Determining A Can of Formula’s Preparation Capacity
How long a can of baby formula lasts depends on how big the tub is, the age of your baby, and the size of the bottles you are making. On average, a single 12.5 ounce can of formula lasts for three days no matter the age of your baby or the size of the bottles you are making.
Wondering how many tubs of formula you need to buy for your baby?
Not sure how much these tubs will cost since you don’t know the answer to how long does 1 can of formula last?
Worried you might run out of formula in the middle of the night?
Running out of formula during the day or night is a real fear, many new and experienced parents have. Stocking up on formula is the best way to prevent that from happening, but sometimes money is an issue.
That is why, knowing the answer to how long does a can of baby formula last helps you plan.
How Long Does a Container of Baby Formula Last?
New parents might be overwhelmed with all of the different types and baby formula brands. Most major brands like Enfamil, Similac and Gerber make a liquid formula in addition to the powder formula.
The liquid formula comes in concentrated or ready to feed forms. It is measured in fluid ounces, so determining how much you need is straight forward.
The powder cans of formula are measured in ounces as well, but it is in dry ounces, so it’s done by weight. Here, when we talk about how long does a can of formula last, we are referring to standard powder baby formula, not liquid or specialized powder baby formulas.
How Many Cans of Formula Per Month?
How many cans of formula a month your baby needs vary based on the size of the can you are purchasing. Standard sizing of formula cans includes 12.5 ounces, 30 ounces and 35 ounces.
If you opt for the smallest cans, which typically weigh 12.5 ounces, they last about 3 days on average for a baby. For a one-month supply, you are looking at 10 to 15 cans a month.
A 30-ounce tub of powdered baby formula lasts between 8 to 11 days for a newborn, 5 to 8 days for infants between 2 to 4 months, and 5 days for toddlers 6 months and older. You will need about four cans a month for newborns, and for babies 2 months and up, you will need six cans.
For the bulk size cans of formula, which typically weigh 35 ounces, newborns need about four cans for an entire month’s supply; for infants 2 to 4 months and older babies, you typically need 4 to 5 cans a month.
This table summarizes the duration a typical can of powder formula will last:
Standard Can Size
Number of days a container of formula can last
Newborn (0 to 2 months)
2 to 4 months old
6 months & older
3 – 4 days
2 – 3 days
2 – 3 days
8 – 11 days
5 – 8 days
5 – 6 days
9 – 12 days
6 – 9 days
5 – 7 days
Calculating Fluid Ounces for A Formula Can
While powder formula is in a solid form, your baby needs to digest it in liquid form. When talking about powder formula estimation, we estimate based on fluid ounces, since when measuring water or anything liquid, fluid ounces is used instead of dry ounces.
To figure out how many fluid ounces each can of powdered baby formula makes, this calculation below proves to be helpful:
[(dry ounces of powder formula) x 2] / 2= Total fluid ounces in one can
The nice thing about measuring in fluid ounces is that you are making more liquid formula when you mix the powder with water than what you calculate, which means your can might last a little bit longer on average. For example, a 6-ounce baby bottle tends to be closer to 7-ounces.
To help you visualize the estimation, here’s a simple table of common formula brands and the total fluid ounces a container can make based on the calculation formula as mentioned earlier:
Standard can size
Average Generic Formula Brand
Small Can (12.5 ounces)
83 fl oz.
83 fl oz.
83 fl oz.
Large Can (20 -22 ounces)
141 fl oz.
138 fl oz.
155 fl oz.
133 fl oz.
143 fl oz.
Bulk Cans (30 – 36 ounces)
202 fl oz.
209 fl oz.
240 fl oz.
221 fl oz.
Note that the above is just a guideline. Each brand of powder baby formula makes a different amount of formula for your baby. All powder formula containers come with a scoop you use to measure the powdered formula.
Generally, this scoop measures out 0.3 ounces of powder. The usual procedure is that you mix one scoop of powder with 2 ounces of water.
How Many Bottles Does a Can of Formula Make?
Once you know how many fluid ounces a can of powdered baby formula makes, you can figure out just how long that can will last by figuring out how many bottles you can get from each can.
You will notice that the older your baby gets, the more they will eat at once. On average, newborns drink between 1 to 3 ounces every 3 to 4 hours, infants 2 to 4 months old consume 4 to 6 ounces every 4 to 5 hours, and babies 6 months and older drink 6 to 8 ounces every 4 to 6 hours.
Check this video to know how to make baby formula and storing it properly after mixing:
Estimating Number of Bottles Per Can
When looking at how much and how often babies drink formula, you can estimate how many bottles per day. Newborns average 6 to 8 small bottles each day, infants drink 4 to 6 medium-sized ones, and older babies consume 4 to 5 full-sized bottles each day, in addition to solid foods.
Number of 3-ounce Bottles
Number of 4-ounce Bottles
Number of 6-ounce Bottles
Number of 8-ounce Bottles
How Long Does Powder Formula Last Once Open?
Once you open the powder baby formula container, you might want to know how long does powder baby formula last. Once the container of baby formula has been opened, it will keep for up to one month. Once you start mixing the powder baby formula with water to make bottles, things change.
How Long Does Prepared Formula Last at Room Temperature?
Once the baby formula powder is mixed with water, it will keep for a maximum of 2 hours as long as the baby doesn’t drink any of it, and you don’t heat it up. Always consult the back of the tub for more detailed information, as some brands recommend 1 hour.
How Long is a Formula Bottle Good for in the Refrigerator?
If you mix the baby formula ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, it will last 24 hours as long as it remains untouched. For example, if you mix a large batch of formula and pour it into bottles as needed. The refrigerator temperature should be 40°F or lower for ideal storage conditions.
Can I Safely Store Partially Used Bottles?
Never keep or store partially used bottles for babies to drink later. If a baby drinks from the bottle but doesn’t finish it, you can hang on to it for up to 1 hour if kept at room temperature. The problem with partially consumed bottles is bacteria, which starts growing as soon as the baby takes their first drink.
Bacteria is also a problem with heated bottles. Once a bottle has been heated up, use it within an hour. Anything left after the hour is up should be discarded right away. This applies even if you heat the bottle up, and your baby doesn’t drink from it.
Knowing how long does baby formula last helps you plan ahead to ensure you don’t run out of formula for your baby. When it comes to answering formula lasts how long, the answer depends on the size of the container, the age of your baby, and how many ounces they are drinking.
Typically, parents go through about 4 to 5 of the 35-ounce or bulk size cans of formula. The good news is, when left unopened, these large tubs of powdered formula last for several months.
Hope this article helps you understand how long does 1 can of formula last with our baby formula estimation when parenting your babies!
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns about how long does formula last, please feel free to add to this discussion by leaving a comment below.