Having a baby is one of the most amazing experiences that you’ll have in your life.
The best way to bond with your baby is through breastfeeding, and the benefits thereof have been well documented.
However, whether you’re returning to work or have decided to introduce a bottle in combination with breastfeeding, you’ll at some point need to buy baby bottles. But the trick lies in how to know what bottle to buy when you consider the amount of brands and bottles out there. It’s overwhelming.
With this in mind, we’ve created the ultimate guide to buying baby bottles which will give you good, practical advice to make an informed decision about the type of bottle you decide to buy.
What will you Find in this Guide?
This guide is extremely comprehensive, and to make it easier for you to navigate your way through the guide to buying baby bottles, we’ve broken it up into easy to read sections. Get ready to be an expert baby bottle buyer!
- - Standard
- - Angled
- - Wide Neck
- - Vented
- - Disposable
- - The Bottle
- - The Teat
There are generally four parts to every baby bottle, but there can be a lot more on some bottles:
- - Bottle – this is what stores the milk or formula.
- - Teat – your baby will suck milk or formula through the teat.
- - Collar – this is like a lid but in a ring shape. You will push the teat through the collar and then screw the collar into lace on the baby bottle.
- - Travel Cover – this is found in most baby bottles and is there specifically to prevent dirt and bacteria getting stuck on the teat when it’s not being used.
Bottle buying has certainly become a lot more complicated when you consider the choices our parents had when they bought bottles.
Bottles come in a plethora of different shapes and sizes, so let’s delve a little deeper and see what’s on offer.
The Standard Baby Bottle
As the name suggests this bottle is the most standard bottle that you can find out there. There are no special features or gimmicks – it has a lid and a teat that attaches to the bottle and some of them will come with a travel cover or lid.
These bottles are extremely cost effective and they are easy to find.
- - Cost-effective.
- - Available just about anywhere.
- - Simple design and easy to clean.
- - Fits into most accessories like sterilizers and bottle warmers due to their shape.
- - As they’re cheaper then might not be great quality.
- - There are no features that could make feeding baby easier.
- - It’s highly likely that your baby could get gassy from these bottles as they don’t come with features to stop bubbles entering the teat.
The Angled Baby Bottle
Again as the name suggests, this bottle is angled at the top of the bottle. The reason for this being is so that it makes it easier to feed your baby in the upright position. But why is this important? Pediatricians suggest feeding babies in this position to prevent ear infections. So this is a great option.
But the bend is also there to make sure that your little one doesn’t get too much air so that they become gassy or even develop colic. The unique shape keeps the teat filled with milk therefore reducing the amount of air that baby swallows.
The slightly odd design can make filling it a bit difficult as you’ll have to hold it at an angle which can become a bit messy or you might need to use a funnel which can just be downright frustrating.
- - Helps prevent your baby from swallowing too much air.
- - It is quite comfortable to hold.
- - Can help to prevent ear infections.
- - These are way more expensive than standard bottles.
- - They are quite difficult to find so you would have to hunt around a bit.
- - They can be difficult to clean, which means that there can be a build-up of bacteria in the bottle.
The Wide Neck Baby Bottle
If you want to switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding then this is a great option for you as the teat of this bottle is much wider than other teats and resemble your own breasts.
With a wider neck than other baby bottles it makes this one a dream to clean.
- - Similar to breast feeding.
- - Prevents nipple confusion.
- - Cleans easily.
- - Nipples from other standard bottles won’t fit.
- - They are a more expensive option.
The Vented Baby Bottle
A vented bottle is ingenious when it comes to preventing gas or colic. When you buy a vented baby bottle then it ensures that air bubbles aren’t trapped in the teat and they head towards the bottom of the bottle as opposed to baby sucking in that air when she’s feeding.
They are also known as natural flow or anti-colic bottles. They are normally vented from the teat or through the use of a straw or even through a little valve that sits at the bottom of the bottle. If you battle with your little one in terms of her being gassy or even if your baby has colic then you should definitely consider a vented baby bottle.
- - Decreases the amount of air baby swallows.
- May help with the symptoms of colic and gas.
