November 14, 2016

The Best Baby Bottles

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The best baby bottles are easy to clean, simple to use, and minimize gas. Read on for the list of the top baby bottles.

Best Baby Bottles
Best Baby Bottles © CreditDonkey

Bonding with your baby nestled in your arms is one of the best feelings in the world. But when your baby becomes fussy or gassy, it can really dampen your bonding experience. While you spend time figuring out what crib, stroller and car seat to buy for your baby, don’t forget about the importance of purchasing the right baby bottle.

Deciding what kind of bottle to get is tricky. You’ve got to think about plastic vs. glass, decide if you need anti-colic valves, and think about whether nipple size matters. And on top of all those little decisions, you may not have even yet met the person who’s going to use the bottles.

Top Priorities: Gas Issues and Cost Savings

Because you want to make the most of your bonding time with your baby, the comfort a baby will feel after using the bottle you chose is usually a top priority. Gassy babies need a bottle that minimizes the amount of air they swallow.

But with comfort and innovation in bottles comes cost. You might not realize how important this purchase is or how it can affect your pocketbook until you start your research. Baby bottles range drastically in price depending on the features you need and/or desire.

At CreditDonkey, we want you to understand not only how much money you can save, but what you are buying when you spend your dollars. For instance, purchasing the cheapest bottles on the market might save you money in the short run, but end up causing you and your baby stress and anguish throughout the process. If this happens, you could end up spending more money than you intended by trying out various bottles, basically throwing money in the trash, or spending your healthcare dollars by visiting the doctor multiple times to figure out why your baby is not eating or is excessively fussy.

Important Factors to Consider

There are many factors to consider when shopping for baby bottles, but here are the 4 that we prioritized when determining which bottles are the right purchase for you:

  • User friendliness
  • Anti-colic features
  • Breastfeeding-friendly bottles
  • Bottles for ease of transitioning to a cup

No new mother wants a bottle that is frustrating to use. It can be frustrating enough to figure out which bottle your baby likes. If you have a bottle that you cannot figure out how to put together or how to clean, it can lead to further frustration.

Not every baby suffers from colic, but having anti-colic features on a bottle can really help any baby. Bottles that feature vents or valves that prevent air from entering your baby’s stomach can help reduce the amount of gas they experience while eating, making baby and mom’s time together more pleasurable.

Moms who choose to breastfeed will still want to have bottles on hand. While you might be dreaming right now about peaceful midnight feedings and bonding moments, trust us, you’ll have times when you’ll appreciate someone else’s willingness to bond with the baby too. Dad can do his part while you sleep or get other things done.

For all moms, sippy cups may be the last thing on the shopping-for-baby list, but time moves fast, and you’ll want to stock up so you’re ready when the baby is ready for the transition. Some babies take to the cups easier than others, so it’s smart to focus on the kinds that should make the transition easier.

Best User-Friendly Bottles: Tommee Tippee Bottles

Moms, especially those on the go, need bottles that offer features that minimize gas but that don’t require a college degree to put together. Tommee Tippee Bottles offer simple features that make it easy for parents, babysitters, and yes, even babies, to use.

Why We Like Tommee Tippee Bottles:
What impresses us the most about Tommee Tippee Bottles is the ease of cleaning, which is so important to busy and tired moms! While they might not be the first bottle most moms recommend when you mention you have a gassy baby, they rank high up there with their ability to minimize gas but without all of the parts that are hard to get into and clean or that could get lost. We know that time is of the essence for any new mom, so having a bottle that can prevent or help colic while being easy to clean is a bonus for us.

Another time saver is how you clean and handle the bottles. As Erika Landau, a pediatrician in New York City, notes, you don’t need a dishwasher—you can wash your bottles in hot soapy water. But when you’re washing by hand, you’ll need to get into all of the little parts with a small brush. Tommee Tippee only has 3 parts, so they don't take overly long to clean and you won’t lose your mind as you try to put a bottle together with a screaming baby in your arms.

We also love the nipple shape because it appeals to most babies, and we love the shape of the bottle for ease of holding—it’s slim and easy to hold by a range of people, from grandparents with weak fingers and young children who want to feed their newest sibling.

What We Dislike About Tommee Tippee Bottles:
One concern you may have is these bottles are plastic, particularly if you’re environmentally-conscious parent. Many experts even recommend that parents avoid a baby’s exposure to plastic at all, which can dampen the benefits of most bottles on this list. The FDA banned the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles made from plastic due to the issues it can cause to a developing baby, but the worry still exists regarding any type of plastic bottles.

