I never in a million years imagined that I’d exclusively formula feed a baby.
Tommy’s adoption happened so quickly that I had to do a lot of formula feeding research in a very short time frame. Thank goodness for all the parents who leave amazing Amazon reviews. Despite the rushed nature of a number of my essential formula feeding supplies purchases, I’ve been very happy with the majority of the items I’ve bought. Having the right supplies makes the task of formula feeding much less frustrating for both you and your child. I’m sharing my essential formula feeding supplies that have made all the difference for us this past year.
Like every aspect of formula feeding, the best bottles aren’t cheap. However, they’re well worth the money. Good bottles do a much better job venting air, minimizing the amount of air a baby takes in while eating. This results in less gas and better digestion. Good bottles are also more durable and hold up well through repeated washings. We’ve used the Philips Avent bottles with Tommy and been nothing but happy with them. If Philips Avent bottles don’t work for you, I also recommend Dr. Brown’s and Comotomo.
Once you’ve settled on a bottle brand, invest in a few extra nipples. With a good bottle brand like Philips, the nipples will hold up extremely well. However, it’s always nice to have a few extras on hand.
A bottle cleaning brush
I got my baby bottle cleaning brush with an Avent bottle starter set (this starter set is no longer available). I’m still using this brush with our bottles a year later. Needless to say, it works great. If you wash water bottles by hand, most likely you already own a bottle cleaning brush, which will work just fine.
Grass drying rack(s)
I have mentioned the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack in my baby favorites posts. Grass drying racks are awesome for any type of baby feeding supplies, including both breastfeeding and formula feeding gear. I own two of the grass drying racks. When I was getting up at night to feed Tommy, I would bring one to the upstairs hallway bathroom at night. Boon also offers a larger lawn size.
Formula travel containers
I recommend buying at least two formula travel containers. If you’ll be doing any sort of overnight travel, having two containers is essential. You never know when you’ll get stuck somewhere longer than expected due to bad weather, a delayed flight, etc. I like to keep two travel containers in rotation at home as well, so I can swap in a new one when I want to wash the other one.
Personally, I like the divided containers because you can bring multiple formula servings with you without taking up a ton of room in a diaper bag. I have the Avent containers because I got one with the above mentioned Avent bottle starter set. There are a couple of other brands that offer very similar divided formula containers. A handful of companies offer stacked divided containers as well, such as this model from Kidsmile.
8-oz water bottles
I didn’t start carrying 8-oz water bottles with me until late in the formula feeding process with Tommy. I really wish that I’d started earlier. 8-oz water bottles are inexpensive and fit easily in virtually any diaper bag. For longer stints away from home, you can even stash a few bottles in your bag. Packing water ensures you’ll be able to make bottles safely and quickly in any location.
Travel formula cleaning kit/drying rack
When you do overnight travel with a formula feeding baby, a travel formula cleaning kit/drying rack is a must. I’ve brought it on three trips the past year and love it. Cleaning bottles in a hotel room stinks. But a travel kit makes the process manageable.
Small bottle of Dawn and dish wand
The other items I also bring for overnight travel to clean baby bottles are a small bottle of Dawn (8 fl. oz.) and a dish wand. I keep them in a separate Ziploc bag (nothing else in it) and haven’t had any issues with leakage. Empty the dish wand completely before packing it to minimize risk of leakage.
The one formula item I wish that I had this time around…
Like many parents, one of my biggest pet peeves about using powdered formula is that it clumps up so easily. The only way to avoid clumps is to shake the bottle. A lot. You still never really get silky smooth formula. And for babies with GI issues, the last thing you want to do is shake your bottles vigorously, as it introduces more air into the formula. Thankfully, Tommy hasn’t had GI issues. But lumpy formula is still gross.
As Tommy’s nearly done with formula now, I’m not investing in any more essential formula feeding supplies. However, I will get a formula mixing pitcher for baby #2. The price point is fantastic, and parents swear by it. Pre-mixing formula also saves a lot of time and energy, which is always a plus, especially during the first few months when you make bottles constantly.
How to do you save money on formula and essential formula feeding supplies?
Obviously, one of the biggest downsides of formula feeding is the expense. Not counting the cost of your essential formula feeding supplies, you’ll spend $25-$40 per week on formula. This means that when you’re exclusively formula feeding for a whole year, you’ll spend $1,300-$2,000 on formula. For most people, this is a major household expense. While there are no methods to cut this cost significantly, there are a few ways you can save money on formula.
Buy powdered formula instead of pre-mixed formula
Powered formula is a lot cheaper than pre-mixed formula. I completely understand why many people prefer pre-mixed formula: it smells better, it saves a ton of time and energy, and it’s much more convenient to take on the go. However, I’ve had a hard time justifying the price point. Using powdered formula the majority of time and splurging occasionally on pre-mixed formula will save you a lot of money.
Look for coupons, Cartwheel savings offers, and similar discounts
There are a couple of methods I’ve used to save on formula. The first method is Cartwheel offers. About a third of the time when I buy formula, there’s a 10% or 15% off coupon available through Cartwheel. The second offer is a Target gift card (usually $10 or $15) for purchasing $100 worth of baby supplies. I have probably earned a dozen of these gift cards over the past year.
I have not found straight manufacturer coupons for Gerber Good Start, which is the formula we’ve used with Tommy. However, there are a few major formula brands that do issue coupons. So it’s worth checking around. Stacking an extra $2-$5 off per formula purchase results in sizable savings over the course of a year.
Save on bulk deals and/or subscription services
Honestly, I haven’t found a lot of great bulk deals on formula, even from major retailers, such as Target and Amazon. Buying in bulk does save time. When you can save even a few dollars with a bulk purchase, it’s well worth it. You’ll find the best bulk deals online. Do periodic searches for the formula brand you prefer.
A number of major retailers also offer formula subscription services, which come with a bit of a discount. In some cases, you will need to sign up for some sort of membership, such as Target REDcard or Amazon Prime. If you have a Target REDcard, you’ll also be able to stack formula savings with your REDcard discount. For Target shoppers, it’s definitely worth combining as many offers as possible.
Put formula on your registry and gift wish lists
I know that purchasing basic baby gear, including essential formula feeding supplies, is so boring. It’s much more fun to shop for cute clothes or toys. However, as a parent, you know that these basic supplies are always welcome. Formula is no exception. Let your family and friends know which formula brand you prefer, and encourage them to purchase it as a gift. Put your essential formula feeding supplies on your registry as well.
Purchase essential formula feeding supplies secondhand or solicit donated items from family and friends
As formula is so expensive, you’re unlikely to get a lot of formula for free or at a discount, even from family and friends. Formula also doesn’t keep, so most people up every last bit of it. Occasionally, you may get to benefit from someone who has a bunch of formula that didn’t work out for their kid. Otherwise, you’ll have better luck saving money on formula supplies. I always recommend purchasing new bottle nipples for secondhand bottles.
[Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to talk about any of the products in this post. We purchased all of the products mentioned ourselves or received them as gifts. There are a few affiliate links. Thanks for your support!]
What are your favorite essential formula feeding supplies?
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