No matter how your little one is being fed, whether through formula, breastmilk or a combination of the two, the nourishment of your baby is probably at the forefront of your mind. With so many different ways to feed, and types of feeding appliances, making the best choice for your baby can seem quite daunting.
Each baby is special in their own way, with unique preferences and their own distinct likes and dislikes. Certain bottles that work wonderfully for others may not work for your baby. Although, this is not a cause for concern, as some trial and error is expected as your little one learns the ropes of bottle feeding.
Baby bottles that don't work for others, may be a great option for your baby, resulting in less gas, colic and spit up. With consistency and patience, bottle feeding can be a great opportunity to bond with your little one and provide them with the essential nutrients that their growing body needs.
Knowing what is available to you can help ease any worries about bottle feeding and we are here to get you started on this journey! Keep reading for more information on the best bottles for breastfed babies.
Choosing A Best Baby Bottle
While stocking up on supplies to prepare for the exciting arrival of your baby, you have probably come across a few different types of bottles available on the market from a range of different brands. Not all bottles for breastfed babies are created equal and not all bottles are going to work for your baby.
Some questions you may want to consider when choosing a bottle is:
Are they cost and time effective?
Are they environmentally friendly?
What does the sanitization process look like?
How long do they last?
Some baby bottles for breastfed babies even connect directly to your breast pump to reduce milk transferring.
With options ranging from natural flow bottles to anti colic and angle neck bottles you may be wondering what the best choice is. While we don’t have a definitive answer to that question, we have created a chart with the pros and cons of each bottle to help you make an informed decision for your breastfed baby.
If you are looking for some more cost effective options, standard and wide neck bottles are up your alley. For those of you who spend more time away from home, consider disposable bottles, self-sterilizing or baby bottles with disposable liner.
Those who are short on time can also consider these options, as well as wide neck and breast mimicking bottles as they are easier to clean. If your little one is susceptible to colic, consider anti colic baby bottles.
Choosing A Bottle Nipple
When choosing a bottle for your baby, it is also important to look at which bottle nipple options are available, as not all nipples are compatible with every type of bottle. It may be harder to find nipples for wide neck bottles, breast mimicking bottles and vented bottles.
Bottle nipples are designed to mimic a mothers nipple, making the feeding process comfortable and familiar for your little one. The human nipple is on the shorter side and flexible, making it easy for a baby to feed and get a proper latch, but not all bottle nipples have these same features.
Bottle nipples come in a variety of materials. Silicon nipples tend to be a good option, as they are flexible and durable. You will be going through many more nipples than bottles, due to cracking and leaking, so you can't go wrong with a durable option.
Bottle nipples typically come labeled with different milk flow rates, which indicate how quickly the milk flows through the opening of the bottle nipple. The flow rate can vary between baby bottle brands.
If your baby is getting frustrated during feedings this may be a sign that they are ready to upgrade to the next size. It is best to use a slow flow nipple for newborns and infants, as it simulates the natural flow of breastmilk, and upgrading to a larger size isn't always necessary.
Here are some different types of nipples to choose from, and remember, you may have to try a few before you find one that both you and your breastfed baby are happy with.
While these are all great options, depending on your lifestyle and preferences, some of these nipple options may work better for your baby than others.
Traditional nipples are a great, affordable choice and will fit well with most standard baby bottles. Naturally shaped nipples are great for breastfed babies, as they are more similar to a mothers nipple, which can help the transition from breast to bottle.
Anti-vacuum or Vented nipples are made specifically to help with gas and colic. Orthodontic Nipples are made to protect your baby's sensitive gums and teeth, especially while they are teething.
Multi-flow nipples make it easy to feed your baby multiple liquids, such as formula, breastmilk and juice from the same bottle, without the need for purchasing multiple bottle nipples with different hole sizes.
Silicone nipples are one of the most popular choices, as they are the most durable option, and do not absorb colour and odour.
Latex bottle nipples are loved by many babies for their similar feel to a mothers nipple, although they are not as durable and may have to be replaced every 4-6 weeks.
What to Look Out For When Choosing A Baby Bottle?
Now that you have seen what kinds of bottles are available to you, it's time to dig a little deeper. Below are some qualities to look out for that may help you choose the best bottle for your breastfed baby.
While many bottles on the market are safe for your baby, to avoid the possible exposure to harmful chemicals, it is recommended that the bottles that you are using are free from polycarbonate, and any material containing the chemical bisphenol A (BPA).
The effects of BPA on humans is currently being researched, due some concerns over the potential harmful effects it could have on children and infants, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned BPA in baby bottles in 2012.
Breastfeeding is the best way to reduce potential BPA exposure, but we know that breastfeeding all the time is not an option for many mothers out there . For all of the bottle feeding parents, not to worry, there are plenty of other ways to limit your baby's exposure to these chemicals.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there are many steps that you can take to minimize the risks, such as using certified BPA free bottle. It is always best to veer on the side of caution when choosing which bottle is best for your baby.
Here are a few more tips for choosing the best bottles for breastfed babies.
What Size Baby Bottle Do I Need?
If you are bottle feeding your newborn during the first couple of days, they may start off only consuming small amounts of milk for 2-3 days, but by day 3 they’ll most likely be taking 2 to 3 ounces (60–90 mL) every 3 to 4 hours.
