At a Glance
- Your choices in baby feeding bottles are beyond the shapes (e.g., straight neck, angled, wide neck) and materials (e.g., plastic, glass, stainless steel, silicone) they are made from. Some feeding bottles are designed to be vented while others are disposable.
- A baby bottle made from safe and high-quality materials is what you should look for. It should be durable, easy to hold, and easy to clean. Parents should also be very particular when it comes to the bottle nipple. Its size, shape, and flow should match the baby’s preferences when feeding.
- In the past, plastic baby bottles contained a harmful chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which studies suggest could trigger diseases like breast cancer and diabetes. However, as of 2012, the U.S. government has banned its use in making baby care products. Nowadays, many parents still purchase affordable plastic baby feeding bottles so long as they have the “BPA-free” label.
What is a feeding bottle?
A feeding bottle or baby bottle is for infants and young children that need to drink milk (breastmilk or infant formula) for their nourishment.
Its design features the following pieces:
- Bottle – the container holding the milk or formula.
- Nipple – an artificial teat which allows the baby to suck the liquid from the bottle.
- Collar – a ring-shaped lid that screws onto the bottle and where the nipple is attached.
- Travel Cover – a cover that protects the nipple from dirt when not in use.
What are the types of feeding bottles?
All baby bottles pretty much work the same way. The infant sucks on the mouthpiece and the bottle nipple releases the liquid. Where these feeding bottles differ are in their shapes as well as their raw materials. As such, we can classify the types of baby bottles in two ways – by material and by shape.
There are four (4) types of feeding bottles according to their material: plastic, glass, stainless steel, and silicone. Every type has their respective benefits and disadvantages.
- Plastic – Plastic is the most commonly used material in manufacturing baby bottles.
- Won’t shatter when dropped
- Don’t sweat from condensation
- Prone to odor absorption
- Deteriorate over time
- Need regular replacement
- Glass – Glass baby bottles have been around way before lightweight plastic bottles became popular. They have been making a comeback recently since more and more parents prefer products made from natural materials that are also eco-friendly.
- Last longer than plastic bottles
- Very easy to clean
- More expensive than plastic bottles
- Heavy for babiesWill shatter when dropped
- Can sweat from condensation
- Stainless Steel – Stainless steel feeding bottles are not as common as plastic and glass bottles. They are known for their durability and their impressive insulation, which allows warm and cold milk to be stored longer.
- Very Durable
- Easy to clean
- Less prone to bacterial contamination
- Very expensive
- Can sweat from condensation
- Opaque; measuring milk is hard
- Silicone – Silicone bottles are lightweight like plastic bottles but are also soft. Their suppleness is usually preferred by breastfed babies. The softness of the material also makes releasing excess air inside the bottle so much easier.
- Preferred by breastfed babies
- Releasing excess air inside the bottle is easier
- Difficult to replace (not sold in drugstores or grocery stores)
There are three (3) types of feeding bottles according to shape: standard (straight-neck), angled, and wide neck. Each type has their own pros and cons.
- Standard (Straight-neck) – Straight-neck feeding bottles are your run-of-the-mill baby bottles. They are cheap, accessible and can fit in common bottle warmers, sterilizers, and baby carriers.
- Very cheap
- Widely available (can be bought in drugstores)
- Can fit in common baby bottle accessories
- Poor quality
- No nifty features
- The baby may swallow air while feeding
- Angled – Angled baby bottles are very distinctive because of the bend in the bottleneck area. They are specially-designed to keep the bottle nipple teeming with milk and to prevent babies from swallowing air.
- More comfortable to hold
- Prevent infants from swallowing air
- Very expensive
- Not widely available
- Hard to clean
- Wide Neck – The opening of wide-neck feeding bottles is much wider compared to standard bottles. The nipple attached to the bottle is also wider and bigger, resembling the look and feel of an actual nipple.
- Imitates breastfeeding
- Helps avoid nipple confusion
- Very easy to clean
- Bottle nipples are hard to replace
The diversity of feeding bottles is not just limited to their shapes and materials. Some baby bottles are vented while others are designed to be disposable.
