What equipment do you need for successful bottle feeding?

What bottle feeding equipment do you need?

A guide to bottle feeding equipment

If you feed your baby formula, you need a fair amount of feeding equipment.

Infant formula milk, and bottles with teats are just for starters.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission should you choose to sign up for something or make a purchase using links I endorse (at no extra cost to you).

Other essential equipment and not-so-essential accessories are also on the list.

Here is a complete list of essentials and accessories you need to bottle feed your baby. 

1. Infant formula milk

Formula milk comes in two forms: powdered and ready-to-feed liquid.

Formula milk powder

There is a variety of infant formula milks on the market. It doesn’t matter which brand you choose, as long as it complies with government standards for formula milk.

Formula milk is sold in powder form which you mix with hot water to make up feeds. 

If you plan to formula-feed your baby from birth, it is wise to familiarise yourself with instructions for preparing feeds, before your baby is born.

Ready made formula

Cartons and bottles of liquid ready-to-feed formula milk may be more convenient for when you are out and about. 

Ready made formula milk is a much more expensive option than powder, but it is handy to have some in the cupboard.

For example, if you get caught out without enough time to make up a feed, or you have a power cut, formula that is ready to drink could save the day.

You can also buy ready made bottles with teats. These are handy to put in your hospital bag if you are planning on bottle feeding, or if you change your mind about breastfeeding. 

Types of milk formulas

There are different varieties of formula milk available, depending on your baby’s dietary needs or health concerns. These include:

  • First infant milk made from cows’ milk or goat’s milk
  • Hungry baby formula, which is harder to digest and designed for ‘hungrier’ babies
  • Comfort baby formula, which is easier to digest to help prevent digestive problems. (But there is no evidence this, or hungry baby milk does what it says on the tin) 
  • Under medical supervision only – lactose-free, anti-reflux and hypoallergenic formulas
  • Follow-on, good night milk and soya formulas suitable from 6 months (ask for professional health advice first) 
  • Suitable from 1 year – growing-up milk or whole cows’, sheep’s or goat’s milk (pasteurised) 

2. Baby bottles and teats

Baby bottles

You will need around six 4 – 5oz feeding bottles with teats suitable for newborns.

As the weeks progress and the baby starts taking bigger feeds, you will use larger 8 – 9oz bottles.

Use larger bottles from the beginning if you like, as the smaller bottles will be redundant after the first few weeks.

Wide-necked bottles are easiest to keep clean.

There is a huge range of different-sized and shaped bottles on the market to choose from. Do your research and read product reviews before you decide what to go for. 

Tommee Tippee closer to nature baby bottles have a breast-like bottle shape, and are extremely popular.

Bottle teats

As with bottles, teats come in different shapes and sizes.

They have different sized holes to allow slow, medium, fast and variable milk flow rates. 

As your baby grows and sucks harder to get at the milk, it is probably time to move up a teat stage.

You may need to experiment until you find a teat design that suits your baby. Especially if you switch between breast and bottle feeding.

Nanobebe baby bottles are designed to transition between breast and bottle, with a natural feel to avoid teat confusion.

Teats must be replaced every so often when they become worn or damaged.

3. Bottle cleaning brush

It is vital you feed your baby from a clean sterilised bottle each time. 

An infant’s immune system is not fully developed. Therefore there is a chance your baby could get sick from bacteria lurking on unclean feeding equipment. 

Bottles and teats need to be washed with hot, soapy water after each use. 

All teat surfaces and inside surfaces of bottles must be scrubbed. Use a bottle cleaning brush for this. 

A bottle brush is a long-handled brush for removing milk residues from bottles, teats, breast pump parts and other feeding equipment.

Look for a brush with a curved brush head to clean hard-to-reach parts of bottles, and a plastic handle that won’t scratch your equipment.

4. Bottle steriliser

Bottle feeding equipment must be sterilised before use, until your baby is 12 months old.

You can use an electric, microwave or UV steriliser, cold water steriliser, or boiling water.

