What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Milk Formula?

What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Milk Formula? This is a question that a lot of nursing mother ask, and here we’ve got the answers for you!


Generally, milk formula is considered spoilt after about two hours of its preparation. Is this your first time hearing this? Well, you are not alone. Many mothers are not aware of this, and they feed their babies with formula prepared after a long period.

In this article, we would be looking at what causes milk formula to get spoiled easily, how to identify spoiled milk, and what happens when the baby is fed with it.


What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Milk Formula?


What Is an Old Formula?

An old formula refers to milk that has lasted longer than the prescribed period. Most milk labels in the market expire two hours after preparation, some last longer.


Why Does Baby Formula Go Bad After An Hour?

Milk gets spoilt easily due to the action of bacteria. The formula is a healthy medium that enables their growth. Microorganisms have a short generation time so within a few hours, bacteria may have colonized the formula. It gets contaminated and the taste becomes different, mostly sour.


How To Know If Baby Formula Has Gone Bad?

Feeding your baby with expired formula has consequences. Your baby may come down with bacterial or viral diseases. This is why it is important to understand how to assess baby formula, so that it can be discarded the moment it goes bad.

The first sign to look out for is the expiration date on the label. This would come in two ways. The first will be the expiration date of the formula before it is prepared. This can be confirmed before buying to prevent loss.

The second is the length of time the formula can stay after preparation. Some last as long as 24hrs while others go sour even after an hour. The ones that last long must be properly covered and stored in a cool place to reduce the activity of microorganisms on them.

Tasting the formula before feeding the baby is an agelong culture. This is done to confirm the state of the formula. Most formulas will have a dull or raw taste when it gets spoiled. Others will become sour or bland.

Although it is not advisable to feed the baby with formula without confirming its condition, babies reject the formula when something is wrong with it. When you notice this, discontinue feeding them and confirm the state of the formula. If they have taken too much before it got to your notice, visit your pediatrician early so that preventive measures can be put in place to stop your child from falling ill.


What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Formula Milk?

When you feed your baby a small quantity of spoiled formula milk, either by mistake or unconscious negligence, their body’s immune system manages to fight it. Their immune system becomes weak when the amount of milk consumed is high.

After the preparation of the formula, it is expected that the entire quantity is consumed at once. Where the quantity cannot be consumed completely, it should be stored in a freezer to control the action of bacteria on the milk.

Room temperature is quite conducive for microbial growth. When the milk is left standing for longer than two hours, contaminants from the air and surrounding find their way into it and become comfortable. They start to multiply, increasing to a very large extent, and then the formula becomes bad.

When a baby consumes bad milk, the immune system stages a fight against the contaminant. The baby’s immune system is still developing hence it might not be able to fight the contaminants. This can progress to an infection characterized by brain inflammation and poisoning. Some of the symptoms of poisoning include fever, crying, irritability, loss of appetite, stomach discomfort, jaundice, and even seizures.

Parents are advised to take the necessary hygiene measures to ensure their babies do not have to go through any of this as the pain can be excruciating. Practices like cleaning the inside and outside of feeding bottles before and after use, storing in a freezer when the formula is not consumed once, and keeping to the directions given on the label can protect the baby from poisoning.

Bacterial activity is what leads to milk spoilage. Not all bacteria are harmful as some share the same genealogy with bacteria in our microbiota. The harmful bacteria is what leads to food poisoning and its symptoms. An increase in water or milk intake will help your baby stay hydrated.

Tiny consumption of spoilt milk does not cause much harm. The baby’s body fights it, and within a maximum of one week, the symptoms will be over. The most severe symptoms can be vomiting and stooling. If the symptoms do not subside after a few hours, consult a doctor.


What Happens If My Baby Drinks Expired Formula or Expired Liquid Formula?

This accident is almost unavoidable. Every baby has taken expired formula at some point, some consume very little and others consume a lot. This is a mistake no parent is proud of. It makes them feel irresponsible but then, once the deed is done, the focus should be on measures that will salvage the situation.

Three parents narrated how things turned out after feeding their babies expired milk. The first parent is Ms. Turner whose baby was about eight months when the incident happened. The second is Mrs. Farmer and her baby was over a year when she fed her expired formula. The third is Mr. Richardson whose son was nine months old.

Ms. Turner got back from work late and exhausted. Her baby’s Nanny had left their apartment shortly before she arrived. Her baby become cranky and was crying tirelessly. She chose to feed him before attending to other stuff. Absent-mindedly, she mixed her baby’s formula and fed him. He rejected the first few scoops but after a while, he accepted it and drank to his fill. A few hours later, he started vomiting all he had drunk. His temperature rose high above normal and she had to call their pediatrician as could not handle the situation.

