Switching from Breastmilk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.
Switching from Breastmilk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.
September 11, 2020

Switching from Breastmilk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.

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Switching from Breastmilk to Formula? Here’s What to Buy.

Ed note: If you’re overwhelmed by the current formula shortage, you’re not alone. For expert advice and answers to common questions about the shortage, read our article on What Parents Can Do About the Formula Shortage.

If you planned on feeding your baby breastmilk 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.

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 Formula You Can Feel Good About

First thing’s first if you’re making the switch from breastmilk to formula: choosing a formula that meets your needs, your baby’s needs and that fits your budget.

You’ll likely want to talk with your pediatrician and do some research on your own to learn about the different types of baby formulas and what may work best for your little one. Similac Pro-Advance is a popular choice for both parents and hospitals for a few reasons. It’s well-priced, accessible and non-GMO. It’s made with something called 2’-FL Human Milk Oligosaccharide—HMO for short—an immune-system nourishing prebiotic similar to one found in breast milk. (HMO is important because it feeds good bacteria to the gut, where the majority of the immune system exists.) It also contains nutrients that support eye health and brain development.

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. NUK’s line of Simply Natural bottles are designed to mimic the breast and can make for an easier breast-to-bottle transition. They’re also made with a special anti-colic air system to reduce gas and spit-up.

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

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 pitcher 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.

An 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 may not be the type of lawn you can relax on, but it’s great nonetheless.

The Only Bottle Brush You’ll Ever Need

And 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.

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. The Burpy Bib from Aden + Anais pulls double duty as a bib and a burp cloth. Use the snap to fasten them around your baby’s neck, then unsnap and sling over your shoulder to protect your shirt when it’s time for burping. The absorbent fabric is soft, and the bibs’ XL size cover a lot of ground.

For More Comfortable Weaning

Just because you’re making the switch from breastmilk 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, having a hand pump on hand is a good idea. The Harmony from Medela 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.

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 nonetheless. 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.

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 rather 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.

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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