Babies need so many items and trying to decide which ones and how many of each can get you frazzled! From diapers to baby rompers, and crib sheets, the list seems never-ending. And, then there’s the question: how many baby bottles and nipples do I really need?
Bottle feeding is one area of parenting that has many parents asking lots of questions. What kind of bottle is best, what formula, and what size bottle do I need. Being a father myself, I understand every parent’s dilemma when it comes to choosing the right bottle.
The short answer is: it depends on various situations such as whether you’re breastfeeding, bottle-feeding exclusively, or combining both options throughout a 24-hour period. Age and how many feeds you’re doing a day also play a significant role.
After much research and gathering experiences, I’ve come up with some answers to these topics and many more – here’s this ultimate guide.
How Many Bottles Does a Baby Need a Day?
For babies who are being breastfed, you may only need 2 or 3 bottles a day. For babies being bottle-fed, with no breastfeeding in between, you’ll need 5 to 6 bottles per day. For moms expressing breast milk and feeding their baby exclusively with bottles, you’ll need 5 to 6 bottles per day.
Some bottle-feeding parents go as far as recommending 8 bottles per day just to be on the safe side especially if you’re feeding your baby on demand. If you’re combining both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, then 3 to 4 bottles will do the trick.
Moms expressing breast milk and feeding their baby ONLY with bottles, for convenience’s sake, should look at bottles that fit well with breast pumps. This makes expressing breast milk a far easier process for the mom.
Here’s a summary table that should answer all your questions related to this topic. I’ll go into details in the following sections.
|Cases||Needed Bottles Per Day|
|Breastfed babies||2 – 3 bottles|
|Bottle-fed babies with no breastfeeding||5 – 6 bottles|
|Moms expressing breast milk, feeding with bottles||5 – 6 bottles|
|Exclusive pumping (with no formula)||6 – 8 bottles|
|Feeding twins||4 – 6 bottles (breastfeeding)|
10 – 16 bottles (bottle-feeding or exclusive pumping)
|Babies being dropped off at daycare||3 – 4 bottles|
|Newborns||8 bottles for every 24-hour period|
|Babies older than two months old||4 – 5 bottles|
|Packing for the diaper bag||2 – 3 bottles|
|Disposable bottles and liners||1 – 2 bottles|
0 – 2 months old: 8 – 10 liners
2 – 6 months old: 5 – 7 liners
6 – 12 months old: 3 – 5 liners
Factors that influence the number of bottles and tips on purchases
Determining how many bottles you need each day is dependant on a number of factors:
- How old your baby is and how many bottle feeds they’re having each day
- The size of the bottle and how much your baby is drinking at each feed
- How often you want to be cleaning bottles throughout the day
Something else you’ll also need to consider is that as your baby grows, the type of bottle and nipples you need may change. Your older baby will want to grip their own bottle whereas, with a newborn, you’re still holding the bottle during feeding time. So, don’t rush out and buy all your bottles in one go.
Buy your bottles and nipples in stages depending on your baby’s growth milestones and their personal feeding requirements. This way, you won’t be sitting with a stash of bottles in the kitchen cupboard that never gets used! This is especially essential when picking the right nipples as your baby’s sucking reflexes do change as they grow.
You’ll need as many nipples as bottles but bear in mind nipples deteriorate far quicker than the bottles do through wear and tear. You’ll need to replace nipples every two to three months. Parents do also recommend adding a few more nipples as spares in case you lose one at any point.
Keep reading the following sections where I’ll be going into detail on these factors and many more considerations about the number of baby bottles you should have.
How Many Bottles Do I Need For Twins?
And if you have twins? Double the babies often mean double the amount. So make sure you have up to 6 bottles when breastfeeding twins with occasional bottle feeds and up to 10 to 16 bottles when exclusively bottle-feeding.
Twins like to share everything but when it comes to baby bottles and nipples it’s a good idea to have enough bottles without needing to wash up before the next feed. This can get very tiring when you’re feeding your twin babies 5 to 6 times a day or even more so if they’re demand-feeding.
The amount of bottles and nipples you need for twins depends again on how often you plan on cleaning the bottles. If you’re manually washing them after each feed, then you can cut down on the number of bottles required.
Parents of twins highly recommend having a few extra bottles handy for those days when your babies demand more feeding during growth spurts. It’s also useful to have a few spare bottles to keep in the diaper bag for trips out and about and bottle warmers for twins to keep the milk warm.
How Many Bottles Do I Need for Daycare?
If your baby is being dropped off at daycare, then an extra 3 to 4 bottles can be added to your bottle stash. Daycare staff won’t clean the bottles between feedings so make sure there are enough bottles in the baby’s bag so your baby gets a clean bottle with every feed. Adding an extra bottle on top of the 4 already included won’t do any harm!
