing, which could mean they are having trouble breathing.
  3. Bowel Damage: A bacteria called Cronobacter can contaminate formula and cause bowel damage, leading to bloody diarrhea.
  4. Abnormal Movements: The baby may have seizures, tremors, or other unusual movements.
  5. Irritability: The baby may become fussy, cry a lot, or seem upset.
  6. Temperature Changes: The baby might have a fever or low body temperature.
  7. Jaundice: The baby’s skin and eyes may turn yellow.
  8. Spread Through the Blood: Cronobacter infection can also spread through the blood to other parts of the body, which can be very dangerous and life-threatening.

Not all contaminated formula will cause these symptoms, and some babies may not show any signs at all. However, if you think your baby has consumed bad formula, it’s crucial to seek medical help immediately to ensure their well-being.

How to Properly Store Powdered Formula

Properly storing powdered formula is essential to make it last longer. On the other hand, if you don’t store it correctly, the formula might spoil, and that can be harmful to your child.

Here are some ways to store powdered formula and extend its shelf life:

  1. Keep the formula in a cool and dark place.
  2. If you prepare formula but don’t feed it to your baby within two hours, store it in the fridge.
  3. Store unopened powdered formula in a cool and dry place to prevent harmful microorganisms from growing.
  4. Once you open the powdered formula, don’t keep it in the fridge. Instead, store it in a cool and dry place, and make sure the container is tightly closed.
  5. Always use the opened powdered formula within the time recommended on the package. If you don’t use it in time, it’s best to throw it away to avoid any risks.


We hope this article helped you learn how to tell if powdered formula is bad. No mom wants to give their child formula that is expired or not good.

If you find out that your formula is bad or past its expiration date, make sure to throw it away because it’s not safe to use. Remember to follow all the safety guidelines when buying, preparing, storing, and feeding your baby powdered formula.

Keep the powdered formula in a cool and dry place, and keep it out of reach of children. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician. They can help you with any issues you might have. Your child’s health is essential, so always seek professional advice when in doubt.

Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.

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