If I'm breastfeeding, do I need to buy baby bottles and formula?

  • I'm in my 22nd week of pregnancy and I have just begun a registry. This is my very first baby, and I"m 24 years old. I just graduated and work from home.. I'm an artist and I don't make much money. A friend of my husband insisted she throw me a baby shower and has encouraged me to start a registry. I started one up at Target.com because it was most convenient for everyone who will attend. I had found a very helpful list of things to get online. I'm pretty much covered for things such as a crib, car seat, stroller, high chair, clothing, diapers, bedding & sheets and toiletries. The only thing that stumped me was the breastfeeding and bottles. If I plan on breastfeeding my baby, what do I need? When I looked at the 'feeding' section on Target's website, I was lost. There were hundreds of different kinds of bottles and formula and sterilizers. But I know a lot of these are for mothers who choose not to or cannot breastfeed. Do I need to look into buying formula if I'm breastfeeding? Does formula supplement breast milk, or is it a replacement? Do I need to buy bottles at all if I'm breastfeeding? I will be a stay at home mother. I understand some working mothers may want to buy breast pumps and milk bags to put away for a caretaker to use on the baby, but is it necessary? Do you think I can get by with not buying any bottles at all until they're off breastmilk? Thanks for your input :) - from a very confused mom to be
  • That is totally up to you, but I would say probably not initially unless you want others to be able to participate in feedings as well. 

    As for is formula a replacement or a supplement, it can be either.  With my first child, I breastfed (including pumping as I did work) solely for 4 months, and then began to supplement with formula.  On the other hand, it couldn't hurt to have bottles up front on the registry, even if you may not need them until later on down the line. 

  • I would register for a breast pump and bottles. that way you can pump some milk to take places with you when you leave home. as far a formula goes if you get a can of powdered formula it will last awhile so if you dont use it that often then it wont really matter. But i would get bottles and a pump because some babies dont take to actaul breast feeding and that way you can just pump your milk and bottle feed the baby that. Breast milk can be frozen or placed in the fridge to preserve it for a few days i believe it's 5 frozen and 3 in the fridge....but i dont rememeber so double check that in case i'm wrong. Plus having the option of, say if your at a family party or something then you can just pass the baby off to someone else to feed if they get hungry instead of hiding in a room until the babies done eating. Congrats and good luck.
  • That's really helpful actually. I added a 'starter set' for the bottles and it includes 2 pacifiers so it's two birds with one stone. I'll also have to consult my mom to see what she did back in the day. 


  • Having just gone through this, I would suggest buying at least a few bottles (even if they are "cheap" ones) as well as a small stash of formula. All of the formula companies have websites where you can sign up to receive coupons for formula,etc. They also send you trial cans of formula. I would sign up for these now.  When you go into the hospital, they may ask how you plan to feed the baby. If you are solely nursing they won't give you formula or anything, but if you tell them you are doing both, they have gift bags from the formula companies that they will give you. I would suggest saying you plan to supplement even if you are not so they will give you some. Also, when you register at a lot of places, they give you a gift pack that has bottles in it as well as coupons.

    Based on my own experiences, I would suggest having both on hand for these reasons:

    There will be times that you are unable to nurse, whether it is because of where you are physically, or because you are away from your baby (grocery shopping, running errands, etc) and the last thing you want to do is have to worry about rushing around or getting stressed because you need to get home to nurse your baby. At the very least you will want to pump for these times.

    Nursing exclusively limits where you can go or what you can do. You will need a break occasionally from your baby and want him/ her to be able to eat while you are gone.

    Also, having a new baby is exhausting. There will be times that you feel like you cannot  possibly get up another time to nurse, or that you feel like you don't have enough milk or whatever. You WANT your husband to be able to help you out by giving the baby a bottle.

    I would forget about bottle sanitizers and bottle warmers. Hot water will do the same thing (just don't use the microwave to warm bottles). You will want a breast pump, but may want to wait til after you have the baby to buy one, in case nursing does not work out. Everyone will suggest medela ones, but I personally think that my miPump from the first years (sold at Target for 79.99 vs the $200+ for medela ones) works just as well as the medela one I use at work.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do.....