Your baby will likely feed 3 to 4 times in an eight-hour period but once again this does depend on the age of your baby. It’s always a good idea to keep a separate stash of bottles for daycare use from the bottles you use for feeding at home. This way, you can always be sure your baby has enough bottles when dropped off at daycare.
How Many Bottles Do I Need If I’m Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding?
Breastfeeding parents who opt to use the bottle at nighttime find that having anything between 1 to 3 bottles is enough. For parents bottle-feeding exclusively, up to 5 to 6 bottles is recommended.
Exclusive pumping, when you’re feeding your baby with breast milk through a bottle, and not supplementing with formula, requires storing the milk in bottles or other specific storage containers. Depending on how often you’re feeding your baby, you’ll need anything between 6 to 8 bottles if you’re using the same brand bottle and pump. If not, you’ll need at least 2 bottles for the pump and 6 bottles for feeding.
However, when deciding on how many bottles you want to have available whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, depends on the following questions:
- Will you be washing the bottles manually after each feed? If you decide to do this, then you’ll need fewer bottles. You can bring the number of bottles down to 3 or 4 bottles if you’re bottle-feeding your baby exclusively. Breastfeeding moms will find 1 or 2 bottles are more than enough.
- Are you using breast milk or formula? Mothers who are expressing milk may decide to store it directly into bottles. If this is the case, then you’ll need to add more bottles to your stash. The formula is prepared when needed so up to 8 bottles is enough.
- How often are you running the dishwasher? If once a day, then you’ll need 6 to 8 bottles. However, if you’re using the dishwasher more than once during the day, then you can cut down on the number of baby bottles.
- Are you out and about often with your baby? Social or busy parents on the go should add extra bottles to be kept in the diaper bag. Two to three bottles is often sufficient depending on how long you’re out of the home.
Once again, the rule of thumb when planning how many bottles you need depends on how old your baby is, how often you’re feeding, and the size of the bottle.
How Many Baby Bottles Do I Need for a Newborn?
Your newborn baby will need to feed every 3 to 4 hours which means they’re feeding around 8 times in a 24-hour period. This means you’ll need 8 bottles for every 24-hour period if you need a fresh bottle for every feed in case you don’t want to wash up after each feed.
Newborns need to drink between 2 to 4 ounces of breast milk or formula at each feed. Factor this in when you’re selecting bottle sizes. However, it’s not recommended to store leftovers for the next feed if you’re using larger bottles so you’ll still need up to 8 bottles for your newborn.
How Many Baby Bottles Do I Need for Older Babies?
You can rely on around 4 to 5 bottles for older babies. When your newborn reaches two to six months, her feeding requirements change. Instead of being fed every 3 to 4 hours, she’ll now be happy with 4 to 5 bottle feeds every day. Her quantity per feed will go up to about 4 to 6 ounces. She’s less likely to be waking up for night feeds as she gets older.
From six to 12 months old, your baby will now be feeding between 3 to 5 times a day. She could be drinking up to 8 ounces at each feeding. So, you’ll definitely need to up the size of the bottle. Some babies start taking solids at six months which also means less bottle feeding and therefore fewer bottles in the kitchen cupboard.
Have More Baby Bottles On Hand If You don’t Have Access to Cleaning Facilities
To keep your baby healthy when bottle feeding it’s essential to keep the bottles clean and hygienic. This prevents any germs from contaminating the formula or breast milk and making your baby ill. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can use the dishwasher, handwash, or sterilize bottles to keep them free of any germs.
A clean bottle and nipple should be used for every feed. This means if you don’t have access to cleaning facilities for long periods of time you need to have more bottles on hand. It’s also useful to have more than fewer bottles in the home for those days when water repairs need to take place and you’re without water for a few hours. The same applies to those days when power outages take place.
Always make sure your hands are clean when assembling a bottle for a feed. Sanitize or use baby wipes if you have no access to cleaning facilities and always make sure you have these items in your diaper bag for these times.
Baby Bottle Sizing Is Important for the Numbers You Need
When shopping you’ll notice that baby bottles come in two sizes. For newborns and smaller babies, it’s suggested you buy bottles sized 4 to 5 ounces. Bigger bottles sized 8 to 9 ounces are recommended for older babies from six months old.
For newborn babies, depending again on how often you’re cleaning the bottles, you need to buy 3 to 8 small bottles. The smaller bottles are easier to hold when feeding a tiny baby. However, bear in mind that you’ll be switching to larger bottles from anywhere between two to six months old.
If you can keep the number of bottles for your newborn down to 3 or 4 bottles, then you won’t be left with a stash of small bottles when your baby outgrows them. Another consideration is that bottles should always be replaced every six months and nipples every two to three months due to wear and tear.
