how to store formula milk for night feeds

How to Store Formula Milk for Night Feeds (6 Solutions to Fit your Needs!)

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Are you formula feeding your baby and wondering how to store formula milk for night feeds? Or are you looking for tips on how to prep bottles for night feeds? Then you’ve come to the right place!

I have formula fed my first daughter and I remember how stressful the nights feeds where. Every time my daughter woke up at night I used to get up, go to the kitchen, turn the lights on, make a bottle and warm it. All of that while my baby was screaming from hunger. And by the time I went back to bed I was wide awake.

So, I have spent quite a bit of time experimenting with night feeds, trying to find the best ways to store the formula at night so that the bottle was already ready to go, or to keep the bottle warm so that I wouldn’t have to wait while it was warming up.

You will find here all the different solutions on how to store formula bottles at night, and you can also find different tips on how to keep the bottles warm at night here or general formula and bottle feeding tips here. No solution is best than the other I think – its really depends on what work for you and your family.

But I am confident you will find one that will fit your needs here!

Related:

how to store formula milk for night feeds

Does your Baby need Warm Milk?

First thing first, does your baby actually need or want warm milk? This is important to understand because, depending on whether your baby prefers cold, warm or room-temperature formula, you might want to thing of a different way to store formula.

According to the CDC (Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention), formula does not need to be warmed before feeding. So, your baby could potentially be happy with just drinking room-temperature or even cold milk. There are lots of parents that do this!

However, there are experts that still recommend you give your baby warm milk, particularly newborns and younger babies. That is because warmed milk is easier for your baby to digest, as they don’t need to use extra energy to warm it up in their tummy. And warm milk is less likely to cause tummy pain.

Further to that, when babies are breastfed, milk is naturally at body temperature, so babies usually prefer milk that’s warmed to body or room temperature when they are feeding from a bottle. Some babies might even refuse the bottle is the formula or milk is not to a temperature of their liking!

We personally were never given a choice: we were told to warm the milk before giving it to our daughter and we never questioned it. Had we known this earlier, we would have probably tried offering formula at room temperature or cold to our daughter to see if she liked it, so that we didn’t have to worry about warming it at night.

Related: Baby Suddenly Refusing Bottle (Why & 19 Things to Try!)

Guidelines for Storing Formula

Another important thing to understand is how long formula lasts after you’ve mixed it with water. This has a huge impact on how you decide to store formula at night.

  • Formula needs to be used within 2 hours from when the bottle was prepared, or
  • Within one hour from when the feeding begins
  • Formula can be also stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In this case, you need to place the formula in the fridge as soon as it is prepared: ideally, it should be placed in the fridge immediately after preparation.

These guidelines are to prevent bacterial growth in the milk which could upset your baby’s stomach.

As you can see, depending on how often your baby wakes up for a feed and what time you go to bed, your only option might be to store formula in the fridge. However, if baby is still little, and you know they are going to wake up within two hours of you going to bed, you could prepare a bottle just before you go to sleep and store it outside.

How to Store Formula Milk for Night Feeds

Without further ado, whether you are going to keep the bottles in or outside the fridge, here’s 6 different solutions on how to store formula milk for nights feeds:

  1. Leave Formula Out at Room Temperature
  2. Use a Bottle Warmer with a Cooler
  3. Use a Small Cooler
  4. Store it in a Formula Mixer in the Fridge
  5. Wrap the Bottle with a Heating Pad
  6. Store in Multiple Bottles in the Fridge

No matter what solution you choose, I highly recommend you prep your bottles in the evening before going to bed. This will save you valuable time at night as at least you won’t have to measure the right amount of water and formula while you are still half asleep.

The only exception to this “rule” is if you are using a Formula Dispenser Machine that makes a bottle for you instantly, or if you are using some of the other tips below on how to prepare and warm formula in record time.

how to store formula at night

1) Leave Formula Out at Room Temperature

The first solution is very simple and consists in leaving a prepped bottle out at room temperature. As I mentioned above, this will only work if you know your baby is going to wake up and feed within two hours of you making the bottle. And it will probably only work for the first bottle of the night.

It will also work particularly well if your baby is happy with room-temperature milk, as you don’t even have to worry about warming it up.

2) Use a Bottle Warmer with a Cooler

A Bottle Warmer with a Cooler is a great gadget that keeps up to 2 bottles cool at night (for up to 8 hours), without having to keep them in the fridge, and it also includes a warmer. While you will still have to wait for it to warm the bottle, at least you don’t have to walk all the way to the fridge to get one.

