The Best Baby Bottles

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We’ve all been told that breastfeeding is best, but sometimes breastfeeding is not the best option in all cases. I have had many ups and downs with breastfeeding. If it were not for baby bottles and formula, I would not have eight healthy children. Even if you have all intentions of nursing your baby, please purchase a few bottles to have on hand just in case.

Baby nursing from a bottle

I think I have used just about every type of bottle available since having my first child over 19 years ago. With my sixth child, I tried four different brands before finding the right one for her. When I started supplementing my breastfed daughter with formula because she was having trouble gaining, I bought Breastflow bottles by The First Years. The package touted it as the easiest bottle to transition back and forth from breast to bottle. Well, my daughter had more trouble getting milk from these bottles than she did from my breast. After and ounce or two, she would be so exhausted, she’d give up and go to sleep.

After a few more weeks of poor weight gain, I switched over to Soothie bottles, also from The First Years. These bottles were great, except for the fact the nipples would fall into the bottle, causing the formula to spill all over the baby and me. By the time I bathed my formula soaked daughter for the umpteenth time, I knew I needed to switch brands yet again. I was grabbing a clean onesie out of the closet when I found an Avent bottle tucked in a gift bag I received from the maternity store. I figured, why not?

At her next feeding, I gave the bottle a shot. I was so pleased with it, I headed out to the store and stocked up on bottles and nipples for the fourth time. There were so many nipple types to chose from: newborn, 3 month plus, 6 month plus, and variable flow, which was ideal for the thicker feeds needed to feed my daughter. She was happier, but I think she was wearing more formula on her belly than was going inside. Finally, after much trial and error, upon a friend’s recommendation, I purchased a Dr. Brown’s bottle. They were the perfect fit for our needs.

When searching for a bottle, there are many important considerations to take:

BPA

Bisphenol-A, also known as BPA, is a chemical that produces hormone-like substances in the body, and some studies have shown that it causes cancer and other diseases. The FDA banned the use of BPA in bottles and sippy cups in July 2012. Most manufacturers stopped using BPA before this date. However, because it is almost impossible to know if old bottles and sippy cups contain BPA, you should not use any bottles or sippy cups for your child that have been handed down or that were made before July 2012.

 

Glass vs Plastic

There are many glass bottle options to choose from today.  Glass bottles are always BPA-free and may last longer than plastic bottles. Unfortunately, they are also heavier, making them harder to transport. With glass there is always a risk of shattering and glass bottles tend to be more expensive than plastic ones.

 

Nipples

Nipples come in various shapes, sizes, materials and flow levels.Bottle nipples come in three basic sizes: orthodontic, bell-shaped and flat-topped.

 

Material

Nipples can be made of silicone or latex.

 

Nipple Flow

Nipple flow ranges from slow-flow to fast-flow. A fast-flow nipple will quickly leak milk when turned upside down whereas a slow-flow nipple will drip slowly. Newborns use slow-flow nipples (newborn to 3 months) because they are not capable of drinking from nipples made for older babies. Most brands sell nipples according to age (0+, 3 months +, 6 months+, etc.)

Breastfed babies should be introduced to a slow flow nipple.

 

Anti-Colic

Some bottle brands (Avent, Dr. Brown’s, and Born Free) are specially designed to reduce colic in babies. The design allows air to be vented into the bottle, and not into the baby’s stomach.

 

Transportation

Bottles can leak. Some brands require a special disk or seal to avoid leaking. I have used Dr. Brown’s bottles for my last three babies.  I would advise you to buy the screw caps for travel, or save the sealing discs. If the bottle so much as tips to the side, the entire contents of your baby bag will be soaked. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to insert the little disk before placing the bottles in the baby bag. I also can’t tell you how many times I tried feeding the baby with said disk still in the bottle, causing a lot of frustration.

 

Ease of Cleaning

Obviously, your baby’s bottle will need to be washed every time you use it. If you choose a bottle with multiple parts, keep in mind that each of those parts will need to be taken apart and cleaned each time.  Make sure you have a good bottle brush. Dr. Brown’s bottles require a small brush (which come with the bottles) to clean out the cylindrical valve.

 

Cost

Bottles can be expensive.  They can range from $2 to over $20.  I suggest you do your own research before deciding which bottles to register for/buy. Ask your friends for recommendations. Remember though, each baby is different. What worked with your sister’s baby may not work with yours. In fact, what worked for your first child, may not work for your second. You may want to buy a few brands of bottles to try out before committing yourself to a certain bottle system.  You will be happy you waited, before stocking up.

My little ones have long outgrown their bottles, but as a proud Godmother, I am constantly in touch with the latest baby trends. Check out my list of Beyond The Crib’s best baby bottles.

The Best Baby Bottles

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle

Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Baby Bottle

 

These bottles may seem a little daunting with all of their parts, but they are perfect for reducing gas in your little one. They are easy to hold, do not leak, and babies love them. I would recommend purchasing a dishwasher basket to get these clean without much effort. Regardless, you should always rinse the bottle right after use to facilitate cleaning. Always use the enclosed travel disks when placing these bottles in a baby bag or else there will be formula all over.

Playtex Nurser With Drop-Ins Liners

Playtex Nurser Baby Bottles With Drop-Ins Liners

 

These Playtex bottles make bottle feeding easy. Just wash the nipple after each feeding, put a new liner in, and you are ready for the next feeding. You can be assured that the bottle is always sterile with the disposable liners. These bottles are also perfect to reduce gas in colicky babies.

 

Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Feeding Bottle

Tommee Tippee Feeding Baby Bottle

These bottles are easy for baby to hold and the feature the perfect nipple shape, especially for breastfed babies. Easy to clean whether putting in the dishwasher or scrubbing with a brush. These bottles facilitate an easy transition from bottle to sippy cup. Also the cup handles also fit onto the bottles to help baby feed themselves once they are ready.

 

NUK Advanced Orthodontic Bottle

NUK Advanced Orthodontic Baby Bottle

 

These bottles are sturdy and easy to clean. The nipples are shaped like the NUK pacifier so if your baby finds it easy to latch onto the pacifier, she should not have a problem with these bottles.

 

Philips Avent Natural Feeding Bottle

Avent Natural Feeding Baby Bottle

These bottles feature a wide opening that is easy to fill and wash. The shape of bottle is ergonomic to hold and easy for baby to handle once he is old enough old enough. These bottles also are recommended to help with reflux.

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