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Once your baby arrives, you’re at the mercy of their little tummies. Babies feed often and you need to be prepared to give them what they need at any hour of the day or night. Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, bottles are something every new parent needs. But, like everything, it’s not as simple as grabbing a glass from the cupboard like you would when you need a drink. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s start with shopping for bottles. There are many items you need to have to make the transition as smooth as possible and bottles are most certainly near the top of your shopping list for your baby. The first thing to decide on is whether you want to use plastic or glass bottles. Glass bottles are obviously more traditional and you can now find varieties wrapped in silicone to prevent accidents. If you choose plastic, they’re much lighter, just be sure to look for BPA-free plastic. Beyond that, do your research and check out different brands in the store to find a shape you like. We highly recommend those by Dr Brown as they are fantastic for babies who have  colic.

But what supplies do you really need? How many sizes of bottles? How many nipples? Here’s what we recommend having on hand to make sure you don’t run out and can feed a hungry baby quickly and easily:

  1. Six to eight 4-ounce bottles with nipples
  2. Six to eight 8-ounce bottles with nipples
  3. Eight to 10 bibs
  4. Eight to 12 burp cloths
  5. Two bottle brushes for cleaning
  6. Dishrack for drying
  7. Bottle warmer (optional)
  8. Sterilizer (optional)

Now that you have your supplies, it’s time to learn about preparing a bottle for your baby. This is something you’ll do almost a dozen times a day in the beginning, as new babies typically have a bottle every two to three hours. Here are the steps we recommend:

Feeding with Formula

  1. Be sure to read the instructions on the package first.
  2. Wash your hands.
  3. Grab a clean, sterilized bottle and nipple.
  4. Add the water first.
  5. Use the measuring cup to add the correct amount of formula. Then make sure the package is properly sealed and stored in a cool, dry place.
  6. Put on the nipple, cover the opening (make sure hands are clean) and shake to combine.
  7. Warm to the desired temperature, depending on your doctor’s instructions and your child’s preference. Running the bottle under the tap is the easiest and safest way.
  8. Test the temperature on the inside of your wrist before feeding the baby.

Feeding with Breastmilk  (Yes, when you have bottles your partner can share the feeding)

  1. After you’ve pumped, measure out the desired amount of milk into a clean, sterilized bottle.
  2. Top with a nipple and warm (if desired).
  3. Check the temperature on the inside of your wrist.

When it comes to storage, you can make up bottles of formula up to 24 hours in advance and store them in the fridge. Just heat them up before using them if you like. Breastmilk can be stored in the bottle in the fridge for up to five days and you can also freeze it. However, anything left in the bottle at the end of a meal (formula or breastmilk) should always be discarded.

Once your child has emptied a bottle, it needs to be cleaned properly to keep it safe to use. When bottles are new, it’s important to boil them in water for five minutes before the first use to sterilize them. After that, it’s best to clean them with hot, soapy water in the sink or in the dishwasher. Using the bottle brush will help you clean all parts of the bottle and nipple thoroughly. It is recommended that you continue to sterilize them using boiling water before each use. Allow the bottles and nipples to air dry and then store in a clean, dry place.
Your baby will use bottles for its entire first year of their life and until they fully transition to solid foods, which means that it’s worth taking the time to learn this now –  and don’t worry, you’ll have the system down pat in no time at all. Follow these steps and you’ll keep your baby fed and happy.

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