When we first found that we were having triplets, one of the top questions after everyone asked was, “How on earth will you ever tell them apart?” We received lots of clever ideas- have shirts printed up, paint their toenails, put a little mark on their hand, make them wear different hats- but my husband and I actually never had trouble telling the boys apart, even though two of them are identical. What did prove to be tricky was keeping their bottles apart. Even though I breast fed as much as I could, my supply just couldn’t keep up with the demand, so we did have to supplement with formula. One of the boys could not have dairy-based formula, and another one had to be on a slower nipple flow than the other two. And when I’m making three bottles at a time for hungry babies with my eyes barely open, it’s incredibly easy to get them mixed up. We also had a bout of thrush, which is very contagious, so bottles and nipples had to be sterilized and separated for these purposes, as well. Here are a few ways to mark bottles for multiple babies.
Note that the pictures in this article are of sippy cups, but that’s only because I had already given away my bottles prior to writing this. Sippy cups are a lot easier to differentiate because there are so many varieties, so these tips can be used for them, as well. But the following tricks are ones that I used primarily with bottles.
My primary (and cheapest) way was using washi tape. In you’re unfamiliar with washi tape, it’s a decorative tape that many crafters use. “Good” washi tape, like the kind sold by (aff link) Scotch or a tape company, has awesome staying power. I would pick out three colors of washi tape and wrap it around each bottle. I didn’t necessarily assign a color permanently to each boy, but you could do that. I had two bottles that I wrapped with washi tape that the tape actually lasted through hand washings AND the dishwasher for about nine months. Washi tape is also great because it’s thinner than traditional masking tape or painter’s tape, and it peels right off when it’s time to remove it.
Label stickers are a fun way to customize bottles. I’ve ordered from Kidecals, and their labels are durable. A special thanks to Kidecals for providing the labels today! They actually have date stickers that are great for daycare or grandma’s house. The date stickers can be written on and are easily changed. Kidecals also have vinyl labels that are waterproof durable- they last through the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the dryer. And looking through the different boy, girl, and neutral designs is kind of fun, too. 🙂
The labels last so long on bottles and cups that one sheet will go from infancy to toddler stages.
This is obviously the most expensive option, but also the most permanent. A couple bottle companies make colored bottles- pink, blue, and clear. We had a few of the four ounce colored Dr. Brown’s bottles that were given to us. Yeah, one of the boys had to use a pink bottle for a while. When they upgraded to the eight ounce bottles, we only had the clear (that’s when I started using washi tape). We survived on hand-me-down bottles, and it wasn’t in our budget to purchase as many bottles as we would have needed. But if you’re starting from scratch, and have the budget (or shower gift cards!), colored bottles are the most permanent solution.
I know Avent and Dr. Brown’s sell colored bottles. Here are a few examples of colored bottles: (aff links)
Have you found other ways to keep bottles separated? If so, leave ’em for me! You know us multiple moms need all the help that we can get!