Vented baby bottles, also called natural flow bottles, prevent air from getting trapped inside the bottle. Without the venting system, babies could swallow the air from the bottle and consequently suffer from abdominal pain. These bottles’ venting systems are found at the top or bottom of the bottle, or work via a straw.
Disposable feeding bottles are perfect for situations where parents are unable to feed their baby with a regular bottle. They are usually best used when traveling as they can simply be thrown in the trash after the infant is fed. Some disposable bottles are pre-sterilized and are sold in packs. Other baby bottles can be attached to disposable plastic pouches or liners which block the milk or formula from touching the bottle itself.
|Type of Bottle||Pros||Cons|
|Vented||• Helps in preventing the baby from swallowing air from the bottle|
• Designed to prevent colic and gas
|• Hard to clean
(Pre-sterilized, liners & pouches, etc.)
|• No need to clean|
• Useful when traveling
|• Not environment-friendly
• Needs regular replacement
• Bottles designed for liners are expensive
Aside from the bottle itself, one of the most important things you need to consider when buying feeding bottles is the nipple. This part of the baby bottle is the one sucked on by the infant to feed, which is why it is crucial to find one that works for your baby.
There are many kinds of bottle nipples to choose from. When you’re shopping for one, you need to consider the following:
Bottle nipples are generally made from two types of materials: latex and silicone.
- Latex – Latex is a soft flexible material that imitates the feel of a real nipple. Latex nipples are very affordable but they wear out quicker and need to replaced regularly. A lot of babies are also allergic latex.
- Silicone – Silicone is a clear flexible material that is firmer and more durable than latex. Rarely are babies allergic to it. However, some babies won’t take to silicone nipples as they do not mimic the feel of a real nipple as well as a latex nipple can.
Bottle nipples differ because of their shapes. There are three types available: standard or round-shaped, orthodontic, and breast-like nipples.
- Standard (Round) – Round-shaped nipples are your run-of-the-mill baby bottle nipples. They are very cheap and widely available.
- Orthodontic – Orthodontic nipples are angled and asymmetrical. They are specially-designed to help with the baby’s oral development. However, they are expensive and not widely available like standard nipples.
- Breast-like – Breast-like bottle nipples have a broad base, and a smaller and suppler nipple. It mimics the shape of a mother’s breast, which is ideal for breastfed babies.
What are the most important purchase criteria for feeding bottles?
The ideal baby bottle is made from high-quality materials and is proven to be durable after prolonged use. It must be shatter-proof and incredibly resistant to scratches. Bacterial growth can be found in the scratches if not thoroughly cleaned.
Ease of Use
The baby bottle should fit comfortably in your hands as well as your baby’s. This is where the angled bottle has an advantage. The bottle should also be lightweight so that holding it won’t be troublesome for the infant. It shouldn’t be hard to assemble either.
The amount of fluid that a feeding bottle can hold varies from model to model. However, the usual volume range is between 150 and 260 ml.
Milk is precious! Using a baby bottle that leaks is not only wasteful but also very inconvenient. Make sure to test your new baby bottle for signs of leakage. Fill it with water, dry off the bottle’s exterior, and shake it. If liquid escapes, it’s time to dispose it.
The ideal feeding bottle can be washed thoroughly, easily, and quickly. It does not come with so many complicated parts or pieces, and if possible, it should be “top-rack dishwasher safe.”
Naturalness of the Nipple
A naturally-shaped nipple is an important feature of the ideal baby bottle. If the artificial nipple can mimic the shape and feel of a mother’s breast, babies who are conditioned for breastfeeding can adapt to being bottle-fed more easily.
Newborn babies generally feed from smaller-sized bottle nipples first before they eventually use bigger nipples over time. However, different infants can have their own preferences, so it’s best to know what nipple size your baby is most comfortable with.
Newborn infants and breastfed babies feed from slow-flow baby bottles. Not only does it reduce the chances of your baby gagging or swallowing air, it also mimics the natural flow of milk from the mother’s breasts. However, you will need to transition to faster-flow nipples eventually as the baby grows
Health and safety of feeding bottles
What are the don’ts for buying feeding bottles?
