Baby formula is a safe and easy alternative to breastfeeding, chosen by many parents at various stages of their babies’ infancy. If you are just getting started, you might wonder how to make formula feeding easier. Prepare to save time and money with these tried-and-true formula feeding hacks and products.
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1. Be frugal with your formula shopping.
One of my top formula feeding hacks to save you money is to opt for generic 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 used generic brand formula (in our case, Comforts for Baby) for all four of our kids. 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?”
You can also sign up with formula 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.
2. Instantly warm bottles with this incredible formula feeding gadget.
The last thing a formula-feeding parent wants is for a hungry baby to have to cry while waiting for a bottle to be made and warmed. Enter the Baby Brezza Instant Warmer. This machine keeps water warm all day so that when it is time to make a bottle, you can simply dispense the water in, add the powder, shake, and serve. You can choose from the following water temperatures: body temperature, warmer than body temperature, and room temperature. We just got this machine for our fifth baby, due soon. I am especially excited for nighttime bottles to be ready much faster, saving valuable sleeping time for both baby and me.
3. 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, try one of my favorite formula feeding hacks: 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.
If you have been wondering whether you can pre-make formula for night feeds, the answer is yes! We would pre-fill the bottles with formula that was already mixed, bring it to our bedroom in a cooler, and then warm the bottles at feeding time.
4. 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 like this one 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.
5. 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 mom recommended a similar system called the Mixie Bottle, noting her daycare teacher loved them!
6. 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. By the way, a Thermos travel mug is a must for any mom to have – it keeps coffee warm all day!
- 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 one of her on-the-go formula feeding hacks: “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.
7. 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 formula feeding hacks and products, baby’s mealtime 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.
- It’s Fine to Feed Your Baby Formula
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- 8 Things I Want Every New Mom to Know
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12 thoughts on “7 Formula Feeding Hacks to Save You Time and Money”
Great tips! Also, when you are done with the travel formula dispensers, you can use them for smoothie ingredients. I use one for powdered collagen so I am more likely to add it to my coffee in the morning.
That’s such a great idea, Ashley! It’s great to be able to reuse things that appear to be made for one purpose.
Love your idea about free baby samples. I signed up with Enfamil, Similac, and Gerber and got lots of free baby formula, great coupons and even free baby bottles.
Wow, even free bottles! That’s awesome!
I formula fed my second for a bit and it is so much more hassle than breastfeeding! I mean, once you get the hang of breastfeeding, anyway! All the bottle washing, the measuring, stressing if he didn’t finish a bottle and wasting a few dollars and then making sure we had enough formula for as long as we planned to be out- it was soooo much to think about! With breastfeeding, I always had the food with me! LOL! These are great tips!
Haha, for me, I like knowing exactly how much they’re getting, not worrying about how my diet affects them, allowing others to feed them… there are lots of benefits to formula, too! I had such a hard time breastfeeding, it was actually a major relief to start with formula. To each mom her own!
I don’t have any personal experience with formula feeding, but I’ve had many friends that use some of these tips – especially the formula mixing bottles and they are really helpful!
Thanks, Mary! I’m glad to hear some of these formula feeding ideas were useful for your friends.
These are great tips! Both my girls refused the bottle, so we never got into the world of formula.
We chose to exclusively formula feed our daughter from birth and even this post makes it sound so much more complicated than it actually is haha especially when it comes to warming bottles and prepping them and all that. We personally never bothered with warming bottles past 2ish months or so and I actually never warmed them in public at all! These tips for 50 different ways to get hot water are making it way too complicated in my book lol And prepping a bottle literally takes 10 seconds. You mix the formula with water, shake it and serve. It’s really no more complicated than breastfeeding to me lol the big thing for us that made it “easier” for us was simply keeping packets of formula in my bag or measuring it out into a little dispenser. I also tossed a couple of bottles of water into my bag for mixing. I did the same at night time so I wasn’t back and forth to the kitchen. I just kept the formula pre-measured in empty baby bottles and added the water when I was ready to use them!
Sounds like you are a formula-feeding pro! I agree, the pre-measured formula powder can be really useful on the go.
I wanted to thank you for this advice for baby formula. You mentioned that it can be good to try to see if you can get free samples of the formula. This sounds very helpful especially if it can help you find one that you know your baby will like.