I made the decision to exclusively formula feed early on in my first pregnancy. It was a decision that came pretty easy to me but seemed to bother A LOT of people. Friends, acquaintances, medical professionals and even perfect strangers all seemed to have a negative opinion about my decision to NOT breast feed. Was I able to breast feed? Yes. Did I want to? No. Why? It just wasn’t for me. Plain and simple.
Even though I knew from the start that it was something I just had no interest in doing, the constant questioning from others about my decision started to get me down. I started to look for support/info for formula feeders and discovered there really wasn’t much available to us except for controversial mom group threads, arguing and bashing each other about their decisions. Not cool.
So whether you’re looking for some formula feeding essentials, advice or just want to know someone else supports your decision, I got you mama. Below you’ll find some advice, tips, and some of my favorite bottle feeding essentials that got me through the formula feeding years with my little people.
If you’ve decided you don’t want to breast feed, you’re obviously going to need to choose a formula for your little human. Trying to choose a formula for your baby has to be one of the most stressful decisions for a bottle feeding mom and they don’t make it very easy either. So many options, so overwhelming. Do I just give my baby regular formula? What about omegas? Lactose free? The name brand or store brand? Powder or ready made? Reading reviews for hours, comparing ingredients, I did it all countless times. Again, there’s no right answer here. Obviously you want to know what you’re feeding your precious (for now) bundle of joy, so go ahead and read ingredients, compare brands, do your research BUT your baby will ultimately have the last word. (These little people start making the rules early on, trust me) With that being said, my advice to you, do not stock up on one kind of formula because another mom said it was great for her baby, or because it has a trillion great reviews. All babies are different and what works for one, may not work for yours. FYI- They don’t give that stuff away, either, $$.
I know you want to be prepared and have everything under control before the babe gets here, I get it. So instead of spending an insane amount of coin on formula your baby may not tolerate well, stock up with as many sample sizes as you can find, just in case. Most of the major brands like Similac and Gerber will send you samples of their formula (along with other goodies, WIN!) all you have to do is visit their site and enter your info. Bonus, they will also send you some pretty decent coupons for formula long after your samples have been sampled.
Pssst: I may or may not have had samples sent to every family member and friend breathing.
Also, please talk to your baby’s doctor before switching to a new formula, even if you think your baby is not tolerating it well. It’s not good to mix and match and could upset your babes even more.
Ready To Feed vs Concentrate vs Powder
The three most common types of formula are; Ready-to-feed, concentrate and powder. All of which are prepared differently and come with their own pros and cons.
I’ll try to break it down for you to the best of my knowledge.
- Ready-to-feed: Requires no preparation at all. While this can be convenient, it is usually the most expensive option.
- Concentrate: Needs to be diluted with water and any unused portions refrigerated.
- Powder: Also needs to be mixed with water but is in my opinion, the most economical option of three.
With my first born, I automatically went to the ready-to-feed. I think I thought it was superior quality or something. Everything about Motherhood was so new and overwhelming, not to mention the thought of having to actually measure out formula scared the shit out of me for some reason. So we did ready-to-feed until I saw how quickly the bank account was emptying out. Then we switched to concentrate and after a few months of experience hanging out in the scariest hood there is (mother-hood) nothing could scare me anymore, not even…powder formula.
Ah yes, I learned fast. Powder formula is really not that scary and in my opinion, the most convenient, at least for our family it was.
It definitely made that blur of the first year easier in many ways, especially on outings with baby. Not having to bring ice packs or worry about formula staying cold was great.
For night feeds, this formula dispenser was a life and time saver. I would just fill it with (measured) formula, then fill however many bottles baby would normally wake for with the amount of water needed, and leave on my bedside table. When baby would wake, just empty formula into the bottle of room temp water, mix up and serve. That was a few years ago, now they have fancy appliances to make your night feeds a delight, like this baby brezza machine. (or baby Keurig, as I call it) Fancy!
Name Brand vs Store Brand
A lot of people often have the misconception that the store brand is of lesser quality. However, that is not always the case. If you compare ingredients side by side from a name brand formula can and store brand, you’ll find that the ingredients/vitamins/minerals are often times not much different, if at all. Often enough, the store brand is the same and most of the time actually manufactured by the big name companies. The US and Canada also have strict regulations when it comes to formula so there’s not very much room for differences.
I did so much research on all different types of bottles. (For the love of God, I never want to hear about BPA again) After many tiring nights of reading every review on every bottle you could think of, I finally decided on a brand. I thought I was a real slick mom by stocking up on bottles before baby made his debut. Nope. We had to try 5 different bottles before finding one the first little human did well with. My advice would be to get just one of a few brands and see which your baby prefers before stocking up.
You may have heard of Born Free bottles while doing your own research, FAVORITE! Actually, all three of my kids did great on them. The only thing I did not like was washing them. There are a few pieces to the bottle and we had no dishwasher at the time (I know, how did we live?) so taking them apart and washing the little parts got annoying sometimes but my kids loved them so that trumps any little annoyance for me.
Basically, it doesn’t matter how many reviews you read or what worked for other people, your baby will ultimately decide what works for them.
I went crazy on the sterilizing. Yeah I was THAT mom, but aren’t we all, really? Especially when it comes to our 1st. Seriously though, it was kind of a problem. I did this everyday, all day until baby was about three months. Lucky for me, that stage has come and gone. Don’t worry, it will for you too. Before you know it you’ll be wiping whatever fell onto the dirty floor on your dirty jeans and giving it back to your kid without blinking an eye. But until then, sterilize! You can either get your hands on an electric bottle sterilizer, one you pop in the microwave or go old school and boil all bottles and parts for a few minutes. Some people say the dishwasher is also an option. While I’m sure it gets them nice and clean, personally I don’t think it actually sterilizes them.
Don’t forget you’re gonna need a place to dry all those bottles. You’ll be looking at this bad boy on your counter for awhile so might as well get a cute one.
Even though you’re not breast feeding, a nursing pillow is a must have, even for formula feeding moms. You still need to find a comfortable position for both yourself and baby while feeding and this type of pillow helps a lot! To support your arms, get comfortable on your side or to support baby, definitely invest in one of these. Side note: I now use mine to prop up while reading in bed. See, good investment!
I hope you found some of the info in this post helpful! Remember, taking care of yourself is part of taking care of your kids. #fedisbest <3
What are/were some of your bottle feeding necessities? Let me know in the comments!
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