First of all, should you choose to bottle feed with formula, you’re going to get an earful from the “breast is best” community on why you should reconsider for the sake of your baby’s health. We believe shaming parents for any reason is totally unacceptable and you shouldn’t shame yourself either for any decision you make regarding feeding your baby! To help you become more informed and feel less guilty about formula feeding (especially if you’re beating yourself up about it), read this recent sibling study, published in the journal of Social & Science Medicine, that shows the benefits of breastfeeding have been overstated and there’s little difference between breast-fed and bottle-fed babies. That should make you feel a little bit better about the whole debate!
That said, even if you’re supplementing with pumped breast milk, you’ll need to decide on which bottles and nipples to use and which method by which you’ll clean them all. Then you’ll need to choose which formula to deliver in it. Oh, the baby decisions…they never end!
Lets’ start with the bottles – you have a myriad of choices out there and all sorts of different opinions regarding which ones are best. Of course, all we can do is offer you what worked best for us, based on the initial research we did and the luck of the draw. Really, the ultimate result is a bottle system that is safe, effective, and convenient. And without a doubt, you want it to be BPA Free.
Glass bottles are a really great idea environmentally, but the worst idea practically (breaking them is inevitable and so-oo dangerous!). When we asked some friends in our moms’ group which bottles they really liked, we got as many different answers as moms that were asked! So again, it’s really not as much of a crucial decision as it is a necessary one. And if you find a certain bottle system isn’t working for your baby and you…by all means, try something else!
Here is the bottle system we use and recommend:
Born Free Bottle System
Not only are they BPA free, but in recent studies, it seems these bottles have the best results in staying BPA free for the longest amount of time (See Study). Sanitize them according to the manufacturer’s directions and store them on a drying rack (see below).
- Buy two (or four) newborn-size 5-ounce, classic or deco bottles to start.
- At 5 weeks, buy two (or six!) of the 9-ounce bottles (classic or deco) because you will be delivering more than 4 ounces per feeding, starting at that point.
- Start out using the Born Free, level 1 nipple size and buy an extra two, 2-packs.
- You’ll want to buy and use the level 2 nipple size at around 3 months.
- Buy and use level 3 nipple size at around 6 months.
Don’t make the mistake we did of hand washing bottles and nipples for the first six months. We will never do that again! Ironically, we thought it was more sanitary than dishwashing and it’s NOT! It’s incredibly time-consuming and tedious. Save yourself the trouble and use a dishwasher basket from day one! The Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket is quite good and you can just leave it in the dishwasher. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of giving the bottles an extra rinse with sink water after taking them out of the dishwasher, just to make them ultra-sanitary.
We use the First Years Spinning Drying Rack, but we’ve never used anything else and we see the choice as whatever you can live with on your counter! We didn’t make a special space for bottles in the cabinets, so we just left the clean bottles and nipples (and later the sippy cups) on it all the time. It’s super easy to clean too.
When you find you need to quickly hand wash a bottle (and you will), the Munchkin Deluxe Bottle Brush is ideal because it can stand up, suctioned to your sink counter. Plus, the small nipple brush is located IN the handle – a two-fer! It’s a simple and convenient little product.
In the hospital, the nurses will probably start your baby on the very convenient, Enfamil newborn, ready-mixed, individual bottles with nipples. Use them while you’re recovering and adjusting, then when you get home switch to the cheaper to use, dry formula and mix it yourself. Plus, it’s organic…which we prefer.
Buy Similac Organic, milk-based, powder, infant formula and deliver it to your baby for the rest of his first year. Babies who suffer from colic can be helped by using Similac Sensitive, and/or Enfamil’s Nutrimigen for Colic. Alternative formula can help, but unfortunately they are not organic.