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  • Can You Freeze Formula Milk? Understanding the Do's and Don'ts

    by Agustina Fernandez July 02, 2024 5 min read

    can you freeze formula

    Freezing formula milk can seem like a convenient option for busy parents looking to save time and ensure their baby always has a fresh supply, but is it safe?

    In this article, we will answer the question: can you freeze formula milk? We also offer optimal storage techniques to make sure that your baby formula-feeding journey is a happy and healthy one!

    What Happens if Formula Freezes?

    Right off the bat, we want to make it clear that per guidelines provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is not recommended to freeze baby formula.

    Unlike breast milk, which can be stored in a freezer for up to 12 months, formula is best prepared fresh. There are a few reasons for this, which will be discussed in more detail below.

    What happens if formula freezes

    Changes in Texture and Consistency

    One major caveat to frozen baby formula is the likelihood of the contents separating during the freezing process. This separation can cause major changes in the texture and consistency of the formula, making it unpleasant to consume and difficult to accurately measure.

    When it comes to prepared formula or liquid concentrate formulas, freezing can cause fat to separate from proteins, while powdered formula is prone to clumping in humid environments, such as in a freezer.

    This can make powdered formula difficult to scoop and measure accurately during the mixing process, and knowing how much formula to give your baby and accurately measuring it is essential to their health.

    Impact on Nutrients and Effectiveness

    Exposure to an extreme temperature, like when you freeze formula, can degrade the nutrients found in infant formulas, making them less potent and nutritionally imbalanced.

    During infancy, babies require a specific amount of minerals, proteins, and fats to support optimal growth and development. A failure to obtain these nutrients can result in stunted growth and long-term health complications.

    For this reason, parents are advised against freezing baby formula, especially if their little one is at an age where formula is the sole source of nutrition.

    The Risks of Freezing Infant Formula

    Based on the risks listed below, it is recommended to avoid freezing baby formula. Instead, parents and caregivers should adhere to the storage instructions provided by the formula manufacturer.

    Potential for Separation and Graininess

    When formula is frozen, the different components, particularly fats and proteins, can separate. This separation occurs because the ingredients in baby formula solidify at different rates.

    As a result, when the formula is thawed, it often doesn't return to its original, smooth consistency. Instead, it can become grainy or lumpy, making it less appealing and potentially difficult for infants to consume.

    How Freezing Affects Fat Distribution and Solubility

    When you freeze formula, you may disrupt the balance of nutrients as they become unevenly disbursed. In particular, the fats in the formula can clump together during the freezing process, leading to uneven distribution throughout the liquid.

    This not only affects the texture but can also impact the nutritional content of each feeding, as some portions may end up with more or less fat than intended, which can impact an infant's growth.

    Moreover, the solubility of fats can be compromised. In liquid form, the fats in infant formula are emulsified, meaning they are evenly dispersed within the water. Freezing can break this emulsion, causing the fats to separate and become less soluble.

    Can You Freeze Leftover Formula from a Bottle?

    While wasting formula is not ideal, it is crucial that babies do not consume leftover formula from a used bottle, even if the leftovers are promptly refrigerated or frozen.

    This is because bacteria from your baby's mouth can be introduced to the formula during feeding. This bacteria growth may lead to illness if consumed at a later time.

    Can you freeze leftover formula from a bottle

    As a general rule, the formula should be consumed by your baby within 2 hours of preparation and within 1 hour once the feeding has begun.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises parents to immediately store their baby's bottle in the fridge and use it within 24 hours if it is not consumed within 2 hours.

    In this case, erring on the side of caution is essential to ensure the health and well-being of your little one. Discard any leftover formula that has been in contact with your little one's mouth, and prepare fresh formula bottles for each feeding.

    Can You Freeze Formula Milk for Teething?

    While frozen breast milk lollies have become popular for soothing sore gums during teething, the FDA advises against giving your child anything frozen to chew on, as it may harm their gums.

    Instead, gentler teething remedies such as massaging the gums with your finger or offering a rubber teething toy can help ease discomfort. Chilling toys in the refrigerator (not the freezer) may provide additional relief to your baby.

    Top Tips for Storing Baby Formula to Avoid Freezing

    When it comes to storing infant formula, these tips will ensure that the product remains fresh and safe until the expiration date on the packaging.

    Top tips for storing baby formula to avoid freezing

    • Store baby formula in a cool and dry place indoors, away from any source of heat or sunlight. 

    • Do not leave your baby's formula in the car or garage, even if the packaging is sealed, as extreme temperatures can degrade the nutrients and cause powdered formula to clump.

    • Do not store unopened containers of formula in your refrigerator.

    When you purchase from Organics Best, we ensure that our powder formulas have a minimum shelf life of 6 months. However, we typically offer even longer expiration dates to guarantee freshness.

    Conclusion: Is Freezing Formula Milk Advisable?

    The short answer is no! To protect your little one's health and well-being, it is best to avoid freezing formula, as it can degrade the nutrients and alter the texture and consistency of your infant's formula.

    Disclaimer:

    Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.

    Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.

    Agustina Fernandez
    Agustina Fernandez

    Dr. Agustina Fernandez earned her medical degree from the prestigious Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. With a deep-rooted passion for pediatrics, Dr. Fernandez is currently on the path to specializing in children's healthcare. Recently, she has delved into the vital field of infant nutrition. Her research interests include breastfeeding, infant formula, and baby food in little ones’ formative years. Dr. Fernandez's commitment to this area of study underscores her dedication to ensuring the health and well-being of children from their earliest days.

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