This solution could work very well with the one above if your baby is still feeding frequently: you could leave the first bottle of the night outside at room temperature, and the other bottles in the cooler.

>> Bottle Warmer with Cooler on Amazon here <<

3) Use a Small Cooler

You don’t necessarily have to buy the bottle warmer with cooler above: you can also just use a normal small cooler with some ice like this one, and keep it in your bedroom or the nursery. This is also a perfect tip if you are traveling or flying with a baby.

As long as you use ice, your bottles should last up to 8 hours in there as well.

The only disadvantage with a normal cooler is that you still need to warm up the bottle when baby wakes up, using a bottle warmer like the one below for example. Unless your baby is happy with cold formula that is – then you are in luck!

>> Small Cooler on Amazon here <<

>> Philips Avent Baby Bottle Warmer on Amazon here <<

4) Store it in a Formula Mixer in the Fridge

Isn’t it annoying to open the tin of formula, measure the water, measure the formula and shake the bottle every time? What if you could prepare a big jar of formula in the morning, and pour it in your baby’s bottle throughout the day?

Well, a formula mixer does just that: you do it in the morning, store it in the fridge, and forget about it till the next day. So, you could use the same formula throughout the night as well.

The advantage of leaving the formula in the formula mixer, compared to storing it in separate bottles, is that you only pour the correct amount of formula in the bottle when you need it, minimizing any waste. When pre-making bottles, I remember I always used to over-fill them to make sure my daughter would have enough. However, depending on what time she woke up and how long it had been since the previous feed, she often didn’t finish it and I had to discard of the leftover.

>> Formula Mixer on Amazon here <<

5) Wrap the Bottle with a Heating Pad

This is actually one of my best tips on how to keep a bottle warm for night feeds, in case your baby prefers to drink warm formula instead of cold one. Prepare the bottle in the evening and just use a heating pad on the lowest setting to wrap it around it: make sure to keep it a little bit open so that it doesn’t get too hot.

The main disadvantage is that, like I mentioned at the beginning, you can’t use it the whole night, as bottles can stay out the fridge for so long. However, it could work quite if the temperature in your house is quite cold – so leaving the bottle at room temperature means the milk will actually not be warm at all.

>> Heating Pad on Amazon here <<

6) Store in Multiple Bottles in the Fridge

The last and probably most straight forward solution on how to store formula milk or prepare bottles for night feeds is to prep the bottles with formula during the day and store them in the fridge. This way, all you need to do when baby wakes up is get the bottle from the fridge and warm it up (if baby prefers warm milk).

My only recommendations with this solution are to:

  • Make sure you have enough bottles to get you through the night: the last thing you want is to run out of bottles in the middle of the night!
  • Make sure you fill the bottles with enough formula to satisfy your baby’s hunger: you’ll hate having to top up if baby finishes the bottle and he/she’s still hungry.
how to store formula for night feeds

Other Tips to Prepare and Warm up Formula in record time

The following extra tips can really help speeding up the whole preparing and warming up the formula, particularly at night when you really want the bottle to be ready as soon as possible once baby wakes up.

1) Get a Formula Dispenser Machine

This has got to be my ultimate formula feeding tip, and I so wish I knew about this one when I had my first daughter ! A Formula Dispenser Machine / Formula Maker is an amazing gadget that will automatically mix and dispense the formula for you at the press of a button – no more need to store formula at night!.

It allows you to set the formula concentration, temperature and milk volume. Plus, because the water is kept warm (for up to 24h), it will dispense the formula in the bottle immediately – no more waiting for the milk to warm up. How useful and easy is that?!

Related: 25 Formula & Bottle Feeding Tips (to Make it Easier!)

>> Formula Maker on Amazon here <<

2) Find the Perfect Balance of Hot and Cold Water

If you prefer to feed your baby warm formula, but hate or can’t be bothered waiting for the formula to warm up in a bottle warmer, then this tip is for you. You can use it at night, when out and about, or even during the day.

All you need to do is find the perfect balance of hot / boiling and room temperature water, so that by mixing the two with formula you will instantly get milk at the perfect temperature. Just make sure to always check the temperature of the water before mixing the formula in: it should feel warm, not too hot nor too cold.

EXTRA TIP: when you are outside, don’t be shy to ask for boiling water in cafes, bars or restaurants. People are extremely understanding and will gladly make you a favor. We went through I don’t know how may restaurants at the airports asking for boiling water, and nobody ever turned us away. When flying, you can ask the flying attendants for some boiling water.

