Baby Bottle Feeding Essentials - Crux Baby
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Baby Bottle Feeding Essentials

Required: Newborn bottles and teats if you bottle feed from day one; larger bottle and teats (quantity dependent on the stage at which you stop breastfeeding); baby formula before 1 year of age; cold water, microwave or steam steriliser; bottle and teat cleaning brushes; formula dispenser for use on the go
Optional:  Bottle feeding starter kit

For insights and advice, explore our Mum Profiles or our blog. Don’t forget to create baby lists to keep track of all your information and also that Crux Baby has put together a number of extremely helpful example lists of what to buy for baby to help guide you.

Baby Bottle Feeding: Buying Guide

If you bottle feed from the outset, we recommend 6-8 newborn bottles and teats. If you stop breastfeeding at a later stage, we would recommend 4-8 larger bottles, depending on when you stop.  Buying bottles can be something of a trial and error process and you should look for models that fit your needs – anti-colic bottles if your baby suffers from reflux or excessive wind, or “natural flow” bottles that mimic breastfeeding if bottle feeding is a supplement.  We cannot emphasise enough the importance of sterilising your baby’s feeding equipment (whether used for expressed breast milk or formula) to remove bacteria and germs and lower the risk of infection in your baby’s underdeveloped immune system.  Cold water, microwave or steam sterilisers are all viable options.

If you bottle feed before baby’s first birthday, you will need to buy specially formulated baby formula rather than regular store bought whole milk.  We recommend buying a few containers of your preferred brand to make sure your baby takes to it before buying formula in bulk.

Newborn Bottles

If you bottle feed from the outset, we recommend 6-8 newborn bottles and teats as you will move onto a larger size quickly. The quantities may seem high, but remember that babies can have 8-10 feeds per day when they are very young so you will still need to wash and sterilise the bottles more than once daily.  Even if you plan to breastfeed, things can often go wrong so we would recommend having several newborn bottles on hand.

Choosing the best baby bottle is not as straightforward as it might sound. There are wide-necked bottles, anti-colic bottles, bottles with holes in the middle for an easier baby hold, heat sensitive bottles, self-sterilising bottles, disposable bottles, and glass bottles for the environmentally conscious – but only a few of these are useful iterations of the standard cylindrical shape. In particular, anti-colic bottles are designed to limit the amount of air a baby takes in while feeding using air vents, tubes or collapsible bags and help babies with wind, reflux and colic.  Self-sterilising bottles such as those made by baby brand Mam do not require additional sterilising equipment so long as you have a microwave – you simply pour water into a chamber, arrange the bottle components and microwave for a few minutes.  Oval shaped bottles with holes in the middle can be useful in getting older babies to drink unaided.  The best recommendation we can make is to buy the model you deem best, but in a lesser quantity than you ultimately need and see how your baby takes to the bottle.  Personally, we have had great success with Dr. Brown’s for babies with reflux, Tommee Tippee for babies who are used to the breast, and think the Mam self-sterilising bottle is a great invention for busy mothers.

One teat will come with each bottle, but you will need to purchase faster flowing teats as baby grows.  In general, silicone teats are more durable but a little bit harder than latex teats.  Teats that mimic the shape of your nipple are highly useful if you are still breastfeeding.  Slow flow or size 1 teats are suitable from birth – 3 months, medium flow or size 2 teats from 3-6 months, and size 3 and 4 or fast flow teats from 6 months onwards (your baby may be able to take a faster flowing teat sooner than recommended).

Larger Bottles and Teats

If you breastfeed but stop at some point before baby’s first birthday, we would recommend between 4 and 8 larger bottles and teats depending on whether your baby has moved onto starter cups. The quantities may seem high, but remember that babies can have 8-10 feeds per day, and up to 5-6 feeds even after they start weaning so you will still need to wash and sterilise the bottles once daily.  You will use the larger bottles for far longer than your newborn bottles.

Choosing the best baby bottle is not as straightforward as it might sound. There are wide-necked bottles, anti-colic bottles, bottles with holes in the middle for an easier baby hold, heat sensitive bottles, self-sterilising bottles, disposable bottles, and glass bottles for the environmentally conscious – but only a few of these are useful iterations of the standard cylindrical shape. In particular, anti-colic bottles are designed to limit the amount of air a baby takes in while feeding using air vents, tubes or collapsible bags and help babies with wind, reflux and colic.  Self-sterilising bottles such as those made by baby brand Mam do not require additional sterilising equipment so long as you have a microwave – you simply pour water into a chamber, arrange the bottle components and microwave for a few minutes.  Oval shaped bottles with holes in the middle can be useful in getting older babies to drink unaided.  The best recommendation we can make is to buy the model you deem best, but in a lesser quantity than you ultimately need and see how your baby takes to the bottle.  Personally, we have had great success with Dr. Brown’s for babies with reflux, Tommee Tippee for babies who are used to the breast, and think the Mam self-sterilising bottle is a great invention for busy mothers.

