Every parent has found themselves panicking about running out of formula late at night and worried about how they will feed their baby. Fortunately, most people will have access to places that will sell formula late at night so I thought it would be a good idea to run through the list of options.
The best place to buy baby formula late at night is generally a superstore that is open 24-hours such as Walmart or a 24-hour drugstore such as CVS or Walgreens. Parents in smaller or more rural locations without 24-hour access should use a baby formula substitute based on powdered or evaporated milk.
The most important thing to do if you have found yourself without formula is to stay calm. There is almost always an option available for you to purchase formula or at least get you through the night!
The best places to buy baby formula late at night
The choices that an individual has when it comes to purchasing baby formula will obviously vary drastically based on where they live and the businesses they have available to them in the area.
These days, it’s very common for even smaller towns to have at least one 24-hour convenience store or superstore such as Walmart available to them at any hour of the day but I realize that this might not always be true for those living in the smallest towns or far enough away from town that travel becomes difficult.
With that in mind, I thought that I would sort this list in an order that will give you the best selection and price for baby formula and I’ll assume that you have access to all of them. If you don’t have access to one, simply move down the list until you find something that works for you.
Let’s actually start with Amazon for one important reason – price and selection.
Although a superstore will likely have a great selection and price, even Walmart doesn’t carry every brand and if you have chosen to use a special organic formula brand such as one of my favorites, Happy Baby Organic, then it’s unlikely you’ll find it late night.
With this in mind, I feel it’s best to go ahead and order what you want online to at least make sure it’s on the way within the next day or two. Then, you can get a small container of whatever you manage to find at a 24-hour store and not have to worry as much about it holding you over for too long.
Of course, there are also other brands of organic baby formula available on Amazon that you might prefer including their own Mama Bear brand that has an organic option.
For most people in the United States, a superstore like Walmart is probably your best and most realistic option.
If you didn’t know already, there are about 4,700 Walmart Supercenters spread around the country and it’s highly likely that you are within driving distance of one and odds are also good that it will be open late at night (10:00 PM) or even 24-hours.
Walmart should have pretty much all products available from major manufacturers like Enfamil, Gerber, and Similac as well as a couple of less common options such as Earth’s Best. Their store brand, Parent’s Choice, also offers formulations for babies with sensitivities or allergies that will let you save a little money at the same time.
Overall, you should try to find a big-box retailer such as Walmart first if you find yourself searching for formula late at night.
Similar to Walmart, even those located outside of a city will likely have a drugstore like CVS or Walgreens available nearby. In most cases, these stores will also be open late (around 10:00 PM) or even open 24 hours.
This option is listed third because while you are fairly likely to have access to the store, the actual selection and price at a drugstore will probably be worse than a supercenter or even a grocery store. Unfortunately, drugstores like these do often overlap a little with convenience stores when it comes to pricing on non-pharmacy items such as food, household goods, and baby formula.
Still, you should be able to find a formula that you can work with because they will offer a fair selection of different types of formula from major brands such as Enfamil, Similac, and Gerber.
When my son was born and we had a small freakout moment during the time my wife’s breastmilk supply was low we even managed to snag a container of Earth’s Best organic formula even if it was pretty pricey.
Even though Target is a major retailer that offers a wide variety of baby formula at a decent price I have to push them down on the list because they do not currently have any stores open with 24-hour schedules. In most cases, you will find that Target stores close at 10:00 PM although some are starting to stay open until midnight.
If you find yourself searching for baby formula before 10:00 PM then Target is a great place to look instead of a drugstore or convenience store because at least you know you won’t be overcharged.
Target carries all major baby formula brands such as Similac, Enfamil, and Gerber along with their store brand Up&Up which includes regular cow’s milk-based formula as well as specialty versions for sensitive stomachs and allergies.
Gas stations and convenience stores fall to the bottom of the list because they should usually be considered places of last resort.
In general, most gas stations won’t even carry baby formula and the ones that do will likely have it priced way higher than you would expect to pay in the store. Even though baby formula doesn’t expire quickly, you should also check the container’s expiration date because it might have been sitting on the shelf for a while.
Making your own baby formula in a pinch
I mentioned earlier that you might be able to get your baby through the night with a full stomach even without baby formula by making some for yourself.
Although not ideal, there are many things you can do if you find that you have ran out of baby formula using ingredients that you might have sitting in your pantry. Of course, this would just be a temporary substitute to provide some necessary calories to your baby and shouldn’t be a permanent substitute for any length of time.
To make temporary baby formula you will need:
- 13 oz of evaporated whole milk
- 19 oz of boiled and cooled water
- 2 tablespoons of white sugar.
You’ll combine all of these ingredients and stir them until the sugar is fully dissolved into the mixture and it has an even consistency. Anything that you don’t use for the initial feeding can be refrigerated for up to three days and the recipe will make about a quart of prepared formula substitute.
Keep in mind that the FDA regulates baby formula strictly for a reason and they do not recommend that parents make infant formulas at home because of potential health issues. With that being said, there is likely nothing wrong with using this recipe for one or two servings until you are able to get a new batch of quality formula for your baby!