If you’re new to bottlefeeding, you might be wondering where to start. The list of the basic equipment detailed in this article may come in handy. But with so many different-shaped bottles and teats on the market, you may also be wondering what kind of teat and bottle to buy. The best way to choose feeding equipment is to go with what your baby prefers. Whereas sterilising equipment should be chosen on the basis of what proves most convenient for you.
Here you can read about the wide range of bottlefeeding and sterilising equipment available so that you can work out what you think will suit you and your baby best. We’ve also included a list of useful bottlefeeding extras so you can be well prepared.
To start you off, before you begin bottlefeeding you’ll need to buy:
- A minimum of six baby bottles. Most babies feed around six times a day, so if you’re planning bottlefeed this will ensure you always have enough bottles to hand.
- At least six teats
- Equipment for sterilising
- A bottle-cleaning brush
- Your choice of infant formula
Baby bottles come in two sizes:
- Small 120ml/4oz bottles, these are ideal for young babies and newborns
- Large 225ml/8oz bottles, suitable for older babies
They are available in three widths:
- Wide-neck which are easier to clean and
Some makes of wide-neck bottle are specially designed to prevent your baby from taking in too much air which can lead to wind and discomfort. An added advantage of a wide-neck is that they’re less messy when filling with formula and easier to clean. However, you may find that regular neck bottles are easier to find teats for and most likely to fit coolers and sterilisers. Narrow-neck bottles can also make it easier for your baby to learn to feed themselves as they’re easier for little hands to grasp hold of. When choosing your baby’s bottle, it’s down to what you and your baby prefers.
It’s generally thought that colic is caused by babies taking in too much air during feeding. Some baby bottles and teats are specially designed to reduce the amount of air that babies take in. If your baby is showing signs of colic, such as seeming unsettled after feeds and suffering with wind, it could be worth trying one of these bottles which are thought to help.
Your baby’s immune system is still immature, especially if your baby is under 6 months old. Sterilising feeding equipment to kill any potential harmful germs is therefore vitally important. Before you sterilise, ensure you clean the bottles and teats thoroughly using warm soapy water and scrub them with a bottle-cleaning brush (You could also put them through the dishwasher).
Once this has been done, there are three ways to sterilise your baby’s feeding equipment:
- Steam sterilising – using an electric steam steriliser or microwave sterilising
- Cold water sterilising
Teats come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials. The right type of teat for you and your baby will depend on what milk you are using and your baby’s preference. For newborns, it’s best to start with slow flowing teats, increasing the flow speed as your baby grows and gets used to sucking.
If your baby chokes, splutters or leaks milk from their mouth during feeding it may be a sign that the flow is too fast – try a slower flowing teat. Again, if you think your baby is struggling with bottlefeeding, switch to a different type or make of teat. Teats don’t last forever and may deteriorate so be sure to check them regularly and make sure you pick a size to suit your baby’s stage of growth.
Other useful extras
Along with the obvious bottlefeeding equipment, these useful extras can make your life easier:
- A fast boiling kettle
- Muslin cloths to mop up spills