If you’re expecting your first baby, you’ll undoubtedly be making a lot of lists (even lists of lists?). What to buy and what to pack for the hospital will be probably on the top of your mind. Whether you’re planning to breast or bottle-feed, you’ll need a few feeding bottles. You might have heard that some hospitals provide bottles. But, exactly what baby bottles do hospitals use?
The majority of hospitals provide Medela 2.5 oz bottles with disposable nipples that breast milk can be expressed in if necessary. For moms that are unable to breastfeed, most hospitals have disposable, premixed 2 oz bottles of formula.
Do hospitals provide baby bottles for newborns?
In general, hospitals will always encourage breastfeeding as a means of nursing. The benefits of breastfeeding are enormous. However, for a variety of reasons, some moms just aren’t able to breastfeed. In this instance, hospitals have formulas available.
Most hospitals provide disposable baby bottles with premixed formula as part of their gift pack to new moms. The little premixed formula bottles come with individually wrapped nipples that screw on. This makes the early feeding sessions so much easier!
You will receive as many as your baby needs for the duration of the hospital stay. This means you don’t have to worry about baby bottles leaking into your bag.
Types of bottles
The next question you’ll be asking will probably revolve around the types of bottles provided. You might be wondering if the bottles provided will be the right type for your new baby.
These days, the majority of U.S. hospitals are offering new moms disposable baby bottles. The bottles have a premixed formula (usually Similac Gentlease) and are small enough for a newborn.
For the moms who stay in the hospital long enough to have extra pumped milk, the majority of hospitals use Medela 2.5 oz bottles and nipples. Check with your hospital to see what their bottle options are just to be certain.
If you’re going to be buying your own bottles, you might be overwhelmed by the choices on offer. I have written several articles on bottle comparisons to make it easier for you to decide, e.g. Dr. Brown vs. Tommee Tippee.
If your baby suffers from colic, spit-up, or excessive gas during feeding, you might want to read about the best bottles for reflux here. Often changing the bottle will make a significant difference.
What do I need to take to the hospital when bottle-feeding a newborn?
If you know from the onset that you won’t be breastfeeding, it’s important to ensure the right items are packed into your hospital bag. If you’ve been given a few bottles from a friend or family member, you might be wondering, if baby bottles expire? Read my article to ensure your bottles are still good to go for your new baby!
The crucial bottle-feeding supplies you’ll need to take include the following:
- At least two feeding bottles, suitable for newborns
- Small tin of formula, suitable for newborns
- At least two small nipples for newborns – opt for slow-flow nipples
- Bottle cleaning brush
- Spoon or plastic knife to mix the formula
Expectant dads should make sure these items are packed in their dad’s hospital survival kit on the off chance that their partner can’t breastfeed as planned. You won’t know if your little one needs special anti-colic bottles until the feeding actually starts.
Initially, it’s a good idea to use the disposable bottles offered by the hospital. They don’t need to be cleaned which leaves you time to focus on recovering. If you prefer taking your own bottles, ensure you opt for small newborn bottles with the relevant nipples. Ensure these nipples are the slow-flow option that’s specifically designed for a newborn’s slow drinking rate.
Do hospitals sterilize baby bottles and nipples?
Yes. Some hospitals will provide you with a Milton sterilizing fluid. Staff might also be prepared to sterilize bottles and teats. Other hospitals might prefer to give you disposable bottles and nipples. This is one of my preferred methods when cleaning a bottle, e.g. when your bottle shows signs of turning pink.
If you and your baby will be staying in the hospital longer than expected, the good news is, baby bottles can be washed by simply using boiling water and soap. Speak to your nurse for the best options available.
What do hospitals provide after birth?
To make caring for your newborn a little easier, most hospitals will provide you with a few freebies. The gifts you receive will vary between hospitals, but in general, some of these items include the following:
- Diapers and wipes
- Diaper rash cream
- Baby wash and lotion
- Baby bottles (in most cases, standard Medela feeding bottles)
- Baby onesies
- Baby hat
- Disposable changing pads
- One or two pacifiers
- Swaddling blankets
If you don’t want to be overwhelmed with bags upon leaving the hospital, follow up with the hospital you’ll be using to establish what items you’ll be receiving.
If you’re not sure if you should take baby bottles to your hospital of choice, check with the maternity department if they have freebies on offer. You won’t know what your baby’s preference is until the little one is born. So, it’s a good idea to use the formula and bottles offered by the hospital until you can identify your little one’s exact needs.
If your original plans to breastfeed don’t go according to plan, you’ll have to invest in a few baby bottles. But, how many baby bottles will you need? Read my very informative article answering this exact question.