There are two main ways to feed your baby, breast or bottle. Whatever you decide to do, we have broken down the essentials you need to start your journey whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but figuring out what you need for either way takes time.
Like anything with parenting, finding the way that works for you and your baby. Deciding the best way to feed your baby is a very personal choice. Whether you decide to bottle feed or breastfeed, feeding time is an important opportunity for you and your baby to form a close bond.
We’ve pulled together a list of essentials for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
If you choose to breastfeed, you're pretty much a one-woman milk production line. There's nothing much to breastfeeding, which means you don't have to stock up on lots of essentials but there are additional items that may help make things a little easier.
Sometimes, your baby might get hungry when you're not around, or you might just be busy, so we suggest you prepare by using a breast pump. Expressing milk in preparation for these moments is always a great way to guarantee you always have extra milk at the ready.
Electric or Manual?
Electric breast pumps express your milk quickly and require less effort to use than manual breast pumps. Unlike a manual pump, once the cup is in place on your breast, the work is automatically done for you, at a pace that you preset. This saves you from aching hands or difficult-to-maintain pumping patterns.
There’s the option of a single pump or if you’re looking to save even more time – or feeding more than one mouth – a double. Electric pumps mimic the natural sucking behaviour of a baby to ensure the optimum flow of milk.
Why are breast pumps essential?
– Relieve the pain of full, engorged breasts – Stimulate milk production and build up your milk supply – Help with leaking breasts – Assist a baby that can’t latch on – Allow your partner a chance to feed and bond with your baby – Give your sore nipples a break
You can store your expresses milk in a bottle or a bag. Bags save space and are ideal for freezing breastmilk. When storing your breastmilk make sure to label the containers with the date it was expressed.
It is best to use refrigerated breastmilk within 3 days of expressing, or 5 days if your fridge is set at less than 4ºC. If stored in a freezer below 18ºC, it can be safe for up to 6 months. Babies tend to prefer to receive their milk at room temperature, around 20ºC.
To kill any harmful bacteria on your feeding bottles and accessories and ensure that your baby doesn't get sick. Sterilising your baby feeding products can be done with a steam steriliser.
Nursing pillows sit in your lap and wrap around your body, providing a stable and comfy surface to position your newborn at the breast. They also reduce neck, arm and back strain for you, which can help make nursing more enjoyable.
Nursing Bras and Tops
When you're baby is hungry, they're hungry. You might just find yourself caught short. A nursing bra and nursing top are the quickest and easier way to get baby fed without removing layers of clothing.
Nursing pads, also called breast pads, are a very useful breastfeeding essential. Placed into a nursing bra, they can absorb breast milk from leaking breasts to help prevent embarrassment, and protect your clothing from stains.
Bottle feeding is both convenient and practical, it doesn’t matter where you are because you can comfortably feed your baby anytime. Also, it allows the rest of the family to enjoy some quality bonding time with baby.
When it comes to choosing your babies bottles, there is no one bottle that is better than the other. The main thing to take into consideration when choosing a bottle is to pick ones that have a shape and design that are easy to clean. You want to avoid ones with shapes that make cleaning the bottle difficult as this can cause a buildup of germs.
Bottle Preparation Machine
A bottle preparation machine will prepare a bottle in less than two minutes. It does all the hard work for you, so it's ideal for night-time feeds.
A great way to quickly clean your bottles is with a bottle brush, they get into all the nook and crannies that a simple sponge or cloth can’t. Be sure to wash your brush regularly as this will prevent germs spreading.
A muslin square is a small cloth used when you breast feed or bottle feed a baby to wipe milk away from their mouths and clean up sick. It is also used during winding, usually over the shoulder when baby is held up against you in a hug position and having it's back rubbed, protecting your clothing from sick.
Whether you're formula-feeding or expressing breastmilk, it's vital to keep equipment and your baby’s bottles clean and safe. Sterilising helps to protect your baby against germs and infection. A steriliser is a unit that allows you to do that job quickly and easily.
Harmful bacteria grow quickly in milk. That’s why it's recommended that you continue to sterilise bottles, teats, dummies, breast pumps and other feeding accessories until your baby is a year old.
If you decide to start feeding solids before your baby is the recommended six months old, you'll also need to sterilise your baby's spoons and bowls. However, it's best to wait until your baby is six months old before introducing first foods.
Well, that’s it. Everything you could need for breastfeeding or bottle feeding your baby. Remember, feeding your baby can be a complicated and emotional process, as it feels a lot is riding on it. Take your time, and slowly you and your baby will find a method that works best for both of you.