We all know that breast is best but some of us have our choices and need to go the bottle feeding route, which was our case. I remember looking around for some help and tips on bottle feeding but the information is lacking out there. If you are looking to bottle feed or have stood in a bottle aisle lately and pulled your hair out, here is my advice for you.
Anyone can feed your child or you exclusively can. For bonding purposes, my Husband and I chose to be the only two people to give Cora a bottle for the first two months. After that, it has been game on for whomever wants to feed her. It gives us a break and others a chance to have that time with her. Like Grandma!
Surround yourself with people who support your decision. Choosing to NOT breastfeed is a tough decision these days. Breastfeeding is pushed at you from every direction and some act like bottles aren’t even an option. While we were interviewing pediatricians, I made sure to ask if her office supported our choice in a bottle only household. Same went for our daycare provider.
We even made sure to ask how the nurses and other staff would be during our stay at the hospital. I had heard horror stories about being pressured to breastfeed after birth. We came prepared with premade nursettes and our bottle nipples only to learn that our nipples didn’t work on those nursettes. The nurses happily provided us with a million disposable nipples, extra formula and educated us on how much she should be drinking. No pressure.
The bottle options are endless. Have you stood in a bottle aisle lately? Woah. Best advice I can give you is to not go over the top on purchasing a ton of bottles up front. We received a lot of free bottles and kept them all. At the end of the day, you can research them all to death but your baby is going to inform you which one they like and which one they don’t. Those extra freebies will come in handy if baby decides that the $100 you spent on Dr. Brown bottles are not what she wants. Personally, Cora is good with the Dr. Brown brand but our next one may not be.
Then there are the nipples, warmers, drying rack and brush options. It is all endless. You can get caught up in a lot of it and we didn’t buy most of it until after she arrived. That is when I decided that yes, we needed the warmer, you really do need the Dr. Browns matching bottle brush and I hate the grass drying rack.
Don’t stock up on formula. While we stock piled diapers before baby arrived, we did not stock pile formula. We researched what we wanted to use, bought a few containers and left it at that. When she was three weeks old we ended up having to switch to something that was easier on her tummy. You just never know what your kiddo is going to want. And if you do think that your formula is not working with your little one, make sure to talk to your pediatrician first. They will help you navigate the best options.
Formula isn’t cheap. We know that is where breast-feeding really has us bottle feeders beat! Once you do know what brand works, take advantage of those sales to stock up! And hit up your pediatricians office for samples. I have no shame in my game and ask to be loaded up. They are always happy to give me at least 6 containers every time I walk in the door! Also, sign up on the company’s website for coupons. When we signed up with Enfamil they sent us a big welcome pack of free formula and monthly we get a stack of $5 off coupons. The good news, you are only paying for formula for a year, not the rest of their lives.
Formula requires thinking ahead. Before we walk out the door, I’m always double checking we have bottles, full of water and our to-go container of formula with back-up packets for emergencies. You forget one thing and you will have one pissed off, hungry baby.
You will waste a lot of formula. There is no way around it, you will dump a lot of formula down the drain. Sometimes Cora wants an entire bottle and other times she wants an ounce. Unfortunately she doesn’t let me know upfront, if only she could talk. I will only save it for the day in the fridge and it hurts knowing how much $$$ is going down the drain. She runs her own show though.
Don’t let people make you feel guilty for bottle feeding. I’ve been lectured, I’ve been given the stink eye, and I’ve heard it all but I’m comfortable with how I feed my child, that is all that matters. Trust me, they won’t ask on their college applications how they were fed.
If you are curious, here is where we stand now. (And no, I’m not being paid to mention these items.) For the first two weeks, we used the premade Enfamil nursettes just to make life easier. We then went from Enfamil Newborn to Enfamil Gentlease. We also have to use Gerber Soothe drops to help with her tummy issues. (Doesn’t poop much if we don’t use them.) We use Dr. Brown bottles, bottle brush cleaner and size 2, matching nipples. We do have the Dr. Brown bottle warmer that we use more to sterilize things than anything else. Every morning we fill all her bottles, for the next 24 hours, with distilled water. We do not warm those bottles, she prefers whatever room temp is.
Do you have bottle feeding questions or advice?