Dr Brown standard width bottles — these are the old-school width. A lot of bottles claim to be more like the breast by being wider, but they’re actually too wide for the baby to get a deep latch and wrap their tongue around it. As a result, they end up with a more shallow latch than if you just used the old school shape. Just about every feeding specialist recommends the Dr Brown standard width bottles.
I don’t have a clear preference between Options and regular. Options allows you to use the bottle without the vent system later. By the time you get there, you’ll probably be used to washing the vent parts, so I’ve never bothered upgrading.
Update 12/2019: there’s a new Options+ Wide bottle that’s actually a reasonable shape.
Dr Brown preemie nipples — every brand claims to have a slow flow nipple, but these are actually the slowest (and the most consistent in their manufacturing). The level 1 is just plain too fast for any newborn, regardless of whether they’re breastfeeding or not. With babies who are breastfeeding and bottle feeding, we want to keep the bottle the same rate or slower than the breast, so they don’t get used to fast flow. Babies are very oriented to flow, so if there’s easy, fast flow at the bottle, and you put them back to the breast, they will say, “actually, excuse me, over there [points to bottle] there is easy fast flow, can we go back there.”
Update 5/2019: Dr Brown now has a new nipple called “newborn” which is in between preemie and level 1. I haven’t tried them with any babies yet.
Update 12/2019: we love those newborn flow nipples! They’re a great choice for actual newborns who don’t need such slow flow but also aren’t ready for level 1.
Foam bottle brushes get gross, so with this baby, I switched to silicone and have been really happy.
Dr Brown formula mixer — I thought this was dumb and unnecessary because I can shake things, can’t I? But this formula mixing pitcher is actually magic in that it mixes completely under the surface of the fluid and thus doesn’t introduce any air. Even really foamy formulas (like Kirkland Signature) don’t get any bubbles using this pitcher.
Gram scale — any gram scale will do. If you’re making a day’s worth of formula in advance, it’s a lot easier to measure the water, then put the pitcher on the scale, turn it on (or tare it), and then add the formula by weight. Each can of formula will tell you the scoop size (for example, 8.2 grams, 8.8 grams, whatever) and then you multiply that by however many scoops you’re supposed to use.
For example, I make 30 ounces of formula each night for the following day. The tub tells me to use 1 scoop for every 2 ounces of formula, so that’s 15 scoops. The scoop size listed on the tub is 8.2 grams, so I add 123 grams of formula powder to 30 ounces of water. Done. (Yes, each scoop of powder adds some volume, so you end up with more than 30 ounces of prepared formula, but we just wave our hands at this. What’s important is the ratio of water to powder.)
Formula — see here.
My Brest Friend nursing pillow — dumb name but a legitimately great product. Not sure how Boppy cornered the market, but the Boppy is curved and so the baby rolls inward, and then the pillow moves away from you. My Brest Friend solves this by being flat and also buckling around you. I call it the tutu of success.
Lactation consultant — see what resources your delivering hospital has, both inpatient and outpatient, and then see which IBCLCs in your area do home visits. Sometimes insurance will even pay for these home visits. WIC usually has breastfeeding support in the office.
Sometimes there’s discomfort as your nipples are getting used to these new physical forces, and sometimes there’s pain at initial latch, but the pain should resolve within 30-ish seconds, should not be present through the whole feeding, should not persist after feeding, and there should not be nipple damage. If there’s persistent pain or damage, seek help. Biting, chomping, gumming, smashing and pinching are not okay.
Your insurance — Medicaid included — should pay for a breast pump.
Videos on how to know if a baby is actually drinking: the deeper jaw excursion, pause, and puff of air out the nose are all associated with a swallow. If a baby is really drinking (and not just sucking) they should swallow every 1, 2, maybe 3 sucks.
I love pacifiers. You’ll often hear not to give a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established, or until a month, or … but offering pacifiers is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS, and babies have a legitimate need to suck — it makes their brains feel better — and they don’t always need to eat in order to do it.
That said, I do think it’s important to use the right shape pacifier.
In order to nurse well, baby should reach out with his tongue and wrap it around the breast. Ergo, the pacifier should be round, not flat. Flat pacifiers promote smashing of the nipple — no good.
A baby should not hang onto the breast with his lips. The latch should come from the tongue. The lips should be relaxed. Ergo, the pacifier should have a wider base. Pacifiers with a narrow base promote hanging on with lips.
0-3 vs 3+ months — this usually has to do with the thickness of the material. The ‘older’ pacifier is thicker to prevent potential biting off pieces of pacifier.
Orthodontic — this word is essentially meaningless. Everything claims to be orthodontic.
If baby is very young and still working on regaining weight, then any wakefulness and desire to suck should be answered with food. A pacifier obviously can’t replace a feeding. You can still use a pacifier at this stage if it’s not possible to feed the baby at that moment, like if you’re stuck in traffic.
DrDad approved pacifiers:
- Philips Avent Soothie
- Wubanub (uses Soothie)
- Jolly Pop — hospitals generally carry these, or the Soothie
- Gumdrop — these are the same shape as Jolly Pop, but with a shinier, more slippery surface. I find the softer surface grippier and nicer.
- Evenflo Feeding Balance Plus Stage 1 (not stage 2) looks fine too, though I haven’t used it
DrDad no-way pacifiers:
- Mam — flat, narrow base
- Nuk — flat, narrow base, angled tip
- Natursutten — angled tip, narrow base