Whether you use a breast pump or feed formula you will need a feeding bottle for your baby. There are so many choices, so many exotic designs that you are likely to get confused and go with the recommendations of your friends and acquaintances. But in order to ensure that your baby has an enjoyable experience, it is important to identify the criteria for your choice and make the choice yourselves.
So what criteria should you look at.
- Look at reviews on Amazon – When you ask your friend you are basing your decision on a sample size of 1. This is pretty ineffective because your baby is different from your friends’ babies. However your baby is likely to tend towards the average in terms of preferences. It is here that amazon reviews are such a great asset, a bottle which has great reviews on amazon is likely to work for you as well, on the other hand bottles which are reviewed badly have a very poor chance of working for you, even if it looks awesome on paper.
- Less number of parts to wash – Some bottles satisfy every other criteria but have so many parts that you must ask yourselves if you are willing to commit to extra time cleaning out the excess number of parts. If like me, you have twins and you are dealing with bottles with multiple parts, it can quickly become a nightmare.
- Look for BPA, phthalate, PVC, polycarbonate, lead, latex free bottles. You might be warming and sterilizing these bottles and you should avoid bottles that have the potential to leach chemicals under the influence of heat.
- You should avoid bottles that have the propensity to leak, either at the rim or through the nipples. This can become a pain if you are carrying your bottles around.
- Baby preference – There are several bottles that profess to have nipples that mimic breast feeding, but ultimately it all depends of whether your baby takes a liking for it. My babies drank more milk when I used one kind of bottle than when I used another one. So I completely stopped that bottle. It is important to identify your top choices and then test them out on your babies. Choose the one that the baby seems to prefer.
I have attempted to narrow down you choices so that you can experiment with one of these and finalize the one that works for your baby. While choosing the bottles to test I have set some criteria that you should hone in on to make this process easier.
- Glass Bottle Vs Plastic Bottle Vs Stainless Steel – The fact is that all the plastic bottles available in the market has been approved by the FDA for safety and does not contain the key ingredient that most people are concerned about – BPA. They are lightweight, inexpensive and unbreakable(this is important as the bottles will drop a lot of times). However they do collect odor and are difficult to clean. No to mention – I am still not convinced that plastics do not leach chemicals when subjected to high temperatures during washing in the dishwasher or sterilization. Glass bottles on the other hand are easier to clean and you can be completely assured that no chemicals are going to be released which will contaminate the milk. They do however break which can make life difficult for you unless you have carpet flooring all around or unless you use a protective sleeve for these bottles to prevent breakage. They are pretty heavy and more expensive but my recommendation is to buy a few and see if you can manage without issues. If you can manage then move completely to glass bottles – except for daycares which may not accept them. Another eco-friendly option is the stainless steel – not only are they completely plastic free and thus free of potential leaching effects, they are also light and unbreakable, thus combining the benefits of both plastic and glass. Only problem is that they are expensive and does not allow visibility of the contents.
- Narrow Neck Vs Wide Neck Vs Angled Neck – Narrow neck is the most common type of bottle and wider necks have been introduced to allow the use of wider nipples which mimic real nipples and help in prevention of nipple confusion – making it the perfect choice for women who prefer breast feeding and feeding via bottle. No doubt these wider bottles are easier to clean and you need to buy special nipples for these bottles. Angled neck bottles are designed to prevent less air from going into the baby and help in preventing colic. They are easier to hold but are more difficult to clean.
- Vented or Non vented – Vented bottles are also called natural flow or anti-colic bottles. Vented bottles do not allow air to be trapped in the milk and consumed by babies – a leading cause of colic. This is accomplished by usage of a straw or by a valve at the base of the bottle. I prefer vented bottles but a big drawback is that vented bottles contain a lot more parts to be washed. But if you baby has a tendency to be colicky or gasy then this is a must have to prevent gas from being swallowed.
My recommendations – there is no one size fits all solution but depending on your situation and your preference these are my recommendations.
- Best Eco-friendly solutions – I like the Pura Kiki Stainless Infant Bottle Stainless Steel with Natural Vent Nipple which is a stainless steel completely plastic free solution that works well. Its a little expensive bit can also be extended in life by converting to a sippy cup. Its natural vent nipple has an extended anti-colic vent. Among the glass baby bottles my favorite is Lifefactory 9-Ounce Glass Baby Bottle with Silicone Sleeve and Stage 2 Nipple because it has the added sleeve for protection against breaking. Most of your favorites are available in glass as well. Born Free 9 oz. BPA-Free Premium Glass Bottle with Bonus Silicone Sleeve is another great bottle.
- Best for colicky baby – Generations of americans have been raised on the Dr Browns Natural flow bottles and that itself is testament to the fact that this is one of the bottles you should consider. I would keep a mix of thinner and wider ones, since the wider ones are easier to clean and the thinner ones are easier to hold. They also have the glass version. Here are some of the pros and consider.
- Well reviewed and trusted by most parents that have used it.
- Five-piece internal vent system reduces colic, burping, and gas
- Positive pressure design allows babies to feed comfortably, because the vent system eliminates air bubbles and vacuum
- Breastmilk or formula flows freely without nipple collapse
- Prevents oxidation of nutrients
- The six parts feel tedious to assemble, especially in the nights when patience wears thin.
- The straw-style piece is hard to clean and requires a special straw cleaning brush.
- Too many parts so leakage can occur
3. Best for breast Fed babies – Comotomo Baby Bottle, Green, 5 Ounce, 2 Count is my top recommendation for babies who are breast fed and do not have colic. It’s unusual design and breast resembling nipple make it a favorite among parents and babies.
- Mimics breastfeeding so babies who are being breast fed as well as bottle fed and likely not to reject it
- Easy to clean with wide necks
- BPA PVC and Pthalate free, Medical grade silicone for nipples
- Nipples are very soft and some kids don’t seem to prefer that. Nipple would concave in.
- Flexible plastic may absorb sour milk smell which may not go off easily
- Lids are a little tricky to pit on, definitely not the easiest
- Narrow bottom so tends to fall easily
- Avoid buying too many of the smaller bottles. baby moves on pretty fast
- Not as dishwasher friendly
- Hard to see ounce measurement in the night
The Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Feeding Bottle is another recommended one for those focused on nipple confusion.
4. Best for Easy Feeding On-the-Go or at Daycare: The Playtex Nursers with Liners are highly recommended for on the go situations and for sending to daycare. Sending a regular one to the daycare can be a pain when it comes to cleaning time since the bottles will be more difficult to clean.
- 4 pieces total – that’s almost as low as you can go.
- Pre-sterilized liners cut down on bottle washing since you won’t need more than 4 8-oz bottles.
- The suction effect of the plastic liner reduces gas, colic and spit-up
- BPA-free bottle and liners
- Great for travel: One bottle plus a stack of fresh liners and nipples satisfies many feeds
- Awesome for preventing gas. Lots of nipple variety. Something for all babies.
- Nipples are large and some kids have problem latching on.
- Need to do some work to remove air prior to feeding.