Ultimate Baby Registry: Eating

Feed thatbaby

Babies come in all shapes and sizes, and they all gotta eat! Here are all the items you need to feed your babe, whether you’re using breast milk, formula, solids, or all three!

Breast Pump


Jessie says: “Oh dear. The pump. I’m actually writing this while pumping, go figure. I opted for one of the breast pumps that was covered by my insurance, and reviews/recommendations all pointed toward the Medela Pump In Style as the best of those options. I switched to exclusive pumping around 8 weeks due to ongoing latch issues, so I’ve logged a LOT of time on this puppy. It has been a solid performer–efficient and comfortable. A battery back-up would be great for traveling though, because I’ve run into issues with finding outlets with any privacy while in airports. I would recommend picking up a manual pump for car trips, because you can pump in the backseat and bottle-feed baby in the car seat without having to stop for each feeding–also great to have as a backup just in case. I have the Lansinoh Manual pump and it has worked well for me.”

Jordan says: “The Medela Pump In Style worked great for me. I primarily breastfed, but I liked to have bottles on hand and some extra milk in the freezer (speaking of, would you like to know what happens when a freezer dies with gallons worth of breast milk in it?  Trust me when I say that it’s nothing good, especially when you don’t find out about it for a few days). I used this multiple times a day for over a year and never had a problem. I would recommend keeping some spare membranes on hand, because they do occasionally tear. I’m sure you’ve already heard this, but check with your insurance to see if a pump is covered. This one was covered 100%, shipping and all.”

Lanolin/nipple ointment


Jessie says: “I’m not going to promise miracles from using any nipple product—the likelihood is that you’re going to get sore, possibly cracked (possibly worse) nipples at the beginning of breastfeeding, no matter what you do. However, having an ointment to soothe and keep skin soft is helpful. I recommend Lansinoh lanolin (just make sure you warm it between your fingers before applying, as it is very sticky, and it does stain fabric, so have a junk towel or something to clean your fingers with). I also really like The Honest Organic Nipple Balm. I tried Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter based on reviews, but it started to get all chunky in the pot and didn’t apply smoothly.”

Caitlin says: I used whatever samples of Lanolin they hand out in the hospital and they worked great! After the initial adjustment to nursing settled down, I used good ol’ fashioned Vaseline for any further irritation.”

Nursing Pads


Jessie says: “At the beginning when my skin was in its worst shape, I used Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads. They’re expensive (although reusable for a day or so), but worth it when even the THOUGHT of putting a bra on makes you want to cry. I also used Lansinoh Ultra Soft Nursing Pads, and once I healed, switched to their regular Stay Dry pads. All great products, soft and very absorbent.”

Lela says:Bamboobies! Washable breast pads that are so soft and comfortable. Love them!!”

Caitlin says: “Not exactly pads, but the Medela TheraShells Breast Shells were a lifesaver for my sore nipples! I’d rub on lanolin or Vaseline and then pop these puppies on before donning a bra or nursing tank. It kept the ointment from rubbing off on the fabric, kept the fabric from sticking to my sensitive nipples, and allowed some air circulation to happen. Bonus – when you leak, the shell actually collects the breast milk. I’d tip the excess into a breast milk freezer bag, rinse out the shell, and pop it back on. Multitasking at its finest! [Disclaimer: the company advertises a “natural shape” under your shirt. Which is a lie. Unless you consider the Madonna cone bra circa 1990 look to be “natural.” Still totally worth it for those early weeks when you’re already leaking/puffy/swollen and your fashion game is still very 4th trimester.] Later on, once my engorgement and sensitive nipple days were over, I used cloth breast pads. Yes, it added to my laundry, but I always found the disposable ones irritated my skin a bit more.”

Jordan says: “I used Lansinoh Stay Dry disposable pads, and they worked great. I didn’t have trouble with them moving around or getting soaked through too quickly.”

