Can you Pre-make Bottles and Put Them in the Fridge? Safe Storage! 

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Can you pre-make bottles and put them in the fridge? This is one of the most common questions asked, especially by new parents. In this post, I explain how to properly store pre-made bottles of formula and alternative methods to use when traveling.

Pre-made baby formula can go sour or spoil if left out at room temperature for too long. It’s recommended that parents use infant formula within 2 hours of preparing it. If you don’t use the formula within the 2 hours you can store it in a fridge.

Key takeaways

  • You can store new bottles of pre-made formula in the fridge. 
  • Pre-made baby bottles can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • You’ll know pre-made formula has gone bad if it has a foul odor or clumps. 
  • Clean mold off of bottles using vinegar and baking soda. 
  • Pre-made formulas can sit out of the fridge for 2 hours. 
  • You can store pre-made baby formula in cooler bags with ice packs
  • Store bottles of baby formula in ice if your fridge is broken
  • You can reheat new bottles of baby formula. 
  • Don’t use a microwave to reheat baby formula. 

Can you store pre-made bottles in the fridge? 

Yes, you can store pre-made baby bottles in the fridge to keep them fresh. Storing your pre-made baby formula helps if you need to prepare more than one bottle for feeding. It’s convenient if you’re feeding newborns because they need to be fed every 2 to 4 hours.

Therefore, if you have to wake up in the early hours of the morning, you can have pre-made bottles of formula on hand. You can warm them up quickly so your baby doesn’t have to wait too long to be fed. 

How long can you store pre-made baby formula in the fridge?

Even if you store your baby’s formula in the fridge, the milk can still spoil if it’s left for too long. It’s recommended that you store your baby’s bottles in the fridge for no longer than 24 hours. You must use the milk before the 24 hours is up or the milk will spoil or lose its nutrients. 

Some parents choose to make a large batch of baby formula in a jug and then portion the milk into bottles as needed throughout the day. Make sure you use the right measurements of the formula if you’re making a large batch. 

How do you know if pre-made baby formula has spoiled? 

It’s important to test your baby’s formula to ensure it hasn’t spoiled. Baby formula that’s gone bad smells awful and can cause major side effects in babies. Here’s how I used to check if my daughter’s formula was still drinkable when she was an infant. 

It smells bad

With any type of milk whether it’s formula or cow’s milk, you’ll immediately know it’s spoiled if there is a strange odor coming from the bottle. It may smell like curdled milk or have a sour smell. Discard the baby formula immediately if it has a terrible odor. 

The milk has gone clumpy 

You may notice lumps or that the formula has clumped into balls at the top of the baby formula. The clumps may also be a sign that the formula wasn’t mixed properly. 

If it hasn’t been mixed correctly, you can shake the bottle to see if the lumps disappear. But if shaking the bottle makes the lumps worse or causes the milk to separate then you know it has gone sour.  

There is mold in the nipples and rims of the bottle 

Sometimes you may forget that you have bottles of baby formula stored in your fridge. If your bottles have been in the fridge for more than 24 hours it may start to grow mold on the rims and nipples of the bottle. 

The mold could also be a sign that the bottles weren’t washed correctly before making the formula. If your baby bottles have mold growth, here’s what you can do. You can use vinegar and baking soda to remove the spores. You should then also sterilize them thoroughly to ensure all the bacteria have been killed.  

How long can pre-made formula sit outside the fridge?

Baby bottles can sit outside the fridge for around 2 hours after it has been made. It can also be left out for 1 hour after feeding begins. It’s best to throw away the formula if it’s been sitting outside of the fridge for more than 2 hours.

Here’s an article I wrote about when formula expires, incl. how long you can store it outside the fridge. 

Are there alternative ways to store pre-made baby formula?

If you’re traveling with your baby or if you’re sending more than one bottle to daycare you’ll need alternative ways to store your bottles. Here are two ways I used to store my daughter’s baby formula when we were out and about.

Cooler bag with an ice pack 

Whether you’re going to the park for the day or you’re visiting family across town, you can store your baby bottles in a cooler bag with ice packs. Make sure the cooler bag can store the number of bottles you need. The ice packs must be frozen solid to keep the milk from spoiling. 

You can store baby bottles in a cooler bag for up to 4 hours so it’s perfect if you’re traveling long distances with your little one.  

Store bottles in ice 

There may be situations where you have a power outage at home or your fridge stops working. In these types of emergencies, you can store your pre-made baby formula in a bucket of ice. 

Simply fill a bucket with ice cubes and submerge your baby bottles upright inside the bucket. Make sure the ice is covering the bottles and that they’re not tipping over or the formula will leak out of the nipples.

Can you reheat baby formula after it’s been stored in the fridge?

You can reheat baby formula after it’s been stored in the fridge. However, you can only reheat new bottles of pre-made formula and not bottles that have already been fed to your baby. To reheat your formula you can place bottles in a bowl or a container filled with hot water. 

According to the FDA, heating baby formula in the microwave isn’t recommended because it can heat the milk unevenly. So to make the process quicker, simply place a bowl of water in the microwave to heat the water then place your bottles in the hot water.  

Take a look at this video where a lady explains exactly how to warm up a baby bottle safely: 


As you can see, storing your baby formula in a fridge is safe. However, you have to use the formula within 24 hours of preparing it. Also, consider the alternative methods I’ve mentioned for different scenarios such as traveling or if you have a broken fridge. 

I also recommend using one of the best bottles for thickened baby formulas. It’s always best that you use the right baby formula, heating, and storage methods to ensure the safety of your baby’s health.

Photo of author


I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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