I’m a mom of two and have done a combination of breastfeeding, pumping and formula feeding. I’ve used a system for prepping bottles that seemed pretty obvious to me. But every time I shared it with other moms they said things like “mind blown.” Below is my system as well as some other tips that I’ve come across for prepping formula bottles and bottle washing on the go .
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My Neat System for Pre-Measuring Formula
Measuring formula can be time consuming and if your hands are at all wet, it can get messy. I like to clean and dry my hands well and then pre-measure a few days worth of formula all at once. This makes it easy to grab and go while at home, out and about and when traveling. If you have a sitter or nanny, pre-measuring vials kid formula is a good task to delegate for her to do while baby is napping.
With both kids, I used Medela storage containers (the colustrum ones fit up to three scoops of Holle and the larger ones fit up to six scoops). I label the caps with erasable labels to indicate how many ounces are in the container (see my home organizing post for lots more uses for these labels). At home, I store the bottles upright in a clear bin in my cabinet.
Once empty, I flip them (which makes it easy to eyeball how many I have left) and then wash them all weekly. Just make sure they are 100% dry before refilling them with formula.
In the diaper bag, I will usually just stick the containers in a side pocket (more about on the go formula storage and bottle washing below).
The Medela containers that I use are a straight narrow cylinder so the formula pours into the bottle easily. Lots of use the popular circular formula dispensers. I find them messy as it’s hard to get the formula to pour out neatly (it gets caught in the top). Boon recently came out with a tripod formula dispenser that is similar to my technique and can also be labeled with erasable labels .
If my baby drinks a consistent amount each bottle, I might fill up a few bottles with water and leave them on the counter. Before I go to bed I always do this for any middle of night feeds and the first morning feed. I listed my favorite bottles here (including silicone and a glass one with an integrated collar and nipple. Laying out the bottles and formula this way for grandparents and occasional sitters is a good way to avoid confusion about how to prepare bottles.
A Note on Water Temperature
Your formula box may instruct you to mix the formula with half near boiling water and then cold water for the remainder. My understanding is that this is to kill bacteria in case the formula gets contaminated. Discuss with your pediatrician whether this is necessary. My system still adds convenience but you would need to pack warm water for on the go.
For Formula That Doesn’t Mix Easily
My system works well for me as the formula that I use mixes easily with room temperature water. If your formula is harder to mix you may consider a formula dispenser machine or pre-mixing bottles in a formula mixing pitcher and storing a day’s worth in the refrigerator (assuming your baby doesn’t mind cold formula).
Formula Dispensing Bottles (why I don’t use them)
Formula dispensing bottles are an alternative to the above system. I’ve tried both Mixie and PopYum and prefer my system. My main gripe with them is that they need to be 100% dry before use and they have a lot of pieces to keep track of. Also some babies won’t easily transition between bottle types. My PopYum bottle leaked (the brand insists that I got a lemon and promised a replacement, which I never received), and it’s pieces are big and contoured so they would take extra long to dry.
Storing Boxed Formula Once Opened
I use boxed formula and once it’s open I will either put the metallic bag in a Ziploc or transfer it to a large wide-mouthed mason jar (I also use these plastic lids instead of the included metal lids, which tend to rust in the dishwasher).
Lots of moms prefer to use a container with a spot for a scoop and a leveling lid. There are ones designed specifically for formula and others designed for sugar that work well too. Here are a few popular ones as well as the mason jar that I use.
What’s in my Baby’s Bottle
I use this formula
From about 4-12 months, I add this a product to help prevent food allergies
Formula Feeding on the Go and While Traveling
Storing Formula and Washing Bottles on the Go
I use the same system described above when on the go (grabbing pre-measured formula containers and bottles filled with water).
Washing Bottles on the Go
For cleaning baby bottles, sippy cups or even covered bowls on the go, I’m obsessed with FizzWizz (head to my exclusive discounts post for a discount code). I simply drop a tablet in with two ounces of water, let it dissolve like Alka-Seltzer, shake it up and rinse it out. When I rinse it out I pour it over the outside of the nipple and then also wipe the outside of the nipple with the pacifier wipes. You can also use their wipes to clean the outside of the bottle and pacifiers. It’s super easy and eliminates the potential messiness of traveling with liquid dish soap. It does a good job cleaning and is easy to do without a sink (e.g., use bottled water and rinse into the street).
I find FizzWizz especially helpful in hot weather. Dirty bottles can get nasty quickly but you don’t always want to do a full wash on the go. The tablets dissolve quickly in warm water but take more time with cold water. On vacation or a day trip, I typically drop one in and leave it to dissolve and then rinse it out the next time I’m at a sink or at a clean water dispenser at the pool.
I now keep FizzWizz in my diaper bag for use on the go even when not traveling. Also, my silicone tether makes it less likely for bottles, pacifiers and toys to fall on the floor but if they do, FizzWizz wipes make cleanup quick.
I’ve been using Comotomo silicone bottles since my four year old was a newborn. Brezza bottles are easier to wash, especially on the go, as the collar and nipple are integrated (Brezza bottles come in plastic and glass). More on my favorite bottles here.