Is formula safe for a baby to drink after the ‘2 hour rule?’ 


I always wondered whether it was a ploy by formula brands for us to spend more money because of this ‘2-hour rule,’ but now that I think and have researched it, I believe our babies health is in their interests. The message of the bottle or tub, whichever you buy is always that saying “For hygienic reasons, discard unfinished feed in the bottle as soon as possible and always within 2 hours.” Not many of my friends feed their babies formula but the discussions I have had with mums at the local children centre always falls around this topic and it’s interesting to hear different peoples views and opinions. Is the 2-hour rule for real or just plain bullshit to get us mums to spend extra coins buying more and more formula because whatever bottle you get, it’s not cheap. I buy on average 2 tubs of formula a week. The formula I buy is SMA’s Comfort Milk which worked perfectly in helping Emily go from breastfeeding to bottle because it was easy for her to digest and easy on her tummy. 2 bottles of her formula is £22 a week, that’s £88 per month on formula. Formula is expensive but it goes with the choice I made feeding Emily, as breastfeeding didn’t work. Anyway, on every bottle and every tub details the same information. ‘Don’t leave formula for longer than 2 hours,’ or ‘if it’s sitting out at room temperature for longer than an hour, throw it away’ and so on. The thing is the question is, why do they say it, is what they’re saying true or just complete crap in order for us to spend more money?

Emily is 4 months old now. She feeds really well with her formula but since I’ve been experimenting with some solids, her formula intake every few hours has decreased in size now that she has her apple porridge in the morning,  a 1/4 of a fruit pot some time during the day and her baby rice mixed with a vegetable of some sort in the evening. With this comes a fair bit of waste with her formula following the rules that’s mentioned on the label. I’ve often wondered why this rule is in place but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense if you follow all the other rules that are set for feeding a newborn baby.
The rules when formula feeding:
  1. Sterilize all baby bottles
  2. Use boiling hot water from a kettle, not a tap
  3. Don’t keep formula out for long. If you don’t use it within 2 hours, throw it away
  4. Never reuse old formula
  5. Make sure you mix the formula properly
But it seems that there are so many mums who fail in the whole being hygienic thing and aren’t really too bothered about their babies health and that really shocked me. You wouldn’t let your kid eat off a dirty floor, why let them feed on a bottle that has gathered a lot of bacteria over a short time when left out? Gone are the days when I was a baby when a bottle of formula was made and if your baby didn’t drink it, you could pop it in the fridge and save it for another rainy day. According to Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD at in 2015, she says:

How long can mixed formula keep in the fridge?

You should always refrigerate any bottles you fill for later feedings to prevent bacteria from growing, as well as any open containers of ready-to-feed or concentrate formula. Throw away any mixed formula after 24 hours and any open ready-to-feed or concentrate formula after 48 hours.

How long can a bottle keep at room temperature?

Discard any prepared or ready-to-feed formula that’s been sitting out after 1 hour.

If formula is left over, can I offer it again?

No, throw away any leftover formula. There’s a chance bacteria may have formed since the last feeding, which could make your baby sick.

Times have changed, but it seems advice over the years has changed too. Gone are the days when you can make formula and leave it in the fridge for a long period of time and gone are the days when you just need to rely on a kettle too. With so many products made now to cut your formula prep in half, there’s really no need to worry about having leaving your formula out. If only someone could come up with an affordable alternative to make formula bottles on the go! Tommee Tippee, Nuby, anyone?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Evanna says:

    hi, it true that I follow the rules but sometimes I have to follow my instincts and that is my baby is well feed and taken care of. I have 3 wonderful children my eldest son is 7yrs 2nd born son is 5yrs and my dearest daughter is just 6months now. I’ve introduced s26 formula to help her feed more as I’m not giving her enough. I just recently switched s26 from SMA. I’m doing some research on how to feed babies and how long does it take to have their next meal of formula after 2hrs from bottle. She cries often after 1 and half hr bottle milk so that’s why I’m curious and I’m that person whom goes by the rules also I’m a mother that got to do whatever it takes for her babies. And thank you for you’re sharing


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