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Well it isn’t that simple, unfortunately. If one bottle was unanimously better than the others, that’s all we would have to buy at Target and on Amazon. Fortunately there are a lot of good bottles for different babies and their very real preferences. Below I’ve have explored some options so you don’t have to. I’ve written just a brief summary about each bottle. Enjoy!
First and foremost—WHEN to introduce a bottle is half of the secret. Waiting too long to introduce one and baby won’t be as willing (they’ll prefer the breast). There is a sweet spot around the 6th week of life. Around that time, mom and baby have established a breastfeeding bond. A bottle then won’t impede the that relationship, 9 times out of 10. This is what I recommend mamas do before going back to work, to those who just want to get away for an hour or two, and for dads who want to feed baby too. This also allows for enough time for parents to figure out which bottles work and which won’t.
The next issue is HOW to feed. Many bottles, no matter what brand, do not have a slow flow. It’s the nipple that controls flow. A bottle that flows too quickly gets baby the milk faster than mom (and this is one reasons baby may prefer a bottle over mama—faster milk!). A way to slow down the feeding without worrying about bottles or nipples is to Pace Bottle Feed. You can watch a video on how to do that here.
Ok, now onto the bottles. Thank you for your patience. There are so many bottles, but only a few worth talking about. Let’s break them down.
A few bottle with valves, odd shapes, and other gimmicks-
Munchkin Latch- Design kills the performance in this one. This bottle has an anti-colic blue valve at the bottom to regulate flow. Not only does this bottle have a tendency to leak if you put it in the warmer, the nipple is so soft it collapses easily on a vigorous eater.
Tommee Tippee- This bottle is compact, easy to clean because of its wide mouth (the gimmicky shape is an advantage here!), and doesn’t have extra parts that aren’t difficult to clean or assemble.
Dr. Browns- Although this bottle touts minimizing air entering the baby’s mouth, there are just too many small, hard-to-clean moveable parts to make that feature worth while. This bottle takes a while to assemble and is not fun to take on the go. With that being said, it has been my go-to. As a new mom, I bought into anything that would minimize those colicky, gassy screams post-meal. In hindsight, it didn’t help my daughter swallowing air!
Avent- Voted top bottle by Babylist, Today’s Parents, and many other magazines. It is easy to assemble, easy to find, and reasonably priced.
Bottles that come with your pump-
Medela and Spectra- Very simple bottles, cheap and they come with your pump! The spectra lids do not fit very well on the bottle and loosen on their own causing spills. The Medela model leaks from the nipple, and it collapses mid-feeding as well, which I obviously don’t need to say is frustrating for all parties involved.
Bottles with bags-
Kiinde and other bottles, where the bag is inserted are not actually easier and less time-consuming feeding methods. If anything Kiinde and other bottles like it are harder. These bottles only work with one kind of bag and those bags are expensive. They work only in the kiinde bottle warmer. The bag leaves some milk behind that’s difficult to suck out for baby. If all of those excite you, this is the right bottle!
Verdict- For parents who don’t know where to begin, don’t want to spend too much, or solve a puzzle when standing over their sink, the answer is Tommy Tippee or Avent. The rest seems to be more work than they’re worth!
Bottles not mentioned are Comotomo, Mam, among many others.
Today’s Parent wrote a similar article, explored more bottles, and came to some different conclusions. Read more here!