If you are reading this article, you are surely amongst those confused new parents who are wondering, ‘how many baby bottles do I need?’ It is not a weird question, and you are certainly not the first one to ask. However, what is surprising to see is that even childcare experts are unable to answer this simple question.
Therefore, in this article, let us take a look at the types of baby bottles available in the market, and how many should you buy for your child.
Types Of Baby Bottles
Before you decide how many baby bottles you should buy, you must choose the right type of bottle. Since it will be the only utensil that you will use to feed the baby for a long time, it is crucial to ensure that it is safe for him or her.
In the past, there have been reports about several types of materials used in making these bottles that cause harmful diseases related to the nervous and digestive system, respectively. Therefore, you should know the benefits and potential hazards of buying a particular type of baby bottle.
1. Glass Bottles
Even though plastic bottles are cheaper and do not break, there have been concerns about their use for a long time now. The best thing about the glass feeding bottles is that they do not have a harmful substance called BPA. We shall discuss about BPA or Bisphenol A in the next section.
Moreover, using glass bottles is the conventional way of feeding babies. One can easily boil milk in a glass bottle for sterilization. Similarly, it is also safe for heating in microwaves. Since the glass used by most manufacturers is of superior quality, these feeding bottles tend to last longer. Besides this, glass feeding bottles are an eco-friendly option that can be recycled to make other useful things.
Babies drop their feeding bottles frequently. One of the drawbacks of buying a glass bottle is that it will break as soon as it falls on the ground. Moreover, glass bottles are heavier than plastic bottles. So, babies cannot handle it themselves.
It also makes it difficult to carry for the parents. The prices are always higher when manufacturers use advanced technology to make them durable and safe. Lastly, glass feeding bottles are available in one or two sizes only. Thus, very limited options are available.
2. Plastic Bottles
After 2012, the Food and Drug Administration of the US Federal government banned all plastic feeding bottles that had BPA. Over the last two decades, there has been a lot of research on the effects of BPA on the human body.
BPA or Bisphenol-A is an important constituent of polycarbonate plastic. In almost all of the research data available in this regard, we find evidence suggesting that BPA has negative effects on children’s neurological development. Therefore, the FDA decided to ban its use in feeding bottles. Secondly, the carcinogenic effects of BPA are also well-known.
Today, people can buy only BPA-free plastic bottles, which in turn have several benefits. Firstly, BPA-free bottles are not as expensive as the glass feeding bottles. Secondly, they do not break easily on falling. Thirdly, they do not weigh as much as a glass bottle; therefore, they can be handled by small children. It also makes it easier to carry. Just like glass, BPA-free plastic is also recyclable.
Although these feeding bottles do not have Bisphenol-A, they still contain petroleum that can be harmful to children in many ways. Moreover, most of the BPA-free plastic feeding bottles are not safe for microwaves. Therefore, you cannot heat milk in them. Boiling milk for sterilization also damages these bottles.
3. Stainless Steel Bottles
If you see stainless steel feeding bottles at any store near you, buy them instantly. These bottles do not contain BPA. Neither do they break easily on falling. Stainless steel is a durable material and does not undergo degradation during sterilization or heating. Contrary to popular belief, stainless steel bottles are lighter than glass bottles.
However, the only concern about using stainless steel feeding bottles is that they are far more expensive than the glass and plastic ones. Besides, they are very difficult to find in the markets.
4. Silicone Bottles
Ever since silicone became a popular material for tumblers and kitchenware, manufacturers started using it to make baby bottles as well. Just like stainless steel, silicone is lightweight and durable. However, it is even more expensive than stainless steel.
Moreover, the use of silicone for small accessories like baby bottles causes inconvenience to the buyer. It is because the regular shops and drug stores do not usually have replaceable parts of such items. So once anything breaks, you need to buy a new bottle altogether.
Online platforms offer these bottles at lower prices, but concerns about the genuineness of materials are always there.
How Many Bottles Should You Buy?
One reason why new parents always remain confused about the number of baby bottles they should buy is that there is no perfect answer to this. The number of bottles that you should buy depends on several factors. Most importantly, you need to see whether your baby is more comfortable when breastfed or bottle-fed. If you think that it is the right time for bottle-feeding, then only go out to buy them.
Next, consider the capacity of these feeding bottles before deciding how many to buy. A bottle that stores up to four ounces of milk is sufficient for the newborn. As the child grows, the amount of milk they drink at a time also increases. So, you’ll need a 6 or 8-ounce bottle for older children.
1. Lesser Number Of Bottles
Another factor that you should consider before deciding the number of bottles is the availability of the mother. If the mother does not go to work and stays at home, she can both breastfeed and bottle-feed the child. Thus, in this case, you will not require more than a couple of feeding bottles.
You will only need these bottles when the family goes out for a dinner or a get-together and takes the child along. Besides, when the mother has to go out for any reason whatsoever, the father can feed the child using the bottle.
2. Buying 3-6 Bottles
Many times doctors suggest that parents should follow an infant formula for feeding the child. If you decide to feed according to a formula, you shall require around three to six feeding bottles for the child. Infant formulas are simple schedules for feeding so that the child gets proper nourishment during infancy.
However, to follow a formula, the child needs to be fed multiple times a day. Thus, you need more bottles and have to wash them frequently as well.
3. More Than Five Bottles
Feeding and looking after the child becomes difficult for mothers who go out to work. It is why most mothers prefer sending their child to a daycare facility. In this case, you will need more than five feeding bottles so that you can cover the entire duration for which the child is at the daycare.
By having more than five bottles, you can follow an infant formula even at the daycare. Simply start with a formula where they feed the child every two hours and buy the required number of bottles accordingly.
The nurses and caregivers at most of these daycare facilities tell the parents to come prepared with prescribed infant formulas. However, if they offer to provide a formula, ask them about the number of bottles that you should buy.
Why Shape Of The Bottle Is Important?
Babies do not have advanced grip and dexterity. Therefore, the shape of the bottle is important so that they can grab it efficiently. Mostly, the feeding bottles are curved, angulated, and tall. These features enhance the ergonomic stability of a bottle and make it easier to handle.
Bottles are classified based on the shape of their neck. You can either choose an angled-neck bottle or a wide-neck feeding bottle. While both are convenient to use, the angled-neck feeding bottles are better when you want to comply with infant formula.
Moreover, parents prefer buying a separate feeding bottle that is smaller in size so that they can carry it outside. These bottles can fit easily in the glass holder of the stroller.
Buying Teats For The Bottle
When choosing the feeding bottles, you also need to pay attention to the teats or the bottle nipples. Nowadays, there are special orthodontic bottle nipples available that do not hit against the developing gums and teeth of the child. Expandable teats are also available, which you can continue using while the baby grows. Moreover, you should always choose bottle nipples made out of silicone or latex.
Always buy a set of disposable bottle nipples when you plan to travel with the baby. Disposable bottle nipples are sterilized and easy to use when you are on the go. These are very convenient, and you can fix them over any standard feeding bottle.
How Many Baby Bottles Do I Need? Conclusion
This article is a guide for parents who are shifting from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding their child. It is also meant for those parents who are told by the physician to follow an infant formula for feeding.
As you can see, there is no perfect answer to your question- ‘how many baby bottles do I need?’ However, there are several key factors that you should consider before buying baby bottles. Therefore, keep all this information in mind when you go out to buy baby bottles, and you will be able to take the decision easily.