Mrs. Farmer’s story is quite similar to that of Ms. Turner’s. Unlike Ms. Turner, Mrs. Farmer was a busy stay-at-home Mom. She had done her shopping early in the day, but failed to check the expiration date on the formula. After preparation, she fed her baby with the milk and she accepted every scoop. The following morning, she noticed her daughter was suffering from diarrhea. This was the only symptom her child had. She scrutinized the milk properly only to discover it was expired.

Mr. Richardson was home alone with his nine months old. His wife had traveled with a relative but before she left, she chose to do a bit of shopping before leaving. The milk was expired. Mr. Richardson had prepared the formula early that morning, fed his son a few minutes after he woke up then proceeded to bathe him. The milk was left standing while all of this happened. The baby did not request it until a few hours later, and he fed him with the same formula. Towards evening, his son got a high fever accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.

Several other parents have shared their stories but for the sake of the article, we would be using these three as a case study. In all three incidents, the babies had taken a reasonable amount of the formula that was why they had come down with those symptoms.

Also Read: Symptoms Of Baby Drinking Spoiled Formula


In the case of Ms. Turner, her baby had rejected the milk the first time she served him. After a while, he got used to the taste and drank half of the bottle. He had not taken much and she called her pediatrician just in time so the situation was properly managed. His age also contributed to his body’s response to the milk. At eight months, the body’s immune system is still too weak to handle contaminants.

Mrs. Farmer’s nine-month-old spent close to a week in the hospital. The issue here is, she was not quick to detect what the problem was. And her baby had consumed almost the entire bottle. Considering the age, there was very little the body could do to fight.

Mr. Richardson’s baby got the worse hit. The milk was prepared from expired formula and was left standing for over two hours so it got spoilt. His son spent almost a month in the hospital as he had a high fever, severe diarrhea, and vomiting. The fact that he was under a year made matters worse as his immune system was still very fragile.

The effect expired milk has on babies depends on a variety of factors like age, amount of milk consumed, level of spoilage, formula’s expiration date, and how early the symptoms were noticed. Children older than the age of one have a stronger immunity compared to babies under one. Parents who were more observant of the changes were quicker to report to a doctor and the situation was managed better.


Why Does Baby Formula Go Bad After An Hour?

The baby formula becomes bad after an hour because it has exhausted its shelf life and has been taken over by bacteria.

When you feed your baby, saliva droplets are left on the lid and may mix with the unfinished milk. The bacteria gets in contact with milk which is a good medium for its growth and starts to multiply. Within a few hours, the milk will be colonized completely by bacteria.

In a study to assess food poisoning in children, formula milk before and after feeding was taken. The microbial concentration of each was checked. The milk remaining in the bottle was left to stand for five hours at room temperature. After five hours, the microbial content of the formula was calculated, and they discovered there were over a million.

Another sample of the unused milk was left in the fridge to cool for 24 hrs. Afterward, the microbial concentration was checked. The bacteria had multiplied but only very little. Some scientists said the multiplication started after it was taken out of the fridge, others said that some species were able to withstand the temperature of the fridge and multiply.

There is no doubt, a lot of bacterial activity takes place when unused milk is left standing. This is why parents are asked to refrigerate and use it completely within 24 hours. If it is kept at room temperature, the milk should be finished after one hour. When the milk lasts longer, bacteria would multiply rapidly and contaminate the milk. It starts to cause chaos in your baby’s body after consumption.


What Do I Do If I Feed My Baby Old Formula?

There are lots of things you have to do but first, you need to calm down. It’s normal to start fidgeting and wondering about the effect the milk can have on your baby. Well, it’s too late to change anything now, all you can do is manage the situation.

It’s not uncommon for babies to become sick after taking old formula but it’s not always the case. So, there is a likelihood your baby will be able to fight the bacterial invaders especially if your baby is older than one year.

However, some babies do get sick. Some last months in the hospital due to food poisoning as a result of taking the old formula. Others spend time in the hospital but not so long. It’s up to your baby’s immune system.

Outside the direct health implications, the old formula has no taste and does not contain the nutrient your baby needs. So hours after, your baby may still look like they have not been fed.

Do keep an eye on your baby. The first sign of a reaction to the formula is a high fever. Some babies will suffer from either high fever, vomiting, diarrhea or all three.

Once any of the above symptoms have set in, visit a doctor as quickly as possible. Ensure to feed them with fresh formula while you await the doctor’s consultation. Where the baby is suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, they would need more milk to compensate for the nutrients the body has lost.


