Mothers who need to supplement breastfeeding, or are trying to transition from breast to bottle, can run into resistance from their little person. Some babies will flat out refuse the bottle, preferring mom. Other babies will take the bottle, but then refuse to take the breast again -- a phenomenon called "nipple confusion." Many manufacturers have responded to this need with bottles that either mimic the breast, the act of breastfeeding or both.
The Mimijumi Very Hungry Bottle (*Est. $15 for one 8 oz. bottle) is unique in that it's designed to look like a breast in color, shape and texture. It has a wide nipple that acts as the cap of the bottle. This makes the bottle quite popular among owner reviewers, as they say their children take to it naturally and quickly.
The design of the bottle is also functional. The top has a slight tilt, more like the shape of a breast when a child is nursing. The nipple also has a low flow to more accurately simulate a mother's breast, something many reviewers appreciated. There's also a vent in the tip of the bottle and, because the bottle is designed to be held at an angle, it helps keep air at the base of the bottle instead of at the tip where the baby could ingest it. The non-slip base is a plus for many reviewers, as it grips surfaces when the cap is removed -- handy for mom who often has to work with one hand.
One of the few reports of problems with this bottle is with the cap. A few reviewers said the top was difficult to put on. It is also one of the most expensive bottles available, but reviewers say it's worth it because it works.
Although The First Years Breastflow baby bottle (*Est. $13 for three 5 oz. bottles) is shaped like a standard nurser, it has the advantage of an unusual and highly rated nipple design. The double nipple system consists of a soft outer nipple and firm inner nipple. This combination is supposed to make the baby compress and suck in a way that mimics breastfeeding and allows the baby to control the flow of milk.
There are plenty of owners weighing in on The First Years Breastflow bottles. Some complain of leaks, primarily due to milk becoming trapped in between the two nipples and eventually leaking out around the cap. This may be, in part, because bottles have a lot of parts, which makes cleaning cumbersome. Some parents complain about the venting system being inadequate to prevent babies from ingesting air. That said, many parents say The First Years Breastflow bottles are a good choice for breast-fed infants.
Bottles designed for breastfeeding should have some storage options and that's one of the features of the Baby MilkBank Vented Feeding Bottle (*Est. $18 for three 8 oz. bottles). Like many, this bottle is designed to prevent colic, and there is the optional MilkBank Vacuum Storage System (*Est. $25) can keep breast milk as fresh. It features a vacuum pump that attaches to the bottle and removes air, which ensures that the milk stays fresher longer. There are also insulated feeding bottles (*Est. $20 for three) available to keep breast milk at a constant 98.6 degrees.
There is one fatal flaw with this bottle: Virtually every reviewer, even those who love it, says the measurement markings wear off very quickly, sometimes within a few weeks even when the bottle is exclusively hand washed. The bottle system is not simple to use because it involves vacuum pumps and various storage containers. The additional cost of all of these accessories is going to add up as well. This bottle is best for the mother who is serious about providing her baby with natural milk and offers no advantage to anyone who wants to feed her child formula.
The best bottle for moms who want to supplement breastfeeding or are trying to transition their baby to a bottle is the Mimijumi Very Hungry Bottle. It's the shape that really takes the cake here, because it looks so much like a breast that it fools almost everyone who sees it for the first time -- most importantly, babies. Yes, it is expensive in comparison to others in this category, but for most mothers and reviewers it's worth the price. Making the transition from the breast to the bottle is difficult for some babies, so every advantage helps.