Factors you should consider before making your decision:
1. Will you be exclusively breastfeeding, exclusively pumping or using a combination of both?
- If you are exclusively breastfeeding (no regular bottle) and need a quick fix for a date night or two, you will need only 1 or 2 bottles.
- If you are exclusively pumping (not nursing at all), or using formula, you will need more bottles. You can start with around 6 bottles.
- If you are using a combination of nursing and bottle (breastmilk or formula), you will need to consider other factors mentioned below. Generally 3-4 bottles should be enough.
2. Are you using the same bottles for pumping and feeding?
- If it is the same bottle for pumping and feeding, you will need the same brand of bottle as your pump (so it is compatible with your pump) and will not need extra for feeding. 6-8 bottles per day should be enough if you are not storing the pumped milk in the same bottles. You will need separate storage bags for storing the milk and freezing it.
- If you are using different bottles for pumping and feeding, you will need 2-3 bottles for pumping (they generally come with the pump you buy) and around 6 for feeding.
3. Are you using breastmilk or formula?
- Breast Milk needs to be stored somewhere after being pumped. Formula is generally prepared as needed (2-4 oz. initially gradually increased to 6-8 oz.) or once a day (separate container for about 24-32 fl oz. of formula).
4. How many times is your baby eating per day?
- Generally newborns eat 6-8 times per day and the frequency goes down after around 6 months. You need a fresh bottle for each feed.
5. Do you mind cleaning the bottles manually?
- If you are cleaning the bottles manually every night, you will need 6-8 bottles.
- If you want to clean the bottles right away, you will need only 3-4 bottles.
6. Do you need 1 or 2 bottles extra for your diaper bag or will you use the same ones from your daily stash?
- If you want to have an emergency bottle in your diaper bag at all times, or have these bottles exclusively for the diaper bag, you will need to add 1 or 2 to the final count.
7. How often do you want to run the dishwasher? Every day or every 2 days?
- If you are running the dishwasher to clean the bottles every night, you will need 6-8 bottles.
- If you are running the dishwasher to clean the bottles every two nights, you will need around 12 bottles.
8. Are you planning to drop off the little one at daycare or with someone every day?
- If yes, you will need to provide enough bottles for the baby so the daycare personnel do not have to wash the bottles for you. During an 8-hour period, you may expect around 3 or 4 feedings, so it will be good to have 3-4 bottles dropped off (and an extra one if you feel like the baby may need it).
Choosing Bottle Sizes
Baby bottles come in a range of sizes, since baby will require more and more formula or breast milk as they get older – so it’s a wise idea not to buy too many in one size, or buy a few in each size. Please note that these are just bottle sizes, and do not give you the nipple sizes. Click here to check out my other post about nipple sizes.
Bottles usually come in sizes such as:
- 4 oz (125mL) – newborn
- 9 oz (260mL) – 6 months+
- 11 oz (325mL) – older babies (though the quantity may drop off after they start eating solids)
Other Helpful Tips
- Bottles generally come in packs of 3, which is very economical, so I was happy to buy 6 bottles for the baby.
- It is generally recommended to swap out the bottles after 6 months, or at the first sign of wear and tear.
- It is recommended to swap out nipples often (at least every two to three months) or at the first sign of wear and tear.
- You would also be replacing the nipples once the baby outgrows them, which is every 2-3 months. This means you will be using the same bottle, but upgrading the nipple to the next level, based on the recommended age on the nipple usage or signs from the baby.
- Since the bottles are not frequently replaced, if you wish, you could just buy the 9 oz. size initially and continue using them until you notice signs of wear and tear.