I primarily breastfeed my son, but occasionally use formula. We have only used half a container after nine months. It’s not expired, so I assumed it was fine to keep using it.
That is, until the other day, when I actually read all the instructions and noticed that it says use within one month of opening! Whoops! I wondered, “will formula hurt my baby if I’ve used it after being opened for more than one month?” I mean, obviously he appears fine, but I wanted to be sure. The skeptic inside also wondered if the formula companies just want us to buy more.
I decided that calling the manufacturer (we use Similac by Abbot) was the only real way to know the truth.
A representative answered the phone right away and was very kind. Here is our conversation:
Me: “Hi! So, my son is almost 9 months old and we are still using formula opened right after he was born. I just noticed that the container says to use it within one month. Will it hurt him? The formula expired eight months ago!”
Representative: “Hmmm, let me ask.” She promptly returns and says “the power is not going to spoil, but the fatty acids might degrade, so it might smell different.”
Me: “Ok, so it doesn’t go bad?”
Representative: “It wouldn’t be dangerous, but there are vitamins and fatty acids and they will break down. The nutrition won’t be the same. Your son is getting most of his nutrition from breast milk so he wouldn’t really be affected. Sometimes kids will notice and start rejecting the milk because the formula starts to taste different.”
Me: “Ah, we did try to give him formula last week and he wouldn’t take it. Maybe that is why.”
I am going to throw the formula away (which kills me) and buy smaller packs so we can open them as needed. Now that I’m paying attention, I have noticed the formula getting more caky and clumpy and turning a bit darker in color. I’m now a believer that fresh product is best, especially for babies who drink formula as their primary source of nutrition.
Hopefully anyone reading this is more scrupulous that I and you have followed the instructions on the label. I would probably still use it for a couple of weeks past a month, but baby food is pretty important to the health of the child, so giving them the best is worth it. And eight months past the recommended date is too long! Sorry baby :/