How to Correctly Store Baby Food
Storing your baby’s food correctly is important to ensure that it is safe for them to eat. If it is baby food you’ve purchased, the most important rule is to follow the instructions on the packaging. Generally, baby food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated should be stored in a cool and dry place - and always sealed air tight. Baby food that needs to go in the refrigerator should be kept in the back where it’s cooler – as opposed to on the door, where temperatures fluctuate more. Here are a few other baby food storage solutions:
If you express breastmilk to save for future feeds, it’s very important that you store it correctly. You don’t want to lose the results of so much hard work because it goes bad or gets contaminated! So make sure you follow these guidelines:
- Always use completely sterilised and air tight containers for storage. While freezer bags can be used, make sure to buy a durable brand as some can tear easily.
- A hard plastic bottle is the preferable storage vessel. Don’t use glass bottles as they can break and the white cells in milk tend to cling to the glass.
- Always label and date the bottles or bags and use the oldest ones first.
- You can store breastmilk at room temperature (no more than 25 degrees C) for up to six hours.
- You can store breastmilk in the refrigerator below 4 degrees C, for between three and five days (again, always at the back of the refrigerator where it is coldest, away from meat, eggs or uncooked foods).
- You can store breastmilk in the freezer, as long as it maintains freezing conditions continuously (at minus 18 degrees C or lower), for up to six months.
- If you do freeze breastmilk, make sure to do so within 24 hours of expressing.
- Always wash your hands before expressing and be sure to keep the breast pump sterilised in order to prevent any contamination.
Storing baby formula
It is essential that your baby formula stays sealed and dry during storage. Generally, storing in the pantry with the lid shut tight is sufficient. Follow instructions on the can, but most cans of powdered formula should be used within a month of opening. It is always best to prepare formula immediately before you feed your baby. Yet of course there are times when this is very difficult. If you need to make formula ahead of time to use throughout the day, store it in the refrigerator if possible. After 24 hours, always throw out unused formula. If you need formula for while you’re out with your baby for the day, there are two options:
1. Put the correct amount of formula for one feed into a sterilised bottle and sufficient cooled boiled water into another bottle. Cool the boiled water in the fridge and keep cold throughout the day, in a cooler if necessary. Then when your baby is ready to feed, combine the two.
2. If it’s necessary to prepare the formula before you leave, make sure it stays cool throughout the day. If possible, transfer the formula to a fridge whenever it’s available. Otherwise, use a cooler with ice packs to keep the formula cold. It is fine for your baby to drink the formula cold, but often they will prefer if it’s warmed. You can do this by simply putting it in warm water. We don’t recommend microwaving formula, however if you need to do so always shake the bottle to make sure there are no hot spots and the formula is well mixed. Test the formula temperature on your wrist and make sure it is at a safe temperature before you feed your baby. When do you find it most difficult to have food for your baby ready?
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