This blog post was originally posted on www.leleki.com & reviewed by Dr. Pierrette Poinsett A veteran board-certified pediatrician with three decades of experience. She holds an MD from the University of Chicago and a BS in Chemical Engineering from The University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Poinsett is a diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics.
Feeding your baby is one of the most important, yet sometimes challenging tasks as a parent. Whether you decide on formula or breast milk, you should have a few essentials ready! And yes, there are many more items you can get to make your life easier and more comfortable. In this article we will focus on the bare essentials. To view a full baby registry list check out our Meloddi Checklist.
Baby essentials - first 3 months
For all babies:
- Baby bottles
- Bottle cleaning brush
- Burp cloths
- Cloth bibs
- Breast pump
- Breast milk storage bags
Baby essentials - 4 months+
For all babies:
- High chair (4mo+)
- Baby spoons (4mo+)
It’s obvious why this is a must for formula feeding, but why for breastfeeding? Even if your plan is to 100% breastfeed, having at least one bottle ready is a smart thing to do. Here are 4 reasons why:
- Give someone else the opportunity to feed your baby. Whether you’re exhausted and need a break or want your partner to experience that beautiful moment of feeding your little one, a bottle will help you do that.
- You get sick and are unavailable or taking medication that’s not breastfeeding-friendly. This could be a great time to use frozen breast milk reserves.
- You’ll be away from your baby for several hours - e.g., going back to work. Babies feed much more often than (most) adults eat. If you need to be away, your baby will need a caretaker to bottle feed them.
- You don’t produce enough milk and need to switch to formula (if recommended by your pediatrician).
Bottle cleaning brush
A bottle brush will help you remove any milk residue from the nipple, bottle, and any other parts depending on the bottles you choose. Always keep a separate brush for your baby’s bottles.
Burp cloths are versatile and can come quite handy, especially in the first months. They help protect your clothes and/or bare shoulders from spit up when burping your baby. They can be used to wipe off spit up and drool from your baby, you, your couch, [insert here any other place near your baby].
Cloth bibs are great for catching drool and protecting your baby’s clothes during feeds. They can also be used when your baby starts solids to prevent stains on your baby’s clothes… at least from the area the bib covers.
Your breasts produce milk based on demand. If your baby demands more milk, you breasts produce more. If your baby stops breastfeeding, your breasts stop producing milk. At the start, it may take a little while for you breasts to adjust to producing the right amount of milk for your baby. In those early days you may experience engorgement (oversupply) or low supply.
A few reasons why you might consider pumping:
- To relieve engorgement
- To maintain or increase your supply, including when you're away from baby or taking medicine that is not breastfeeding-friendly (recall: if breasts are not stimulated, supply goes down)
- To collect milk while away or to have someone else feed your baby
- To provide breastmilk for a sick or premature baby in the hospital
- To build a supply to store in the freezer in case needed, including for day care or if you get sick
Breast milk storage
If you plan to build a stock of breastmilk in the freezer, the right storage will make a difference!
Plastic breast milk storage bags are the most common option on the market, but there are also silicone and glass options available. Regardless of material you chose (silicone, glass, or plastic), make sure that they are pthalate and BPA free, and made specifically for breastmilk storage in the freezer. Some containers might not be suitable for freezing.
You may consider building a stock:
- In case you get sick and you need medication that is not breastfeeding-friendly
- Your baby will be attending day care / you will be away for extended periods and you want to continue feeding breast milk
- You want to continue feeding breast milk for a few more weeks after you stop breastfeeding
Safe place for baby to eat solids when ready (somewhere between 4 and 6 months) and approved by your pediatrician. Some chairs also recline and can be used for bottle feeding a younger baby. You might not want to wait until month four to get your baby's high chair, especially since some pediatricians recommend letting your baby experience the high chair before it's time for solids. If doing so, make sure the high chair has the right support and recline appropriate for younger babies.
Baby spoons are made of soft materials to avoid accidentally hurting the baby's gums and mouth. Remember that little ones ready for solids may also be teething and biting everything… including their spoons.