Best Baby Bottles
Whether you are exclusively bottle feeding, combi-feeding, or weaning from exclusive breastfeeding, at some stage in your young baby’s life you are likely to be faced with an array of baby bottles to choose from.
When I had my first baby I was unaware of the many bottle choices available, or how they could have such an impact on the way my baby fed. We experienced the dreaded weeks of colic from about 6 weeks, and changed baby bottles multiple times until we found the ones that were right for us.
There are so many baby bottles to choose from, so how do you know which one will be right for your baby?
I found that it was simply trial and error. Unfortunately, that can end up being a costly mistake, especially when baby feeds around 8 times a day in those early weeks, it did mean a lot of money wasted on buying new sets of bottles.
It took 3 bottle changes for us to find the right style for our first baby – but that choice served us well and we bought those same Dr Brown’s bottles for 3 children. Currently we are using our new joint-favourite choice, MAM self sterilising anti colic bottles and these are working out a great choice for our twins.
Things to consider:
- Teat shape and size – some teats are made to mimick a nipple and if you are hoping to combi feed you may feel this is something you want to try. Every brand has a different shaped and size teat so it is well worth having a look and read about the potential advantages of each one.
- Teat flow – newborns will need a slower flow teat to avoid choking on a gush of milk and potential overfeeding, however before long you will probably find they need a faster flow teat. Most brands make a range of slow and faster flow teats for their bottles, but bear in mind when you are searching.
- Bottle size – some brands make a smaller and larger sized bottles. Smaller ‘newborn’ bottles may hold upto around 5oz of milk but this may only last a couple of months depending on your baby.
- Anti-colic features – this was something we prioritised as our first baby seemed to suffer with colic from about 6 weeks. Some bottles are vented to prevent air bubbles building up in the milk when baby feeds.
- Safety – baby products are generally manufactured as BPA free. BPA is a chemical that had been used in the manufacture of rigid plastics and was therefore used in many household items including baby bottles. It has been found to leach from the plastics into foodstuffs and studies have suggested it may be linked to certain conditions in humans. In light of this, you will now see most baby bottles and other plastic items being described as ‘BPA-free’ – it’s recommended you buy BPA free materials for baby.
Our top 7 baby bottle review is a combination of the best bottles from our own experience, combined with bottles recommended time and time again by other mums, and finally my own research enabled me to add a couple of other highly recommended picks to the list.
- MAM Easy Start Self Sterilising Anti Colic Starter Set
The MAM bottles have several unique features that make them a really good choice for feeding your baby. Personally I chose them for the anti-colic vented base. It seemed such a popular choice with mums of multiples that I couldn’t resist giving them a try. MAM state that in a medical study in 2011 and market research in 2010 (204 mothers), 80% of colic was prevented by using the bottles. I agree – we didn’t get the nightly screaming that we experienced several times before, our only real struggle has been a bit of trapped wind that caused the occasional sicky baby or trouble finishing the bottle in good time.
The self-sterilising function was a godsend too, in the early days when we went through so many bottles and occasionally didnt get the steriliser filled up in time! Just three minutes in the microwave and the bottle is ready to use.
MAM bottles are BPS and BPA free, and can be safely used for freezing or refrigerating breast milk.
I’ve highlighted the starter set as it’s a great set to use from newborn, with the components you need to make upto 4 bottles at a time, and two different size bottles, handles for when baby is ready to hold it themself, an extra soft spout for when baby is growing up and a newborn soother.
2. Dr Browns Options Wide Neck Bottle
Dr Brown’s bottles are clinically proven and the number one choice for UK health professionals for the relief of colic. It has a 100% vacuum free vent system for reducing wind during the feed. Used from birth, help prevent colic before it becomes a problem.
The contoured teat is made to more closely mimik the breast and therefore give a more natural feeding experience and help transition between breast and bottle. We transitioned between breast and bottle right from day 1 when we chose to do this with our third child and we have loved the Dr Brown’s bottles with 3 different babies.
As baby grows there are different level teats for faster flow as required, and the vent can be removed instead creating a teat vented bottle for older babies who may have outgrown feeding issues.
If there was any downside to this marvellous bottle, it is that cleaning is a little more fiddly than others due to the narrow vent (specific brushes are provided in the bottle packs though), and multiple parts to assemble. However the pros certainly have outweighed the cons and I’d recommend this bottle to anyone whether from birth or the onset of a colic problem.
3. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottles
The closer to nature bottles by Tommee Tippee are much loved by mums all over. With an award-winning breast-like teat, 97% of mums recommend the bottles. The teat promotes a more natural latch and is flexible to feel ‘more like mum’ to enable transition between breast and bottle. The teat also has an anti-colic valve to prevent excessive air-flow.
Wide neck bottles that are easy to clean, BPA free manufacture, and differing teat flow rates to grow with baby, makes the Tommee Tippee bottles an all round good choice. Easy to clean and sterilise with fewer parts than the vented bottles.
We have tested the bottles ourselves and although I personally liked the teat for its more natural shape, we still had a slightly better choice for relieving colic. That said, the countless recommendations for Closer to Nature bottles just goes to show that one does not fit all! Another advantage is that these bottles are a bit less expensive than some of the others.
