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How Long Does a Can of Baby Formula Last? (With Monthly Costs)

How Long Does a Can of Baby Formula Last? (With Monthly Costs)

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Just how long does a can of baby formula last? If you’ve ever used formula to feed your baby, you know how important it is to stay stocked up, especially in the seemingly unending era of formula shortages. Whether you’re trying to plan ahead, budget child expenses, or save money, it’s helpful to know exactly how long a can of baby formula will last.

On average, a 12.5 oz. can of baby formula should last about 3-4 days for a newborn (0-2 months old), 2-3 days for an infant (2-4 months old), and 2-3 days for a 6+ month-old. Standard (30oz) and bulk (35oz+) formula sizes will last longer and provide more value.

Keep reading to learn how to estimate how much formula you’ll need based on the age of your baby and the type of formula you buy.

With formula shortages, it's especially important to monitor your formula inventory

How long does a can of baby formula last?

Although there are many different types of baby formula, most major brands make about the same amount of liquid formula per ounce of powder. All of the numbers below are based on the standard powdered formula product for each company type. If you use a more specialized formula (organic, anti-colic, soy-based, etc.) you can easily calculate your own estimate for how long your formula will last.

In general, the smallest portions of baby formula that you can buy (around 12 oz by weight) will only last a few days for babies of all ages. An entire month’s supply of baby formula will end up being about 120-130 ounces of baby formula or 4 bulk-sized baby formula containers.

Knowing that you will need so much formula each month will allow you to prepare your budget more carefully to ensure that you have enough on hand. Keep in mind that your baby will eat more as time goes on. Your pediatrician can give you some guidelines for the upper limits of daily formula intake based on your child’s needs.

It’s my recommendation that you go ahead and buy the biggest containers that you can find once you know the brand or type of formula that you want to use to save the most money possible.

We’ll go into more ways on how to save money on formula later on, but first, let’s go a little deeper into how much formula you should expect to get out of a standard size of formula.

How many ounces does a container of formula make?

Each container of powdered formula makes a different amount of liquid formula for your baby to drink.

Here are some of the most common brands and sizes you’ll encounter, along with how many ounces of liquid formula each can will make:

Ounces of prepared formula by brand and container size

Enfamil Infant PowderSimilac AdvanceAverage Generic Brand
Small can (about 12.5 oz)83 fluid ounces83 fluid ounces83 fluid ounces
Large can (about 22 oz)141 fluid ounces155 fluid ounces143 fluid ounces
Bulk Refills (about 30-36 oz)202 fluid ounces240 fluid ounces221 fluid ounces

For most types of formula, each scoop included with the can uses approximately 0.3 oz (8.8 g) of powdered formula. Most formula companies have you add one scoop of powdered formula to 2 fluid ounces of water. That means you end up using 0.3 oz of your formula to make about 2 fluid ounces of formula. No matter what type of formula you’re using, it’s easy to find out how many fluid ounces of formula your powdered container makes!

Just plug your info into the following calculation:

The nice thing is, when you mix the powdered formula with water, you’ll actually make slightly more liquid formula than you’re calculating. When you mix a 6-ounce bottle of formula, for example, you end up with closer to 7-ounces of food for your baby.

More food per bottle means that each can of formula will last longer before you run out.

How many bottles does a can of formula make?

Now that we know how much formula each can will make, we can figure out how long our formula will last before we need to take a trip to the store.

As your baby gets bigger, you’ll notice they’ll eat more with each feeding. There are many estimates out there for how much formula your baby will eat each day, but here’s the general consensus:

  • Newborn (0-2 months): 1-3 oz each feeding every 3-4 hours
  • Infant (2-4 months): 4-6 oz each feeding every 4-5 hours
  • 6+ months: 6-8 oz each feeding every 4-6 hours (no more than 36-40 oz in 24 hours)

Carefully measure your formula to get the most out of every can

A newborn will usually eat 6-8 small bottles each day, an infant will usually eat 4-6 medium bottles a day, and an older baby will usually eat 4-5 full bottles of formula each day.

While you can start introducing solid foods at 6 months, solids typically don’t provide a significant portion of your baby’s daily nutrition until they become better at eating at closer to 9 months.


Using the standard sizing for cans of formula, here’s about how many bottles one can of powdered formula will make:

How many bottles of formula made by size of container and age

Number of Newborn bottles (3oz)Number of Infant bottles (6oz)Number of Full Bottles (8oz)
12.5 oz can27 bottles13 bottles10 bottles
30 oz can66 bottles33 bottles25 bottles
35 oz can of formula77 bottles38 bottles29 bottles

How long does a 12.5 oz can of formula last?