Bottles


Jessie says: “I tried an assortment of bottles (Tommee Tippee, Comotomo, NUK, etc.) when I switched to exclusive pumping. The Dr. Brown bottles have been the most consistent performers: no leaking, dribbling, or choking, just easy feeding. They have the most parts to clean, but they’re worth it for the lack of hassle during feeding. They have worked great with breastmilk and formula (and I can shake the formula right in the bottle with no issues).”

Jordan says: “I hate to say it, but Dr. Brown knows his (her?) bottles. They were the ones my son preferred and also the cleanest for him to drink from, but my goodness I hated washing them. Seven. Separate. Pieces. Come on, man, really?  But they also worked best when it came to keeping his tummy calm after eating, so they were worth it.”

Bottle Cleaning & Sterilizing 


Jessie says: “A friend gave me the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags at my baby shower, which seem like a great idea. To be completely honest though, I just hand-wash the bottles and pump parts with dish soap, let them air-dry, and I’ve have never had an issue. I have the OXO Tot Bottle Brush and the Boon Grass drying rack (holds 5 Dr. Brown bottles and all their parts, and looks cute on the counter!).”

Jordan says: “The Munchkin Microwave Sterilizer was a lifesaver when our pediatrician told me some of the tummy issues Jacob had been having could be from salmonella (it wasn’t; it was a milk allergy), and I went into crazy-momma-hyper-sterilize mode. I also loved the OXO Dishwasher Basket for those obnoxious little pieces, and I still use it for his sippy cups.”

Nursing Pillow


Jessie says: “I loved my Boppy! Breastfeeding is hard enough work as it is, so it was great to have the Boppy to help support Ben and keep him at the right height while he nursed. I’m tall, so I did need to stick an extra pillow under the side where he was nursing, but it was a great tool for nursing and newborn naps. I would recommend having two covers so that you have a spare if/when the first gets dirty. I also use it now as a bumper while he learns to sit up (tuck it around his waist and he can flop all around without banging his head on the floor).”

Kayla says:Ergobaby alllll the way. Everyone raved about the Boppy to me, so I didn’t want to spend the money to get the Ergo nursing pillow. Using the Boppy hurt my back because I had to lean over more to nurse. I bought the Ergo and felt so much better immediately. It’s firm, so baby can’t sink or slide while nursing and baby sits up higher and closer to your breast. I love love love it–probably my favorite baby product, honestly.”

Jordan says: “I’m a fan of the Boppy. I kept a couple of extra covers on hand for when one was dirty and was good to go. It comes in a nice little zip-up bag that is perfect for travel.”

Milk storage bags


Jessie says: “If you’re going to pump, you need somewhere to store the milk. I use Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags, and I’ve had zero issues with leaking. They’re easy to fill, easy to pour, freeze flat for easy storage, and I can put the bag in a cup of hot water and warm the milk super quickly.”

Kayla says: “We used NUK and Lansinoh and they were both perfect. No leaks, good spots for writing information, had the ounce amount on the side. We never had a problem with either type.”

Formula


Jessie says: “I think I’m the only Mama who regularly uses formula, and I did a ton of research on this one. Two disclaimers: 1) price wasn’t a major issue to me on this, because I wanted to feed Ben the best I could give him if it wasn’t going to be breastmilk, and 2) he doesn’t really have any allergies or tummy issues that influenced my decision. I decided to go organic and tried to find a formula that had the least amount of icky stuff in it, and Baby’s Only Organic Formula came up again and again as one of the ‘cleanest’ options. If you want to go all-out, European brands are even better, but they aren’t FDA approved and therefore not sold in the US. Baby’s Only Organic Formula seems to be the best option we have here, and although it’s labeled for toddlers, it has complete nutrition for babies. It’s available in some grocery stores and on Amazon, and you can read more about it (as well as what ingredients to look for/avoid in formula) at Gimme the Good Stuff, Baby FoodE, and Cornucopia.”

