What are the best baby bottles?
It may come as a shock to learn just how many different types of baby bottles there are to choose from. Using the right bottle can help make feeding easier and more enjoyable for babies and caretakers alike. The right bottle can also reduce issues like colic and reflux. To help you narrow down the right baby bottle for your little one, we’ll break down different options and answer common questions surrounding baby bottles.
Baby bottle types
Choosing the right bottle helps make feeding your baby a relaxing and hassle-free experience. When selecting a bottle, several different aspects can make a big difference. Here are some explanations of bottle types to help you learn about what to look for in a bottle for your little one.
- Standard bottles
- Standard baby bottles are the most simple form of bottle. Often made of plastic, these baby bottles have a simple shape with no frills and come with a standard nipple.
- Angle-neck bottles
- Angle-neck bottles are similar to a standard bottle but have a slight bend in the neck near the top of the bottle. Angle-neck bottles allow milk to easily collect in the nipple, which leaves less room for bubbles and allows the baby to get a continuous flow of milk. This design is good when trying to reduce gas in your baby.
- Wide-neck bottles
- This type of bottle is usually wider and a bit shorter than traditional bottles. A wide-neck bottle is designed to fit a larger nipple that mimics the shape of your breast. If you are not exclusively bottle feeding, this may be a good fit for your baby.
- Vented bottles
- These bottles have an internal vent that looks like a straw inside the bottle. The design is intended to eliminate air bubbles in your baby’s bottle and reduce colic and gas in babies.
- Bottles for breastfed babies
- If you are concerned about your breastfed baby taking the occasional bottle, consider a bottle that mimics the shape of a breast. There are many bottles out there with a wider and rounded nipple. Consider wide-neck bottles and other similar bottles.
- Paced-feeding bottles
- Paced-feeding bottles slow the flow of milk and let your baby eat more slowly. These bottles help prevent the risk of overfeeding.
- Anti-colic bottles
- A primary contributor to colic in babies is gas and indigestion. To prevent colic, use bottles that reduce trapped air in milk.
- Slow-flow bottles
- Nipples designed to slow the flow of milk into a baby’s mouth are made with a smaller-than-usual hole. These bottles can mimic breastfeeding, making your baby work harder to get milk.
- Hands-free bottles
- A solution for parents who need to be hands free, these bottles are designed with a system that has a nipple removed from the bottle and attached to a long straw. The straw is placed inside the capped bottle. These bottles are said to reduce colic and be more convenient for busy parents.
- Disposable baby bottles
- Also known as disposable liner bottles, a disposable bottle is a bottomless bottle that you place a bag of milk in. These bottles are known for mimicking breastfeeding, being easy to clean and reducing air bubbles, but they’re a little less friendly to the environment than other options.
Baby bottle nipple types
- Bell-shaped nipples are the traditional-shaped nipple with a thin top and base but a larger middle.
- Orthodontic nipples are designed with a bulb that rests against the roof of the mouth at a flat angle.
- Multiflow nipples allow for various flow levels through the nipple. A multiflow nipple can be adjusted according to your baby’s age and feeding needs.
- Flat-topped nipples are designed to mimic a mother’s nipple and have a flat head. Flat-top nipples are recommended to transition nursing babies to bottles.
Baby bottle sizes and stages
When choosing a bottle and nipple combination, your baby is going to guide you on what is right for them. Finding the right bottle can be easily guided by the three stages bottles and nipples come in.
- Stage 1: Size 1 nipples have a small, single hole and are recommended for newborn babies up to 6 months old.
- Stage 2: Size 2 nipples have a larger hole and are recommended for older babies.
- Stage 3: Size 3 nipples have a larger or multiple holes to allow for more milk flow during feedings. In some brands, size 3 nipples have a slit that lets through more milk than a hole might.
Baby bottle materials
Baby bottles come in a variety of materials, each of which has pros and cons.
- Plastic bottles: The most common material for baby bottles, plastic, is lightweight and inexpensive. Due to a ban on BPA in 2012, it can no longer be used to manufacture plastic baby bottles, making them a little safer. On the other hand, it is important to be on the lookout for BPS or other chemicals that may still be used in the manufacturing process of plastic baby bottles.
- Glass baby bottles: Glass is a healthy alternative for baby bottles as it is not made with harmful chemicals. Glass bottles last longer and can be put in the dishwasher, but they are heavier and may break easily.
- Silicone baby bottles: Silicone bottles are an excellent choice when looking for lightweight, shatterproof options. However, these bottles can be hard to find or more expensive than plastic bottles. When looking for silicone, be sure the bottles are made from food- or medical-grade silicone.
- Stainless steel baby bottles: Stainless steel bottles are shatterproof and help maintain the temperature of the contents inside. When using stainless steel bottles, be sure the contents don’t get too hot. These bottles also tend to be a little heavier than plastic and can dent when dropped.
- Latex nipples: Soft, flexible and porous, latex nipples are a standard material used for baby bottles. Latex tends to absorb smells and tastes and will need to be replaced frequently. If you use latex nipples, watch for allergic reactions — babies can develop an allergy to latex.
