Baby Gear Reviews: Baby Bottles and Accessories (Part 3)

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azbottlesHere is Part 3 of my series on baby gear, organized in the order of Amazon’s Baby Registry. The entire multi-part series can be found with the Baby Gear tag here. This time I’ll talk about our experiences with baby bottles.

Our first baby was colicky and not a great eater, and that is really where these bottle companies make their money. Design a bottle nipple that reduces the unstoppable crying of colic, and we’ll gladly pay upwards of $6 per bottle. Heck, if it really worked I’d pay $50 a bottle without blinking an eye. The basic idea is that air is being swallowed when air backflows into the nipple during drinking, which supposedly causes colic. So the fancier bottles all have some mechanism to alleviate that vacuum.

Our babies were breastfed, so we got a “free” Medela breast pump (it was covered by our health insurance). Thus, we started out with a few Medela brand bottles. Baby didn’t like it. Between purchasing and borrowing from friends, we ended up trying most of the brands: Medela, Born Free, Playtex, Tommee Tippee, AVENT, and Dr. Browns Natural Flow. We tried the last three because they were the most recommended by the Baby Bargains book.

The two that ended up working best for us were:

tippee

  • Tommee Tippee – The silicone nipple does look most like a human nipple with a wide base, the construction felt of high quality, and the wider bottle was easier to hold in my palm. Keep the air vent hole facing upwards so milk doesn’t block it. On the expensive side.
  • Playtex Drop-Ins with the Latex Nipple – I bought this when desperate in a drugstore after reading a recommendation from a parenting forum. Latex is softer than silicone and thus feel more natural, although silicone is more durable and some babies are allergic to latex. The collapsible liners are convenient and eliminate vacuum but are not eco-friendly. Really, it was all about the soft latex nipple.

All bottles sold today should be BPA-free, I would check if you are using hand-me-downs. I would also note that you can buy nipples with different-sized holes that change the flowrate, your baby may prefer one to another and that could make a big difference in itself.

Other things to buy. As for accessories, a simple dishwasher basket was a very good buy; we’ve used it daily for 2 years now for all kinds of small kiddie things, even after we stopped using bottles. A good bottle brush is also helpful for thorough cleaning.

Other things we didn’t buy. We did not buy any bottle sterilizers or bottle warmers. When we had our first child, I think the first two weeks we boiled water and manually sterilized the bottles every time. What a pain. After that, we only sterilize them before the first use. Now we just wash them with warm, soapy water or use the dishwasher and rinse them well. Hot tap water works fine for warming milk or formula. When eating out, we simply ask for some hot water like they would serve for tea. If you formula-feed, the advice is to start them at room temperature and your baby will be fine with it. Our pediatrician agreed these were unnecessary. Perhaps they are wonderful inventions, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed out.

  • Verdict: There are endless combinations of nipple shapes and bottle designs. I’m sure some babies will drink from anything. For us, there really wasn’t a huge difference between any of the bottles, but I listed our two favorites above. If possible, try to borrow different bottle brands from friends to try out.
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Comments

  1. I can’t stand using rigid bottles because of the vacuum problem which manufacturers try to avoid by designing leaks into the system, which drives me even more crazy. I settled on using the Playtex drop-in bottle system, the “disposable” liners are quite easy to wash and they last a long time. However, we mostly used bags of milk that my wife pumped when she was at work, which work really well with the playtex system, so we never even used up the starter pack of liners that come with the bottle.

    • We use the honeysuckle bags for freezing milk which can be put in the bottle and then turned inside out over the threads of the bottle before the cap is screwed on. We only used the drop in liners occasionally for fresh milk that had been stored in the refrigerator in the breastpump’s bottles.

      • Thanks, I’ll check those out along with the Nuk bags. I doubt the Lansiloh bags we used last time would stand up to that kind of treatment; they were pretty thin and prone to leaks.

  2. Johnathan,

    Did you ever try the Mimijumi bottle? FUll Disclosure: I am an investor in the company. It was designed by two doctors to mimic the breast and help with breast feeding and transitions. In testing it has a high sucess rate for women who want to breast feed and bottle feed at the same time. http://www.mimijumi.com.

  3. Christine says:

    We used and liked the tommee tippee bottles. Plus they were easier for the baby to hold. After we already started using them, I found a review on amazon for the playtex dropins where a lady used the dropin bags to freeze and store the milk. If i had seen that first i might have gone that route, but yes not eco friendly.

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