3) Use a Crockpot

If you don’t you want to spend money for a bottle warmer but you you have a crock pot, then you can just put water in your crockpot before going to bed and leave it on low at night, so that you can warm bottles up quickly during the night.

The actual advantage compared to a normal bottle warmer is that you can leave it on the whole night, so that the water will be already at the perfect temperature when you need to put the bottle in. With a bottle warmer, instead, you need to wait for it to warm the water up first, plus you cannot leave it on the whole night.

>> Crock Pot on Amazon here <<

4) Use a Kettle that keeps the Water at the Right Temperature

Can you believe there are kettles that keep the water at a constant temperature?? These are perfect for the water for the bottles: you can leave the kettle on the whole night and, not matter what time baby wakes up, the water will be already ready at the perfect temperature to be mixed with the formula.

The Baby Formula Water Kettle below only takes 30s for the water to reach the desired temperature, so you could even use it during the day to prepare a bottle in record time. It has a capacity of 1.2L and turns off automatically when it runs out of water.

>> Baby Formula Water Kettle on Amazon here <<

5) Use a Portable Bottle Warmer

A Portable Baby Bottle Warmer is another perfect option to keep the water for the bottle warm at night. Pour in hot water before going to bed and it should be at the perfect temperature when baby wakes up for a feed, ready for you to mix the formula in

The great thing about a Portable Baby Bottle Warmer is that you can also take it with you when going outside with your baby. In fact, it’s one of my best tips for warming the bottle when on the go.

>> Portable Baby Bottle Warmer on Amazon here <<

FAQs

Can you pre-make formula for night feeds?

Of course you can! Just remember the guidelines when storing formula:

  • Formula needs to be used within 2 hours from when the bottle was prepared, or
  • Within one hour from when the feeding begins
  • Formula can be also stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. In this case, you need to place the formula in the fridge as soon as it is prepared: ideally, it should be placed in the fridge immediately after preparation.
How long can you keep formula once made up?

Refer to the guidelines above. Formula will last up to 2 hours after being made, or up to 24 hours if stored in the fride.

How do you prepare a bottle for night feeds?

The same way you would prepare a bottle during the day. The only difference is that for the night it’s much more convenient if you pre-make the bottles in the evening and store them for the night feeds.

You could use a formula dispenser machine if you want something that makes up a bottle in record time at the press of a button, or a formula mixer if you want to prepare formula in bulk.

How can I make formula feed easier at night?

There are lots of tips on how to make formula feeds easier at night by speeding up the process of making and warming a bottle. Some are listed above, plus here you can also find tips on how to keep baby bottles warm at night. For some more general formula feeding tips, also read this article.

Is it safe to reheat baby's milk?

No matter if it’s breastmilk or formula, never reheat baby’s milk! I know it’s hard having to throw away a lot of formula if your baby doesn’t finish the bottle, but reheating it is strongly discouraged, as it will helps bacteria thrive and multiply.

If you think your baby will still be hungry within an hour of starting the bottle, remember it’s still safe to re-offer the same bottle if you’ve left it at room temperature.

How to Store Formula Milk for Night Feeds: Final Thoughts

Here it is mama, all my different solutions on how to store formula milk for night feeds and my best tips for formula feeding at night. I really hope you’ve found the information above helpful and that you will find the routine that works for you.

We personally used a portable bottle warmer most of the time at night, so that we could have water already at the right temperature and just mix in the formula. But also made a lot of bottles on the spot by mixing hot and cold water. That really worked for us and I remember the relief when we finally figured out our nigh time routine with our daughter, and night feeds were not such a burden anymore.

Finally, another tip that I usually give new parents that are bottle feeding for the first time is “take turns if and when you can at night”! If you have a partner living with you, remember you are in this together, and the support you’ll give each other will make all the difference.

For more tips and information on formula and bottle feeding, also check out these related posts:


Are you a mom who’s formula feeding and you have a questions with regards to any of the information provided above? Or have you already been formula feeding for a while and have more tips that are not listed here? Then please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!

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Tips to store formula for night feeds

4 thoughts on “How to Store Formula Milk for Night Feeds (6 Solutions to Fit your Needs!)”

  1. Wow, all of this information is Greek to me, since I breastfed, but I like to be informed since we’d like to have another child and anything can happen. I had no clue about formula mixers, especially.

  2. This is such a comprehensive guide for anyone formula feeding. I didn’t know you could get a portable warmer that is very handy indeed! Thanks for linking up to #ForTheLoveofBlog.

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