When we were expecting our first child, Sophia, my wife and I started to make a list of all the things we would need. One of the first considerations we made was how we intended to feed our newborn baby. The only real options were breast and formula feeding, of which either method is completely acceptable.
Like many new mums my wife prefered to breast feed as soon as Sophia arrived but we needed to plan ahead with the possibility of having to switch to bottle feeding from birth. Therefore, we spent some time at our local baby stores looking at the many feeding bottles for babies that are available.
A number of popular brands manufacture baby bottles and out of those we found the Dr Brown’s and Philips AVENT ranges to be the most popular and highly recommended by other parents. From a personal view as a dad, bottle feeding meant I could play more of an active role from the beginning, also giving my wife the opportunity of some rest as and when she needed it.
Best Baby Feeding Bottles
We were lucky to have some help and advice from family and friends when deciding which were the best baby feeding bottles; some had already been through the experience of giving birth and feeding their own babies. This is often the best way of finding out what is good and what is not so good. Your mid-wife or health visitor will also be able to advise you from their extensive experience. A friend of ours who was bottle feeding a baby recommended the Tommee Tippee range. We looked at these but found them to be quite wide and stubby compared to some of the others like the Dr Brown’s bottles.
As new parents we wanted and continue to want the best for our little ones (we now have two!). Out of the top few brands we were reassured that they were all good quality and well made but there were so many choices. We wanted something that would work best for our baby but also something that would work well for us too.
We already had a couple of baby changing bags and something we noticed was that the width of some baby bottles looked too wide to comfortably fit into the bottle pockets provided on those changing bags. This could cause an issue when going out and about with baby so it was an important aspect of choosing the best bottles. Something else we looked at was how easy the bottles are to hold. You can see from the Tommee Tippee bottles that they have quite a nice shape to them that helps when feeding. If this is important to you look out for this feature.
Baby Bottles That Reduce Colic
There is a wide variety of baby bottles to choose from no matter where you come from. Something that we were persuaded by was the unique Natural Flow® system designed into the Dr Brown’s bottles. Apparently this innovation helps reduce colic and burping and we were keen to find out more. A normal baby bottle consists of a bottle, a screw-top collar and a teat. As a baby feeds it sucks milk through the teat but air can enter back into the bottle replacing the liquid. This is when the baby can suck air back out and swallow it and it also creates a vacuum within the bottle that restricts the flow of milk.
With the Dr Brown’s Natural Flow® bottles there is a plastic vent that attaches to a collar. During feeding air that is let back in through the teat is channelled up through the vent and released above the liquid in the bottle. This way there is no air within the teat, there is no vacuum and positive pressure mimics breastfeeding which is a good thing for a baby. Take a look at the Dr Brown’s website for more information.
BPA Free Baby Bottles
If I am completely honest I had never heard of BPA until recently but it is something you may have heard of. Firstly I will get the science bit out of the way. The definition of BPA on Wikipedia is:
Bisphenol A, commonly abbreviated as BPA, is an organic compound with two phenolfunctional groups. It is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, along with other applications.
Examples of products that are made from this tough plastic are DVDs, telecommunications hardware, bank teller security glass and in the past – baby bottles. I say in the past because from around 2008 concerns grew from governments around the world who were questioning the safety of BPA in consumer products. Following research and reports that the chemical causes health problems in animals many retailers ceased selling products containing BPA.
The concern surrounding baby bottles in particular is that when a bottle is heated a small amount of BPA can leech from the polycarbonate into the liquid contained in the bottle. There is no conclusive data so far regarding BPA’s effects on humans.
So, on the packaging of many baby bottles as well as the information next to products online you will find the words ‘BPA free’. This should reassure you that the product is safer for your child, regardless of whether BPA is harmful or not. This reassuring endorsement is something that I would definitely look for now if I was to buy more bottles for my most recent child who is just one month old.
Glass Baby Bottles
Although most baby bottles are made from plastic there are also glass baby bottles available. I have identified advantages and disadvantages to both materials that you should think about when choosing which bottles to buy. As I pointed out previously, plastic is made from a number of chemicals, some of which are toxic. In choosing a glass baby bottle you may be happier in the knowledge that your baby will not be exposed to such potential toxins. Both bottle or breast feeding can be as natural as can be by using glass bottles. I like this idea and I like the feel of glass; its natural, clean and long-lasting.
However, glass breaks easily and if you were to drop one outside or on a hard floor you would be very lucky if it did not chip or smash into pieces. Even a small chip could be a hazard to your little baby or toddler if it were to come into contact with their skin. If a glass bottle was to smash then tiny shards of glass would be a big danger to you and your baby. For this reason alone we chose plastic bottles.
In the end we chose the Dr Brown’s Natural Flow® bottles. They were a little more expensive but we thought they looked nicer than the others and they fit in our changing bag pockets really well. My father always told me “You get what you pay for” so we were happy to spend a little more on something decent. We ended up bottle feeding while breastfeeding as Sophia needed topping up. I have to say that the Natural Flow® system actually worked for us. Once she got used to the bottles she was an easy baby to feed. We tried a Tommee Tippee bottle at our friend’s house when we went to visit and the difference was noticeable straight away.
Each baby is different and what works well for many won’t necessarily work for others. When buying look out for features that you will find useful and definitely look out for the ‘BPA free’ wording if you go with plastic bottles. If you use a regular feeding bottle and your baby experiences frequent burping and colic type symptoms try a brand with a vented design – they do work.