How Many Baby Bottles Do I Need When I Go Out?
If you’re visiting your friend or the grandparents, you can assume you’ll have access to cleaning facilities. If this is the case, you’ll only need to pack 2 or 3 bottles depending on the length of the visit. Longer, overnight visits will require packing more bottles especially if you don’t want to be standing in the kitchen between feeds washing the bottles.
When calculating how many baby bottles you need when you go out consider the following:
- How old your baby is and how often she’s feeding
- The period of time you’ll be away from home
- Access to cleaning facilities
For moms and dads leaving their baby at home while out should also consider having more bottles available. This makes it easier for the person feeding your baby not to have to stress about cleaning bottles in between feeds. Once again, figure out how many feeds your baby will need while you’re out and make sure you have that number of bottles on hand.
Types of Baby Bottles – Which One Lasts Longer?
After deciding the size of bottle required for feeding your baby, the next question most parents ask is which type of baby bottle lasts longer. Knowing how long a baby bottle can last also helps when estimating how many bottles you need. However, remember, there’s general wear and tear with most baby bottle types and you’ll need to replace them every six months or so.
Plastic Baby Bottles
Most bottle-feeding parents find plastic baby bottles are the most convenient and easiest to use. They’re also often cheaper than other types of bottles depending on the brand and type of plastic used.
While there’s always the controversy around using plastic feeding items with babies, reputable baby manufacturers are using non-toxic materials to construct their bottles. Always look out for plastic bottles that clearly state they’re BPA-free.
Another benefit of using plastic baby bottles is that they’re lightweight and shatterproof. However, they’re prone to warping especially when cleaned in the dishwasher and eventually the plastic material will break down. This means you’ll need to replace this bottle type more often.
The Evenflo Feeding Classic Clear Plastic Standard Neck Bottles are designed for both newborns and older babies. They’re made with BPA-free materials as well as PVC, polycarbonates, and phthalates-free.
The bottles are easy to clean with only three parts to worry about (and all parts are dishwasher-safe), and they’re comfortable to hold for both baby and the feeder. This is a wonderful bottle for mothers pumping milk as it’s compatible with most breast pumps.
Glass Baby Bottles
Glass baby bottles are popular with parents who want to avoid any chemicals being used in the construction materials. The other main advantage of using glass bottles is that they do last longer than plastic bottles.
They’re resistant to warping or deterioration when exposed to varying temperatures such as heating and cooling during washing cycles. You can also give these baby bottle types a deep clean for more hygiene without worrying about any damage to the bottle.
But glass baby bottles are heavier, more likely to shatter if dropped, and more expensive compared to plastic bottles. This type of bottle can also be more cumbersome for smaller babies to hold comfortably.
Silicone covers are available to protect your glass baby bottle from chipping or breaking if dropped or roughly handled during washing. This will extend the lifespan of your bottle and a good option if you only want to use glass baby bottles for feeding your little one.
Fans of glass baby bottles often pick the Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottle for its heat and thermal shock-resistant properties. The soft, wide-breast-shaped nipple makes it easy to combine both breastfeeding and bottle feeding with this bottle. The slow flow nipple and airflex valve also help prevent your baby from battling reflux, gas build-up, and colic.
Silicone Baby Bottles
Silicone baby bottles are a wonderful alternative to both the plastic and glass baby bottle types. They have their own pros and cons. They’re lightweight, completely free of any chemicals, and easy to hold. Plus, they’re made with clear materials so you can easily see the level of the fluids in the bottle and they’re scratch resistant when you use a bottle brush to clean them.
These bottles are also extremely resistant to heat so can be cleaned in the dishwasher or microwave or boiled in hot water with minimal damage to the material.
However, silicone baby bottles are the most expensive type of bottle to buy, and not many baby manufacturers are producing them so your choice is limited. However, despite this, silicone bottles are becoming more popular. While they’re generally longer-lasting compared to plastic baby bottles, manufacturers still recommend replacing them every four to six months.
The Boon Nurch Silicone Baby Bottle or pouch bottle as it’s more commonly known as are BPA-free and easy for babies between 0 to 12 months to drink from. They’re light, soft to the feel, and easy for latching purposes. This 100% silicone bottle is dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. What’s more, with no fiddly parts such as vents, straws, or valves, you can assemble this bottle in no time at all!
Stainless Steel Baby Bottles
A baby bottle type many parents don’t think about is the one constructed from stainless steel. It’s not a common type of baby bottle and not easily found in stores or online. But, if you’re looking for a longer-lasting baby bottle, stainless steel bottles may be your solution. I find these bottles fascinating and this is why I wrote about such stainless steel bottles and their pros/cons.
