Going out for errands and day trips was so much easier pre-baby, right? In fact, you probably took it for granted...but gone are the days of grab your keys and go. Heading out the door with a little one in tow requires a lot more planning and ensuring you have all the essentials to give your baby what they need and when they need it. Preparing a bottle of formula on the go is one of those tricky things you’ll want to get right.
Luckily, with a bit of prep, a solid plan, and a couple of key tools, making a bottle of baby formula on the go will be something that soon becomes second nature, making those outings with your baby that much easier.
Making a Plan for Your Outing With Your Formula-Fed Baby
Before you even head out the door, you want to have a plan in place for your day. Consider where you’ll be going, what’s available there, how many stops you’ll have to make, how long you’ll be gone and how many times you’ll have to feed your baby while you’re out.
These considerations may seem like a lot in the moment, but as you go out more with your baby, you’ll be able to more quickly plan for what you’ll need to bring along for your baby and how much.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to best prep ahead of time:
1.) Where are you going?
Going to the zoo for several hours is a lot different than doing a couple of quick errands near your neighborhood. A lot more planning needs to go into packing for a day trip with a baby than a couple of stops where you’ll be back in your car after a half hour or so.
2.) Will there be water there?
Obviously water is pretty readily available in most places, but is getting water from the bathroom tap ideal? Honestly it’s most likely fine, but if you can avoid taking out your baby’s bottle out in a public bathroom it’s probably best. Bringing your own water in most situations usually ends up being more convenient anyway.
3.) How many stops are you making?
Sometimes it’s just easier to feed your baby in a parked car than inside somewhere, especially if your baby isn't old enough to hold their bottle themselves in a stroller. So if you have several shorter errands you may just want to plan to feed your baby this way in between stops.
4.) How long will you be gone?
More prep is required for outings that last more than an hour or two. If you can squeeze your outing in between feeding time and/or naptime, that is the best way to go, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way. Being gone for a longer amount of time will require you to prep more formula bottles ahead and/or on the go.
5.) How many times will you need to give your baby a bottle?
You’ll want to consider the duration of time you’ll be away from home and plan accordingly. Newborns are much more unpredictable with their feeding needs, and it’s important to feed on demand at that young age. So if this is the case, make sure that you have plenty of formula to meet their needs. Older babies usually have more of a routine when it comes to feeding time, so it will be easier to know if you’ll need just one bottle or more. We recommend always having at least enough for one extra bottle just in case you end up needing to be gone longer than expected.
Top Tips for Simple Formula Bottle Prep on the Go
Making a bottle of formula on the go doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little bit of forethought to get everything prepped ahead of time and have the right containers and tools with you as you head out will make for the most seamless experience possible. Thinking and planning ahead makes for a happy baby and stress-free parents!
1.) Make One (Or More) Bottles Ahead of Time
A lot of parents wonder if you can make formula bottles in advance.
Once a formula bottle is prepped, it can sit at room temperature for up to 2 hours. So, even if you don’t have a cooler bag, it’s ok to prep one bottle ahead of time as long as you plan to give it to your baby in this timeframe. If you don’t want to worry about actually making formula bottles while you’re out and don’t mind taking a cooler bag along for storage, you can go ahead and make all of your bottles before you leave. This way you won’t have to worry about dealing with powdered formula while you’re out which can be a little tricky.
It’s also a little bit easier to make sure everything is cleaned properly when you prep bottles in advance. We touch on these safe practices and more in our article, “How to Prepare Baby Formula Safely.”
2.) Pre-Measure Formula and Use a Formula Dispenser
If you don’t want to take a cooler bag with you or are trying to minimize what you bring along on your outing, one of the best ways to simplify the process of making a bottle of formula on the go is by measuring out the formula in advance. They sell great little containers, such as ones we mention here, that can hold and dispense the exact amount of formula you’ll need.
3.) Bring a Travel Bottle Warmer
One of our favorite gadgets is the Baby’s Brew portable bottle warmer. Not only can you opt-in for the detachable mess-free dispenser that perfectly measures out your baby’s powdered formula (and keeps it all contained!), but it also quickly and safely warms your baby’s bottle on the go. With four temperatures to choose from, you'll be able to give your baby their bottle just the way they prefer it. Plus, it's completely cordless and holds a charge for up to 12 hours, making it ideal for whatever outing you have planned.
4.) Bring a Large Bottle of Water
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to bring your own water if you can. Though tap water is perfectly safe to prepare a baby’s formula bottle, having to fill it in a public restroom can be a bit unsanitary. Using bottled water is another option and is safe to use in your baby’s formula bottle. No need for it to be warm if you have a portable bottle warmer as mentioned above.
5.) Don’t Forget the Clean Up!
Messes with a little one are inevitable. And this is especially true on the go. It may be just a bit of a spilled formula or it could be a huge blowout from your baby who sucked down their bottle 15 minutes earlier...either way, make sure you’re prepared so you don’t have to cut your outing short. Here a few things to have on hand to keep it all cleaned up:
- Bottle Wipes - These are great to give your baby’s bottle a quick wipe after they’re finished or to sanitize before they drink from it if need be. However, these should not replace a full-cleaning between bottles.
- Burp Cloths - Even if you have a baby who rarely spits up, don’t forget to bring the burp cloths and actually use them. We know you won’t regret it. Plus these work great for a quick wipe if any formula gets on the stroller, car seat, etc.
- Baby Wipes - Do you ever NOT need baby wipes?!
- Extra Diapers - All those yummy formula bottles you give your baby on the go means your baby is um, going to have to “go” too. Be prepared with more than enough diapers.
- Extra baby outfit - On that same note, make sure you ALWAYS have an extra outfit when you head out with your little one in case that diaper just can’t hold it all in.
- Plastic Grocery Bags - I never left home without a couple of grocery bags stashed in my diaper bag or car. This is a great place to store a dirty diaper until you’re near a trash can when you can toss it.
We also recommend having a diaper bag that you can easily wash and/or wipe clean.
How do you travel with baby formula?
It’s one thing to go out for a few hours and have to figure out how you’ll give your baby their bottle, it becomes next level when you have airplane travel or a road trip to navigate. Many of the above tips apply to these circumstances, but a little more forethought and planning is required. And of course, bringing a lot more formula along with you!
We recommend checking out our article, “Tips for Traveling With Your Baby” to make your trip as simple and successful as possible when it comes to feeding and caring for your little one.