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Bottle feeding essentials

Useful information on the basics you'll need if you plan to bottle feed your baby, plus the opportunity to purchase a range of bottle feeding equipment including bottles and sterilisers.
The Essentials

  • If you plan on exclusively bottle feeding your baby you will need 6 - 8 bottles to start with. If you are going to mix feed your baby (combine breast and bottle feeding) then 2 or 3 bottles should suffice.
  • There are a huge variety of bottles available and most come complete with a teat and lid. You should always check that the flow rate of the teat provided is suitable for your baby's needs.
  • Smaller bottles (approx. 125ml/4oz) are suitable for newborns and smaller babies who do not consume much milk. However, larger bottles (approx. 250ml/8oz) tend to be a better investment as they can be used right through until your baby is weaned.

  • A range of specialist bottles are also available, these include anti-colic bottles (these help to reduce the amount of air baby takes in whilst feeding), disposable bottles (that can be thrown away after use) and self-sterilising bottles.
  • Teats are categorised by flow rate - this specifies the speed at which the milk flows out of the bottle and is determined by the hole in the top of the teat. They are available in slow (suitable for newborns), medium (suitable for babies of 3 - 6 months) and fast (suitable for babies of 6 months+) flow rates.
  • Teats are either latex or silicone - although there is no great difference between them, silicone teats have a reputation for being more durable while latex teats are said to feel more like a nipple.
  • Teats also vary in shape and can be bell-shaped or naturally shaped to resemble a nipple.
  • When it comes down to teat shape and feel there is no evidence to suggest that one is better than the other so it is really a question of which your baby prefers.
Sterilising equipment
  • This is down to personal choice and how much you want to spend on sterilising equipment. You will need to sterilise all of your baby's feeding equipment for the first 6 months and it is recommended that you continue until they are 12 months old.
  • There are 4 main methods of sterilising your baby's feeding equipment - steaming, boiling, using a sterilising solution and microwaving.
Bottle brush
  • You will need to thoroughly clean your baby's bottles before sterilising and a nylon-bristled bottle brush provides a convenient way to ensure all traces of milk are removed. Some bottle brushes are fitted with a teat cleaning brush on the other end.
  • You will need a kettle to boil water for when you make formula milk - quick boil kettles tend to make life easier.
Useful Extras
  • Muslin Cloths - These are relatively inexpensive and come in really handy for mopping up dribble and spilt milk. They can also be used to protect your clothes when you feed and burp your baby.

  • Bibs - These are fantastic for protecting your baby's clothes at feeding time and also prevent spilt milk from irritating the skin around your baby's neck. Again, these are inexpensive and available in a wide range of sizes, styles and colours. Bibs with a towelling top and waterproof backing are especially good.
  • Thermos flask - Current guidelines suggest that it is not safe to store ready made formula milk for any length of time before a feed. For this reason a thermos flask can be incredibly useful for storing ready-boiled water to combine with formula powder when you are out and about.

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We're shopping for feeding bottles right now. We would like to know what brands out there have reputable quality and at the same time friendly on the pocket. Thanks!
by earl 17th Feb 2009, 9:45am
My baby is 2 months old and I've been breastfeeding, but now since I'm going back to work I want her to take the bottle. She doesn't like the bottle. I don't know what to do.
by adams01 24th Aug 2007, 8:26am