There are many different types of bottles on the market these days. Each type is designed to address a different concern. Knowing which one is best for your baby can be a challenge.
Bottles come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Here are few things to consider:
Bottles range in size from 4 to 9 oz. Smaller bottles are meant for younger babies who are not taking as much breastmilk or formula, but are not completely necessary. If you are investing in a more expensive bottle, the larger size will be useful for a longer period of time.
It seems that bottle manufactures are coming out with new bottle shapes every year. For the most part, the shape of the bottle is a personal preference.
-Traditional tall and straight bottles fit easily into carriers and cup holders. They are relatively easy to hold on to, but offer little to no special features.
-Ergonomic bottles are being crafted in all sorts of curvy shapes to help mother and baby grasp the bottle more easily. Most of the time the curvy shape of the bottle has little effect on the way your baby eats.
-Tilted bottles are designed to minimize gas. These bottles can be helpful if your baby has colic or is frequently gassy.
-Vented bottles come with special inserts or have vent holes in the nipple or bottom of the bottle, that help minimize the amount of air your baby swallows as he eats. This can be particularly helpful if your baby has colic or is gassy.
-Wide mouth bottles are usually shorter and have a larger mouth than traditional bottles. The wider mouth makes them easier to clean and measure formula into. However, they often won’t fit in cup holders and some carriers.
With growing concern over chemicals in plastics, a wider range of materials are being used to manufacture bottles.
-Plastic is still the main material used to make most bottles. It is light weight and shatter proof. Plastic is cheaper, but must be replaced often. Scratches in the surface of a plastic bottle trap bacteria and can cause contamination if not replaced on a regular basis.
Plastics contain chemicals that can leach into your baby’s formula. The biggest offender is BPA, which was outlawed in the United States. BPA is a chemical that has been shown to cause disruption in human and animal endocrine systems. If you are purchasing or are given previously used bottles, keep an eye out for BPA. Bottles with the recycle number seven, no number, or “pc” printed on the bottom are generally not BPA free. Look for opaque bottles with the number two or five on them, or are labeled BPA free.
-Silicone is a soft plastic like material that does not contain BPA. It is light and unbreakable; but can be difficult to find, and is more expensive than plastic bottles.
-Glass bottles have been around for forever. They are chemical free. Glass is heavy and can shatter, however there are sleeves that can be purchased to minimize breakage. Glass bottles are more expensive, but won’t need to be replaced as often as plastic.
-Stainless steel bottles are all the rage among the environmentally conscious. They are almost indestructible, and will not leach chemicals into formula. However, they can be harder to find, and are a more expensive option.
-If you are on the go, there are also sterile disposable liners and nipples that can be used once, and then tossed. This means nothing is left to be washed, and the bottle can be used again when needed. Liners can also cut down on the amount of air your baby swallows as he eats.
There are several different types of nipples on the market. Though some bottles require a specific type of nipple, others can use whatever nipple you choose.
These nipples are generally bell shaped and vary little from bottle to bottle.
These nipples generally have a bulb on the end with a flat side. Orthodontic nipples are designed to fit to your baby’s soft pallet. They are thought to interfere less with the healthy development of your baby’s teeth.
Wide nipples are designed to fit wide mouth bottles. Some of these nipples have special features to help minimize gas. Others are meant to help simulate the breastfeeding experience, and may be helpful if you are transitioning from breastfeeding, or are going to continue breastfeeding.
Most nipples come with a stage or age range label. These labels indicate how fast the milk flows from the nipple. Newborn and younger babies often need a lower flow of milk to keep from choking, whereas older babies enjoy a higher milk flow.
If you are a new parent and unfamiliar with the different types of bottles, it may be helpful to purchase several different types. It can take a little trial and error to discover which bottle works best for you and your baby. But rest assured, with so many bottles on the market, there is one out there that will fit your needs.