  • Thank you so much!! That was very *very* helpful. I think I will go with both, and I'm definitely snagging as much free stuff as I possibly can! I definitely appreciate your perspective and experience with this. Thank you.

  • As a mother who has breastfed 4 children successfully, I will tell you that you will definitely need to buy bottles and formula. Bottles are necessary for when you pump and formula comes in very handy when you need to supplement for a variety of reasons. There are very strict guidelines when it comes to breast milk storage though and everyone should be aware of them. I am including a chart from the CDC's website which may come in handy when you store breast milk. Remember never to refreeze breast milk once it has been thawed and when in doubt......throw it out! Hope this helps!

    Storage Duration of Fresh Human Milk for Use with Healthy Full Term Infants

    Location Temperature Duration Comments
    Countertop, table Room temperature (up to 77°F or 25°C) 6–8 hours Containers should be covered and kept as cool as possible; covering the container with a cool towel may keep milk cooler.
    Insulated cooler bag 5-39°F or -15-4°C 24 hours Keep ice packs in contact with milk containers at all times, limit opening cooler bag.
    Refrigerator 39°F or 4°C 5 days Store milk in the back of the main body of the refrigerator.
    Freezer Store milk toward the back of the freezer, where temperature is most constant.  Milk stored for longer durations in the ranges listed is safe, but some of the lipids in the milk undergo degradation resulting in lower quality.
    Freezer compartment of a refrigerator 5°F or -15°C 2 weeks
    Freezer compartment of refrigerator with separate doors 0°F or -18°C 3–6 months
    Chest or upright deep freezer -4°F or -20°C 6–12 months
    Reference: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. (2004) Clinical Protocol Number #8: Human Milk Storage Information for Home Use for Healthy Full Term Infants Adobe PDF file [PDF-125k]External Web Site Icon. Princeton Junction, New Jersey: Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Available
  • as a fourth time mom.... my advice to you is that you should get a few bottles to have on hand. the reason i say that is so you can pump your milk if will be away and have it there for someone else to feed your little one.(you can also freeze your breast milk for later use)  i would also just buy a bottle or two of "ready to feed" formula or the travel tubes of dry formula in the event that you are out later than expected on errands or whatever and baby gets hungry.  the key to parenting...... plan ahead  for every possibility. :)

  • Congrats and don't sweat it.  First off don't put a lot of pressure on urself to breast feed keep in mind not all women are abe to and if you can't its okay. However if you are able to Horray and congrats. Yes you will be a stay at home mother and thats great however thats not all you will be doing a mother also needs some "mommy" time and some "mommy and daddy" time without the baby (which i know sounds nerve racking at first but eventually you will feel more comfortable with it) that being said a breast pump is very handy in this situation because you can insure that they still get your milk even if your having a date night with daddy for an hour or two so yes that also means that you will need a few bottles. Another wonderful item is a breastfeeding cover so that you can feed your little one when your out and about without having to resort to a bottle. Also as far as formula you will probably at some point get free samples or what not DON"T throw them away (they last for a while) I say this because you never know if your always going to produce enough especially in the begining and later on when he starts demanding more and its better to add a little formula then to let him still be hungry. No worries your already planning the best for your child. and good luck

  • Has for a cheaper option for a pump, check out you're local county , city, whatever health building. This is were people apply for WIC, Healthwave, and can get vaccinations done there,. They usually have the option to rent a pump, which is what i did. I paid fourty dollars up front and five a month after. The accesories were all new it was only the machine that i rented. Nothing went on my body or stored the milk that someone else had used. Not only did i do but my friend did also, and she was especially glad because her child never took to nursing so she didn't waste her own money on something she didn't need. It's just another option for you.

  • I definitely think you should get a couple of bottles b/c you just never know how the bf'ing is going to go. I personally HATED feeding from the breast and it really worked out wonderfully for me to pump, store milk and then feed from a bottle. Also, my son was very jaundice and had to use formula. I tried for about 2 minutes to attach the tube to my nipple and quickly decided a bottle w/ formula was just fine w/ me! I used the Playtex Drop In system and liked them a lot (I'll be using them w/ our 2nd child again in a few weeks). They are cheap enough and my son didn't have any trouble w/ going b/w breast & bottle in those 1st few weeks. Best wishes and don't beat yourself up if bf'ing doesn't work for some reason or another!