06 August 2006

Simplifying formula feeding while traveling

Serrina simplified bottle-making while on the road:

Traveling for the first time with my four month-old yielded a new hack.  I typically breastfeed, but while packing I started thinking, "What if there’s a situation where I can’t 'whip it out'?" Most likely I wouldn’t have a pre-made expressed bottle with me. So, I pre-measured the amount of formula powder necessary for the bottle, put it in a plastic baggie, put the baggie of formula in the bottle and put the nipple on.  I then threw the bottle in my diaper bag.  Now, I can fix a bottle as soon as I see a bathroom with warm water!

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Doesn't powdered formula have to be refrigerated once opened? I know that's the case with kitten replacement formula.

And anyway, aren't you legally allowed to, ah, "whip it out" anywhere you're allowed to be?

No, powdered formula does not have to be refrigerated. Also, if you become a formula user you quickly learn that there are purchasable containers which allow for three premeasured servings. Then you just take along sterile bottles and water so that when you need it you just pour and shake. I kept one in each diaper bag and one by my bed.

Even though you're legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere, there are definitely some places where it's just logistically more difficult. Imagine being sandwiched in the middle seat between two strangers with a squirmy, hungry baby? Yikes.

I traveled with my 6-month old and found it extremely hard to breastfeed him on an airplane - he was just too long. Many of the flights were on smaller planes where the seats weren't wide enough and the arm rests didn't move.

Ready-to-feed cans of liquid formula are also a lifesaver when traveling. Just pop the can and you're ready to go.


To simplify needing to look for warm water, we also take a small or medium thermos filled with piping hot water and a few bottles of cold spring water. This is easy to mix up in the car, and saves the need to go into a dirty bathroom or having to find a bathroom. (I'll give all credit to my wife for thinking this one up)

Avent has come out with a great three-compartment formula dispenser - look for it in your drug store or grocery store... it is a lifesaver and is sized well for your diaper bag.

As for water, I simply buy a bottle of water when I'm out - I try to get one that isn't cold (even if the place seems to sell only cold ones, ask and they usually have a ton in the back that are not yet cooled)... and come on, WHERE nowadays can't you buy a (albeit overly-priced) bottle of water?!

Munchkin has a cheaper three compartment formula holder.

I certainly hope you meant warm water for warming up the sterile water you purchased seperately. My, the parent hacks are getting dangerous lately, as someone might misinterpret that as actually USING WARM WATER FROM THE TAP, which is by far the worst most terrible thing you could do ever. Seriously. That crap has tons of bacteria and other germs in it. Very bad.

Yah - I was wondering the same thing re: the comment about warm tap water... egads - go buy a bottle of unrefrigerated water - warm and/or hot tap water is riddled with crap in it, no matter how new the pipes and/or water tank may be.

I honestly can't imagine any situation where it's not easier just to whip it out. Bottles take far more effort and fumbling about, need sterile water (not tap from a germ-filled restroom), and also need to be washed afterwards.

Someone mentioned trying to breastfeed in cramped quarters on an airplane. I may be the paranoid mama here, but I'd never take my baby on a flight without buying him his own seat to strap his carseat into. If I can't afford a seat for him, I don't go. So there would definitely be that extra space to breastfeed.

Why bother with the pastic bag? Just put the formula directly in the bottle.

Also, the bottle will need to be used or thrown out in about two weeks.

It's been proven that bottle water isn't much better then tap water in many places. Many local water bottling companies use local tap water. You can purchase purified water. For on the go, I buy the 6 pack of Nursery water and carry around a bottle or 2. But if you don't bring them with you they aren't so easy to find. At home I have a water filtartion system installed.

We saved a handful of the small formula tins that the hospital & pediatrician gave us. We re-filled those tins for the diaper bag. After a couple weeks, we would use that formula as well if not used, so we could re-fill with "fresh" formula. After my son was off formula, those same small tins, worked as snack boxes as well - a cheap alternative to the snack cups that are sold out there now. We always carried a bottle/sippy cup with water - so if we wanted formula instead of just water, we could mix it up quickly.

I don't know what brand of formula you use, but Similac (and I'd assume others), have "on the go" tubes of powder formula in 4-oz size. They're super easy to use, and much less likely to burst open (which happened after a baggie opened).

I recently went to Europe with my 7 month old.The flight was 8 hrs long with a layover of 6 hrs and then again 2 hr flight.Avent formula dispenser is the best I could have on the trip.I pre-filled the bottles with boiled-cooled tap water from home and carried piping hot water in thermos.In all I carried 10 feeding bottles..with diff qty of water(2,4,6 ounces-separately kept in labelled ziploc pouches)Whenever required just mixed appropriate qty of hot water and added formula from dispenser,voila!In those 24 hrs I didnot have to wash bottles..or wait for flight attendant to get hot water.It was all so easy!!

I'm with Jen - those Enfamil/Similac travel pouches make six ounces at a time and are just fantastic for travel! Tote along a bottle of water and you're all set.

And pleeeeeease ladies, don't throw out your bottles every two weeks. That's what microwave sterilizers and dishwashers are for. Our landfills are perfectly happy without more remnants of our disposable and germ-phobic society in them.

I also second the putting in powder formula directly into the bottle liner and then adding nipple, ring and cap. Then carry your bottled water with you. If you need a warm bottle run the bottle under hot water. I always anticipate the feeding time so I won't be dealing with a crying baby and warming the water at same time. So much more easier than carrying thermoses, measured formula carrying cases and so on. What a hassle!

Since writing the hack, yes - I have started just putting formula into the bottle and finding warm water from various places in the airport or just keeping a small Evian in my bag-warmed to room temp. My sister gave me one of those formula dispensers (didn't know they existed). Now, my son is 6 mos.old,> 95%, and has 8 teeth - BF is not easy in an airport and I am loving easy formula ideas. Haven't had to resort to the "bathroom" water! :)

The plastic baggie sure sounds like more of a hassle. All you have to do is measure our the powder in the bottle and just add water later. There's no need for the extra step. One of the first things our pediatrician told us when we had our baby, was don't get him spoiled on warm bottles. So now I just give my baby warm bottles at night, the rest of the time I just use room temperature bottled water...it makes it so easy and convenient. Also there are so many kind of bottle out there these days, I find that the old school Playtex with the drop-ins are the best. Busy moms don't have time to be cleaning bottles, the drop-ins are fast and easy. The generic brands of drop-ins are really cheap and they actually work better too.

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