On average, a 12.5-ounce can of formula will last:

  • Newborn (0-2 months): 3-4 days
  • Infant (2-4 months): 2-3 days
  • 6+ months: 2-3 days

How long does a 30 oz can of formula last?

On average, a 30-ounce can of formula will last:

  • Newborn (0-2 months): 8-11 days
  • Infant (2-4 months): 5-8 days
  • 6+ months: 5-6 days

How long does 35 oz of formula last?

On average, a 35-ounce can of formula will last:

  • Newborn (0-2 months): 9-12 days
  • Infant (2-4 months): 6-9 days
  • 6+ months: 5-7 days

If your child eats starts to eat a lot of solid foods, your formula usage will plateau even though your baby continues to grow and requires more nutrition. But, keep in mind that some babies always seem to be hungry, and some are more casual about their eating.

Concentrated and ready-to-feed baby formula

Concentrated and ready-to-feed formulas are typically much more expensive per ounce than powdered formulas.

For ready-to-feed formula, you don’t add water or anything else, so the number of ounces on the package is exactly how much it serves your baby. Ready-to-feed formula bottles come in single-serve 2-ounce nursette bottles or in large jugs that you pour into your own bottles”

Concentrated liquid formula also comes in cans or large jugs, and you just add water. The nutritional label on the can will tell you how many ounces are in the container. For example, it might say there are 13 5-ounce servings.

For both concentrated and ready-to-feed formula, your baby’s nutritional needs are the same as for powdered formula:

  • Newborn (0-2 months): 1-3 oz each feeding every 3-4 hours
  • Infant (2-4 months): 4-6 oz each feeding every 4-5 hours
  • 6+ months: 6-8 oz each feeding every 4-6 hours (no more than 36-40 oz in 24 hours)

Can a baby drink too much formula?

Be prepared to review your child’s formula consumption at each pediatrician’s visit because too much liquid in a 24-hour period can stress a baby’s kidneys.

With a bit of observation, you’ll find how long formula usually lasts for your child.

How long does baby formula last before it goes bad?

Whether it’s been opened or not, formula can go bad. Knowing how much formula your baby is likely to eat can help you avoid throwing away bad baby formula.

In general, you should expect prepared baby formula to last just a couple of hours when left out and around 48 hours if you refrigerate the bottle. If you want to learn more, check out my resource on how long formula lasts once opened.

Monitoring your formula inventory will help your baby stay happy!

How to store unopened baby formula

Manufacturers of formula must include storage instructions, so it is always best to follow the recommendations that come with your formula.

In general, store formula in a cool, dry place that is indoors. Do not store it in a garage, crawl space, or other places where the temperature is not regulated.

You should not freeze formula because it can cause the ingredients to separate

How long does unopened baby formula last?

The Food and Drug Administration requires that all baby formula be marked with a “use by” date. This is the date that the manufacturer guarantees the nutritional content of the formula. The FDA recommends disposing of the formula after this date, even if the can is unopened.

How to get the most out of your baby formula

If you’ve bought formula for your baby, you know exactly how expensive it can be!

Here’s how to get the most out of your baby formula:

  • Only mix what you need. After reading this post, you should have a better idea of how much formula your baby will drink at each feeding. Don’t make more formula than you’ll need in a 24-hour period to avoid throwing it out.
  • Store your formula safely. Refrigerate prepared formula for up to 24 hours.
  • Keep a used bottle up to 1 hour. Once your baby starts a bottle, they can continue eating from that bottle for up to 1 hour. After that, you must discard the leftovers.
  • Buy in bulk. Most formula companies will offer great deals when you buy formula in bulk. Unopened powdered formula, when stored correctly, can last for months. Buying in bulk also helps you score free shipping if you’re ordering formula online.
  • Travel smart. If you’re out and about for the day, make sure you plan ahead when it comes to your formula. Packing a water bottle, powdered formula, and empty bottles makes it easy to mix on-site and keeps your formula fresh. That’s one of the benefits of powdered formula! If you’re wanting to pre-mix a bottle, make sure you keep it refrigerated while you’re traveling. An ice pack and cooler work well.
Joshua Bartlett
Joshua Bartlett

My name is Joshua Bartlett I run this blog with my wife Jarah. We have more than 11 years of parenting experience including three girls and one boy. I started this blog in late 2018 when I realized that I was dealing with baby-related issues on a constant basis…please read more about me here!

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