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How Long Does a Can of Baby Formula Last? (Usage By Week, Month, Year)

There are not a lot of things worse than running out of formula in the middle of the night. In fact, it’s one of my biggest fears. I always double-check to make sure that the grandbaby has a nice little stock of formula to get him through.

My personal motto is that it’s always better to have a little too much than not enough. Besides, buying in bulk saves me money.

Because of this, I calculate how much formula he needs, and how often. So, it’s important to know how long a can of baby formula is going to last. 

How Long Will A Can Of Baby Formula Last?

In general, most cans of baby formula that are approximately the same size will make the same amount. If you’re in doubt, it should state somewhere on the back of the can how many ounces of formula the can will make.

I know of several brands that do, but there are bound to be a few that don’t as well so you’ll have to check the cans for the type of formula that you use. 

Small Cans Never Last Long

The smallest cans you can pick up, which are the ones that are about 12 ounces, will not last long. At most, the powder formula seems to last about 3 days for young infants. It lasts significantly less for older babies that drink more formula. 

Purchase The Largest Can You Can

Obviously, a larger can will make more baby formula. Because of this, they tend to last longer. Bulk cans are also much cheaper per ounce, so you save quite a bit of money in the long run.

I usually purchase the biggest I can unless I have a coupon to buy in bulk that saves me more money. Large cans can last a week or so, even if with older babies. 

Consider The Type Of Formula Being Used

Concentrate formula tends to last for a shorter period of time than powder formula. This is because you have to mix more concentrate with water than you do powder per bottler.

If you plan on using powder, you won’t need to buy as much as you would concentrate. 

You Need To Know Two Things To Figure This Out: How Much Formula A Can Makes, And How Much Formula Your Baby Eats

In order to figure out how much formula you need, you need to know how much your little one eats. You’ll also need to know how many ounces a can makes.

Although some people use concentrate, this is going to be based on powder formula because that is a bit more popular and more difficult to figure out.

You’ll also need to know how fast you’re going to go through that formula. The more your little one eats, the quicker you’ll go through a can of formula. 

How Much Your Baby Eats

Although every child is different, there are some basic guidelines that you can follow. For example, a newborn baby typically eats two ounces every 2-3 hours. So, that’s a total of 24 ounces every day. Here’s a table you can use as a quick reference guide. 

Age Typical Ounces Per Feeding/Number of Feedings Total Ounces Per Day
Newborn 1-2 ounces/ every 2 hours 12-24 ounces
2 weeks 2-3 ounces/ every 2 hours 24-36 ounces
2 months 4-5 ounces/ every 3-4 hours 24-40 ounces
4 months 4-6 ounces/ every 4 hours  24-36 ounces
6 months+ 7-8 ounces/ every 4-5 hours 42-48 ounces

Please keep in mind that the amount for a six-month-old baby may be significantly less than mentioned above. Most babies are beginning to eat baby food at this age.

Once your little one starts to eat more baby food, they will not eat as much formula. A four-month-old baby usually eats less for a little bit because they begin to sleep through the night. They will then start eating more during the day to make up for it. 

So, to figure out how much formula your little one will consume, I did the math, and: 

  • Newborn to two weeks your baby will eat 168-336 total ounces
  • 2 weeks to 2 months (I estimated this as 6 weeks) your baby will need 1008-1680 ounces
  • 2 months to 4 months (I estimated as 8 weeks so you might need to add a little for a five-week month) you’ll need 1344-2240 ounces
  • 4 months to 6 months (this was also estimated as 8 weeks) your baby will eat 1344-2016 ounces
  • 6-12 months (also based on months having 4 weeks) this was estimated to be 7056-8064 ounces

Now, we take those numbers and add them up to get your estimated yearly total.

Young woman choosing baby food in supermarket

While you might still need to buy a can or two because I estimated that months have 4 weeks, and some of them have 5, you can use this to get you through and buy an extra can towards the end of the first year if you need it. 

Overall, your baby will consume approximately 10,920-14,336 ounces of formula in the first year.

That’s a total of 122-160 12.5 ounce cans of powder formula, 78-103 19.4 ounce cans of formula, or 49-65 cans of formula that are 30.6 ounces. 

How Much Formula Does A Can Make?

Because smaller cans make less formula, you need to look at can size to determine how much formula it will make. This is in general, so it might be more or less a bottle depending on the brand of formula you use.

Remember, you can always double-check the can to see how much liquid formula it will make. Most cans of formula say this. If not, keep these numbers in mind: 

  • 12.5 ounce cans make approximately 90 ounces of formula 
  • 19.4 ounce cans make approximately 140 ounces of formula 
  • 30.6 ounce cans make approximately 221 ounces of formula 

Figuring Out How Long A Can Of Formula Will Last

To do this, simply take the total ounces of formula and divide it by how much your baby eats per day. For example, a 12.5 ounce can makes 90 ounces of formula.

So, to figure out how long that would last a newborn baby, we take 90 and divide it by 12 (or whatever the number of ounces per day your baby eats is.) The answer is 7.5.

This means if your baby continues to eat one ounce per feeding, a 12.5 ounce can last you a week. The following chart also tells you how long a can will last you based on age, and assuming babies drink the higher amount possible: 

How Long A Can Of Formula Will Last Based On Age

  12.5 ounce can (90 ounces formula) 19.4 ounce can (140 ounces formula) 30.6 ounce can (221 ounces of formula) 
Newborn 3.75  5.8  9.2 
2 weeks 2.5  3.8 6.1
2 months 2.25 3.5 5.5
4 months 2.5 3.8 6.1
6 months+ 1.8 2.9 4.6

Keep in mind that these numbers are based on your little one eating the larger amount instead of the smaller amount.

So, if your baby is only eating 12 ounces as a newborn instead of the 24 I used to make the chart, you can trust that your can of formula will last a little bit longer.

In Conclusion

A smaller can of formula will usually not last you longer than a few days. Larger cans can last up to a week or more and are typically easier on the bank account.

They cost more overall but are cheaper per ounce so you wind up saving money in the long run. Use the charts above to make sure that you’ve got plenty of formula put back for your little one.