The stainless steel baby bottle is shatterproof, lightweight, and free of all chemical toxins. They’re scratch-resistant, durable, and easy to clean. This bottle type also has insulating features which means your baby’s milk will stay warmer or colder for longer.
On the other hand, though, stainless steel baby bottles are more expensive compared to plastic, glass, or silicone bottle types. You also can’t see through them which makes it difficult to see how much formula or breastmilk your baby has drunk.
I found this Ultimate Stainless Steel Baby Bottle and its features do make the product seem a good option to consider. It’s constructed with premium food-grade stainless steel, super lightweight, and ergonomically designed for a comfortable grip during feeding. Double-wall insulation keeps the liquids warm or cold for longer.
The slow-flow, anti-colic nipple helps babies with reflux and colic issues. The main winner with this bottle is that it grows with your baby, turning into a sippy cup, a toddler water bottle with a straw, and a travel bottle for the older child.
Can You Get Disposable Baby Bottles? – How Many Do I Need?
If you decide to use disposable baby bottles you may be wondering how many you’ll need. If you’re using them for when you’re out and about, then you’ll need 1 bottle. But, if you’re using them more regularly and don’t want to be constantly cleaning bottles, then 2 or 3 bottles are a good idea.
As for disposable baby bottles and what they are, they are plastic baby bottles with a sterilized liner – this is the disposable part. They’re great bottles for babies who suffer from severe colic or reflux because the liner collapses as the baby drinks, minimizing the number of air bubbles getting into your baby’s tum. This prevents any gas build-up which is responsible for a lot of your baby’s uncomfortable gassy symptoms.
But, there are more advantages of using disposable baby bottles:
- Less cleaning: You don’t have to fuss with cleaning bottles as often as you would with standard bottle types. Pre-sterilized liners need no washing in hot water, a spin through the dishwasher, or put into the microwave.
- Quick warming: They’re made with thinner materials which means warming up of the milk is faster. Nowadays, disposable bottle liners are also made with recyclable materials so you can rest assured you’re still being eco-friendly when using them.
- Less nipple confusion: The silicone, natural-feeling nipple makes for less confusion when switching your baby between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.
- Convenient for on-the-go parents: It makes it easier to pack whenever you’re out and about. Simply add the formula to the liner ahead of time, pack it in your diaper bag, and off you go. When it comes to feeding, add the water and your baby is ready to be fed. These liners are less bulky than bottles making them easier to pack into smaller diaper bags too.
What Are Disposable Baby Bottle Inserts and How Many Do I Need?
Disposable baby bottle inserts are the sterilized liners that go inside a reusable plastic bottle. The bottle itself is not discarded after each feed but the insert or liner is. These pre-sterilized inserts make cleaning up a breeze which is why this type of bottle is popular with some parents. And, as mentioned above, the liners prevent gassiness in babies.
The sterilized insert needs to be replaced after each feed. So calculating how many you need depends on how often you’re feeding your baby. Use the following guideline to help you make sure you have enough liners on hand when using disposable baby bottles for your daily feeding requirements:
- 0 – 2 months old: 8 to 10 liners every 24 hours (4-ounce size)
- 2 – 6 months old: 5 to 7 liners every 24 hours (8-ounce size)
- 6 – 12 months old: 3 to 5 liners every 24 hours (8-ounce size)
Remember to double up when feeding twins!
For breastfeeding mothers who like to use a bottle for nighttime feeds, disposable baby bottles are a convenient and handy option. You’ll need to have 2 to 3 liners depending on how often your baby is waking for feeds at nighttime.
The Playtex Baby Nurser Bottle is designed for easy transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding or for a combination of the two feeding styles. The nipple mimics the breast, making it easier for your baby to latch too. The bottle is used together with disposable, pre-sterilized liners to promote air-free drinking for your little one. The liners are recyclable.
When asking how many baby bottles you need as well as how many nipples, the answer depends on a wide range of factors. How old is your baby and how many times are you feeding her every day? Are you breastfeeding, switching over to bottles occasionally, or are you exclusively feeding with the bottle? And, what size bottle are you using?
You also want to consider how often you want to be cleaning bottles and if your baby is going to daycare. If you’re an out-and-about mom (or father), then you need to have spare bottles for the diaper bag. And, will you be using plastic, glass, silicone, or disposable baby bottles with liners? You also might want to check if your baby bottles expire.
Finding the answers to all these questions helped me to write up an ultimate guide to how many bottles a parent needs for feeding their baby. The rule of thumb is 1 to 3 for breastfeeding mothers switching to occasional bottle feeding and 6 to 8 bottles for exclusively bottle-fed babies. Make sure you have the right number of bottles so you and your baby are always happy when it comes to feeding time!
Last update on 2023-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API