Who Should Use Tommee Tippee Bottles?:
In our opinion, Tommee Tippee Bottles work the best for parents who are worried about gas issues but don’t want to break the bank. They are also a great solution for parents on the move, since the bottles are easy to transport and very rarely have any leaks. If the use of plastic worries you, know that these bottles are BPA-free. You always have the option of using a glass bottle while you’re at home, and don’t have to worry about transporting your baby’s bottles with Tommee Tippee bottles.

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Best Anti-Colic Bottles: Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles

Babies suffering from colic can break a mom’s heart. You’ve got sleepless nights and a baby unable to calm down. Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles are worth considering. These bottles have an internal venting system that no other bottle manufacturer provides and has been known to reduce colic and gas.

Why We Like Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles:
Excessive burping, gas and spit-up can really put a damper on a baby’s first few months. As a new mom, having an inconsolable baby without any clear reasons why can make you doubt who you are as a mother. Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles help prevent these issues with their venting system. It traps air at the bottom of the bottle, so that your baby cannot ingest it. And because the air stays at the bottom, there is also less nipple collapse, which helps ensure that your baby receives adequate amounts of formula without frustration.

Because feeding a baby is not just about the act of feeding, it is important to consider all aspects of what a bottle provides. With these bottles, there’s less stress because there’s less likelihood of fussing. The calmer the feeding experience, the more pleasure everyone gets out of the situation.

What We Dislike About Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles:
The downside is the complexity of the bottle itself. The venting system adds two pieces that you’ve got to assemble. If you don’t do it right, you could get a leakage. A leaking bottle can lead to a frustrated mom and baby, negating the benefits of the bottle’s anti-colic features.

Another frustrating component of the Dr. Brown bottles is the cleaning time. Because of the many parts involved, a tiny detail brush is necessary for getting to all the parts. Busy moms may find they have little patience—or time—to be so diligent when cleaning.

Who Should Use Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles?:
There are many other anti-colic bottles out there, but Dr. Brown bottles are the first and most effective on the market for extremely fussy babies who easily fill up with gas. Some moms could find the complexity of the bottles too demanding. If you are a mom with sufficient time on your hands and the patience to clean the nooks and crannies of these bottles, though, they are a great product for feeding your baby.

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Best Baby Bottles for Breastfeeding: Medela Calma

Just because you’ll be breastfeeding your baby does not mean you will never touch a bottle during your baby’s infant years. Breastfed babies take bottles for many reasons, including: to help working mothers feed their babies; to let others experience the bonding that goes along with feeding time; and to give busy moms an option when they need a night out. Most experts suggest waiting at least 3 weeks until introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby, but every mom can choose the time that they feel is right for their infant. Among all of the choices we've evaluated for breastfed babies, the Medela Calma provides the most benefits.

Why We Like Medela Calma Bottles:
First and foremost, we love the fact that Medela is the leading breast pump company. This leads us to believe that they know a lot about breastfeeding and exactly what it takes to create a bottle that’s easy for moms.

Aside from the obvious, however, we love the fact that the nipples of the Medela Calma bottles are flatter than any other nipple we've seen. Medela created this design to help mimic a mother’s nipple, making the transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding as seamless as possible. With this nipple type, babies do not have to learn a new sucking motion as they would with any other nipple type. This means less frustration with both bottle feeding and breast feeding, as many babies have attachment issues once the bottle is introduced. With the same required motion, however, most mothers can seamlessly alternate between the two.

Coinciding with the essential nipple design is the fact that babies will not receive milk from the bottle unless they create the vacuum seal that is necessary while breast feeding. This leads to less gagging, choking and inhalation of air while feeding. This is much the same experience babies have while breastfeeding, which continues to enhance the ability of the baby to switch back and forth between the breast and bottle. Babies have the ability to stop and breathe in between sucking, which enables them to slow down and enjoy the feeding experience.

What We Dislike About Medela Calma Bottles:
Once again, you’ve got tough-to-clean bottles. While they are less complex than the Dr. Brown Natural Flow Bottles, these do come with 3 parts that require detailed cleaning to ensure your baby’s safety. Busy moms may find these bottles too much to handle.

Also similar to the Dr. Brown bottles, the Medela Calma Bottle is a bit complex to put together. As a new mom in a hurry to feed your crying baby, you may end up putting the bottle together wrong. This leads to leakage, and if that means losing an ounce or two of your precious breast milk, it could be rather disheartening.