One teat will come with each bottle, but you will need to purchase faster flowing teats as baby grows.  In general, silicone teats are more durable but a little bit harder than latex teats.  Teats that mimic the shape of your nipple are highly useful if you are still breastfeeding.  Slow flow or size 1 teats are suitable from birth – 3 months, medium flow or size 2 teats from 3-6 months, and size 3 and 4 or fast flow teats from 6 months onwards (your baby may be able to take a faster flowing teat sooner than recommended).

Starter Baby Bottle Kits

A complete baby bottle starter kit provides you everything you need for feeding baby from newborn to his first birthday (although in reality you will need more than one starter set, they do come in handy).  Different sets provide you with a combination of multiple bottles in multiple sizes, different sized teats, cleaning brushes, soothers and accessories to convert bottles into starter cups.  See each product listing below for precise details on the components in different brand sets.

Baby Formula

All baby formulas in the UK must meet legal requirements to support proper nutrition in babies – hence, infant milks often do not vary much in terms of composition.  There are, however, a few guidelines for choosing the formula best for you and parents should not be afraid to switch between them if they feel their child is not responding well to one.

  • First infant formula or stage 1 milks: Specially designed for newborns, they are the best option for babies up to six months. They are made of the whey from cow’s milk, more easily digested than other milks, and closest in composition to breast milk.
  • Organic infant formula: Contain everything that other formulas with the benefit of being organic, meaning your baby won’t be exposed to pesticides and may be less susceptible to eczema.
  • Anti-Reflux Formulas: Specially thickened infant formulas to help feeds stay down.
  • Formulas for Cow’s Milk Protein Allergies: These formulas are almost identical to standard infant formulas, but the protein has been broken down (extensively hydrolysed), making cow’s milk protein less likely to cause an allergic reaction. CMPA is the most common food allergy in infants and although most babies grow out of it, initial diagnosis and management can be a difficult time for parents.
  • Anti-Colic and Constipation Formulas: nutritionally tailored with Galacto- and Fructo-oligosaccharides to increase the frequency and softness of stools. They contain less lactose than standard milks to reduce gas and other intestinal discomfort.
  • Casein-based infant formula or “hungry” milks: Based on the curd of cow’s milk and take longer for babies to digest – in theory helping your baby to sleep better, although there is no evidence to support this.
  • Follow-on milks: Designed for babies from six months of age, they contain extra iron and other nutrients tailored to an older child.  Once your baby moves onto solid foods, however, they should be getting their nutrition from food sources other than milk so there is no need to move your baby from infant formula.

A baby formula dispenser contains compartments for milk powder that can easily be dispensed into a bottle and topped with water – an essential item for use on the go.

Baby Bottle Sterilisers

Many first time parents are surprised when they first hear about the need to properly wash and sterilise baby’s feeding equipment, but we cannot emphasise its importance enough.  Babies are born with undeveloped immune systems and are very prone to infections – this is why we constantly wash our hands and use sterilising gels around young babies.  Whether breast milk or formula, the milk residue that gets caught in the nooks and crannies of baby’s bottles, breast pump parts and other feeding items is a breeding ground for bacteria, germs and parasites.  The importance of maintaining sterile equipment and good hygiene standards is, in fact, one reason why breastfeeding is so widely promoted as there is no need for sterilisation. To reduce the risk of illness and infection in your baby, you must first wash feeding equipment in hot soapy water using a specially designed bottle and teat brush, rinse under cold water and then use a steam, cold water or microwave steriliser.  Cold water sterilisers are inexpensive and easy to use, but you and your baby may not like the aftertaste that is left on bottle and teats.  Microwave and steam sterilisers are easy to use, great for travel and guarantee that bottles stay sterilised for up to 24 hours when sterilising compartments remain closed, but their capacities are generally quite small.

It is critical that you properly wash feeding equipment properly before sterilising and specially designed brushes allow you to get into all those nooks and crannies.

Muslins and Bibs

Whether breast or bottle feeding, muslins and cotton bibs are two essential must-have items.  While the muslins we typically picture in our head are of the plain white square variety and are still perfectly useful, there are a number of extra large muslins on the market that double as stroller covers, nursing shields, tummy time blankets, changing station covers and portable crib sheets.  The Aden + Anais large muslins or swaddle blankets – already well known to yummy mummies everywhere – have skyrocketed in popularity since Prince George of Cambridge was carried out of St. Mary’s hospital swaddled in one for his first trip to Kensington Palace.