Most babies need 6-8 bottles to start. You’ll want a range of bottle sizes, including 4oz, 8oz, and 9oz bottles. Here are some quick tips:
- Newborns need 4oz bottles every 2-3 hours
- Babies 1-3 months need 4-8oz bottles every 3-4 hours
- Babies 4-6 months need 6-8oz bottles every 4-5 hours
- Babies 7-12 months need 6-8oz bottles every 4-6 hours
- Get different nipple flows: newborn, slow, medium, fast
- Have a couple wide-neck bottles for thickened liquids
- Get BPA-free plastic or glass bottles
- Have some extras for when bottles are in the dishwasher
How Many Bottles Do I Need?
The number of baby bottles you need depends on a few factors:
- Your baby’s age and feeding schedule
- Whether you breastfeed, formula feed, or both
- If you pump breast milk or supplement with formula
- How often you have time to wash bottles
- Whether you bottle feed at home, on-the-go, or both
Here are some general guidelines on bottle quantities:
Newborns (0-3 months): 6-8 bottles
When your baby is a newborn, you can expect to go through 6-8 bottles per day. Newborns eat every 2-3 hours around the clock. Having at least 6 bottles allows you to rotate through feedings while having extras in reserve.
Babies (3-12 months): 6-10 bottles
Around 3 months, babies start consolidating feedings and moving to every 3-4 hours. But they’ll still need around 6-10 bottles per day as serving sizes increase. Having extras allows for smooth transitions when some are dirty.
Formula feeding: 8-10+ bottles
Formula fed babies will need at least 8 bottles, but 10+ allows you to have a constant rotation of clean bottles available. Formula fed babies take in bigger feedings less frequently.
Breastfeeding and pumping: 8-10 bottles
If you pump breast milk or supplement with formula, plan for 8-10 bottles. You’ll need enough for when you are away from baby and bottles for pumped milk storage.
On-the-go: 2-4 extra bottles
Have 2-4 extra bottles if you bottle feed on-the-go. You don’t want to be caught without a bottle while out running errands or traveling. Extras ensure you always have a clean one.
So in summary, most babies need at least 6 bottles to start, but 8-10 bottles will make your life easier. Have some extras if formula feeding, pumping, or bottle feeding on-the-go frequently.
What Bottle Sizes Should I Get?
When it comes to bottle sizes, you’ll want bottles in 4oz, 8oz, and 9oz (or similarly, 120ml, 240ml, 270ml) sizes. Here’s an overview:
4oz bottles: For newborns 0-3 months old. The small size is perfect for feeding breast milk or formula in 2-4oz servings every 2-3 hours. Stock up on several 4oz bottles.
8oz bottles: For babies 3-6 months old. Babies at this age take 4-8oz per feeding, so the 8oz size works well. Have plenty of 8oz bottles available.
9oz bottles: For babies 6-12 months old. Around 6 months, babies build up to 6-8oz per feeding, so the 9oz size accommodates this well. Have several 9oz bottles on hand.
In addition to the standard bottle sizes, here are some other sizes that are useful to have:
- 12oz bottles: Large bottles that allow you to store or freeze breastmilk. Useful for building a stash.
- 5oz bottles: Allow you to make smaller 2-5oz servings as needed.
- 3oz bottles: Great for portioning out small feedings of medicines or supplements.
When shopping, look for bottles that have clear volume markings so you can easily see how much is inside. Some bottles also have dual markings for ounces and milliliters which is helpful.
Aim to have at least:
- 6-8 x 4oz bottles
- 8-10 x 8oz bottles
- 4-6 x 9oz bottles
- A few 12oz and 5oz bottles for flexibility
This gives you enough bottles in the right sizes for each stage of development in the first year. Extras allow you to always have clean bottles ready when you need them.
Types of Bottle Nipples
In addition to having different sized bottles, you’ll also want different nipple flows:
Newborn flow nipples: Extra slow flow for newborns. Encourages them to feed slowly.
Slow flow nipples: Slow, steady flow for young babies around 1-3 months.
Medium flow nipples: Moderate flow for 3-6 month old babies as they get used to bottling.
Fast flow nipples: Fast flow for 6-12 month old babies who bottle feed quickly.
Variable flow nipples: Adjusts flow based on baby’s suction. Good for growing babies.
Wide-neck nipples: Wider shape for feeding thicker liquids and chunky purees.
Start with newborn and slow flow nipples in 4-8oz bottles. Add some 9oz bottles with medium flow nipples around 6 months. Have 1-2 wide-neck nipples for purees.
