Hey friends, I’m so excited to welcome back from maternity leave my lovely regular contributor, Rachel.
Hello, all my dear Organizing Junkie friends! I recently returned to blogging after a maternity leave and am armed with a huge list of organizing topics, many of which revolve around babyhood. 🙂 Now, I know not all of you loyal Junkies want tips on infant related organization, but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater (hee hee). I’ll do my best to sprinkle in some non-baby topics as I have in the past. Plus, you never know when you could pass along a helpful post to a busy parent who doesn’t have time to research said topics on her own.
We’ll begin today with organizing one of the most basic of organized baby needs, feeding supplies.
Because we adopted our bundle of joy, I knew in advance to get a bottle station ready prior to her birth. However, I know some Mothers plan for one method of feeding and unexpectedly end up using formula or even a hybrid method. Hopefully, my tricks will help bring order to the chaos of newborn bottles.
By my calculations, we have cycled through the “wash bottle – feed baby – wash bottle – feed baby” rhythm over 1,000 times already! Needless to say, my feeding station is a well oiled machine by now. Also, I can’t tell you how much this easy system helps the midnight feedings. Let’s just say, I’ve made some delirious and incoherent comments to my husband around the 3am hour. I’m hoping my blog posts don’t sound equally as delirious and incoherent. 🙂
Basically, setting up a bottle station is simple.
- Clear a space big enough to hold all your supplies.
- Set up a sterilizer (if using), a bottle warmer (if using), and a clean drying rack designed for bottles and the related accessories.
- Have a cabinet or closet of some kind to hold the next stage of bottle paraphernalia. Babies change so quickly that it’s helpful to be prepared for the next size up in nipple gauge or bottle sizes, etc.
- Create a dirty bin to collect the used bottles in between sterilization. It helps tremendous with the wash routine, especially when other dishes start piling up at the sink.
- Finally, have a plan for your mixing style. Either mix formula and water on demand while baby is hungrily crying to eat (easier said than done!), mix up a pitcher to use within 24 hours, or make individual bottles in advance and line them up in the fridge. IMO, a bottle warmer is a convenient tool since the microwave is forbidden nowadays and the stove top method takes wayyyy too long (again, a hungry baby is not a happy baby).
Let me elaborate on those bullet points along with a few visual embellishments…
My method started with a dedicated space. We cleared an unused countertop away from the hub of our kitchen but any space will do. My sister-in-law used her kitchen dinette when her twins (double bottle duty!) were new babies. She was so busy with bottles, that they needed the dinette table for a feeding station more than they needed a place for adults to congregate over food. Pop up a cardboard table in the corner, if nothing else. My point? Simply find a space that is convenient to you and works without effort. If it isn’t convenient or doesn’t make sense, the whole purpose of a bottle station is lost. The main goal is to keep most things bottle related together in one “zone” of your home.
The bulk of our feeding station revolves around housing our clean bottle gear so things are ready when we need them. It’s hard to forget that babies don’t wait patiently for food. As you can see, we have a bottle drying rack sitting on a towel (to catch run-off water), an overflow bin for extra bottle parts and pacifiers, a bottle sterilizer, and a bottle warmer. As for the towel, it gets changed frequently to avoid mildew. We also keep a space open for the tongs that came with our sterilizer. I didn’t think they would be necessary, but after a fresh steamy sterilization, they sure are handy!
The dirty bottles, pacifiers, syringes, and other random food related supplies get tossed in a small bucket next to our sink. That happened by default. Our regular dishes that need to be hand washed land to the right of our kitchen sink. Naturally, our bottles ended up there too. We use glass bottles at home and plastic around town. After two glass bottles were knocked over and broken, I knew a separate container was in order. I actually like this collection system because I can gauge when I need to get washing a batch before we are desperate.
After the bottles get washed, we put them in the sterilizer. Once the sterilizer is finished, everything gets transferred to the clean drying rack to airy dry.
I also have a cabinet above my handy bottle station that houses all the “extras” or the “next size needed” pile. Sure, I had to clear out a few dishes to make this space, but I’m glad I did! Baby’s needs change at unexpected times, no matter what the books say. Our pediatrician always jokes that babies don’t read the books when it come to growth, feeding, and development. Having the next size of bottle nipples, the larger volume bottles, and extra pacifier choices has proven me helpful. Soon I’ll be adding sippy cups and snacking gear. This is a simple solution to all the extra stuff she’ll grow into one day soon. Oh, and the cabinet above is also where we keep extra canisters of formula.
Half the time, we pre-load our bottles with mixed formula and then stash them in the fridge (this is usually for nighttime convenience). The rest of the time, we mix a pitcher of formula and pour our desired amount on baby demand. There are pros and cons to both, which is why we use a combination. Either way, ALWAYS remember to store pre-mixed formula in the refrigerator and use within 24 hours. If you have to, use a piece of washi tape for a time stamp of when the formula was prepared. Better to be safe!
That’s it! Easy to create and will be equally as easy to disassemble when we move out of this stage. There are times I look at our busy bottle station and know it won’t last forever. I’m relishing all these moments much more the second time around.
If there’s any advice worth sharing today, it’s to embrace even the difficult stages, like being up to your eyeballs in bottles, because they’re gone in a blink. Sometimes I cringe at the phrase, “the years are short but the days are long”. From my vantage point, even the days are short as I watch Bella grow by leaps overnight. Cherish the moments and don’t pause your thoughts long on the chaos. If you’re too sleep-deprived to make a feeding station, then send this post to a friend and tell her to implement it while you and your baby take a nap. 🙂
Thank you for having me back, Laura!
I wish you all a happy weekend!
*Personal disclaimer: Both the sterilizer and the warmer are conveniences I enjoy and are not being portrayed as necessary regimes. Also, there was no way to avoid picturing the brand we use, so please don’t mistake my photos as paid advertising. Thanks!
In the professional world, I’m a nurse by trade. But, around our house, I’m known as Mommy to our young daughter. My two worlds collided and began shaping into a blog. Useful Beautiful Home represents the hours I’ve dedicated to managing my household as efficiently as possible. I offer you motivation to keep your home healthy, organized, and welcoming. My goal is to share what I’ve implemented in my home to inspire you with fresh ideas and to encourage you to keep up the good work in yours!