- They are quite a hassle to clean as there are so many parts to them.
- They are the most expensive baby bottle on the market.
Disposable baby bottles
Disposable baby bottles are a gift when you’re out and about or if you’re traveling as you can feed and then literally just throw them away without having to worry about cleaning and sterilizing.
There are two types of disposable baby bottles, so let’s take a look at both of them.
1. Disposable baby bottles
This is a pre-sterilized baby bottle that has a teat and a lid too. You buy them in multi-packs and it’s as simple as filling up with formula or milk, feeding baby and then throwing them away. How easy is that?
2. Disposable liner baby bottles
This is another genius idea for times when you simply can’t wash bottles. You buy small plastic pouches that fit inside the bottle. All you need to do is add milk or formula into the pouch and place it inside the bottle. The milk or formula doesn’t ever come into contact with the bottle. You buy a pack of liners and each one is used for one meal. As your little one drinks you can literally see the liner collapsing which means less air goes into baby’s mouth.
This is actually a more cost-effective option in the long run as you don’t have to keep buying disposable bottles. All you need to do here is buy the bottle initially and then you can buy extra pouches when you need them.
- No cleaning.
- Extremely convenient.
- Ideal for traveling.
- Not eco-friendly.
- The initial price of the bottle is a bit more expensive than standard bottles, but as we said in the long-run it works out cheaper.
- You need to continually buy liners.
Here we get into the real nuts and bolts of how to choose the right baby bottle for you. We’ll talk about all the features that you need to be aware of so that you can make the right choice for you and your baby.
We’ve broken this section down into two parts, ‘The Bottle’ and ‘The Teat’ as each is equally important to consider.
- Baby Bottles
- Baby Teats
When buying baby bottles there are so many things to take into consideration and here we take a look at different aspects of baby bottles helping you to make the right decision. The first area we’ll explore is the bottle material.
The bottle material
There are three types of materials that baby bottles are made of, namely plastic, glass and stainless steel. So what are the pros and cons of each type of bottle?
Plastic baby bottles
Plastic is generally the go to bottle for most parents as it’s cost effective and light with the added benefit of not breaking when they drop.
However, over the last couple of years there have been major concerns about BPA levels in baby bottles.
To combat this, the Australian Government announced a voluntary phase out of BPA use in polycarbonate baby bottles in 2010. Even though this has been largely eradicated, you still need to check to make sure that the plastic bottle you buy has no BPA in it to be safe.
Plastic unfortunately scratches very easily and this means that bacteria can build up inside the bottle. There are small indentations in plastic, which makes them extremely difficult to clean and be clear of nasties, which you don’t want for your baby.
- Unbreakable when dropped.
- Absorbs odours making the bottle smell.
- With continual use the plastic will eventually wear and scratch quite quickly which means spending more money in the long term.
- Plastic can harbour bacteria as it’s difficult to keep clean due to the indentations and scratches in the plastic.
- Plastic bottles slowly break down from using extreme heat through sterilizing.
Glass baby bottles
Due to the BPA warnings that were issues a couple of years ago, glass bottles have become an extremely popular choice for parents, and for good reasons.
The great thing about glass is that the surface is completely smooth making for easy cleaning and no build-up of bacteria in the bottle. They are also extremely easy to clean and to top it off they’re also eco-friendly! What more could you want?
Glass bottles can handle boiling water & extreme heat through sterilizing with ease, as glass will not break down.
They are a more expensive option than plastic; however they can really stand the test of time and last for ages. Of course there is the possibility of them breaking, however, a lot of glass bottles come with protective silicone sleeves that protect the bottle. The silicone sleeve makes it easier for baby to hold when she becomes a little more independent.
- Super easy to clean.
- Chemical and toxin free.
- Can be recycled.
- They last for ages.
- Protective silicone sleeves make the bottle ease to hang onto.
- They are slightly heavier than plastic baby bottles.
- Glass is breakable, so its recommended to choose a bottle with a protective silicone sleeve.
- They are slightly more expensive than plastic bottles, but last much longer.
