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But my kitchen is full already, thanks

It turns out that even breastfeeding is not as simple as "insert tab A into slot B".  As mentioned elsewhere on this site, it often requires equipment.  Even if your baby consumes exclusively breast milk, you will likely pump at some point (or daily if you work outside the house) and have some other person feed your baby (if your baby is formula fed, I imagine you will have that many more bottles to deal with).  This means you then have to clean and dry bottles on a daily basis in a way that will often seem sisyphean.  So what can you do to simplify this and where do you put it all?

The Dishwasher is Your Friend

Whenever possible, put things in the dishwasher (assuming you have one).  Babies who are born at term and are otherwise healthy do not need their bottles sterilized and the soap and hot water of the dishwasher will do the trick just fine.  However you will likely have small parts such as nipples, bottle caps, and possibly others if you go with Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Bottles (I have no experience with this brand of bottles, I just know they are popular).  The best way to avoid having to wash these small parts by hand is to get a dishwasher caddy.  I highly recommend the OXO Dishwasher Basket for Bottle Parts.  The way the lid opens is genius because the small parts in the lid do not fall out every time you want to add something to the big compartment.  Unfortunately for us, we bought this product and realized that it was too tall for the top rack of the dishwasher.  Thus it sadly resides at grandma's house and I sigh every time I use it there and am not frustrated.  We ended up having to go with the Munchkin Deluxe Dishwasher Basket.  Though it is highly reviewed, I find it irritating to use when I have already placed some parts in its top and want to put something in the bottom.  Other than that, it is perfectly adequate.

Bottle Brush

If you don't have a dishwasher and will have to wash bottles and parts by hand then you definitely want a great bottle brush.   We don't use ours terribly often, but do need one when for some reason a bottle does not come out of the dishwasher clean. Here, once again the OXO Bottle Brush wins over the Munchkin Bottle Brush.  I find the bristles on the OXO to be so much more efficient at getting stuff out of the bottles.  Also, I don't get the purpose of the soft top of the Munchkin brush, it doesn't seem to do anything as far as I can tell.

Practical Drying Rack

Once you're done cleaning your bottles you will need a drying rack for them.  This is where the Munchkin Sprout Drying Rack really gets my vote.   It's quite compact and can fit a ton of stuff on it while taking up relatively little counter space.  It also has a tray on the bottom to catch run off so it doesn't just go all over your counter.  To the right is a picture of it in action, drying all the infant bottles and toddler straw cups that came out of one dishwasher load.

The main competitor of this as far as I can tell is the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack, which I personally dislike (though I haven't used it myself).  It seems to take up more horizontal counter space to store the same amount of stuff and needs extra parts like the Boon Twig Grass and Lawn Drying Rack Accessory to accommodate all the small parts.  Yes, it is very cute looking, but I prefer to save my counter for the important things... like my french press.

Create a Storage Shelf

Finally, if you're looking at your cabinets and trying to figure out where all this stuff is going to go, you may benefit from a product like the Seville Classics Expandable Kitchen Counter and Cabinet Shelf.  This allows you to split an existing tall shelf into two shorter shelves.  This is how we've managed to fit our new baby's equipment into our kitchen, which had to accommodate all of the toddler's things already.


Photo credits - Baby Stew under a Creative Commons license.
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