There are so many things to think about when you’re preparing to welcome a new baby into your world. Where they’ll sleep, ensuring you have a car seat, having enough clothing, cloth diapers or disposables, pacifier or not. And of course – all the aspects of feeding them, including how many bottles. So how many baby bottles do I need?
The correct number of baby bottles depends on several factors, such as whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. A breastfed baby will only need around three or four bottles. A formula-fed baby will need quite a few more – at least eight to ten bottles.
As with most things baby-related, it’s never as simple as just having the correct number of bottles around.
You also need to consider sizes and accessories and how often you will need to replace these bits and pieces of baby feeding equipment.
We will get into all of that, but let’s start with the basics.
How Many Baby Bottles Will I Need In A Day?
As we mentioned earlier, the first thing to think about when shopping for baby bottles is whether you will be formula or breastfeeding.
Not only will the number of bottles you need be different, but also the types of nipples you need.
Bottles For Breastfed Babies
At first, you might think bottles are not even a necessity with a breastfed baby – essentially, you are the bottle.
But there are many reasons you will still need a few bottles for a breastfed baby.
A nursing mom can’t be around all the time – when she goes back to work or has social engagements. Perhaps mom simply needs a break.
As a mom of two kids, two years apart, I can tell you that we moms really do need regular time-outs.
Aside from not being around, it’s important for partners and other caregivers also to have some special bonding time with the baby – and there’s nothing quite like bonding over mealtime.
So obviously, expressing and safely storing your breast milk is the answer here. In this case, you may only need three or four bottles.
And there are a few pointers for choosing the suitable bottles for breastfed babies:
- Look for slow-flow nipples – many experts recommend using the slowest nipple for as long as possible.
- Wide and soft nipples are better for breastfed babies to avoid nipple confusion. These types of nipples will be most likely to encourage the same suckling motion as breastfeeding.
- Don’t introduce the bottle too early – allow your baby to get into a great breastfeeding routine before you begin with bottles. This will also help avoid nipple confusion and your baby preferring bottle over breast.
Bottles For Formula-Fed Babies
A formula-fed baby will need a few more bottles than a breastfed baby. During the first month or so, your baby will eat between six and eight times a day.
Washing and sterilizing, and preparing formula milk is time-consuming, so you’re going to want to consider how often you want to be doing this.
When I was a new mom, part of my nighttime routine was washing, sterilizing, and preparing the bottles for all of the next day’s feeds.
I would ensure that I had enough bottles to take us through all the feeds, as well as one or two extra for any emergencies.
I would also pre-measure the formula powder into formula storage cups so that I could grab formula and mix without worrying about measuring out the formula powder with a hungry crying baby on my hip.
How Often To Replace Baby Bottles?
With a newborn baby, you’re going to need five-ounce bottles.
But as the baby grows, you’ll need to move to eight-ounce bottles, and then even bigger from around four months old. So these are good opportunities to replace your baby bottles.
Aside from replacing bottles with bigger sizes, you should look at replacing bottles every four months or so.
The four-month replacement suggestion is not a hard and fast rule. Glass bottles may be more durable than plastic.
Regardless of the material, lookout for any signs of wear, and if there is any discoloration, cracks, chips, or breaks, replace the bottles immediately.
How Often To Replace Baby Bottle Brush?
They’re easily forgotten, but some baby bottle brushes have a much shorter lifespan than baby bottles.
Use your discretion here. Spongy bottle brushes may need to be replaced every four to six weeks.
Fraying is a sure sign that bristled brushes need to be disposed of.
Silicone brushes tend to have a longer lifespan than sponges and bristles.
Most importantly, don’t forget to wash your bottle brush regularly.
Pop the bottle brush in the dishwasher if it is dishwasher safe. And don’t use it to clean anything other than your bottles and pumping equipment.
How Often To Replace Baby Bottle Nipples?
Bottle nipples also have a life span so check them regularly for signs that they need to be replaced:
- Ensure that the milk or formula is not pouring out too quickly – it should come out in a steady drip. If it streams out, perhaps the hole is too big, and it’s time to replace it.
- If it is sticky or changing shape, it’s probably time to dispose of it.
- Any signs of discoloration could mean that nipple needs to be replaced.
- Look out for thinning of the nipple – give the bulb a stretch to see if it bounces back into shape. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to replace.
- Cracks, tears or breaks are a choking hazard – these nipples should be replaced immediately.
Preparing for a baby is exciting but daunting. Hopefully, these guidelines will help you with at least one of the things on your checklist.
But, of course, everyone’s experience is a bit different and how many bottles you need depends on your baby’s age and schedule, available time, and budget.
As with everything to do with welcoming a baby into your world, go easy on yourself and adapt as you go. And most importantly, enjoy those special bonding moments at mealtime.