As a parent, you have to exercise due diligence when buying any product or item for your baby. You must never purchase something that could potentially endanger your child’s health and safety. The same rules apply to feeding bottles, though buying one is typically a very straightforward process.
- Never buy a baby bottle that potentially contains harmful chemicals or toxic substances.
- Do not purchase a feeding bottle that triggers your baby’s colic symptoms.
Toxic substances in feeding bottles
In recent years, many parents grew very concerned about the revelation that plastic baby bottles contained a harmful chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which studies suggest could trigger diseases like breast cancer and diabetes.
BPA is a raw material used for manufacturing plastic products made from polycarbonate resins and epoxy resins. It is a very common substance that is also used in food packaging, toy manufacturing, and producing plastic utensils. For many years, BPA was also used in making various baby items, including pacifiers, baby bottles, and baby care kits. In small doses, the chemical is not harmful to adults, though it might not be safe for babies.
BPA-free baby bottles
However, by 2012, the U.S. government prohibited the use of BPA, and plastic bottles sold in the country today are labeled BPA-free. Nowadays, many parents still purchase affordable plastic baby bottles so long as they have the “BPA-free” label. For those who do not want to take any chances, they can purchase feeding bottles made from glass, stainless steel, and/or silicone.
Colic is a mysterious condition among babies who are healthy and well-fed but for some unknown reason, can’t help but cry non-stop. Colic babies cry for around three hours or more in a day, three days out of a week, for more than three weeks. Though the exact cause of this medical condition remains unclear, one of the prevailing theories about it is that it is caused by severe abdominal pain. This usually occurs because the infant swallowed too much air from bottle-feeding.
You can’t always stop a colicky baby from crying but at the very least, there are now ways for parents to somehow help in reducing its occurrence. You can now purchase a feeding bottle that may prevent infants from swallowing too much air. These baby bottles are called anti-colic bottles.
Because babies are fragile and their immune systems are not fully developed yet, everything they come in contact with should be cleaned. Therefore, it is especially important for you to make sure that your baby bottles are clean and safe to use. Sterilizing them is one way to ensure this.
- The microwave method – After washing your baby bottles as you normally do, half fill them with water. Place them upright in a microwave and turn it on for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
- The boiling water method – Fill a clean pan with water and put your baby bottles in. With the lid closed, boil them for at least 5 minutes.
- The dishwasher method – Rinse your bottles first before putting them on your dishwasher’s top rack. Make sure that your bottles are labeled dishwasher-safe.
Care and cleaning tips for feeding bottles
- #1: Clean baby bottles as soon as your baby finishes drinking.
- #2: Disassemble the parts before you wash the bottles.
- #3: Soak the bottles and all the parts (e.g., teats, rings) in hot water for several minutes. Add a few drops of mild dish detergent.
- #4: Use a baby bottle brush. It can scrub off milk residue in hard-to-reach areas of the bottle.
- #5: After washing or sterilizing the bottles, it is best to air dry them. Refrain from using dishtowels; they can spread bacteria.
Useful accessories and additional products
- Feeding bottle warmer: Warms your baby’s milk at safe temperatures
- Feeding bottle sterilizer: Keeps your baby bottles “germ-free”
- Nursing pillows: A must-have for moms who are breastfeeding
- Bottle brushes: For cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your baby bottles
Popular brands for feeding bottles
Brand reputation matters a lot in the baby industry. Most parents won’t purchase an item from a certain baby company if they don’t know much about them, or if what they have heard aren’t exactly good things. As a parent, you need to take the time to thoroughly study your choices and research about these companies and their products. In the meantime, here are a few baby care brands that you should get to know:
Where to buy feeding bottles in the US
These retail giants have a vast selection of products for you to choose from:
Q&A for feeding bottles
When does one not have to boil baby bottles anymore?
There is no exact answer as to when you can stop sterilizing feeding bottles. However, the rule of thumb is six to eight months after the baby is born. At this stage of infant development, babies are already starting to crawl.
How long can you keep baby bottles?
Plastic baby bottles are a short-term investment. You can’t use or store them for several years. And as long as your baby is using it, you have to clean the feeding bottles regularly.
Are glass bottles unsafe for the baby?