Stainless Steel Baby Bottles
If you haven’t heard about stainless steel baby bottles then don’t be surprised as they are the least used material for baby bottles. It’s actually much like a thermos with a teat.
Just like a thermos, stainless steel bottles are great to keep baby’s milk warm, or keep it cold for longer periods of time.
This is the most robust material out of the three options and they are virtually impossible to break! Another great feature is that they are scratch resistant and cleaning them is a breeze.
But there are some serious cons too. They are the most expensive bottles out of all the materials. Another drawback is that you can’t see through them which make measuring the amount of milk or formula a bit difficult. It can be painstaking to measure it out first in a measuring cup and then pour it in, just giving you one extra thing to do when you have so much on your plate already!
- Virtually impossible to break, but will dent.
- Scratch resistant.
- Easy to clean.
- The most expensive bottle available.
- If cold liquids are poured into the stainless bottle it sweats.
- You can’t see through them which make measuring difficult.
Little ones grow up quickly, going from being happy for you to hold their bottle to wanting to hold it themselves marking their first steps to independence. One of the great things about glass bottles with silicone sleeves is that it makes it easy for baby to hold the bottle.
Trainer cups are also an option for when they get older and they have handles on them for those little hands to hold on to.
We spoke a bit about stainless steel bottles being difficult to measure as you can’t see through them, so ideally you should go for plastic or glass bottles which will allow you to measure out your milk or formula without any hassles.
Just like bottles, teats come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and it’s an important thing to consider for when you’re feeding your baby. We would highly recommend that you don’t interchange brands of teats and bottles as they might not fit the bottle properly, could leak and even fall into the bottle which could cause baby to choke.
Teats come in either silicone or latex materials and there are pros and cons to each. Let’s take a look and you can decide which you feel is right for your baby.
1. Latex Teats
Latex teats are extremely soft and flexible too and mirror the feeling of your nipple, making them a popular choice for many mums. However, they are prone to wearing out very quickly when compared to silicone. So how do you know when they’ve worn out? You’ll see little cracks appear in the teat, but they are inexpensive so replacing them is cost-effective and won’t cost the earth.
However, a lot of babies are allergic to latex, so you‘ll need to watch for signs that they are allergic like watery or itchy eyes, wheezing, hives, flushing of the skin or a skin rash, itching of the skin or swelling of the skin.
2. Silicone Teats
Silicone is clear and flexible and is by far the most favoured choice of teats for mums across the world. Nowadays most bottles come standard with silicone teats as they last up to 3 to 4 times longer than latex teats. We recommend that silicone should be your go to choice for teats.
There is however one drawback – if you’ve been breastfeeding your little one might reject the teat as it’s not as pliable as latex.
Teat Size and Flow
Yes, there’s even more to consider when choosing teats! You need to make sure that you have the right size for your baby’s developmental stage as otherwise they could get too much milk or too little milk. Sizes are generally classified by flow, age or stage. See the guidelines below to make the right choice.
- Slow Flow
- Stage 1
- Medium Flow
- Stage 2
- Fast Flow
- Stage 3 or 4
Once you’ve chosen your teat type, make sure you stock up on them as they do tend to do a disappearing act, and once your baby starts teething, they don't last forever.
The travel cap is the lid that sits on top of the bottle that covers the teat. It’s there to stop any bacteria build up on the teat itself when it’s not in use so is ideal for when you’re on the go.
Not all baby bottles come with teat covers, but we would suggest that you do go for a bottle that has one.
The travel seal is the silicone seal that fits inside the screw cap, that will seal the contents inside the bottle during travel so the milk will no spill inside you baby bag. We recommend you choose a bottle that has a travel seal included as it will save lots of spillage while your out and about.
Make sure that you choose a bottle wisely to suit your lifestyle needs, and the needs of your baby. We would highly recommend wide-neck glass bottles with silicone sleeves,and silicone teats. Travel caps are also important to keep those bugs at bay too. All of these smart choices will make bottle feeding easier and more enjoyable for both you and baby. Avoid expensive bottles that have got lots of different gimmicks, as they are literally gimmicks that can cost the earth and you don’t need to spend a fortune on glass baby bottles.