4. Nuk First Choice Baby Bottle
I chose to include the Nuk bottles as the teat is quite uniquely shaped. It aims to mimik the shape of a mother’s nipple during breastfeeding, an orthodontic shaoe with a ‘super soft zone’ to adapt to baby’s palate. If you are going to combi-feed therefore and struggling with transitioning, the Nuk teat could be a win.
We came across Nuk after our son was in hospital (actually following feeding problems and dehydration), and these were the teats we were given to attach to the breastmilk storage pots. The teats seem much smaller than some bottle teats and he fed easily with them (if you have used the newborn starter packs of formula, the Nuk teat is similar to the ones you find in the pack).
Nuk teats have an anti-colic air system, made from BPA free materials, and a range of teats. Interestingly, Nuk also produce latex teats as well as the more usual silicone ones. Latex teats are softer, more flexible and natural material which may be easier for some babies, and is more bite resistant.
5. Lansinoh Baby Bottles with Natural Wave Teats
Lansinoh is a brand I’ve known and loved since my baby journey began – but mainly for their other breastfeeding related products such as the absolutely essential lanolin nipple cream and breastmilk storage bags, not to mention a few other things I’ll talk about another day! So I was interested to hear about their baby bottles as I had not used them before.
Coming up very highly rated, these reasonably priced (similar to Dr Browns and MAM, for example) bottles have been specifically designed with feeding breastfed babies when mum and baby are parted. Lansinoh’s 50 years of research have produced a wide based, soft flexible teat which has been clinically proven to encourage baby’s wave-like tongue movement to promote an instinctive sucking action.
The wide base enables a wider latch, more similar to the breast, while inner vertical ridges mean it wont collapse so that feeding is comfortable for baby. It also has an air vent to help reduce wind build up.
Bottles are ergonomically shaped making them comfortable to hold. There are different flow teats available as baby grows, and the bottles are part of Lansinoh’s convenient pump-store-feed system which makes pumping and feeding easier. This means they’ll attach directly to the Lansinoh breast pump and can be stored ready to feed later (the natural wave teats will also fit directly to other Lansinoh breastmilk storage bottles too).
A definite choice to consider if you already use Lansinoh breastfeeding and pumping equipment, or are struggling to find a bottle which your breastfed baby is happy to transition to.
6. Philips Avent Natural Feeding Bottle
A well known, popular baby feeding brand, Philips Avent now have the natural feeding bottle to complement their range including the philips avent classic, and anti-colic baby bottles.
The natural feeding bottle has a teat designed to promote both breast and bottle feeding, with twin anti-colic valve and ergonomic shape making it comfy to hold (it’s easy to forget that someone has to feed baby and hold a bottle for several hours a day!).
The teat has a spiral design and ‘comfort petals’ to allow for a more natural latch on. The bottles are BPA free, and the price is comparable with other popular baby bottles. I’ve read reviews on Amazon that suggest these bottles rival even my current choice of the MAM bottle, with some pros being that they are easy to wash, have a superior anti-colic valve, and don’t leak (definitily a plus point!).
7. Munchkin Latch
This is another type of bottle which is promoted for its breast-like teats to encourage more natural feeding and easier transition between breast and bottle. What makes it different is a teat which stretches, pumps and moves like the breast. The accordion like teat will stretch, helping baby to latch, while pressure against the teat while baby sucks will release milk. The teat also rotates 360 degrees to help baby latch continuously and reduce colic symptoms.
The bottles also feature an anti colic valve at the base to reduce wind, and three teat stages to grow with baby. The newborn starter kit contains two different sized bottles, stage 1 and 2 teats, and bottle brush, everything you need to get started.
This seems a popular choice with US mums, although available in the UK too especially online. Despite the unique teats, the bottle set is comparably priced with many other popular brands.
There you have it; my top 7 baby bottles of 2020. It’s fair to say that there are a few common themes when you are looking at baby bottles. One will be that the teats are designed to make transition between breast and bottle easier – and yet there are so many shapes and sizes on the market, and another will be the inclusion of some sort of ‘anti-colic’ vent or system in the bottle.
I haven’t read about many bottles which don’t make a point of promoting these specific features, which just goes to show how tricky it can be making a choice for your baby. If all bottles promote the same themes, how do we know which is best?
Only from experience can I say that I generally prefer a fully vented style bottle for the anti-colic benefits, such as Dr Brown’s, but as for the style of teat I would find that more difficult to promote one over the other for any given baby. It may take a few choices to find what works the best for your baby, especially if combi feeding and transitioning from breast to bottle. Perhaps only buy one or two baby bottles to begin with, until you find what is right for your baby.
Remember that you may need to increase teat flow rate incrementally as baby grows, and what is recommended by the manufacturer may not quite suit your baby. For example, my twins increased from a level 1 to level 2 flow much earlier than the suggested age, but have stuck there much longer and struggled to tolerate the next level up! Every baby is different, and I hope I have helped with my top baby bottle picks. I welcome feedback – let me know if your favourite baby bottle is not in my list.