For an exclusively bottle fed baby, it is convenient to have a steriliser with a large capacity that sterilises six bottles at once. 

Travel bottle sterilisers are convenient for taking on holiday, or occasional use.

5. Insulated bottle bag

When you are out and about you may not be in a position to make up formula feeds from scratch.

An insulated bottle bag, or thermabag, keeps hot food items hot, and cold items cold when you are on the go.

Fill a feeding bottle with hot water and store it in the insulated bag until you need it.

Then add the required amount of formula milk powder as you normally would to make up a bottle. 

(Or take a thermos flask filled with hot water and a sterilised bottle with you instead.)

You can also use the bag to transport chilled bottles of formula milk you have already made, and warm them when you need them. 

(Health professionals tend not to approve of making up bottles of formula in advance.)

6. Powdered milk dispenser

A powdered milk dispenser is a handy little plastic tub that holds a pre-measured amount of infant formula milk powder.

You can fill the dispenser, throw it in your bag, and have the exact amount of powder ready for making up a bottle when you are out and about.

Milk powder dispensers are useful for leaving out the right amount of formula for babysitters, so they can prepare feeds in your absence.

7. Breast Pump

For bottle feeding your baby expressed breast milk, you may wish to invest in a breast pump. 

If you only pump occasionally to supplement formula milk, a hand breast pump will probably suffice. 

If you pump regularly, an electric breast pump may be more convenient.

8. Muslin cloths

Muslin cloths are likely to be among your best ‘good all-round’ baby buys.

The squares of muslin material are useful as burp cloths, for catching milk dribbling from your baby’s mouth during feeds, and mopping up baby sick.

You’ll probably find you get through several each day and you have one permanently draped over your shoulder. 

Muslin cloths have all sorts of uses, so don’t be surprised if you end up with a stash of 20 or more.

9. Dribble bibs

If your baby dribbles milk excessively during feeds, he may end up with a neck rash from all the moisture.

A supply of absorbent milk feeding bibs for soaking up dribbles and spills around the neckline combats this.

Choose bibs that are nice and soft with a high neck, and easy to fasten and unfasten.

Check they can be washed in the washing machine with your usual washing loads.

10. Baby bottle warmer

A bottle warmer is used to warm cooled breastmilk, ready-to- feed liquid formula or chilled pre-made formula.

A bottle warmer takes around four minutes to heat a small 4oz bottle of milk, and up to 10 minutes for larger bottles.

This doesn’t seem like a long time, but it may feel like forever in the middle of the night when you have a hungry screaming baby.

A jug of hot water will do the job just as well and maybe quicker.

But having a bottle warmer upstairs does save you a trip downstairs in the middle of the night to boil the kettle.

If you buy a bottle warmer, make sure it fits the brand of bottles you are using.

A small thermos flask or portable bottle warmer is useful for heating bottles when you are out and about.

11. Bottle starter set

If you know you will be exclusively bottle feeding, consider purchasing a baby bottle starter set. 

The Tommee Tippee complete feeding set contains everything you need to get started bottle feeding, including steriliser, bottles and teats, milk powder dispensers, and other accessories.

You can add to the set as and when you need to. 

12. Bottle prep machine

To save time making up feeds at home, a bottle prep machine is a good investment. 

Formula milk prep machines automatically add the right amount of hot and cold water to the formula milk powder to make up a feed.

The Tommee Tippee prep machine produces a ready-to-feed bottle at exactly the right temperature in under 2 minutes. It works with any powdered formula milk.

This saves you waiting for a freshly made bottle to cool down, or from having to make up bottles in advance.

Bottle feeding equipment and accessories

To summarise, the things you need for bottle feeding include formula milk, bottles and teats, a bottle brush, sterilising equipment and muslin cloths.

You may find the other bottle feeding accessories mentioned above useful, but they are not essential. See how you go!

More articles you may find interesting:

Like this post? Share it with your friends!

List of bottle feeding equipment