- Silicone nipples: Firm and hypoallergenic, silicone nipples are a solid choice for bottle nipples. They hold their shape and last a long time.
Our top baby bottle picks
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle
What we like: Avent Natural baby bottles are designed to closely mimic a mother’s breast for combined breast and bottle feeding. The nipple features an air flex valve that can reduce feeding issues by venting air out of the bottle and away from your baby’s tummy. These bottles work with multiple flows, so they can grow with your baby and feeding needs over time.
What to consider: With vented nipples, there is the chance of leakage while your baby is drinking from their bottle. Additionally, the size of this bottle could make it more difficult for babies to grip. If your child is ready to hold their own bottle, you can purchase handles that are easier for babies to grip.
What the reviews say: Parents who left reviews on Amazon for the Avent bottles like the ease of transition from breast to bottle. Many noted it was a smooth and easy transition, in contrast to other bottles and nipple shapes.
Dr. Brown's Original Bottle
What we like: Dr. Brown's bottles use a vent system that eliminates negative pressure and air bubbles to help reduce colic, spit-up, burping and gas. This rivals the vented nipple with a fully vented bottle. These bottles are also dishwasher safe, making mom and dad’s life a little easier.
What to consider: The venting system in this bottle must be removed and hand-washed after each use, which can be a drawback for busy parents.
What the reviews say: Parents swear by these bottles. Many Amazon reviews rave and mention the miracle that is the Dr. Brown vented bottle, especially when it comes to reducing gas, colic and fussiness. These bottles are also said to be particular — they must be filled to a certain degree and held at just the right angle to prevent leakage and properly vent.
Evenflo Feeding Classic
What we like: These standard neck bottles are a traditional go-to for many parents. The nipples are vented and have a patented micro-vent system that helps prevent nipple collapse and promote a more comfortable feeding experience for your baby.
What to consider: These bottles are made of a thinner plastic and do not always hold up to regular wear and tear like other bottles made with thicker plastic.
What the reviews say: Parents who purchased these Evenflo bottles like the basic design and ease of use. Many Amazon reviews mention that these silicone nipples are wider than a standard nipple, which most babies seem to like. However, a common complaint about these bottles is that they leak.
Boon, NURSH Reusable Silicone Pouch Bottle
What we like: The NURSH air-feeding bottles use a silicone pouch that holds the milk and collapses as your baby drinks. This design cuts down on the ingestion of air, which results in decreased gas, reflux and colic. The emptying of the silicone pouch mimics the emptying of a breast, creating a natural and easy feeding experience for your baby.
What to consider: These bottles have multiple parts, and they are dishwasher and microwave safe. Microwaving or dishwashing may leave some tastes or smells lingering within the silicone material. If this happens, just sterilize by boiling.
What the reviews say: Amazon reviewers really like a lot of things about these bottles. Compared to other similar silicone bottles, they have a lower price, the shape makes it easy for babies to hold on their own, and the wide mouth is easy to pour milk into. Reviewers also noted the nipples are exceptionally hard and may cause latching issues for some babies.
Tommy Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle
What we like: The wide surface nipple is designed to closely mimic the shape of a woman’s breast and make the transition from breastfeeding to bottle easier on both parents and baby. This nipple also has venting functionality for less air intake and colic prevention.
What to consider: The shape of these bottles can only be described as awkward. Not only do they not easily fit into standard cup holders, it’s a bit of a struggle to get them into bottle pockets of most diaper bags.
What the reviews say: Parents who purchased the Tommy Tippee bottles note on Amazon that these bottles are great for transitioning from breastfeeding to a bottle. As your baby’s feeding needs change, you can buy replacement nipples with increased flow. One of the negatives commonly mentioned was that the size 0 nipple gave babies little to no milk and took an extreme amount of effort.
Dr. Brown’s Options+ Sippy Spout Baby Bottle
What we like: The supply spout is the perfect intermediary for babies who are outgrowing their bottle and not quite ready for a sippy cup. This transitional bottle will provide an intro to sippy cups in a format they are familiar with.
What to consider: Venting is removed from this nipple. If your little one is still struggling with gas, colic and other tummy issues, the sippy spout may be too advanced.
What the reviews say: The Doctor Brown's Options Sippy bottle has excellent Amazon reviews from parents. Reviewers found this to be the perfect transition bottle. When straws, firm sippy spout lids and other sippy cup formats aren’t easily used, the sippy bottle came to the rescue.
Dr. Brown's Options+ Slow Flow Bottle
What we like: This slow-flow bottle is designed for preemies. The nipple has a narrow base. These bottles come with lids for clean travel, and all of the parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
What to consider: This bottle is labeled as usable for children up to 1 year old, but with a paced feeding nipple, bigger or older babies may not get an adequate milk flow. Make sure this bottle and nipple are right for your baby’s needs.
What the reviews say: Even parents who had full-term infants sing the praises of the Dr. Brown Slow Flow bottle on Amazon. The design is meant to prevent gas and colic, and some parents noted that it helped. And, as is normal with many bottles, some people mention their experience with leaks.
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