The Tot Guide to baby bottles
With so many types and brands of baby bottles to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which ones are best for your tiny tot. Here’s everything you need to know…
Plastic, glass, stainless steel or silicone baby bottles? Latex, silicone or rubber nipples? Which brand is best? How many do you need? Sigh. Navigating the complex world of baby bottles can make labor seem like a walk in the park (hahaha… just kidding).
Don’t you worry, mama. You have enough on your plate, so we did the research for you. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing baby bottles that are safe and comforting for your precious bundle.
Types of baby bottles
Baby bottles come in four materials – plastic, glass, silicone and stainless steel – that each have pros and cons.
- Plastic: Plastic is the most common material for baby bottles. It’s lightweight, shatterproof and inexpensive, but it’s not the safest option. Although the Food and Drug Administration banned the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles in 2012, equally damaging chemicals such as phthalates and bisphenol S (BPS) can still be present in them. Endocrine disruptors have been shown to cause a range of health issues from birth defects and infertility to diabetes and cancer.
- Glass: Glass bottles won’t leach toxic chemicals into your baby’s milk and they last longer than plastic, but they’re more expensive, heavier and, depending on the brand, may be prone to shattering. You can buy silicone sleeves that slip over the bottles to help prevent breakage.
- Stainless steel: These bottles are free from BPA and other toxins, light, shatterproof and long-lasting. The only downside is that they can be expensive.
- Silicone: Silicone bottles can be hard to find and pricey, but they’re also light, unbreakable and toxin-free. Silicone may leach chemicals when exposed to very high temperatures, but not with regular use.
Once you’ve decided on the material, there a few other options to consider:
- Disposable inserts: Some plastic bottles can be used with disposable sterilized liners that are thrown away after each feeding. They’re convenient because they cut down on cleaning time, but they’re expensive and bad for the environment.
- Bottle shape: Baby bottles come in a variety of shapes that have different advantages. Standard bottles are straight-necked and fit into most bottle warmers and cupholders. Angled bottles have a curved neck that reduces the amount of air your baby swallows. Wide-neck bottles have wider nipples that mimic human ones and can help reduce nipple confusion in breastfed babies.
- Venting: Different types of venting systems help minimize air bubbles that can cause painful gas. If your baby seems fidgety or cries after feeding, a vented bottle may help.
- Size: Small bottles hold 4 or 5 ounces, while large bottles can hold between 8 and 10 ounces. Start with small bottles and switch to bigger ones around four months or whenever your baby’s appetite increases.
Types of nipples
You’re not finished making decisions just yet! Here are your options when it comes to nipples:
- Material: Latex nipples are inexpensive and more flexible than silicone, but they’re not as durable, they may leach carcinogens called nitrosamines and some babies are allergic to latex. While the firmer silicone nipples aren’t as popular with the little ones, they’re toxin-free and last a lot longer. Natural rubber nipples are also free from harmful chemicals, and they’re softer and more resistant to bites than silicone.
- Shape: Traditional nipples are long and skinny. Wide nipples mimic the shape of a breast and may be more easily accepted by breastfed babies. Orthodontic nipples fit the shape of your baby’s palate and gums, promoting heathy oral development and digestion.
- Flow: Nipples come in three flow speeds: slow (stage 1), medium (stage 2) and fast (stage 3). Preemies and newborns will start with the slow flow and move up to faster flows at their own rate. The suggested age ranges are just general guidelines, so move up a size when your baby seems to be struggling to get milk out of the bottle. If your baby chokes or splutters, the flow is too fast and you should go back down a size.
Here’s all the gear you’ll need to make bottle feeding easy. You can skip the bottle sterilizer because sterilizing is no longer deemed necessary now that our water supplies are clean. Washing them in the dishwasher or in hot, soapy water will do the trick.
- 2 to 12 baby bottles (depending on how much bottle feeding you plan to do and the bottle material you choose as glass, stainless steel and silicone can be expensive)
- 1 baby bottle brush
- 1 nipple brush
- 1 drying rack
- 1 breast pump and storage bottles or bags (if using breast milk)
- 1 insulated tote bag (optional)
- 1 bottle warmer (optional)
- 1 dishwasher bottle basket (optional)
The Tot’s favorite baby bottles
We can’t get enough of these baby bottles that give us peace of mind knowing they’re made from high-quality, non-toxic materials.
These 100% borosilicate glass bottles are resistant to heat and thermal shock, free from toxic chemicals and come with 100% natural rubber nipples.
Olababy’s Gentle Bottle is made from medical-grade silicone, 100% toxin-free and sustainably produced.
We love that Pura’s award-winning 11oz infant bottle is 100% plastic-free. Crafted from high-grade stainless steel and medical-grade silicone, it can later be transformed into a sippy or straw cup by changing the spout.
These medical-grade silicone bottles feature a wide-neck design, dual anti-colic valves and a natural, skin-like feel.
Made from Swiss-engineered medical plastic, the Mimijumi Very Hungry bottle is free from BPA, latex and lead, exceeding U.S. safety standards.
With their borosilicate glass construction and all-natural rubber nipples, Natursutten bottles are free of BPA, PVC, phthalates and chemical softeners.