We have a lot of bottles. A LOT of bottles. And in the process of acquiring bottles, we’ve learned a lot too. And not just about bottles.
First, we learned that there is no “best bottle”. The best bottle on the market is the one your child will drink from, period. That goes for just about everything else. The best nappy is the one that works for you. The best feeding utensil? You guessed it. Bedding? Yup.
It gets more complicated. Not only have we gone through multiple brands and variations of bottles, we’ve also changed nipples and formula and temperature and quantities. We learned early that as our children’s needs changed, we had to adapt with them. Within reason – if they decide they’ll only drink from gold-plated Armani bottles, the little sods can jolly well go thirsty 🙂 Ditto bedding, clothes, etc.
In doing so, I’ve concluded that all the “approved”, “preferred”, “proven”, “best” etc. nonsense on the packaging is generally just that: nonsense. If it’s a bottle your kid will drink from, great. And they’ll get wind regardless, and you’ll deal with it. (When did our kids stop needing to be burped? I wish I could remember. Feels like a milestone I’ve forgotten.) And just because it works for me doesn’t mean it’ll work for you, which also means I’ll never make a million writing a “how to choose the right bottle for your baby” book. Unless I just lie. Hmm. Actually…
Now, there does seem to be a fairly consistent theme among other parents we’ve spoken to: the Dr Browns bottles really do seem to work well. We ended up on those after a few others, and we’ve stayed there. They’re finicky – way more moving parts than other bottles means dismantling them to clean them and then re-mantling them again when you prepare formula. They’re not perfect – they leak quite badly if laid down (extra air-flow works both ways), for example. But hey, they work. We’re happy.
Which has also been a big wake-up – just how important trusted recommendations are. Social media, which I view with a great deal of distrust, is hugely valuable for niche communities, like parents of multiples. The power of recommendation is enormous. It’s also very fuzzy, because you can and will encounter plenty of very weird opinions (seriously people, go f*cking vaccinate already) but it averages out if you’re savvy and/or sceptical (between Candice and I, we’re both, so that’s good…) Suddenly all those social media marketing people do actually seem to have a reason to exist, though the local brands are just astoundingly useless at it.
Another lesson was in the sheer number of bottles (among other things) – we underestimated at first, despite thinking we were being as realistic as possible. We have a lot, because we use eight a day, unless an overnight top-up is required in which case it’s nine (they share that one). We’d spend our lives washing bottles if we didn’t have enough to get us through a day-and-a-bit. So, that means a minimum bottle-count of 10, and we can get by with a single wash-up a day.
Which has been another lesson: schedules. Bugger demand-feeding. That is not an option for multiples. You set a schedule and you stick to it like glue because otherwise you’ll do nothing but run from task to task, chore to chore, and baby to baby. And it works pretty darned well, which makes me think it’d work well for singles too, which in turn makes me wonder, somewhat uncharitably, if this whole demand-nonsense is new agey hippy self-satisfaction for parents who are too limp-wristed to enforce a schedule. (Good luck when they’re in school, sucker!)
Oh, and I realised a while ago that I should have been saving the formula tins. Could have built that garden shed out of them by now.