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Feeding will be one of the major highlights in your baby’s life because this is what she will mostly do – feed and grow.
So make sure to purchase a bottle set that will do the work for you without any hassle.
You generally want bottles that are easy to clean, that have no leaks and are durable.
Remember that when choosing baby bottles, you have to choose a type that’s suited to your baby’s needs and to your lifestyle.
Considering Plastic Bottles
Consider the advantages of plastic bottles.
Plastic bottles are the most commonly bought bottle type because they are affordable, lightweight, strong.
Although there was previously some debate over the safety of using plastic baby bottles because of their chemical composition, in 2012 the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA officially banned the use of BPA or Bisphenol A in the manufacture of plastic baby products.
Nowadays, plastic baby bottles are considered safe and are used by almost every parent due their convenience and affordability.
Know that plastic baby bottles will need to be replaced over time.
One disadvantage of plastic baby bottles is that when they are repeatedly cleaned in the dishwasher or in hot soapy water there is a danger of chemical leaching.
Therefore, parents are advised to replace plastic bottles when they have been used for a long period of time (usually within one year).
You will also need to replace plastic bottles as soon as they become cracked or chipped.
So, should you avoid plastic altogether? Experts say no, as plastic bottles also have ecological advantages in that they are recyclable and lightweight and they have low energy consumption.
Choose the type of plastic carefully.
Rather than avoiding plastic altogether, just be sure to read the label and choose the plastic product carefully.
According to the non-profit organization Healthy Child Healthy World, the most common recyclable plastics that are safe to use for food are plastics #2, #4, #5 and #7, if the label says it is a bio-based plastic like polylactic acid.
Follow the proper cleaning procedures for plastic bottles.
To prevent any issues of chemical leakage, avoid cleaning plastic bottles in the dishwasher and do not microwave plastic bottles.
Instead, just hand wash plastic bottles in warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly after the initial sterilization process.
Choose sturdy plastic bottles with measurement guidelines.
Plastic bottles are generally easy to use and there is no added fear of them shattering if you or your baby accidentally drop it.
A variety of plastic bottles have narrow or wide mouth openings, so choose a bottle that has a wide mouth-opening in order to transfer breast milk or formula easily.
Make sure to choose a bottle with a sturdy design that has measurement markings that you can easily read, so you will know exactly how much you are feeding your baby.
Pick a no-leak bottle that is easy to assemble.
Plastic bottles should have zero leak potential in them.
It would be such a waste to see milk that has leaked out of the bottle, be it breast milk or formula, because milk is precious.
Choose a bottle that is easy to assemble both when you are static and when you are mobile.
You never know when you will have to assemble a bottle of milk while you are walking, in a moving vehicle, inside an elevator – the possibilities are endless.
Keep in mind that the more pieces a plastic bottle has, the more potential it has for leakage.
Try using a basic plastic bottle at first.
A basic plastic baby bottle will include a bottle, a screw cap or nipple ring, a nipple and the nipple cover.
Make sure that the nipple cap or cover audibly “snaps” when you cover the nipple, especially if you are on the go.
You wouldn’t want to discover the milk you prepared for your baby has leaked out of the bottle when traveling because the cap was not put on tightly enough.
Apart from that audible “snap” on cover, make sure to inspect the cap before buying to see if it has an indentation inside that will fit the tip of the nipple when covered.
This feature ensures that the nipple hole is “plugged”, which prevents further leakage.
Looking at Other Bottle Materials
Understand the pros and cons of glass bottles.
With proper care and attention, glass bottles are more durable and long-lasting than plastic bottles.
They are also dishwasher safe and there is no fear of chemical leaching.
However, even though glass products are sold with a durable rubber coating to protect the glass inside, there’s always a chance of it chipping or breaking, making it virtually useless.
You also have to think about whether your baby is ready to grasp a glass bottle because they are somewhat heavier than a plastic bottle.
Consider some safety precautions for using glass bottles.
If you are going to use a glass bottle for your baby, make sure that you are also available to hold the bottle properly in place while your baby is feeding, so they don’t get too tired of holding it and drop it.
When your baby is using a glass bottle, make sure that you or another responsible adult is present so if the bottle drops and shatters, your baby will be prevented from stepping on the broken glass.
In addition, you should regularly inspect the for any chips or cracks because these present a leaking hazard, especially if you are on the go.
Know the advantages and disadvantages of disposable bottles.
Some disposable bottles can be handy to have around for those quick “need to go now” moments, especially if you do not have any plastic or glass bottles clean or available for use at that time.
Disposable baby bottles come in different designs, but the basic concept is to have a special sterilized liner inside the bottle which you can transfer breastmilk or formula into.
Once baby is finished feeding, you just dispose of the liner and replace it with a new one for the next feeding.
The downside to disposable bottles is that they are costly, since you have to keep purchasing new liners for the bottles when re-using.
Additionally, since the disposable inserts are made of a soft plastic material, it can be a challenge to transfer pumped breast-milk or formula into the disposable inserts while you are on the go.