Caitlin says: “With both kiddos I have enjoyed exclusively breastfeeding, so my formula knowledge is severely limited. However! After a rather traumatic introduction to the world of nursing with Lulu, I will never again be caught without some form of newborn formula in the house. My dear firstborn so destroyed my nipples within her first 24 hours of life that I was released from the hospital with orders NOT to breastfeed or pump, but to hand express the colostrum and feed it to her via a dropper until my milk came in. Thus began the most excruciating and exhausting 3 days of my life! I had to basically milk myself around the clock (because colostrum does NOT come out easily), Lulu was hungry and lost a fair amount of weight, and I was an emotional basket case. British midwives were so pro-breastfeeding that no one suggested I supplement with formula until after my nipples healed and my milk came in! When anticipating the birth of my Buddy boy, I definitely made sure there was formula in the house. He latched like a champ from day 1 so I ended up donating the formula, but I will definitely be buying a small amount of lactose-free newborn formula just in case Baby Girl has any struggles.”

Nursing bra/tanks


Caitlin says: “I spent a pretty penny at Maman JoJo Bebe for a nursing bra and ended up liking my Target soft shell nursing bra even better! Same goes for nursing tanks – I’ve stuck to Target or Motherhood Maternity.”

Kayla says: “I have a couple of brands, but someone recommended Bravado to me for better support. I do feel much more secure in it than the others, and I’ve been wearing them every day for a year now and they’re holding up nicely.”

Food steamer/grinder/puree maker


Jessie says: “I ordered the Kidalog Food Grinder based on my mom’s recommendation (she used the exact same product to make baby food for us), and it has great reviews. I love this little thing! It’s so easy to use, sturdy, super easy to and clean, and I can put whatever I’m eating in there to make it the right consistency for Ben.”

Caitlin says: “The green sprouts Baby Food Mill worked fairly well for us.”

Jordan says: “I froze purees for Jacob, and I really liked the Kiddo Feedo containers.  They feel super durable, and the portion sizes are perfect.  Now that we’re past purees, I use them to freeze leftover chicken broth, and it works out nicely that each container is exactly a quarter cup.”

Bibs


Jessie says: “The Bumkins Waterproof Bibs are great. The pocket is great for catching wayward food droppings, they wipe off easily, and it fits nicely around Ben’s neck (soft too, so it doesn’t rub his skin).”

Caitlin says: “The cute cloth ones are sweet for the drooly/baby cereal stage, but once you get into the real food messes I am all about the plastic, throw-em-in-the-dishwasher bibs. Especially when they have food-catching pouches on the end!”

High chair


Jessie says: “I went with the Abiie Beyond Wooden High Chair, and I love it so far. It’s super sturdy and looks great in my kitchen, plus it doesn’t have a huge footprint. Everything is very easy to wipe down (especially important because we’re incorporating some baby-led weaning and Ben gets food ev-er-y-where) and the tray has a plastic cover that snaps off for more thorough washing. I didn’t want something with an elaborate fabric cushion with tons of nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in, and this chair is comfortable, roomy, and a breeze to clean. Plus I can adjust the height of the seat and the foot rest to fit Ben as he grows. It doesn’t fold up, and the tray takes two hands to remove, but everything else fits the bill for me.”

Caitlin says: “We used the Bumbo + tray for the early feeding days, and switched to a high chair once babies were more stable sitting upright. We had a monstrosity of a high chair for the first two but will be downgrading to the IKEA Antilop for Baby Girl. Simple, compact, easy to clean.”

Not needed: Bottle warmer

Jessie says: “I just stick the bag of milk in a cup of hot water for a minute or so, and then poured it into the bottle—works just fine!”

Kayla says: “My husband had a great dad hack for warming bottles. He bought a wide mouthed thermos and would put hot water in it and take it with him. When it was time to give Levi a bottle, he’d just pull the thermos out of the diaper bag and could warm the bottle on the go anywhere, and use that same water for multiple bottles if need be.”

–MC

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