There are lots of different reasons that you may bottle-feed your baby.
You may have simply chosen to formula-feed your baby from birth. You may end up needing to or wanting to supplement your baby with formula or even donor milk if you are breastfeeding. You may need to switch from breastfeeding to formula feeding. You may decide to exclusively pump and only feed your baby pumped breastmilk. You may need to supplement your baby with pumped breastmilk while you are at work or away for any other reason.
Whatever your reason is for bottle-feeding your baby, you should try to be as prepare as best as possible once you do make the decision to bottle-feed your baby. There are a few things that you will definitely want to have ahead of time, so that you can ensure that things go as smoothly as possible for you and your baby in your bottle-feeding journey.
Your Bottle-Feeding Checklist
When it comes to preparing for bottle-feeding, there are a lot of options out there. We have created this easy list for you to go off of, so that you don’t get overwhelmed by everything out there. Below, we have listed 6 must-have items for bottle feeding for babies! That way you have a quick and easy checklist to reference as you prepare for bottle-feeding your baby!
Bottles and Nipples
Here is the most obvious bottle-feeding essential item! You are obviously going to need bottles and nipples in order to bottle-feed your baby. The big question that a lot of people ask, though, is “How many baby bottles do I need?” This can depend on a few things. If you will be bottle-feeding your baby full-time, you will probably want a minimum of 12 bottles. That would give you enough to only need to wash bottles once a day even if your baby eats every 2 hours.
Of course, a lot of parents seem to think the more bottles, the better. The more you have, the less often you have to wash them. As far as nipples go, you will definitely want to have enough nipples for each of your bottles to have its own nipple. That way it is easy to keep things organized and you can just clean everything all at once. If anything, you would want to have extra bottle nipples in case one goes missing or gets damaged somehow.
You will want to start with slow-flow nipples for younger babies. As your baby gets older, you can switch to medium-flow nipples and/or even fast-flow nipples. Of course, if you are supplementing anything in a bottle for a breastfed baby, you may want to consider sticking to slow-flow nipples even as they get older. This will just help prevent nipple confusion for the baby.
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Another must-have bottle-feeding item is a good bottle brush. You’ll need a way to effectively wash your bottles. It is hard and sometimes impossible to get down into bottles to properly clean them with your typical dish washing tools. This is one specialized item that you definitely want to have. With a good bottle brush, you can easily get down into the bottle and effectively clean it.
Bottle brushes work quickly and easily to properly clean your bottles. You really want to get a bottle brush that doubles as a nipple brush as well. Bottle brushes like this have a bottle brush on one end and a nipple brush on the other end. This allows you to more effectively and easily clean your bottle nipples as well!
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Another great item that you will definitely want to have for cleaning your bottles is a dishwasher basket! A dishwasher basket is simply a container made to hold your nipples and bottle lids in the dishwasher. It is a dishwasher-safe plastic container that is full of holes on all sides of it. This way, you can safely put your smaller bottle-feeding items into the dishwasher for super easy cleaning.
Without a dishwasher basket, you could easily lose smaller items like nipples and bottle lids in the dishwasher or just have them all fall to the bottom of the dishwasher. This would prevent them from being properly cleaned and make them a lot harder to get out. In a dishwasher basket, everything will get easily and effectively clean and you don’t have to worry about things getting separated or lost.
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One more item that will be very helpful for when you are cleaning your bottles is a drying rack! They make all sorts of great drying racks that are perfect for baby bottles. A drying rack is an important option because you want to make sure that your bottles dry completely before you use them again. This helps prevent outside contaminants from making it into your baby’s formula or milk when you fill the bottle. You also wouldn’t want water sitting in the bottle for a long time because it could lead to bacteria collecting or even the formation of mildew. The drying rack holds your baby bottles in a way that allows air to circulate around all sides and inside the bottle. That way they dry quickly and completely!
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Some people claim that bottle warmers aren’t really necessary, but I’m going to just have to disagree with that. Babies are designed for warm milk. They expect it and it serves a good purpose. You want the formula or breastmilk that you feed your baby to be around body temperature or slightly warmer. This is the most natural temperature for feeding your baby. It is the easiest on their body and the least likely temperature to upset them or disturb them. Some babies won’t even take a bottle that isn’t the right temperature.
Of course, you’ll have the option of using a bowl of warm water or hot water from the faucet to heat your baby bottles, but that seems like an awful lot of work. With all you’re already doing to take care of your baby, do you really want to add onto that? A bottle warmer makes it so simple and easy to warm your baby’s bottles to the perfect temperature much faster and easier than running hot water over a bottle or letting it sit in a bowl of water.
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Finally, you will want a good bottle sterilizer. Some people do opt to use a pot and boiling water to sterilize their bottles, but just like running hot water over a bottle every time, it seems like too much work. Plus, if you mess something up, you can accidentally melt your bottles if you’re using a pot of boiling water to sterilize them.
You will definitely need to sterilize your bottles before the first time that you use them. Then, you will want to sterilize them every so often afterwards just to makes sure they stay clean and safe for your baby. A bottle sterilizer makes this so easy and is very effective. You won’t have to worry about melting your bottles or nipples and can rest assured that they are properly sanitized with much less work on your part.
We created the above checklist to make sure you had an easy bottle-feeding checklist with our 6 must-have bottle-feeding items. However, there are still more bottle-feeding items out there that you may want to also consider having:
- Insulated bottle-cooler
- Special dish soap for babies
- Disposable bottle liners
Read our baby formula guidelines and choose the best organic formula for your baby.
Preparing for your baby can certainly be overwhelming. There are lots of decisions to make and tons of things that you need to get. Just try not to worry too much. If you decide to bottle-feed your baby, everything will be just fine as long as you keep the bottles clean and feed your baby when they’re hungry. It can be great to be prepared and have some special items to make things easier for yourself – just don’t stress yourself out over it!