Baby formula is a safe and easy alternative to breastfeeding, chosen by many parents at various stages of their babies’ infancy. If you’ve chosen to formula-feed your baby, prepare to make it both easy and more affordable with these tried-and-true tips and products. Moms on my Four to Love Facebook page shared many of these ideas!
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Choose generic baby formula brands.
Generic brand baby formulas are nearly identical to their name brand counterparts. You can feel confident that the generic brands are still providing your baby safe and appropriate nutrition since all baby formula is heavily regulated by the FDA. Yet, generic brands are way less expensive than store brands! We have been using generic brand formula (in our case, Comforts for Baby), since our first was born, and continue to do so for our fourth. They have all thrived! As one mom commented, “It may not be for everyone, but why shell out TWICE as much for the name brand, when often, the ingredients are identical?”
Find free baby formula samples and coupons.
You can sign up with the manufacturers or check with your doctor or hospital to get free samples of formula or coupons. Friends or members of social media groups might also have extra samples or coupons that they don’t need, either because they use a different brand, are breastfeeding, or no longer need baby formula. Verywell Family put together a comprehensive list of ways to get free baby formula I recommend reading.
Pre-make batches of baby formula.
You get locked into making certain amounts at a time if you prepare formula bottle by bottle — one scoop of formula per two ounces of water. You may end up throwing away a lot of leftover formula because you are not able to tailor the amount in the bottles to your baby’s needs. Instead, make a batch of formula in a Blender Bottle or Dr. Brown’s specially made formula pitcher. Refrigerated formula is good for 24 hours, so you’ll have several bottles worth of formula ready to go! This will potentially save you money because you can be more precise with the amount of formula in your bottles, and it will also save you a lot of preparation time.
Use a powder formula dispenser on the go.
If you’re taking the baby out during the day, determine the number of bottles you’ll need. Use a dispenser to transport the scoops of powder formula, and bring bottles with measured-out water inside. When feeding time comes, simply pour the formula powder into the bottle and shake! When you no longer need to carry baby formula powder out, the dispenser can transition to a snack container.
Invest in formula-mixing baby bottles.
There are bottles that are specially made for mixing baby formula. These bottles have a separate storage section for the formula powder, and another for the water. When it comes time to eat, you mix the two together, shake, and have a prepared baby bottle. PopYum stands out because you can mix the formula and water by pressing a button with one hand only. This makes it a great option for on the go. One of the moms from my Facebook page recommended a similar system called the Mixie Bottle, noting her daycare teacher loved them!
Be prepared to warm on the go.
If your baby likes warm bottles, there are several ways you can accomplish bottle warming on the go.
- You can fill a Thermos travel mug with sterile hot water before you leave the house. These mugs keep water warm for hours and hours. When you’re ready to mix a formula bottle, you can use the hot water from the Thermos, and you’ll have a warm bottle.
- Bring two Thermos mugs. Fill one with boiling water, and leave the other empty. Bring a prepared formula bottle in a cooler. When you’re ready to warm the bottle, put it inside the empty Thermos mug. Pour some of the boiling water from the other mug in to warm it.
- Buy a Dr. Brown’s travel warmer, which works in a similar fashion as the two-Thermos-mug trick and is highly rated on Amazon.
- One mom shared, “To heat up bottles when traveling, you can also ask a gas station or Starbucks/coffee chain for a little bit of hot water in a glass, place your bottle of formula or breastmilk inside the cup, and wait a few minutes for it to heat up. No need to carry hot water with you and they normally don’t charge you if you tell them you are heating up a bottle!” I have also done this at friends’ houses by microwaving a small amount of water in a coffee mug.
Get the right bottle-cleaning accessories.
Whether you’re going to handwash your formula bottles or use a dishwasher, there are accessories that can make the experience easy for you. Get a handy drying rack, like this portable rack you can take on the go. Make sure you have a bottle brush that also comes with a nipple cleaner. If you’re going to use a dishwasher for your bottles, make sure to get a dishwasher basket for nipples and small bottle pieces.
With these tips and products, formula-feeding is bound to be made simpler and less expensive! If you have any other ideas that have worked for you, please leave them in the comments.