Whether you are feeding your baby with infant formula or expressed breast milk, it’s important to make sure you have all of the right equipment. Here are some things to consider.
What You Will Need
You will need a few different pieces of bottle feeding equipment to ensure your little one stays well fed with the bottle. Here’s what you will need:
- Your baby’s milk – infant formula or expressed breast milk
- Bottles with caps and discs
- Knife (if formula feeding) as it is used to level formula – this shouldn’t be sharp
- Cooled, boiled water (if formula feeding)
- Bottle brush
- Sterilising equipment
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BOTTLE
Whether you are looking at bottle feeding equipment for breast milk or formula feeding equipment, choosing the right bottle can be a challenge. There’s no one-size-fits-all product, and sometimes it will be a game of trial and error to find the right fit. Here are some tips for picking a suitable bottle:
- Choose a baby feeding bottle that has leak-proof caps and discs. It’s a good idea to have at least three large bottles on hand.
- Plastic bottles are a better option than glass as they don’t break as easily.
- Make sure plastic bottles are BPA-free, as these are free from harmful chemicals.
- Bottles should have a smooth surface inside so they can be easily cleaned.
- Use bottles that have clearly marked measurements that won’t wear off over time.
WHICH TEAT TYPE AND SIZE TO CHOOSE
There’s a wide variety of baby bottle teats available. You will generally find either brown-coloured teats, which are made of rubber (also known as latex) and clear-coloured teats, which are made of silicone.
Most baby bottle teats are labelled according to age, so always make sure you use a teat that is made for your baby’s age.
There is no evidence suggesting that one baby bottle teat is better than another – it’s just what your baby prefers.
Be aware that teats are prone to perishing and should be checked regularly for any cracks. If damaged, these should be replaced as they can harbour bacteria.
You may need to try a few different teats with your baby until you find one that has a suitable flow rate for them. The size of the hole will determine the flow of the teat – larger holes mean a faster flow, and smaller holes a slower one.
Flow rate can be tested by turning a bottle of room-temperature milk upside down. The milk should drip at a steady rate, but not stream out. If the teat is too fast-flowing, your baby may splutter or choke on the milk. If it is too slow, they may get tired of sucking and not finish their feed.
If you can’t find the ideal teat for your baby, one with a faster flow is usually preferable than a slower one. Your baby’s preference may change as they get older, so stick to what they prefer.
Cleaning and Sterilising Equipment
Cleaning and sterilisation is a critical part of the bottle feeding process, as it maintains the integrity of the bottles themselves and ensures the milk or formula is not tainted, which can subsequently harm your baby.
- Use cleaning equipment such as a dedicated bottle brush for the bottle and teat brush for the teat.
- Clean all areas of the bottle with the brush, including the screw-cap’s thread.
- Clean all milk out of the teat with the teat brush.
- For sterilising methods, you can do boiling or chemical sterilising in an antibacterial solution.
- There are also some sterilising units that allow for microwave sterilisation, as well as automatic electric-steam sterilisers.
How long do teats last?
That depends on the baby bottle teat you choose, the material (rubber or silicone), as well as if any cracks or other damage appears.
How do I know when to change bottle teat size?
Different teats are designed for different age ranges, so you will want to follow the guides provided and ensure your baby is using the appropriate teat size for their age.
How many bottles and teats should I have?
This will depend on a number of factors. If you breastfeed your baby and only need bottles for trips or days where you are away from your little one for an extended period, then you won’t need as many bottles and teats as someone who has a purely formula-fed baby.