Glass does shatter more easily than plastic but that doesn’t necessarily mean that glass bottles are completely unsafe for the baby. Nowadays, feeding bottles made from glass come with removable silicone sleeves. This added feature prevents the glass bottle from shattering in the event that you or your baby accidentally drops it.
What is the best bottle to use when breastfeeding?
Slow-flow feeding bottles are ideal for breastfed infants. In addition, a soft and supple artificial teat is better for them, too, since it can mimic the shape and feel of a mother’s breast. The size of the bottle nipple must also be bigger than usual.
Do you really need to sterilize baby bottles?
Though babies get some immunity from their mother before they are born, they are still very susceptible to infection. Their digestive and immune systems are still too immature to fend off millions of bacteria which are all around us. As a parent, you don’t want them encountering germs that their body is not yet ready to fight off. That is why experts insist that parents sterilize feeding bottles for the first year (more or less) of the infant’s life. Otherwise, your baby might catch an illness that could potentially be life-threatening.
Which baby bottle sizes (by volume) are appropriate at what age?
The volume of milk that the baby consumes is what determines the feeding bottle’s size. Eventually, you will get a good grasp on how much your baby drinks at each stage of development. In the meantime, here’s a basic guide from KidsHealth to help you shop for the most suitable baby bottles:
|Stage/Age||Volume of Milk per Feeding||Feeding Schedule|
|Newborn||1.5-3 ounces (45-90 milliliters)||Every 2-3 hours|
|At 2 months||4-5 ounces (120-150 milliliters)||Every 3-4 hours|
|At 4 months||4-6 ounces (120-180 milliliters)||Depends on the baby’s size and frequency of feeding|
|By 6 months||6-8 ounces (180-230 milliliters)||Every 4-5 hours|
Our top 3 recommended feeding bottles
Budget Priced: Philips Avent Natural Propylene Baby Bottle
Philips Avent is well-known in the baby care industry and with good reason. Their Natural Propylene Baby Bottle ranks among the most popular and most widely-received plastic feeding bottles on the market right now. Aside from its beautiful and slick design, this decently-priced baby bottle boasts an advanced, twin-valve anti-colic system which prevents babies from swallowing air. It comes with a naturally shaped nipple that’s both soft and wide. Cleaning the bottle is also a breeze thanks to its wide-neck shape.
• Natural nipple shape is suitable for breastfed babies
• Slick design
• Easy to hold
• Easy to clean
• Comes with a travel cover
• Comes in three different sizes
• Not preferable for parents who don’t use plastic bottles
Best Choice: Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle
The baby care market celebrates Comotomo’s Natural Feel Baby Bottle for being an innovative product. It imitates the human breast with its unusual design, and it has an anti-colic system as well. This wide-neck bottle comes with a slow-flow nipple that has a dome-like form. Its material is flexible silicone, making it possible for infants to squeeze the bottle as if it’s their mother’s breast. This baby bottle is perfect for breastfed little ones who don’t easily take to artificial teats. It’s also suitable for parents who have reservations about using plastic bottles but are hesitant to use glass bottles as well. On top of all of that, it’s very easy to clean.
• Impressive replica of the human breast
• Suitable for breastfed babies
• Easy to hold
• Easy to clean
• Comes with a travel cover
• Not made of plastic
• Unstable base
• Loose cover
Premium Choice: Stainless Steel Kid Kanteen
Kleen Kanteen has been in the business of manufacturing stainless steel bottles for several years before they started to venture into the world of baby bottles. Their Stainless Steel Kid Kanteen comes in two different sizes (5-ounce & 8-ounce), and has the signature slick and modern design that Klean Kanteen is known for. It is very durable, and you can be sure that your baby’s milk can stay warm for longer periods of time. Additionally, it’s not transparent, which makes measuring milk a bit difficult. However, the product tries to make up for this flaw with the measurement markings found on its exterior and interior surfaces.
• Slick design
• Has measurement markings
• Equipped with silicone nipple (good for babies with latex allergies)
• Easy to hold
• Easy to clean
• Dishwasher safer
• Expensive replacement nipples
• Formula milk is hard to measure (even with measurement markings)