The Actual Formula
Find the formula you/your baby likes best. Our doctor recommended Holle right off the bat. It was actually a bit hard tracking down the best route to obtain Holle (an organic German brand) but I ended up with ‘Little World Organics‘ which is a mom-run online business with a transparent supply-chain process. Their website is not awesome, but I like everything else about them. We also use Earth’s Best on the regular. There are plenty of formula brands out there and you should choose whichever one works best for you and your little one.
For more on the FDA blocking European brands like Holle, visit this article here.
Pick Your Bottles
We use Dr. Brown Bottles. We always have. We used them for pumped breastmilk and then for formula. If this is your first time introducing a bottle, you may have to explore a few kinds to find the one that works best for your baby.
We have a slew of Dr. Brown’s 8-ounce bottles and 4-ounce bottles. We need both sizes for different feedings, especially as the babes grew and needed more to eat! Having a bunch of both sizes has really come in handy. Bottles aren’t cheap but neither is my time or sanity. Having a bunch of bottles makes life easier (less immediate washing, broader ability to prepare ahead of time, more spares for on-the-go, etc.). Now that we are on to baby number three, these bottles have gotten (will get) a lot of use and the price was well worth it.
Nipples of All Sizes
You’ll likely want newborn nipple sizes as well as level one and level two as your baby grows. Some little ones also need size three but I often found that flow much too strong for my little ones.
The most popular electric formula mixer (the Ferrari of formula makers) is the Baby Brezza.
Baby Exo makes a fancy formula mixer you can find here. Claiming multifunction – “Not only for the formula making but also a perfect match for baby foods, coffee, tea, oatmeal, pasta and much more” – a machine like this could come in handy for your needs.
Personally, I am obsessed with Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixer. Cheap, easy, simple. This pitched saved me from a mixing migraine. It is easy, efficient and mass-producing. We make anywhere from 26-32 ounces of formula for a 24-hour period and this easy-pour pitcher is perfect for that kind of quantity. It also fits easily in the Dr. Brown’s sterilizer which is a nice plus. If you are not making more than 12 ounces for a 24-hour period of time, the Dr. Brown’s pitcher is probably overkilled and you can just use regular bottles.
Water, Water Everywhere
We use nursery water to mix our formula. There is a debate about the need for nursery water or if you can simply use your tap water (if you live in a place with high-quality city/groundwater). I suggest you do your own research and talk to your Pediatrician. We happily spend $1.00 a jug at the grocery store. I do buy about 8 gallons at a time so I don’t have to run out for it very often.
We do not boil our water. It is also a decision you will have to make for yourself – and most every recommendation online will say you have to boil your water. I do not know other moms in my circle who boil their formula water, I just followed their lead. If you do decide to boil the water, especially for the littlest ones (we didn’t start formula until 3 and 7 months for each child, respectively), you should speak to your pediatrician about the best way to go about this. Some say to use a tea-kettle or a pot you will never cook food in to boil. *You should always talk to your child’s doctor about health and feeding decisions.*
We sanitizer our bottles and bottle gear for our children for up to 3 months. You should talk to your child’s pediatrician if this is right and necessary for your family. You can also decide, yes, as a personal decision for your children, without a doctor’s guidance. However, you shouldn’t decide ‘no’ on your own if your child was born premature, or with any immune deficiencies.
We used this super easy Dr. Brown’s sterilizer to make life easy.
There are a bunch of bottle brushes out there but I really like the OXO that comes with it’s own little holder. Babyganics is, hands down, my favorite bottle soap. It isn’t greasy and you can buy refills for the bottle to save money.
Formula Feeding on the Fly
Ready-to-go liquid formula is by far the easiest way to travel with formula. Though the actual brands/formula is not my preference day-to-day, it definitely is my #1 choice for flying due to the convenience. You can use a Dr. Brown’s collar and nipple directly on the bottle for most brands, or pour directly into your preferred bottle type.
Mixing your own formula is also feasible. Bring bottles that are perfect for mixing on the go. These kinds of bottles (though there are different brands) allow you to put the right amount of formula in the bottom of the bottle beforehand. Once you are through security, buy filtered water bottles, pour the right amount of water in the top, and you’ll be ready to mix when you baby is ready to eat! Or, purchase to-go packets of formula and bring your regular baby bottles on the plane.
Pre-mixing bottles in bottle coolers with ice packs, is totally doable (but the most inconvenient in my experience because of the extra scrutiny through TSA).
Note: Liquids such as pre-made formula go through extra security measures with TSA. This has added 5 minutes at a minimum and 25 minutes at maximum to our security screenings depending on the lines and availability of agents.