Both of my kids were bottle fed both breast milk and formula from the get-go, because I like being able to shower in peace every once in a while. From that first tiny yellow-capped bottle the hospital gave me to the mammoth ones my son ended up loving, I’ve been through all the apparatus and logistics of tossing bottles at babies. Here are some of the things I learned along the way:
1. There are approximately one bajillion types of bottles and two bajillion types of nipples available. You will eventually own one of each.
2. You’ll get some fancy bottle-sterilizing contraption at your baby shower that will be used only as a door stopper in the nursery.
3. You will also get a giant bottle-shaped piggy bank that will end up behind that door.
4. You’ll poo-poo a bottle drying rack until you try it and then you’ll cherish that thing almost as much as the swing that always puts the baby to sleep. (ALMOST.)
5. The three kinds of formula you happen to have? Your baby will loathe them with the heat of a thousand angry burps.
6. For every half-ounce your baby drinks she will loudly shoot out one quart of projectile poop that no diaper invented can successfully contain.
7. Your baby will love and adore the most expensive formula your local grocery store has for sale.
8. Getting that baby formula from your local grocery store will require a visit to the service desk, a manager, keys, and more patience than a hungry baby will ever, ever have.
9. You thought your Tupperware cabinet was a hot mess until you had a bottle cabinet. Can you say, “Avalanche”?
10. After one attempt at using that mini breast pump you bought, you went online and paid top dollar for the fastest, fanciest, most-expensive pump available (plus overnight shipping). Your husband knew better than to say EVEN ONE PEEP about it.
11. The best way to have a successful pumping session is to sniff a used baby blanket until your boobs get electrocuted by the milk let-down. You never thought you’d be a sniffer of dirty laundry and hoper for electrocuted boobs, but here we are.
12. At some point someone will say to you, “Oh. You’re bottle feeding,” as if the bottle is full of crime.
13. At some point someone will say to you, “Oh. You’re bottle feeding,” as if you are living every new mother’s dream.
14. You’ll come THISCLOSE to actually strangling your mother-in-law with your breast pump tubing when you discover she dumped out the breast milk the baby didn’t finish taking from his bottle.
15. When the fridge died, you cried harder about the freezer stash of breast milk that went bad than you did about the prospect of spending $2,000 on a new fridge.
16. The first few days of bottles you give your baby are an exact science of measuring, warming, and testing and getting it JUST RIGHT, SO DON’T RUSH ME, DAMMIT.
17. By the fourth day you’ve graduated to the grab-pour-shake-pop-in-mouth method of bottle feeding.
18. Bottle apparatuses occupy 82 percent of the contents of any diaper bag. The rest is diapers and maybe your phone.
19. The best day of your life is when your baby figures out how to hold her own damn bottle.
20. The worst day of your life is when you discover that you’ve left an unfinished bottle of formula under the backseat of your car on a sunny day.
21. You get so excited to wean your baby from bottle to cup until you realize how much cups spill.
Graphic: Kim Bongiorno