How to Not Waste Formula

By Melissa Willets
Get baby on a feeding schedule so you can anticipate when and how much he will want to eat.
Get baby on a feeding schedule so you can anticipate when and how much he will want to eat.

Baby formula is expensive. You'll want to adopt a few tricks of the baby-feeding trade to avoid wasting formula and therefore throwing money away. Once you have a system worked out, you won't have to ditch extra portions as often. After all, as KidsHealth notes, unused baby formula at room temperature has the short shelf life of only 1 hour.

Know baby's needs. To avoid wasting formula, make the amount your baby will eat and not more. This is true whether you make bottles as you go or ahead of time and then refrigerate them for up to 24 hours. As a general guideline, formula-fed newborns eat every 2 to 3 hours at first, then every 3 to 4 hours as they grow, according to KidsHealth. At first, baby will take between 1.5 and 3 ounces per feeding. Eventually, he will suck down up to 8 ounces per feeding. Talk to your pediatrician about how often and how much your munchkin should be eating.

Purchase powder. In terms of convenience, baby formula in its powder form is a winner, as points out. Not only that, but powdered formula allows you to make bottles as needed. Simply mix your desired amount of powder with the corresponding amount of sterile water. You'll measure out enough formula powder to make a bottle in the morning, then repeat this process in the midmorning, afternoon and so on. Since you are using just enough powder to satisfy your baby at each feeding, you aren't wasting formula.

Travel smart. On the go with baby often? Keep formula waste at a minimum by purchasing a partitioned travel container with which to transport premeasured servings of powdered formula. Simply bring a bottle, prefilled with sterile water, to mix with a serving of powder. Now you won't end up with a premixed bottle that goes bad after a few hours of sitting in the diaper bag.

Rotate in ready-to-feed formula. According to, the ready-to-feed variety of baby formula, which requires no mixing with water, can be refrigerated after the can is opened and remains usable for up to 48 hours. So, you won't have to discard unused quantities, even overnight. This is a great solution for moms who don't want to fuss with measuring out powder but still care about cutting down on waste.

About the Author

Melissa Willets has been writing about parenting, pregnancy and "all things mom" since 2009. She has contributed to many websites, including and