Preparing for the arrival of this little one meant pulling out all of our old baby feeding gear that Emily has long outgrown. I can’t believe how much I hung on to! I remember the first year of Emily’s life pretty well, especially as it relates to the annoyances of breast and bottle feeding. One of the biggest frustrations was the clutter – my countertops were always covered, and my cabinets always crammed. This time, I promised myself I would not fall victim to the same frustrations.
My daughter had a severe milk allergy and I was only able to breast feed for the first 6 weeks of her life before switching her to a prescription formula. Even in those 6-weeks, I did a lot of pumping and bottle feeding to make sure she had no problem switching between the two. We anticipate this baby to have the same allergy, so I have supplies for both breast and formula feeding.
Today, I’m going to share with you my process for organizing all of the baby gear that lives in my kitchen!
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Tip: Don’t let pregnancy brain get the best of you! Keep a notebook handy so you can make a list of the things you need to replace or go buy.
Step One: Purge (if this is not your first rodeo)
First I went through and purged. What of this stuff did I not use? Or what did I use but didn’t like? What was broken or damaged? What are you not supposed to re-use that I saved without knowing the better? From what I’ve read, you are not supposed to re-use things like bottle nipples, pacifiers, or breast pump tubes and valves. I had to ask myself frequently what was I keeping ‘in case I MIGHT need it‘. If it was something inexpensive and easy to replace, out the door it went.
Step Two: Group like items
I emptied my dining room table and grouped like items. When I was done, I had piles for:
- breast pump gear
- newborn/breast milk bottles (my Medela bottles)
- breastmilk storage spare parts
- milk storage
- formula feeding supplies
- larger formula bottles (my Playtex bottles)
- baby bullet gear
- small sippy cups
Step Three: Assess storage needs
By grouping, you can get a sense of how much you have to store, and where storing will functionally make sense. After a quick trip to Target for some supplies, I was able to create this functional system. If you are looking for something similar, consider checking out Target or even your local dollar tree.
Other ideas include:
- BINO Woven Plastic Storage Basket
- BINO Small Multi-Purpose Plastic Storage Bin
- InterDesign Kitchen Bin
Now onto the hard part: finding where storing would be possible. I looked for opportunities to consolidate other things in my cabinets. Did I really need all of those mugs? How often was I reaching for the gravy boat? By purging (again) and finding new homes for items I don’t reach for often, I was able to free up almost an entire shelf for my supplies. My counter practically gave me a standing ovation for this one.
Step Four: Put everything in its new home
Like any system, you’ll try this over time and make changes based on your needs. For me:
- I needed quick and easy access to bottles and bottle parts, in a way that I could both grab or put things away in a rush or with one hand.
- Bibs needed to be distinguished between baby and toddler, and be easily assessable for feeding times.
- Nursing gear was distributed throughout the house – some items made sense to keep in the kitchen or with my pump, other items made more sense to be in the bathroom or bedroom.
- Baby bullet supplies and small sippy cups are not needed for a few months, so I put those tucked away behind more day-to-day items.
- I needed the bins to be labeled (which I did with my Silhouette Portrait – subsequent post to come), and of course, I wanted them to look pretty so that when I open the cabinet in a state of frenzy, I have some sense of relief.
Since the baby hasn’t arrived yet at the time I am writing this, and I sanitized things a few weeks in advance of her arrival, my personal system isn’t 100% complete, but I am happy with progress!
Caution to new moms: While some items do need to be open and sanitized prior to babies arrival, I will share that one regret I had was opening everything before she came. We ended up wasting countless dollars on bottles and supplies trying to figure out what works best for her. Had I tried things before opening all, we could have saved some money, time, and stress!
I’ll create subsequent posts on how the system works once I finish, and on what my new toddler feeding system will be too! Please share your own tips and tricks in the comments!