Bottles and Nipples: Most infants take 2 to 4 ounces every 2 to 4 hours for the first 2 to 4 months of their life. Do not invest in a lot of larger bottles initially; you won't need them. And there's no need to go crazy buying a bunch of different bottle nipples. If milk comes out of the nipple and your child gets it, that's all that matters. Start with a level-one nipple because it mimics the flow of breast milk the best. As your child gets older or if you notice she is getting frustrated with the slow flow, then increase to a faster-flow nipple. My daughter was still happily using a level-one nipple at one year of age. As for sterilization: you may want to sterilize or boil bottles and nipples in hot water prior to the first time you use them, but after that you can safely hand wash them with soap and water or throw them in the dishwasher. You do not have to sterilize bottles or boil them in hot water after each use. After all, do you know of a breast that is sterile? Be realistic . . . but if you want to sterilize, be my guest. Breast pumps: Breast pumps range in price from a couple hundred dollars for the electric kind to less expensive hand pumps. Hospital-grade electric pumps, which are the fastest, may cost as much as four hundred dollars to rent for five months. Consider your time. In the middle of the night when you want to go back to sleep you probably want a fast pump. Although hospital-grade may not be necessary, a hand pump may be tediously slow.
Where to Start
If you are new to your area, call your local hospital and speak to the nurse in charge of the pediatric ward or the newborn nursery, and ask which pediatricians she recommends. The charge nurse sees these doctors every day and knows how they interact with their patients and the hospital staff. They know who is cranky before their first cup of coffee and who is always smiling. You could also visit a local chat room for new moms. I have found that parents will gladly spread the news, both good and bad, on doctors in the area.
If you know the area, ask friends, family, or your own doctors— especially your obstetrician—for a recommendation. This is one time when lots of outside advice is welcome. Consider the personalities and expectations of the people giving you suggested names. The more you have in common with these folks, the more likely the pediatrician they recommend will be a good match.
Once you have a list of prospective pediatricians, visit their offices and meet with them. Many pediatricians do prenatal interviews. This is a chance for you to get to know the doctor and his philosophies, as well as take a look at the office. Some doctors will meet with you privately, one on one, while others do a more informal group session with several sets of parents. I am a fan of group sessions because they allow you to hear the concerns of other parents as well as questions you may not have thought to ask.