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Modern parents and caregivers have more bottle choices than ever.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by your options, determine what type of bottle you want for your baby.
You’ll need to choose a material and shape that your baby likes.
Then you can look for nipples that will work with the bottle.
Nipples are designed with different flow rates or sizes so you’ll need to buy several as your baby grows.
Selecting the Bottle Material
Choose glass for an easy to clean, eco-friendly option.
Since glass is a completely smooth surface these bottles are easier to scrub than plastic ones.
If you sterilize your bottles with boiling water, they will also last longer since the glass won’t break down like plastic will.
Some glass bottles are sold with removable silicone sleeves that make them easier to grip and will protect the bottles from shattering if you drop them.
Pick stainless steel for durable, long-lasting bottles.
If you’d like a recyclable, chemical-free option that’s less likely to break, buy stainless steel bottles.
They’re easy to clean out and you can also buy silicone sleeves that make the bottles easy to grip.
When looking for stainless steel bottles, choose ones that are insulated to maintain the temperature of the breast milk or formula.
If you like to mix your formula directly in the bottle, stainless steel can make this difficult since you can’t see to measure the water and formula.
Get plastic for an inexpensive lightweight option.
If you like to travel with bottles and are worried about them breaking, look for plastic bottles.
These usually have volume markings on the outside so you can easily measure breast milk or formula.
Because plastic can break down over time you’ll need to replace them if they become scratched.
Although baby bottles are no longer made with the chemical BPA, other chemicals that mimic estrogen can be released through BPA-free plastic.
Find silicone bottles for a lightweight plastic-free choice.
If you’d like the durability of rubber or plastic but you’re concerned about chemicals leaching into the milk, look for bottles made of silicone.
Silicone is sturdy enough to wash in the dishwasher and heat in a bottle warmer.
Most designs are also easy to clean and are scratch-proof.
Unfortunately, silicone bottles can be difficult to find in stores so you may need to buy them online.
Consider buying backups in case they get lost.
Picking a Bottle Shape and Size
Try a traditional shape if you want bottles that are easy to buy or replace.
Standard baby bottles are tall or straight-necked and easy to find in most grocery stores, pharmacies, or department stores.
Traditional bottles should have no trouble fitting in cup holders, bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers, or baby bottle carriers.
Since this is the most common style of baby bottle, you should be able to find traditional bottles made of glass, plastic, silicone, and stainless steel.
Test angled bottles to prevent your baby from swallowing excess air
If you’re concerned that your baby is gassy because they’re swallowing too much air while they’re eating, try an angled bottle.
These ergonomic bottles may be easier for you to hold and air will be less likely to be trapped in the nipple.
Since they’re angled near the neck, you’ll need to practice filling the bottle or use a
Look for wide-neck bottles if you want to breastfeed and bottle feed.
Wide-neck bottles use wide nipples that mimic the look of breastfeeding nipples.
This may prevent nipple confusion if you plan to switch between breastfeeding and giving your baby bottles.
If you’re having trouble cleaning the inside of traditional or angled bottles, wide-neck bottles may be easier to clean.
If you plan to use bottle carriers, bottle warmers, or cup holders, keep in mind that wide-necked bottles may not fit.
Try bottles with venting systems if you're concerned about gas or colic.
Research is still being done to determine if bottles with venting systems actually reduce the amount of air that your baby ingests while drinking.
If you’d like to give them a try, look for bottles that have a straw-like vent near the nipple or bottom.
Venting systems may be tricky to clean since there are several hard to reach components.
Buy 4 to 12 bottles of your choice.
Once you’ve tried several bottles to see what your baby prefers, determine how many bottles you’ll need.
If you’re primarily breastfeeding, you won’t need as many bottles as if you’re solidly formula-feeding.
Depending on the type and brand of bottles your baby likes, purchase bottles in a variety of sizes.
For example, buy several 4 ounce (118 ml) bottles for when your baby is very small.
As they get older, switch to 8 to 9 ounce bottles (236 to 266 ml) so you can feed your baby more in a single sitting.
Choosing the Nipples and Accessories
Look for nipples that work with the bottles you’ve picked.
If you chose a traditional bottle shape, you may be able to use nipples from a variety of brands.
For a more unique bottle shape, you might need to buy that brand’s nipples.
Most nipples are made from latex or silicone.
If you suspect your baby is allergic to the flexible latex nipples, switch to the more rigid silicone nipples.
Decide what shape of nipple to get.
If you’re planning on breastfeeding and bottle feeding, look for a nipple that’s wide with a flat-top.
For classic baby bottle nipples that are easy to replace, buy traditional nipples shaped like a dome.
If you’re concerned about the baby’s palette, get orthodontic nipples that have a bulb which rests on the baby’s tongue.
You may need to try several shapes to find a nipple that your baby likes.
Select the flow rate of the nipple.
For a newborn, choose a low or slow flow nipple.
You can then move beyond this stage 1 nipple to a medium flow and large, fast flow.
Always move up in nipple sizes as your baby gets older and drinks more breast milk or formula.
Many nipples are sold based on age, but they’re just guidelines.
If your baby is choking when they eat, you may need a slower flow nipple.
If the baby struggles to get much out of the bottle, switch to a faster flow nipple.
Decide if you want to buy disposable inserts for the bottles.
If you’re short on time or dislike clean up, buy a few packages of drop-in plastic inserts.
Place them in the bottle and fill the insert with breast milk or formula.
Once the baby has finished drinking, remove the insert and throw it away. Then wash the nipple.
Keep in mind that each disposable insert should only be used one time, since there’s no way to clean or sterilize them.