Think about getting stainless steel baby bottles.
Stainless steel baby bottles are lightweight, durable, eco-friendly, contain no harmful plastic chemicals.
Some manufacturers even produce bottles that “grow” with the baby, converting the baby bottle into a sippy cup or a container for cereal later on.
There is also no danger of these bottles shattering when you or the baby accidentally drop them.
Additionally, you do not need to think of replacing the bottle after prolonged use because there are no chemicals that will accidentally leach into the milk, even after repeated heating in the dishwasher.
The only con when it comes to stainless steel baby bottles is that they are more expensive than plastic and glass bottles.
Thinking About Nipples, Air Vents and Valves
Consider buying clear silicone nipples.
The most commonly used nipples for baby bottles are clear silicone nipples because they are firmer and more durable than other nipple types.
Since silicone nipples are firmer, they provide a good solid latch on your baby’s mouth and coupled with a wide base, they can mimic a mother’s breast.
This way, your baby won’t gag, smack or leak a lot of precious milk from the corners of her mouth.
Basically, a nipple should have a large, wide base because this will help your baby to latch on properly.
A narrow base may present a choking hazard as the base can get in your baby’s mouth during feeding, especially if your baby’s suction is strong and powerful.
Look into latex rubber nipples.
Some manufacturers use latex because it is softer than silicone, however latex presents an allergy hazard more than silicone so some babies might get an allergic reaction to it.
Latex nipples also tend to tear more easily, which presents a choking hazard and means you will have to replace the nipples more frequently, which can be costly.
Learn how to clean and maintain silicone and latex nipples.
When buying nipples, make sure to buy nipples for the bottle they were designed to be used for (so buy within the same brand).
When nipples and bottles are mixed and matched, there is always greater potential for leakage because the parts will not fit together perfectly.
Once you buy the nipples, sterilize them and any other accessories according to the manufacturer’s directions – this is the only time you will need to sterilize them.
You just have to wash the nipples in warm soapy water after every use.
Make sure to regularly check the nipples for any tears, especially if your baby has started teething.
She will usually bite the nipples and play with them after feeding and if there is a tear on the nipple, this presents a choking hazard, so you need to replace it right away.
Think about buying nipples with air vents and valves.
Some manufacturers just have the basic bottle, nipple, nipple ring and cover as the parts of the baby bottle, but others also contain air vents and special valves, which are intended to prevent colic.
Bottle manufacturers have included air vents in their nipples to prevent air bubbles from being accidentally ingested by the infant, as this is believed to be the cause of colic.
If after your research you find that your baby is not colicky, you can do without nipples that have special vents and valves, but if you find that your baby will benefit in the long run from using such a product, then by all means, this is what you should consider buying.
The disadvantage of these nipples is that since the air vents and valves are small, they are difficult to clean and maintain; there’s also the danger of them falling down the drain when being washed.
Learn how to clean nipples with air vents and valves.
If you end up with these types of bottles, purchase a stainless steel basin that you will use only for cleaning them so that the small parts included in the set won’t be in any danger of falling down the drain during washing.
Purchase and use a cleaning brush set with a big brush and small brush so that you have one for each part of the bottle set.
The big brush will be used to clean the whole bottle, and the small brush will be used to clean the nipple, nipple ring, valves and air vents.
Make sure to swoop your hand through the basin before throwing the water into the sink to check if there are other small parts left inside that you just can’t see because of the soap bubbles.
Buying Bottles to Fit Your Needs
Buy only one bottle of each kind at first.
Try each type of bottle first before buying several of them.
See how your baby responds to the bottle and consider whether the bottle fits his needs.
Once you have identified the bottle that works best for your baby, you can start buying more of the same kind.
Make sure that the bottles are BPA-free, as this chemical has been linked to health problems.
Buy bottles depending on your use.
If you are not breastfeeding and your baby is mostly bottle-fed, it is recommended that you buy around 6 to 12 bottles.
This number may need to be increased depending on your baby’s consumption.
On the other hand, if you are breastfeeding, you will still need to have at least two bottles as you will need them whenever you express your milk and for storage.
Choose nipples with the appropriate flow.
ottle nipples come in different shapes, sizes, materials, and flow levels.
It is important to know the appropriate flow for your baby to prevent him from struggling while feeding or from not getting enough food.
There are three types of nipple flow: soft, medium, and fast flow.
Soft-flow nipples are used by newborns from ages 0-3 months.
Medium-flow nipples are used by babies over 3 months of age as they may require more milk due to their increased sucking ability.
Fast flow nipples are used by babies who are ready and can cope up with the speedy milk flow.
Buy extra nipples.
You need to have more nipples than bottles, as you will need to change the nipples more regularly when they become worn out or the baby chews a hole in them.
This situation cannot be avoided as your baby might be teething.
However, you can reduce the tendency of your baby to chew on the nipple by giving him a teething ring to use instead.