Choosing the right bottle for your baby can seem like a minefield – with so many bottles to choose from, it’s difficult work out where to start. To an extent, buying a bottle for your baby is a process of trial and error. Many mums try several different bottle brands before settling on the one their baby seems to like the most.
Start by considering whether you plan to breastfeed or use formula milk, or whether you’d like to combine both feeding methods. If you’re breastfeeding exclusively you may not need bottles at all, but it’s handy to have one in the house in the event that you’d like to express breastmilk so that your partner or a friend / relative can feed your baby while you catch up on sleep or pop out for an hour or two.
If you’re bottle-feeding, it’s a good idea to buy at least six bottles – enough for a day’s feeds without having to wash and sterilise them in between use.
If you’re planning to combine breastfeeding and bottle feeding, choose a bottle with a teat designed to mimic breastfeeding and reduce nipple confusion, which is when a baby struggles to adapt to the different feeding methods.
Next, think about what size bottle to buy. Smaller bottles are handy for use when you’re out and about as they take up less space, but you may need to replace them quite quickly as your baby’s appetite increases. It’s better value for money to buy larger bottles and just half-fill them in the early days.
Our favourite bottle is the Lansinoh Feeding Bottle with NaturalWave Teat as we found they don’t leak, unlike many other bottles, and are specifically designed to make it easy to switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
Lansinoh’s bottles with NaturalWave teats are clinically proven to encourage a baby’s natural feeding pattern and reduce nipple confusion, which can happen when breastfed babies find it difficult to switch back and forth between feeding at the breast and the bottle. The soft silicone teat allows your baby to control the milk flow. It’s designed to stretch and flex for optimal compression during feeding, while the inner vertical ridges prevent the teat from collapsing as your baby feeds. These bottles are also designed to reduce intake of air, which is a potential cause of colic.
Made in Germany with BPA free materials, NUK’s First Choice+ bottles have an Anti-Colic Air System – a cleverly designed feature to help minimise the swallowing of air, reducing the risk of infant colic. They are fitted with a medium feed hole teat which is suitable for both breast milk and formula. The teats are designed to mimic the shape of a mother's nipple during breastfeeding, so they’re ideal if you’re mixing breastfeeding with bottle feeding. The orthodontic NUK shape, combined with the NUK First Choice+ extra wide lip support, also make these bottles a practical choice if you’re alternating between breast and bottle feeding.
Designed for mums who want to bottle-feed their breastmilk to their baby, Calma bottles are unique in that they enable babies to maintain the natural sucking rhythm they develop whilst breastfeeding. Your baby can pause whilst drinking, creating a vacuum to allow the milk to flow, exactly like when breastfeeding. This makes it easier for babies to transition from breastfeeding to bottle feeding and back to the breast again. We found these bottles indispensable when trying to encourage a breastfed baby to take the occasional bottle of expressed breastmilk.
MAM Easy Start Anti Colic bottles are also suitable for combination feeding. The patented SkinSoft teat is silky soft and designed to feel familiar to a breastfed baby, making it easier to switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. According to market research by the brand, 94% of babies accepted the teat, so it’s worth trying if you’re breastfeeding a bottle-resistant baby. The vented base is cleverly designed to maintain an even flow so that babies swallow less air, helping to reduce the symptoms of colic. We love the fact that the Easy Start Bottle self-sterilises, so it’s really quick and easy to clean.
What’s clever about Tommee Tippee’s Advanced Anti-Colic Bottles is that the inner tube uses heat sensing technology to indicate if the milk is the right temperature – it turns pink if the milk is too hot. These bottles are also proven to reduce colic, thanks to the anti-colic tube, which draws air away from the milk to reduce discomfort. The brand says 80% of mums who tested these bottles agreed that they had successfully reduced their baby’s colic symptoms. They’re less likely to leak than other bottles as the star valve also prevents milk travelling back up the tube, and the breast-like teat enables an easier latch for babies used to breastfeeding.