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Switching from Breast Milk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.
Updated on
October 26, 2023

Switching from Breast Milk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.

By Babylist Team
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Switching from Breast Milk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.

Although the formula shortage is said to have been resolved, some parents say they’re still feeling the effects. If that’s you, you’re not alone—and we’re here to help. For expert advice and answers to questions you might have about finding the right formula for your family, this article may help.

If you planned on feeding your baby breast milk but all of a sudden find yourself giving formula a go, you’re far from alone. Lots of expectant parents plan either to breastfeed or feed their little one pumped milk only to find those plans changing after baby arrives—for lots of different reasons. And although it can be tough to let go of how you initially imagined things might go, it’s important to remember that the best way to feed your little one is what works for you and for your family.

First things first, you’ll want to pick a baby formula for your little one—dob’t worry! We can guide you through how to pick the right formula for your baby.

Beyond the formula itself, things like extra bottles, a formula pitcher, a good bottle brush and other products designed for formula feeding are helpful to have on hand if you’re making the switch from breastmilk to formula. These are some of our favorites.

A Bottle That’s Designed for a Breastfed Baby

It can take some time for a mostly breastfed baby to get used to drinking from a bottle. The gradual shape from the base to the top of the nipple on these Chicco Hybrid bottles mimic baby’s latch on the breast and can help make the transition to bottle easier. They’re also made with a special anti-colic air feature to reduce gas and spit-up.

This set comes with two different bottle sizes and two types of nipples in slow and medium flow. To start, you’ll want to use the slow-flow nipples until your little one gets used to drinking from the bottle , since a medium-flowing nipple can overwhelm a breastfed baby. The set also comes with two orthodontic pacifiers to use from birth through six months.

For Speeding Up Bottle Prep

If you’ve been mostly breastfeeding or feeding your little one pumped milk up until this point, you may not realize just how time consuming it can be to prepare a bottle of formula at every feeding. A formula maker can be a major lifesaver. (And a major timesaver.) This motorized blending pitcher mixes a day’s worth of formula with the push of a button. There’s a spill-free locking lid and a no-drip spout, and the entire thing can be tossed in the dishwasher at the end of the day so it’s clean and ready to go for the next day. To make bottle prep even faster, Baby Brezza also carries a formula maker (think Keurig but for babies) and a warm water dispenser so you can skip the bottle warmer.

A Place to Hold All Your Stuff

Formula feeding is easier on the body than breastfeeding or pumping—but it’s not so easy on your sink full of dirty bottle parts that need scrubbing. And since most bottle parts and other feeding accessories need to air dry, you’ll need a drying rack to keep everything contained.

The Boon Lawn is the drying rack we come back to again and again. It’s not only super fun, brightening up whatever space it’s in, but it’s also super practical. There’s plenty of room for drying bottles, nipples, pacifiers, sippy cups and more. The rack’s blades of “grass” keep everything upright and allow for 360 degrees of air circulation while the tray below catches all the drips. It comes in different colors (like sage green or white) and even has cute accessories like a flower and stem to hang smaller bottle parts like nipples. It may not be the type of lawn you can relax on, but it’s great nonetheless.

The Only Bottle Brush You’ll Ever Need

While we’re on the topic of cleaning, a good bottle brush is key if you’re going to be scrubbing formula out of your baby’s bottles. This one from Oxo Tot does an excellent job of reaching every nook and cranny your sponge can’t. The bristles are soft but durable, and the brush handle has a secret compartment that hides a silicone nipple cleaner that cleans tight spots more effectively than bristles can. The brush comes with a stand to hold up the brush and collect the excess water drips so they don’t end up soaking your counter. There is also a travel version for easy on-the-go cleaning.

A Few Extra Bibs

Fact: you can never have too many bibs.

Formula tends to stain clothes a bit more than breast milk does, so if you’re making the switch, it’s a good idea to make sure your bib supply is well stocked. These Tommee Tippee bibs have an absorbent collar to catch any milk drips. We also like to have some of these absorbent muslin burp cloths close by wipe up any spills and catch spit up.

For More Comfortable Weaning

Just because you’re making the switch from breast milk to formula doesn’t mean it has to be exclusive. If you’re still planning on pumping occasionally, or you want to take it slow with the weaning process, it’s a good idea to have a hand pump available. Medela’s Harmony is simple, straightforward and compact. It doesn’t require an electrical outlet and does a great job of expressing milk whether you need a full pumping session or just a few minutes to take the edge off if you’re engorged. Another option that’s popular among nursing parents is the Haakaa silicone pump, which gently suctions onto the breast and passively removes milk. Neither option requires an electrical outlet and they do a great job of expressing milk whether you need a full pumping session or just a few minutes to take the edge off if you’re engorged.

A One-Step Sterilizer

A sterilizer isn’t a must-have for a full-term, healthy baby, but some parents like the germ-free peace of mind that it provides. This one uses natural steam heat to kill 99.9% of germs on bottles, bottle parts, pacifiers and even small toys and teethers. The standout feature here? A drying function—it’s the only sterilizer on the market with one built right in. Everything comes out completely dry so you don’t have to worry about leftover moisture and mold growth. We also like this microwave steam sterilizer as a more affordable option. All you do is add water, lock the lid and then pop the whole thing in the microwave. Everything will remain sterilized for 24 hours if the lid isn’t opened.

For Warm Bottles—Fast

A bottle warmer is another item that isn’t a necessity but can come in handy if your little one is used to drinking warm milk. (Warming a bottle of formula is also a good trick if your formerly-breastfed baby is having trouble transitioning from breast to bottle.) This warmer from Avent is compact and works quickly. It also features a smart temperature control that prevents milk from overheating. It will keep a bottle warm for up to 60 minutes.

A Cooler Bag for Feeding on the Go

A premixed bottle of formula lasts much longer if it’s kept cool than if you leave it at room temperature. This insulated cooler bag holds two large bottles with a bit of room to spare for when you need to feed your baby on the go. It features a removable ice pack and an adjustable clip that attaches to your stroller. The lining is fully wipeable for quick, easy cleanup.

Formula On-the-Go

If you’re not premixing your formula, you’ll need something to take your formula on the go. This handy container holds three separate portions of formula (up to 9 oz each) so you simply add to the water in your baby’s bottle. It has a secure, snap-on lid so you won’t have any accidental spills in your diaper bag. We also love this option from Skip Hop that can later be used for all the toddler snacks.

A Smart Bottle Prep Solution

This innovative solution to bottle prep lets you fill bottles with one hand—a huge win as we can hardly remember the last time we had two free hands to do much of anything. All you need to do is push it down on a smooth, dry surface and nestle the bottle inside. The bokee props up the bottle and holds it securely in place so you can fill it one-handed and don’t have to worry about spills. So smart!

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