If you’ve decided to bottle feed, whether formula, expressing, or mixed feeding, you’ll need to choose the best bottle for your baby.
There are many different kinds of bottles, as well as lots of kinds of teats.
Here are the options you have for choosing the best baby bottle, so you can make an informed decision on what to buy.
The hardest part about knowing what bottle and teat are best, is that you can’t predict what your baby will like before they’ve tried it. Buy a couple of different types, and then stock up once you know which your baby likes best.
Plastic bottles are the most commonly used despite recent concerns about the chemicals in found in plastic (especially bisphenol-A (BPA)). If you’re concerned about BPA then you should stick to brand new bottles (rather than 2nd hand) and look for those clearly marked BPA-free.
You could also opt for glass bottles, as they don’t contain these chemicals, but they are heavier and can be dangerous if they break. You can buy silicone sleeves to slip on glass bottles to protect them if they’re dropped. A new introduction to the market is stainless steel – which has the benefits of glass bottles (being chemical free), but not the smash-factor when your bub drops it or throws it across the room.
You may need a vent system to stop air bubbles going back into your baby’s tummy while feeding. Sometimes the shape of the bottle will help with this, but if you get a differently-shaped bottle, you then have to ensure your cleaning and warming systems will still work properly with that different shape.
Most bottles come in different sizes too – smaller for the younger bub to larger for the older, hungrier baby. The volume a baby will drink will increase with age, so you may be better off getting bigger bottles from the get-go, then fill up only as much as you need for that particular feed. That way you can use those bottles for as long as possible before having to buy new ones.
If you start bottle feeding from birth, teat shape won’t be a big issue, as long as your baby likes it. If you go from breastfeeding to bottle, or mixed feed, choosing a wider teat to match the shape of a breast would work better so it limits the change between feeding methods.
There are orthodontic teats (that match the shape of a woman’s nipple), angled teats (slanted, with a built-in tilt), or vented teats (with a little hole to allow air flow and prevent gas). The wide-neck teats will be the orthodontic teats, while the narrow-neck teats are the angled teats. Both wide-neck and narrow-neck teats can be vented. There are also anti-colic teats that are designed to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows whilst feeding.
Flow speed is important, as younger babies usually need a slower flow than older ones, but this also goes by what your baby likes. The teat will control the flow speed, which is normally a steady drip, not a stream. There are slow, medium, fast, and anti-colic teats to control this flow speed.
Choose wisely between latex and silicone teats, because latex has the potential for allergies and it picks up smells or tastes, whereas silicone teats do not. Silicone is also harder to chew holes in, so a teething baby would not be suited to latex teats.
You should check the condition of your teats every couple of months; a teat that is too old can become dangerous to your baby. Check the hole has not gotten too big by tipping the bottle upside-down and seeing how fast the milk is coming out (it should drip, not gush). You should also check for discolouration, thinning, stickiness, swelling, cracking, tearing, or breaking. The worst thing to happen would be a piece breaking off and choking your baby while they’re drinking.
Check with your health care provider for the most suitable type of teat for your baby’s age.
The main thing to remember is that you can never predict what type of bottle or teat your baby will like the most. Take your cues from bub, and don’t feel bad if it takes a while to find the best bottle for you both. Check out our bottle feeding reviews section to see what other Bub Hub mums think about all the many brands of bottles you can get!
Image credit: yupiramos/123RF Stock Photo