Bottles

Things to know about  baby bottles

Baby feeding bottles comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, one thing that’s for certain is you will need them! It’s very rare that mothers are able to breastfeed on demand every single time their baby is hungry, so even breastfeeding mums tend to pump and store milk, using bottles to feed their little ones.

Most parents will buy 4 or 5oz bottles then increase to 8 ounces when baby starts to drink more. Remember that breastfed babies usually need less milk than formula-fed babies. Young babies will need slow-flowing milk in order to not upset their tummies, so there are special slow-flow bottle nipples for newborns, which you  should you for as long as possible. As soon as baby seems to get impatient with the slow speed, you should use a fast flowing nipple so that they can feed at their own pace.

Babies drink on average 25oz (or 750ml) of milk per day if they are exclusively breastfeed but of course this figure can be higher or lower depending on the baby. For the first six months this amount will steadily increase depending on your baby’s age and weight and other factors, and will steady out around the 6 month mark. Dot ever worry if your baby is drinking more or less than you expected, the important thing is that the baby feeds often and without getting distressed (which could show that they aren’t getting enough milk.) If you ever have any doubts or concerns, speak to your health visitor, midwife or pediatrician.

Important to remember:
You can read hundreds of thousands or reviews online, but there is no guarantee that your baby will like the same bottle as another baby. Reviews vary, and you will find both positive and negative comments for nearly all baby bottles because some babies will take any bottle while others like to be more difficult and struggle to latch onto bottles. Here are my tips to find the right bottles for you, but I would highly recommend trying a different brand if your baby doesn’t like the first one you try.

How to choose a baby bottle

Material

Plastic is the most common material used to make baby bottles; it doesn’t break and of course it’s not expensive. If you want plastic bottles make sure that they are BPA free, so that you’re not feeding your baby harsh chemicals. Many parents worry about the presence of chemicals even in BPA-free bottles, but that’s for you to decide, and I personally wouldn’t worry because there are millions of babies worldwide that use them. Next there are glass botttles; they last a lot longer than plastic but they are more expensive, and there is also the risk of shattering. Glass is entirely BPA free. Finally, silicone bottles are BPA-free, they’re unbreakable, soft and light, but they’re a bit more expensive too and are harder to find in local drugstores.

Shape and size

Stick with smaller bottles for as long as possible, because you won’t overfill them and waste milk, and you can always refill them later as your baby starts to consume more milk per feed. When baby starts to hold the bottle by himself, a small and lighter bottle is easier for their small hands to hold as well. Of course it’s best to have one or 2 bigger bottles ready for when baby gets big enough. The shape is a difficult subject, because every brand seems to claim that their unique shape is best! Most brands make ergonomically comfortable bottles which most babies will manage to hold perfectly fine. Wide-neck bottles are great because they’re easy to wash and are easier to use with formula because there no risk of spilling it everywhere when preparing a bottle in a rush. The problem with wide-necked bottles is that many pushchairs have cup holders which are narrow and so these bottles dont’ fit. A good compromise if you are interested in wide-neck bottles would be to stick with these throughout infancy and get a narrower bottle when your baby is bigger and sitting up alone in the pushchair (the kind of age that could use a bottle out and about and not only for feeds.)

Colic prevention

A lot of brand claim that their bottles use special colic-prevention mechanisms and air ventilation, to prevent baby form ingesting too much air, and therefore preventing colic. I’m not sure whether or not these work 100% as I’ve ever had experience with colic, or if it’s just good marketing, but many parents swear by them.

