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Summary: Both my babies were mix breast-bottle fed. I picked up a selection of bottles to try from Amazon and ultimately picked different ones for each baby.
My shortlist was:
1. The First Years Breastflow
2. Comotomo Baby Bottle
3. Philips Avent Natural
4. Dr Brown’s Baby Bottles
5. Tommee Tippee Advanced Anti-Colic
One of my babies used the Philips Avent Natural bottles, the other used Tommee Tippee.
Babies need milk. There are several ways to get baby some milk. (as if you needed MORE things to add to your list of decisions!) Maybe you’re a working mom who can’t be with baby to breastfeed during the day. There are also some women, owing to health complications, having to both breastfeed and bottle feed their baby. Sometimes babies are so comfortable with their mother’s breast they refuse to drink from feeding bottles, which creates a problem if direct breastfeeding isn’t possible 100% of the time. In such cases there are a variety of options available.
Choosing the right feeding bottle is important to spend a bit of time on. The right bottle will make the baby feel more comfortable and make feeding a natural experience, with the aim to make sure no difference is felt while changing from a natural nipple to an artificial one. Some babies may happily accept any bottle without any issues while some may take time to adapt better with bottles of a specific size or design. There is a wide range of excellent products readily available in the market; both a pro (choice!) and con (choice!) at the same time.
Companies have started manufacturing bottles which feel skin-like, soft with the shape and texture of a natural nipple, but it can get confusing when one has to choose the best from among the lot. Having gone through this myself twice I can offer you my experiences and advice; I hope this will help theyou narrow down your search.
I jumped on Amazon, armed with my own feelings and experience, to find a selection of bottles to try with my little ones. I did this both times actually; when I started using the bottles from my firstborn for the second I wasn’t sure they suited him, so I ended up using something else. Other parent’s reviews helped quite a lot since I was able to see whose babies had similar issues to mine before making a short list of bottles to buy and try. Ultimately I just ended up with the ones that had the best customer ratings overall; I assumed they were the safe bet and I ended up choosing one from my shortlist both times.
- The First Years Breastflow Starter Set– it has two 5 ounce bottles with slow flow, two 9 ounce bottles with medium flow, a container, a full-size bottle and nipple brush for cleaning. The bottle is designed to work as a breast; the silicon vented nipple also prevents colic symptoms, spit-up and gas, easy to clean and BPA free.
- Comotomo Baby Bottle– It is a set of two 8 ounce bottles. It is a soft and squeezy skin-like silicon bottle which almost feel like a natural breast to give a calm and soothing effect to the baby. It has dual anti-colic vents, easy to clean, safe material, anti-dripping and heat resistant. It is also BPA free.
- Philips Avent Natural New Born Baby Bottle Starter Set: The set offers the most natural way of bottle-feeding. The 5 BPA-free natural bottles feature wide breast shaped nipples with unique comfort petals promoting natural latch on and making it easy to combine breast and bottle-feeding. The bottles also have an anti-colic system, free from BPA and are easy to clean.
- Dr Brown’s Baby Bottles: It comes with a set of six 8ounce bottles. It has a two-piece internal vent system creating positive pressure-flow for vacuum-free feeding that is similar to breastfeeding at the same time maintaining essential vitamins. Dr Brown’s bottles are also entirely free of BPA, lead and phthalate for the baby’s safety.
- Tommee Tippee Advanced Anti-Colic Newborn Feeding Set: This set includes all the useful things that a mother will need for newborn babies with not just feeding bottles but also milk warmer, brush for cleaning and pacifiers. Parts are dishwasher safe, and their ‘anti-colic’ tube will change color if the milk is too hot. This product has won awards for its breast-like nipple, which is shaped like a breast and gives a natural feel just like a mother’s. It also has an anti-colic valve, easy to clean and is free of BPA which makes the product baby safe.
When a mom decides to both breast-feed and bottle-feed, it is called the combination method. In such an arrangement, the baby should get used to the difference between accepting milk from the breast as well as the teats of bottles. The problem here is that the baby should accept the bottle. It is not that a baby will ultimately refuse to drink from bottles. It is doable, but it needs time and the correct equipment to make the baby adapt to such an arrangement. It might take a bit of work to encourage and support baby through the transition of getting baby to accept a bottle.
Bottle-feeding is not an easy task as babies who have been drinking from a mother’s breast may refuse to drink from a bottle at first. Give the transition the best chance of success by having a few items at your disposal, from bottle options to cleaning products. (because you’ll be doing a bit of that!) Every baby will not like the same type of bottle. The choice of a bottle for may vary from baby to baby. Under such circumstances, take advice from other experienced mothers. From their suggestions, first-time mothers can select some brands and experiment with it to see which type of bottle and nipple their little one is more comfortable with. Make sure to buy one bottle at a time and not in large quantities because if the baby doesn’t like it, it will save the expense and the wastage of the product.
How to choose the right feeding bottle?
Baby bottles are available in different materials. Some bottles are made of plastic, some glass, silicone and stainless steel.
Even though plastic bottles are a great option to go for, as they are light, cheap and shatterproof yet there is a rising concern among experts about chemicals present in the bottle especially BPA (Bisphenol A).
For buying BPA free bottle, glass bottles are also an option, but it is heavy and easily breakable which is why silicon sleeves covering the glass bottle is required making it more expensive.
If you are to opt for silicone bottles, it is an excellent choice. They are light, unbreakable and free of BPA. The problem is that they are expensive and not readily available in drug stores which makes it difficult to replace a nipple if it breaks.
Stainless steel is also another great option if you want to opt for a safer way, but like silicon, it is not cannot be readily sourced in the market. It can be quite expensive for some.
The next important thing to keep in mind while buying bottles is that clear-plastic baby bottles with recycling number 7 and the letters “PC” imprinted on them should be avoided as they may contain BPA. Search for recycle number 2 or 5 which are BPA free.
Also, while buying a bottle choose the range from 4 to 12. Starting with the 4-ounce bottle is the best option. It is perfect for the small amount of breast milk, or formula that newborns can drink at once. As the baby grows gradually, you can change the size of the bottle.
The other important thing to check while buying baby bottles is to check for the nipples. As the baby already used to the mother’s natural nipple nipples, search for products that resemble a natural breast. You can either go for silicon or latex. Latex nipples are soft, but some babies may be allergic to them, while silicon nipples are firmer and do not lose shape quickly. Opt for nipples with a broader base that will remind your baby of your breast. They’re also available in different size and flow speed so choose slow flow speed for newborns, gradually increasing it as they grow up.
While buying baby bottles, buy bottles which are marketed as colic prevented. These bottles will have straw like components fitted to bottles to prevent the baby from ingesting gas. There may be bottles with venting system build at the nipples or the bottom of the bottle.
There is no right or wrong answer
Choosing the right bottle for the baby who is breastfed and bottle-fed at the same time can be a bit of a challenge. Alternative feeding eases mothers of to relieve themselves off of the worries to feed the baby when they are working, or if they have to go out. Feeding a baby with bottles also allows the father to involve in feeding the baby. In bottle-feeding the baby, the importance is not just in finding the right bottle and nipple. It also requires time and patience to wait for the baby to slowly get into the habit of switching between nipples and bottles. Once this task has been successfully achieved the pressure of natural breastfeeding is significantly reduced which is a great relief; not only for the parent’s health but it allows personal time for the mother and father as well. I wish you luck on your baby feeding journey, however you happen to travel it!