It is best to start with small bottles when feeding a newborn and then increase them in size as your baby increases their milk intake. The baby bottle sizes that you are most likely to find in stores are 4-ounces or 8-ounces.
On average, your baby is going to take in around 4 ounces every 4 hours or so after the first month. This will gradually increase to around 6 to 8 ounces 4 or 5 times a day by 6 months. Your baby's weight should be monitored by your pediatrician to ensure they are getting enough calories and nutrients during their bottle feedings.
The positioning of your baby can aid in the feeding process. Baby's should be fed with the bottle held in a way allowing milk to completely cover the nipple; thus reducing the amount of air that your baby swallows.
Using an angle neck baby bottle during feedings can be a great tool due to the fact that they do not work while your baby is laying flat. This product can reduce the risk of choking and ear infections.
When To Introduce A Bottle To Breastfed Baby?
When it comes to introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby, there is no specific timeframe that works best, although some lactation consultants will recommend putting it off until you have a well established breast milk supply and your little one has learned how to feed and latch well. This will usually be by 2-4 weeks, but every feeding journey is different.
If you are combination feeding, meaning you will still be breastfeeding your baby occasionally, while bottle feeding, this may lead to nipple confusion. This is fairly common in baby's who make the transition between being breastfed and bottle fed.
This confusion for your baby is often associated with the difference in milk flow and feeding techniques between breast and bottle. To avoid nipple confusion, it is best to wait until your baby is 4 weeks old before introducing a pacifier or bottle.
How To Transition A Baby From Breast To Bottle?
Tip #1: Allow your friends and family to help with bottle feeding
As mentioned above, transitioning your little one from breast to bottle is not always a straightforward journey. To reduce confusion for your baby, and allow them time to adjust, it can be helpful to get a trusted friend or family member to do the first couple bottle feedings. This way, your baby will begin to associate feeding time with the bottle, instead of your breast.
Tip #2: Find the correct nipple size
Make sure the nipple hole in your bottle is the right size for your baby. If your baby is struggling to feed, this could be a clear sign that the nipple hole is either too big or too small. If your baby appears to be gagging or gulping quickly during a feeding this can indicate that the hole is too big. If your baby seems to be sucking hard on the nipple, and appears frustrated this could mean that the hole is too small.
Tip #3: Hold your baby while feeding them
Keeping some of the aspects of breastfeeding while bottle feeding can help you and your little one bond. You will spend many hours feeding your baby, and it can be helpful to both parent and baby to use this time connecting through skin to skin contact, warm cuddles or talking or singing. You want to keep a close eye on your baby while feeding to prevent choking.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long is a Baby Bottle Good For?
Answer: Use within two hours. According to the CDC, warmed breastmilk should be used within 2 hours. Pumped milk will stay good for 3 to 5 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer. The bottles themselves will be good for quite a while, as long as they are free of cracks, leaks or chips, but nipples will have to be replaced frequently.
How to Warm up a Baby Bottle?
Answer: Use warm water, run under the tap or invest in a bottle warmer. Plastic bottles should never be put in the microwave or boiled.
Do I Need a Baby Bottle Warmer?
Answer: The short answer is no. The longer answer is bottle warmers can be a time saving and convenient option, especially for late night feedings. Always follow product directions to avoid overheating bottles.
Are Baby Bottles Allowed on Airplanes?
Answer: Yup! As long as your infant is under 2 years old, you are allowed to bring baby formula, food, juice, water and other baby items. Make sure to check in with the airline you will be flying with for details pertaining to your flight.
When Can a Babies Hold a Bottle?
Answer: A range from 6-10 months is normal, as it takes time for a baby's fine motor skills and strength to develop. It may take time for your baby to get used to holding the bottle even after these skills have developed.
How Do I Clean a Baby Bottle?
Answer: Regardless of whether you are using a dishwasher or washing by hand you want to make sure to take your bottle apart and wash all separate parts in hot water. These parts can include nipples, caps, rings and valves. When using a dishwasher use a sanitization setting or hot water setting and a heated drying cycle. Only put items in the dishwasher that are dishwasher safe. Consider using a bottle brush if hand washing.
Your feeding routine is unique to you and your baby, and while we can offer advice and guidelines we encourage you to experiment with different techniques and products so you can settle into a system that works for you!
How to Clean, Sanitize, and Store Infant Feeding Items. CDC. June 15, 2022.
Choosing Baby Bottles and Nipples. HealthLink BC. December 17, 2020.
Proper Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk. CDC. January 24, 2022.
Baby Bottles and Bisphenol A (BPA). Healthy Children. November 2, 2009.
Introducing the Bottle. Healthy Children. November 2, 2009.
Please be aware that this information is based on general trends in babies, and it is not medical advice. Your doctor should be your first source of information and advice when considering any changes to your child’s formula and when choosing your child’s formula. Always consult your pediatrician before making any decisions about your child’s diet or if you notice any changes in your child.
Breastfeeding is the best nutrition for your baby because breast milk provides your child with all the essential nutrients they need for growth and development. Please consult your pediatrician if your child requires supplemental feeding.