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Choosing the best bottle for your breastfed baby

I am often asked which are my favorite bottles for the breastfed baby and in today’s blog post I will share my TOP 3 tips on choosing the best bottle for your baby!

Tip # 1:

Consider the teat or nipple FIRST

Marketing is extremely effective! Many parents purchase bottles based on how the bottle looks and based on the container instead of the teat or nipple. You may be tempted to choose a bottle that looks more like the breast, believing that because it looks like a breast, it will probably function like the breast. But don’t be fooled! Even if the bottle has a very wide base that appears more “breast-like”, if the nipple has “shoulders”, this teat may encourage your baby’s mouth to slide down to the tip and result in a more shallow and less effective bottle attachment.

Comotomo Bottle (very wide like the breast) and Teat/Nipple with "Shoulders"

Instead, look for a bottle nipple with a gentle slope (no “shoulders”) which encourages a wide open mouth position that is more similar to breastfeeding:

Evenflo Balance Bottle, gently sloped Teat/Nipple (without "shoulders")

Tip # 2:

Consider the Flow Rate

Start out with the slowest flow and gradually work your way up based on your baby’s needs. Milk should not be spilling around the sides of the nipple as your baby feeds. This would indicate the flow is too fast. Alternatively, if the bottle nipple is collapsing (first check to see that the vent is properly positioned) it may be time to graduate to the next nipple level (even if the recommended age on the nipple is not the age of your baby). Breastfed babies tend to receive milk more slowly from the breast but as your baby gets bigger, their sucking strength may cause the bottle nipple to “collapse” which may lead to feeding frustration (both for parents and babies!). Some breastfed babies may be perfectly happy and effective at bottle feeding with a 0 or 1 nipple for their entire breastfeeding journey, while others do need to increase their flow rate as they grow. Every baby is unique!

Tip # 3:

Consider the Ease of Cleaning

Bottle companies set themselves apart by creating (sometimes extremely complicated) venting systems that purport to discourage your baby from taking in too much air as they feed. Do they work? Honestly, I don’t know. I also don’t know if the companies truly tested their claims. But what I do know is that you will be doing A LOT of dishes in this next chapter of your life as a new parent and the less pieces a bottle has the better! With this in mind, start out with the simplest version of a bottle: one with only 2 or 3 pieces to clean. If your baby has issues related to too much air intake, then perhaps consider switching to one with a more sophisticated venting system. But try as much as you can to keep things simple. Your future self will thank you!

Pick your Top 3 Bottles to Trial

So with all of that in mind…you might want to pick 1-3 bottles to “trial” before investing in a whole bunch of bottles. Maybe borrow some from friends to test (after home sterilization of course) with your baby before investing? Or schedule a lactation consultation for a “bottle consult” visit (yes, I can help you with this!). Once you have the bottles, give them a trial run over 1-2 weeks before making a decision.

My Favorite Bottles

I like Evenflo Balance Bottle and the Lansionoh Momma Bottle. Both of these bottles have only 3 pieces (yay!) and have a gently sloped teat or nipple that babies have an easier time latching onto deeply (similar to a breastfeeding latch). These bottles are popular choices and can sometimes be hard to find. For this reason, I carry the Evenflo balance bottles for my practice and have available for my clients to purchase.

And just for fun...

here is the "latch" of my 3.5 y/o daughter:

Gentle Slope Teat on Left ; Compared with a "Shouldered" Teat on the Right

I would love to hear about your experiences! Please feel free to comment and share below :)

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