How Many Bottles Should You Buy For Your Baby?

by wrylilt

Whether you plan to breastfeed or bottlefeed, chances are you'll need bottles at some stage. Here's a guide to deciding how many to buy in each size, for varying ages and needs.

Planning for baby can be a complicated process. Every baby is born at a different weight, length and size. Every baby has a different appetite - some babies will drink only small amounts at regular intervals night and day, while other babies prefer larger drinks and only during the day.
Of course this presents a problem when deciding what bottles to buy - you don't want to spend too much money on bottles that will only be used for a month or two. And of course you don't want to buy half a dozen when you'll only really be using two or three regularly.
The following guide will give you some information to help you decide how many bottles you need to buy in preparation for baby.

Tip: When not around mum, breastfed babies will often feed less. So if your baby normally has four feeds in a seven hour period, don't be surprised if they only drink 2-3 bottles while in care.

Bottles For The Breastfeeding Baby

Even if you plan to breastfeed your baby, it's important that you have a backup plan in case you have problems with milk supply, your milk doesn't come down at all or simply if you want a night out. Having an expressing kit and spare bottles is the best way to plan ahead.

  • For the stay at home baby - If you only plan to go out for a dinner or date with your partner that won't last more than a few hours, two bottles is a good number, and three is a safe bet.
  • For the baby that will go to day care or sitters regularly - It's important that you have enough bottles to cover the entire time your baby is in care, without having to reuse them. Many daycare centres will ask you to send premade bottles for legal and safety reasons and many home sitters may prefer that bottles are made and ready. You'll need about 1 bottle for every two and a half hours they'll be in care, with an extra one just in case.
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Tip: Until baby is approximately 9 months to 1 year of age, it's highly recommended that you sterilise baby's bottles.

Bottles For The Formula Fed Baby

If your baby is on formula from birth, it can really vary how many bottles you'll use. You'll need to take two things into consideration when deciding how many bottles you'll need:-

How often you plan to wash and sterilise bottles AND whether you will be making up a lot of bottles in advance or simply making one immediately prior to feeds.

  • For the stay at home baby: As a mimimum it's a good idea to have three, although the above factors will probably influence how many you need. If you do plan to make bottles ahead, buy one for every two and a half hours.
  • For the baby that goes to day care or sitters: You'll need at least one for every two and a half hours, plus some spares at home if you're too busy or not in the mood to clean and sterilise some.

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. Bottles usually come in sizes such as:

  • 4 oz (125mL) - newborn
  • 9 oz (260mL) - 6 months +
  • 11 oz (325mL) - older babies
Updated: 09/01/2012, wrylilt
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