Buying for Baby: what do I need for Sterilising & Expressing
OK, I talked a little bit about bottle feeding last time, which could be formula or expressed breast milk (ebm). Obviously ebm is best for baby, but I can honestly say that by the time baby no3 arrived I was happy to top up with formula for one feed a day.
For expressing you have a choice of a manual pump (the one from Avent was my preference) or an electric one, something like the Medela pump. I tried both. The Avent one was fine, it wasn't especially quick but it did the job and was comfortable to use. I used the Medela Mini Electric Breast Pump for my last two. It was quicker and I could use it to express while I was feeding the baby from the other side, which saved me time (a godsend with no3, when I had to contend with doing the school run in the morning, so time was of the essence!) The downside to the Medela pump is that you do feel like Daisy the Cow whilst using it and it's not particularly comfortable. As I explained to my husband if he fancied sticking his willy in the vacuum cleaner he might have a good idea of how it feels!
Other expressing related paraphernalia which is useful are milk bags to store any excess milk in. Avent and Lansinoh do some and they're handy as they're just the right size and you can write the date on them and pop them in the freezer. Just remember to use them up - even when you've started to wean, you can mix this milk with their purees. Don't do what I did with no1 child and religiously freeze your excess milk, then forget about it and end up chucking it out 6 months down the line. Very frustrating because of the effort involved in getting it. Although it is quite funny to have extra breast milk on hand for making comedy cups of tea for your husband when he's annoying you...well it made me smile anyway :-)
A steriliser is a must as you'll need to sterilise bottles until 6 months. Again, I went for the old fashioned cold water steriliser which is basically a plastic tub that you pop sterilising tablets into along with some water. I know you can get microwave and steam sterilisers, but I like the fact that your bottles are constantly ready to use without any faffing around. You just change the solution once a day so it's easy and takes just a few minutes.
So what else might you need? Well there are a couple more bits and bobs that make bottle feeding a bit easier. A little milk powder container is brilliant as it makes life much easier to weigh out milk for the next three bottles and it's easy to take the correct milk amount out and about with you. I have a couple but found the one from Mothercare a little big bigger, so it works best.
And lastly you'll ideally have something to keep water warm while you're out and about (unless of course you always make your formula up using cold water - my wee ones never took to that!), but I'll talk about those options in conjunction with changing bags - one for you to look forward to!