I thought it was going to be a while between posts for this new topic and I was right! Time is not something I have a lot of… My baby is growing up fast and if I don’t get these posts out soon, then I never will. My aim then: to finish this topic before my youngest turns 1. So I have until 29 June! I’m glad I wrote the breastfeeding post first as it looks like those days are sadly coming to an end. After nearly 9 months of breastfeeding, it looks like its going to be bottles from here. Not so sad though considering my little one is about to start cutting her teeth!
Unless you want to be physically attached to your baby 24/7 while you’re breastfeeding, or you’re not breastfeeding at all, then bottles are a must.
Favourite brand: Philips Avent
Pros: I used Avent bottles for all my babies. They are reasonably priced, available everywhere and are quick and easy to assemble. Avent also does a great range of bottle related items like the Avent steriliser and cups with screw on lids that you can store breastmilk in, and even baby puree once your baby weans.
Cons: Avent bottles are straightforward. They aren’t designed with the extra parts, that say a Dr Browns bottle has, in order to prevent things like colic. My babies were never colicky so the Avent bottles were fine for them. However, if your babies aren’t so lucky, Avent may not be up to task and you may want to try Dr Browns.
If you’re bottle feeding then you need to make sure you sterilise your equipment! There are several ways you can do this. You can pop out a pan and boil up some bottles on the stove the old fashioned way. You can use Milton solution or tablets and let your bottles soak. Or you can choose the no fuss approach and opt for a microwave or electric steriliser. I used an electric steriliser for my first two kids and then opted for the Milton with my third. I got lazy with the cleaning and stopped sterilising everything once my baby weaned.
Favourite brand: Avent electric steriliser
Pros: All you need is a little water and a power socket and 5 minutes of your time and you will have instant sterilisation.
Cons: With the hard water in London you’re going to have to work on keeping this thing clean. Limescale can be a problem.
3. Bottle brush
If you’re using bottles, then you’ll need a bottle brush for obvious reasons. Make sure you clean the bottle out with cold water before you use hot soapy water as you don’t want to cook the dead milk.
Favourite brand: Dr Browns
Pros: The Dr Browns bottle brush has a generous spongey head that gives a really thorough clean. Sorry, I don’t think I can say any more… I’m cringing just writing this – so glad I studied law
Cons: I find the head of the brush a little big for cleaning the teat. There are some bottle brushes with a separate smaller brush just for the teats.
If you’re not breastfeeding, or even if you are and want to use a bit of formula as well (so that you don’t have to be constantly attached to your breastpump every morning), then you need to make sure you have a tub of formula in the cupboard.
Favourite brand: Cow & Gate
Pros: None of my girls had any adverse reactions to this formula. In fact, they all really enjoyed the taste. It comes with a little scoop and the top of the tub has an edge that you can use to level off the scoop so you’re measuring it out correctly. I started my girls on the 6 months + and went on to the 1 – 2 years. After that I just gave them cow’s milk. You can actually give your child cow’s milk as a drink when they turn 1. I tried this but my little one suffered such awful nappy rash that I waited a bit longer.
Cons: Formula is expensive of course whereas breast milk is free. But if you’re going to go the formula option, Cow & Gate is reasonably priced at about £8/tub.
5. Formula dispensers
I can’t count how many times I’ve made up a bottle and ended up with powder all over myself. When you’re out and about and you’re taking a bottle with you, you don’t want to have to cart an entire tub of formula with you. Formula dispensers are great as you can measure out how much powder you need, they are sealed so that the powder stays fresh and in the container (as opposed to all over your nappy bag) and if you get the right one, you can easily, and cleanly, pour it straight into the bottle without becoming covered in it. Don’t wait until your third child to buy the right one (like I did)!
Favourite brand: Tommee Tippee Milk Powder Dispensers
Pros: These dispensers are compact so you can take them with you in your bag and they have a secure seal to keep the powder safe and dry. The powder comes out cleanly into the bottle keeping you powder free!
Cons: The dispenser isn’t marked with measurements so you have to remember how many scoops of powder you’ve put into it when you make up the bottle.
6. Breastmilk storage bags
If you’re feeding your baby breastmilk in a bottle, then you are going to need some storage bags to store the milk. Its important that the bag can be sealed well and that there is space to write on it. You need to keep track of when you expressed the milk as it won’t last forever – even in the freezer!
Favourite brands: Medela Pump & Save
Pros: The bags have a self-stick strap and they don’t leak. You can also stand them up when you take them out to defrost them. If you express, then you will know just how precious breast milk is (due to the effort it takes to procure it!). You don’t want to spill a single drop, and you won’t with these bags.
Cons: These bags aren’t the cheapest at £9 for a pack of 20.
7. Bottle warmers
Most babies like to drink their milk warm. But – that’s only because that’s what they’re used to! If you never got into the habit of heating up their milk, they will quite happily drink it as is. At least my kids did! Do yourself a favour and make things easier on yourself – there are plenty of other things you will have to do for your kids that you won’t be able to get out of!
Stay tuned for weaning!