Freezing powdered formula before mixing it with water is not recommended and doesn’t extend the formula’s shelf life. However, the liquid formula can be frozen to make teething popsicles but may not freeze as breast milk does. When using powdered formula, ensure there are no clumps by mixing thoroughly. Cold water is unsafe as the formula needs to come into contact with water around 70 degrees Celcius to kill the bacteria without ruining the nutrients. Follow the manufacturer’s preparation instructions using safe and sterile containers in a clean environment.
Teething can be a real pain in the buns. And knowing how to help manage the discomfort safely can feel impossible.
Add to the uncertainty regarding the safety of over-the-counter remedies, the sleepless nights, and the endless fussing. Yeah, and it isn’t pretty.
Then enter the milk popsicles, made from frozen breast or formula milk used to help soothe aching gums.
The simplicity behind this hack is stellar because most babies’ are too young to be given anything other than breast or formula milk, not even water, until six months.
But before you go all Elsa on your milk stash, are formula milk popsicles recommended for your little ones?
Reasons why you shouldn’t freeze formula milk for a teething baby
While formula popsicles seem like an excellent idea, they’re not recommended for many reasons.
They’re not advised for babies, despite how tasty they may seem.
Below are a few reasons why formula popsicles are not prohibited but are not recommended either.
1. Frozen formula milk may promote bacterial growth.
Contrary to breastmilk, baby formula is not sterile and may include dangerous bacteria that can spread during bottle preparation.
To help kill any germs and bacteria present during bottle preparation, you should not use a water cooler than 70 degrees.
2. Possibility of the formula separating
Contrary to breast and cow milk, there’s an excellent likelihood that formula milk will separate and lose its flavor, which the FDA does not recommend.
The parents who experimented agreed that the formula milk popsicle’s composition and flavor had changed.
3. Nutritional composition harm
Even though there’s not enough concrete proof regarding how much formula milk can be impacted in its frozen state, we know that even breast milk loses some nutrients in rigid milk form.
Defrosted infant formula may lose its composition as well as some of its nutritional value.
How to safely make teething popsicles with formula milk
Freezing baby formula is convenient but should be done correctly to ensure it is safe for your baby’s consumption.
It saves you time and lets you slowly thaw for use later in the day. Frozen popsicles will help soothe your baby when teething.
1. Gather supplies
Before preparing the formula for freezing, it is best to gather all the ingredients, tools, and containers, like an ice cube tray or popsicle mold, needed to make the formula popsicles.
2. Clean your hands properly
Our hands are breeding grounds for lots of bacteria which can easily be transferred to the baby’s formula when creating formula popsicles.
Therefore, before preparing your baby’s food, formula, and popsicles, it is essential that you thoroughly wash your hands.
3. Determining formula quantity
Determine how much formula is needed before freezing to ensure you can use it all before it expires.
Making a small batch of formula popsicles is best if you plan to use them sparingly.
However, it might be best to make a larger batch to save time if you plan to use them often, especially if your baby is teething.
4. Follow the formula manufacturer’s instructions
The formula manufacturer provides all instructions needed to mix the formula on the packaging container.
The packaging may also include information about the formula’s suitability for freezing because some ingredients may not work.
5. Use safe, sterilized containers
Sterilize heat-proof glass or silicon popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or cupcake tins by submerging them in boiling water and letting them stand for about 15 minutes.
Remove the containers from the water using sterilized tongs and allow them to air dry.
6. Mix the formula
Mix the formula in a sterilized container such as a pitcher using the number of scoops recommended by the manufacturer.
Mixing the formula in a pitcher makes pouring it into the popsicle molds easier.
7. Pour the mixed formula into the containers
Carefully pour the mixed formula into the sterilized popsicle molds.
Use a support rack or other support to hold the containers still while pouring the formula and clean any spillage on the rim or sides of the container.
8. Label and store the containers in the freezer
Label each container with the contents, creation date, and expiration date. Labeling the formula popsicles ensures you do not give your baby an expired popsicle.
Can you freeze powdered formula?
Refrain from freezing powdered milk before mixing it with water. Freezing powdered formula does not help to extend its shelf life.
Instead, the powdered formula should be kept in tightly sealed containers in a cool, dry pantry to help maintain its freshness.
Freezing powdered formula may cause it to separate when mixing with water, and it may not blend better.
How long can baby formula last frozen?
When properly prepared and stored in the freezer, baby formula can last up to 5 months.
Freezing baby formula helps when planning to travel and transporting the formula in a cooler box.
But it is advisable to give your baby thawed formula within 24 hours.
What to do with the leftover formula?
You can use the leftover formula you don’t want to waste differently to save it for later use.
Even powdered formula can become stale after a while, and if you have more than you need, consider giving it away or using it in baby recipes such as pancakes, puddings, and brownies.
You can also feed it to your pet.
Based on research, It is not safe to freeze formula milk for the reasons mentioned above.
However, breastmilk popsicles, refrigerated teethers, gum massage, fruit popsicles, and other natural methods are well-known to ease teething pain in babies.
With that said, teething can be managed at home with a few home-based remedies but do contact your pediatrician if your little one is uncontrollably uncomfortable or cranky.