Ways To Prevent Baby From Drinking Spoiled Old Formula Milk

Old formula has no nutritional benefits and it raises your baby’s chance of becoming ill. No parent feeds their child with old formula intentionally, so it’s necessary to put measures in place to prevent such a mistake from occurring.

The baby’s bottle and other utensils should be properly washed and sterilized before using them to prepare the baby’s milk.

Busy parents might want to prepare the baby’s milk ahead of time. Ensure to store it in the fridge. The cold temperature makes it difficult for microbial activity to take place.

Also, avoid feeding the baby from a bottle they cannot finish at once. The moment the milk is prepared, put a little quantity in a bottle and store the rest in the fridge. Feed them from the bottle and if the baby is unable to finish it at once, pour the rest of the milk away.

Above all, keep a timer. Whether you refrigerate or not, do not keep the formula longer than the usual time. For milk left at room temperature, pour it away if the baby fails to finish it within two hours. For refrigerated milk, discard it after 24 hours.

Another thing to keep in mind is the expiration date on the milk label. Confirm each label has not expired before purchase. Many stores still sell expired milk, because people feed their animals with it and it causes them no harm. To safeguard your baby’s health, do the extra check every time you go shopping.


How Do You Prevent Infection After Baby Drinks Old Formula?

No one can describe how to prevent an infection caused by an old formula except your doctor. Alert your pediatrician once you see the signs.

However, before the symptoms start to show, you can focus on feeding your baby fresh formula along with foods that can boost the baby’s immunity.


What To Do With Expired Baby Formula?

Buying in bulk can leave you having a pile of expired baby formula that cannot be used. In other cases, you might have bought the expired formula but discovered it too late. Returning it to the store might be a viable option if there is a warranty, and the time has not elapsed. Otherwise, you would have to look for other ways to dispose of the baby formula.

The nutrients in the expired formula have become useless to your baby, and can no longer be used. But, animals can still gain from it depending on its condition. Gather all the packs you have left and send them to an animal home or shelter. The state of your donations will be assessed, and if they are still okay, they would be accepted. It would go a long way in the lives of the animals.

Gardeners have testified to using expired formula as manure. If gardening is your thing, you can add them to the soil used in growing your vegetation. Do well to read the product manual and description for use before trying this out.

An expired formula that fails to be useful as manure or animal food will be useful in the thrash. There it would be taken by the garbage truck to where it belongs.


What Happens If Baby Drinks Spoiled Formula Milk: 5 Tips To Prevent Infections

Most babies will develop an infection after taking spoiled formula milk. Few would be able to resist the effect on their body. Below are five tips parents will find helpful when it comes to protecting their babies from getting infections.

1. Monitor The Baby’s Hygiene Closely

If you hired a caregiver for your child, consider giving them a break to monitor your child closely. Where you are the child’s caregiver, pay more attention to keeping them clean.

Wash their bottles as often as needed.

Store in a cool or safe place after preparation and when not in use.

2. Increase The Baby’s Intake of Breast Milk

The mistake many moms make is introducing formulas when they are about to stop weaning. The formula should be introduced early so that the body can adjust and get used to it. When you suspect the child has consumed spoiled milk, reduce the amount of formula they take and give them more breast milk. It contains all the nutrients they need, will boost their immune system, and help them fight the bacteria, thereby, reducing the chances of coming down with an infection.

3. Store Baby Formula in a Clean Place

The location of the baby’s formula is another thing to be addressed. What is the condition of the area? Is it kept clean at all times? Microorganisms can grow in dirty areas. They could also grow in or outside the formula. Most times these growths are difficult to spot, and you might end up feeding your baby with contaminants.

4. Store Prepared Baby Formula Properly

The chances of getting an infection are higher after the formula has been prepared. Read through the label to get an understanding of how the formula was made and how it is to be stored. Adhere strictly to every guideline provided.

5. Wash Your Hands

You and any other caregiver your child has should endeavor to wash their hands before touching the baby’s food, feeding them, or carrying them. Our hands harbor tiny germs and can be a source of contact for a possible infection.


Symptoms Of Baby Drinking Spoiled Formula

There are plenty of symptoms to help parents and health care providers spot food poisoning which arises when the baby drinks spoiled formula.

In mild cases, the child will have a high temperature. You can use your home thermometer to check your baby’s temperature. Then the baby may also be vomiting and having frequent watery stools. The symptoms are expected to subside after a while but it’s best to visit a doctor immediately.

Symptoms can progress to reduced appetite, continuous vomiting, abdominal pain, little or no urine.