Changing nipple flow allows you to keep up with your baby’s feeding skills. Make sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended nipple for each bottle type.
Bottle Materials: Plastic vs. Glass
Baby bottles come in two main materials: plastic or glass. Here’s how they compare:
- Shatterproof and lightweight.
- Inexpensive and easy to find.
- Come in a variety of shapes and designs.
- Can stain over time.
- May absorb odors.
- Make sure they are BPA-free.
- Naturally BPA-free.
- Environmentally friendly.
- Won’t stain or absorb odors.
- Heavier than plastic.
- Can break if dropped.
- More expensive than plastic.
Both plastic and glass bottles have advantages. Many parents find using a combination works well. Use plastic for on-the-go and glass for at home. Or easily replace any broken glass bottles with an extra plastic.
Look for plastic bottles clearly labeled as BPA-free. BPA is a chemical that can leach into liquid. Glass bottles don’t contain BPA.
Specialized Bottle Types
In addition to standard plastic and glass bottles, there are some specialized bottle designs:
Venting bottles – Have venting channels that prevent extra air from entering baby’s stomach while feeding. This can help reduce gas, spit up, and colic. Good for babies who gulp milk down fast.
Angled bottles – The nipple and base are at an angle, which can make bottle feeding easier, especially when feeding a baby who likes to lie down. Allows baby to drink comfortably without having to bend their neck.
Disposable bottles – One-time use plastic bottles you can use while traveling or on-the-go. Helpful if you don’t have access to washing facilities. Just toss when done.
Insulated bottles – Have an outer insulating layer that helps keep milk cooler for longer. Great for bottles stored in diaper bags or on trips. Helps control milk temperature.
These specialty bottles can make bottle feeding easier in certain situations. They are useful to have in addition to your regular bottles.
Other Bottle Feeding Accessories
In addition to bottles, here are some other handy bottle feeding accessories:
- Bottle brushes – For effectively cleaning inside bottles, nipples, and caps. Look for soft Bristle brushes.
- Drying rack – Helps air dry all bottle parts hygienically.
- Bottle sterilizer – Uses steam to sterilize bottles and kill germs.
- Bottle warmer – Warms refrigerated milk safely and quickly.
- Formula container – Airtight cases to store measured formula powder portions.
- Leakproof lids – Turn any bottle into a spill-proof travel mug.
- Insulated carrier – Keeps bottles at the right temperature when out and about.
These extras help streamline the bottle feeding process. Focus on items that suit your needs and lifestyle. A drying rack, bottle brushes, and bottle sterilizer help ensure cleanliness. A bottle warmer and insulated carrier make feeding more convenient. And formula cases and leakproof lids support on-the-go bottle feeding. Invest in the extras that will get the most use based on how and where you bottle feed baby.
Saving Money on Bottles
With babies going through several bottles a day, the cost can really add up. Here are some tips to save money on baby bottles:
- Register for bottles as shower gifts or ask friends/family if they have extras.
- Shop sales, especially during seasonal events.
- Buy larger multi-packs which bring down per unit pricing.
- Choose plastic over glass to save on upfront cost.
- Buy store brand bottles rather than premium brands.
- Look for coupons online or in newspaper flyers.
- Buy second-hand bottles from resale sites if in good condition.
- Sign up for rewards programs and bottle company newsletters for discounts.
- Join online parenting groups which may offer free hand-me-down bottles.
Choosing affordable bottles without compromising on safety can take some research. But there are lots of ways to trim costs if you’re strategic. Buying bottles second-hand is also an eco-friendly option, as long as you sterilize them properly before first use.
Determining how many bottles and what sizes to buy for your baby takes some planning. Here are some key takeaways:
- Aim for 8-10 bottles to start, in a range of sizes like 4oz, 8oz, and 9oz.
- Increase bottle quantity if formula feeding or pumping milk.
- Have extras for on-the-go and in case some are dirty.
- Small bottles are for newborns, larger bottles for 6-12 month olds.
- Get different nipple flows for each stage.
- Combine plastic and glass bottles for versatility.
- Add specialty bottles to meet specific needs.
- Accessories can make bottle feeding simpler.
- Buy bundles, generic, and second-hand to save money.
Providing the right number of bottles in the perfect sizes and flows will make bottle feeding your baby less stressful. With some planning and strategic shopping, you can get all the bottles you need without going over budget. Stock up on the essentials and you’ll be ready to bottle feed baby smoothly.