If you find yourself having to use bottles and formula when you have your baby, it can be confusing, especially if you didn’t plan to bottle feed originally. This was me: I had nothing in the house, not even a bottle, and when I came home with Nancy from hospital, Dan had to rush out and buy whatever he could in the space of an hour.
If you are like me, don’t worry. I thought I would write here a few pointers to help you with bottle feeding, and what I have found to be useful, and a few little tips I have picked up on the way.
What You Need:
- A steriliser – Microwave sterilisers are great, quick, and easy to use. I have a Phillips Avent Steriliser and it is brilliant, and can hold 3 bottles easily.
- Bottles – You need at least 4 bottles, I would say. Initially you only need small bottles that hold up to 4oz, if you need to you can then purchase larger bottles when baby is older, that go up to 8oz. When you buy sterilisers, there is usually at least one free bottle inside. I use Phillips Avent Nature bottles which have been really good, and also Nuby bottles, as I was breastfeeding as well as bottle feeding for the first three months, and I found these to be great for that reason.
- Teats – come with the bottles, you start with slow flow teats, but as baby gets older (over 3 months) you may find you need to buy new teats which are slightly faster flow.
- A bottle cleaning brush – useful as it can get into all the nooks and crannys of the bottle. I have an Avent one which has a brush as one end, and a bit at the other end to clean the inside of the teats.
- A container to put clean, but unsterilised bottles in – this is useful as I find it easier to wash everything up, and then sterilise as I need it, throughout the day.
- Formula Milk – You need to make a decision about which milk you use. I am not sure how or why I chose the milk I did, but there are several out there.
- Travel Steriliser/Milton Tablets – I have a Nuby travel steriliser that fits one bottle in, and useful if going away to family for the day, or the weekend. If they don’t have a steriliser, good old Milton tablets will work just as well.
- Milk Powder Container – I used this one by Avent. Very easy to use, and quite compact so fits in your bag easily.
- Most baby changing bags have a space for bottles. My Pacapod bag is great, and has an insulated compartment, and a warmer to go around bottles, which is great when you are nipping out and know baby is going to want their feed within the next 2 hours, or to keep water warm.
Making formula up, must be a very strict process, and you must read the instructions on the box. Always refer to the box of milk about how to make up that milk, and how much milk to put in. Always refer to the latest guidelines about making up formula.
You need to wash all bottles and parts to remove all traces of milk before you sterilise them.
You need to make sure you have clean, sterilised bottles ready before you make up the milk!
How I Make Up the Milk
This will give you an idea of how to make up bottles but please refer to your box of milk and the up to date guidelines.
You need to boil the water first – make sure it is fresh water in the kettle. Once boiled, you need to wait about half an hour for it to cool down a bit. Don’t wait any longer than half an hour though – the water needs to be hot enough to kill any bacteria in the powder.
Then after half an hour, pour the right amount into the bottle (always put the water in first!)
- Then you add the scoops of formula. Each scoop needs to ne exact, and flat, not heaped. There is a corner on my box of milk that you can scrape the scoop under to ensure it is flat and not heaped. Make sure you count carefully as there is nothing worse than getting half through and wondering how many you’ve put in!
- Shake to ensure the powder is mixed (make sure you’ve got the lid on for this!)
- Then you need to make sure it is the right temperature for baby – running under the cold tap is a good way. I also keep some cold water in a bottle in the fridge to pour into a jug to get the milk cool quickly too. Make sure the water does not go above the bottle lid as you don’t want this water going into the bottle.
- Cooling the bottle in a jug – make sure the water doesn’t go above the lid
- You need to use the milk once made straight away, and it needs to be thrown away after two hours maximum.
- If you need to keep milk for some reason, such as travelling, the advice in the DOH Booklet is to make up as above, cool quickly and then put to the back of the fridge, and to use within 24 hours.
Always refer to the latest guidelines about formula. It is so important to make it up properly as formula milk is not sterile.
Here are the WHO guidelines.
- You can also buy ready-made milk which is sold in large bottles and cartons – great for when you are travelling and hot water etc is difficult to get. I also found it easier to use this at night when Bubs was younger, as it was much quicker and easier than boiling kettle, waiting half and hour with a crying baby!
- Once you get into a routine with baby, you can start to predict the sort of time when they want the bottle, and when to boil the kettle. As I love a cuppa, I tend to boil the kettle a lot of the time anyway, I always make sure it is fresh water, and don’t reboil it, so I tend to make a cuppa but add extra water into the kettle for a bottle, if needed. This way you get to drink lots of tea and are always ready for a bottle!
- Bottle feeding is not as easy as breast-feeding, that is for sure, but if you are using bottles, then it is useful to know any tips or hints that can make life easier! Do you have any tips about using bottles or making up milk? How do you cope with it all? I’d love to know – pop a comment in the box below!