Who Should Use Medela Calma Bottles?:
Medela Calma Bottles are best for parents who want to share the bonding experience of feeding a baby without putting all of the pressure on the breastfeeding mom. If you have the time and patience to ensure that the bottles are properly cleaned and assembled, these are great bottles for feeding your baby pumped breast milk.

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Best for Transition to a Cup: Philips Avent Natural Trainer Cup

The day to consider switching to a cup will be here before you know it. Experts agree that the 12-month mark is the best time to make the permanent switch, but you may want to make the switch sooner. The earlier you start your baby with a cup, the easier the transition will be in the long run. Because we know how difficult it can be to break a baby from a habit they just got comfortable with, we searched high and low for the best bottle to use for the transition period. During our search, we found the Phillips Avent Bottle to Cup Trainer Kit, which we feel offers the best of both worlds.

Why We Like the Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Trainer Kit:
There are many reasons we like the Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Trainer Kit, but the largest reason is because it provides the comfort of a bottle with the features of a cup. Babies old enough to sit up on their own can use both hands to grab the trainer handles of the bottle. Because the “cup” has the ability to hold a nipple, the baby will not only feel comfortable putting it in his mouth, but he will know what to do. The manufacturer states that babies as young as 4 months can try the trainer kit, but we feel babies around the age of 6 months have a better grasp on the concept.

We also love that the kit comes with a spout for you to help your baby transition from the nipple to the sippy cup itself. Most sippy cups break a baby’s bottle habit cold turkey, which could prove to be difficult for babies with sensory issues or who do not like change. The Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Trainer Kit lets babies transition at their own pace. While they get used to holding their own cup, they can have the comfort of the nipple. Once they get used to holding and drinking out of the trainer cup, you can slowly transition them to the spout.

One last thing we love about this trainer kit is the fact that all Avent bottle and cup parts are interchangeable. This means you could potentially save money on your bottle and sippy cup investments in the long run. As a new parent, this could be an important feature in the expensive world of parenting.

What We Dislike About the Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Training Kit:
If you are a mom always on the go, the Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Training Kit might not be right for you. The bottle/cup itself is very wide. This makes it difficult to fit in the standard bottle holder pouches on any diaper bag. If you were to set the bottles inside your diaper bag without the holders keeping them in place, they could easily get buried amongst the diapers, bibs, burp cloths and clothing. In addition, if the cups freely roll around your bag, they have a good chance of leaking.

One other factor we did not like about these bottles is the thin silicone that both the nipples and the sippy cup spout are made from, as they can easily rip. This can prove to be a problem for parents with teething babies who look for anything and everything to soothe those painful gums. If you use the cup as the manufacturer recommends (starting at 4 months), it can be a very lucrative product. However, if you are a late bloomer when it comes to sippy cup transition (and many parents are), this product might not be the best choice.

Who Should Use the Philips Avent Bottle to Cup Training Kit?:
The bottom line is that any parent who wishes to make the early transition to a sippy cup would benefit from this training kit. With the benefit of both the nipple and the sippy cup spout fitting the cup, it offers the best of both worlds. Babies who sit up early and are curious about their surroundings might actively dive right into using this bottle/cup. It offers a frugal option for the transition and can make the switch much less painful for parents who dread the transition from bottle to cup.

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Other Baby Bottles to Consider

As you probably guessed, the availability of hundreds of bottles to choose from means not every bottle will be perfect for your baby. Sometimes you’ve got to try more than one kind (that’s why we recommend you do not stock up until your baby has tried a particular brand).

We considered safer glass alternatives to the popular plastic brands, and one bottle that really caught our eye is from LifeFactory Glass Baby Bottles. While you might think a glass bottle would be dangerous for anyone, especially a baby, these bottles are lightweight and include a silicone sleeve that decreases the risk of dropping and breaking the fragile glass bottle. The nipples have been widely accepted by babies worldwide and the bottles themselves do not leak, making them a viable alternative for parents who prefer glass bottles.

Bottom Line

Best Baby Bottles
Best Baby Bottles © CreditDonkey

We hope this research helps you narrow your choices down for your new bundle of joy.

We understand how overwhelming being a new parent can be and we wanted to inform you of all of the decisions you have to make that you might not think about. Bottles can be a costly investment for your baby, especially when you purchase the wrong ones, so taking your time to do your research is well worth the effort in the end.

Where to Buy Baby Bottles

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy financial decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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