Bottle Comparison Table

Name and brand Sizes available Material Extra qualities
Philips Avent Classic Baby Bottles
4oz 9oz 11oz Polypropylene Anti-colic valve
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles
5oz 9oz Polypropylene Anti-colic Skin-like silicone nipple
Medela bottles
5oz 8oz Polypropylene Can pump directly into the bottle
Philips AVENT Natural Glass Bottle
4oz 8oz Borosilicate Glass Realistic soft, flexible nipple with "comfort petals"
Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle
5oz 8oz Silicone Anti-colic Wide neck, easy to clean, Soft and supple bottle
Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Original Bottle
2oz 4oz 8oz Polypropylene Reduces colic, spit up and gas Silicone nipple Vacuum-free

 

Our top baby bottles

All of the bottles here can be bought in a small size and larger versions too, see the comparison table for sizes available. These 6 bottles are all microwave and dishwasher safe. The plastic bottles are all BPA free.

Comotomo

 Comotomo baby bottle

  • Soft and squeezy bottle made of silicone
  • Wide neck for easy cleaning
  • 2 anti-colic air vents
  • Available in pink or green

What parents think:
+ Even the most stubborn, breastfed babies latch on easily
+ Extremely easy to clean
+ Despite it’s huge width, it fits in a lot of bottle warmers
– Silicone is harder to warm milk in than standard plastic bottles, so it takes longer to heat milk

Click here to check out my Comotomo baby bottle review for product of the month!

 

Philips AVENT

Philips AVENT classic bottles

  • Airflex venting system reduces air ingestion therefore reduces colic and gas
  • Ribbed texture nipple to prevent nipple collapse
  • Available in 3 sizes including big 11oz bottles for use throughout infancy and beyond
  • 4 parts for quick and easy assembly, disassembly and cleaning
  • Available in blue or pink as well as the original clear plastic

What parents think:
+ Great value for money
+ Fit with many different brands of pumps
+ Noticeably reduce colic
– Bottles feel a little cheap
– Some problems with leakage

Philips Avent Natural Glass Baby Bottles

  • Chemical-free borosilicate glass bottle
  • Dual anti-colic valves to prevent air inhalation and reduce colic and discomfort
  • Ergonomic and easy to grasp bottle
  • Comfort petals provide an extra soft, flexible nipple

What parents think:
+ Easy to clean and sterilize
+ Both breastmilk and formula warm very quickly in this bottle
+ Glass is an environmentally friendly and chemical-free alternative to plastic
– Many parents experience leaking, which CAN be resolved by correctly assembling the bottle but many consider this a design flaw as assembly should be quick and easy
– More expensive than most bottles

Medela

The Medela bottle

  • Specifically made with breastfeeding mothers in mind
  • Pump attaches directly onto bottle so you can pump, store and feed using just one bottle
  • Screw on lids to travel, store and freeze without leaks

What parents think:
+ Ideal for breastfeeding
+ Extremely practical to pump straight into the bottle
– Nipple loses its shape or collapses more easily than other brands

 

Tommee Tippee

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature

  • Award-winning breast-like nipple encourages an easy latch
  • Anti-colic valve to reduce excessive air flow
  • Easy to hold in 3 different positions

What parents think:
+ Babies manage to hold bottle easily by themselves
+ No problems with gas
+ Wide neck so is easy to clean
+ Affordable
– Slow flow isn’t as slow as other brands
– No premature baby nipple available

 

Dr. Brown’s


Dr Brown’s Natural Flow Original Bottle

  • Vent system eliminates air bubbles
  • Vacuum free feeding is supposed to be similar to breastfeeding
  • Available in a tiny 2oz bottle for premature babies

What parents think:
+ Great for preemies as it’s hard to find tiny 2oz bottles elsewhere
+ Great at preventing excess gas so less burping
– Harder to put together and take apart than other bottles so takes longer to clean and to prepare a bottle

 

Final notes:

I’m not sure if the Medela bottles are the best bottles for breastfed babies or if they’re simply practical for breastfeeding mums, but what I know if that many mothers find them extremely useful. We all know and love both Avent and Tommee Tippee, as they’re some of the highest rated bottles in the UK. That said, the Comotomo for me uses modern technology to find a really ergonomic bottle that suits both parents hands and babies’ mouths with a close likeness to mummy’s breast. The Dr Brown bottles have been for a while, and will probably continue to be the best bottle for premature babies.