Dr. Brown's Natural Flow baby bottles have an unusual design that incorporates a straw-like tube vent to help prevent babies from swallowing air when they drink. It gets top reviews from expert reviewers, and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from parents suggests that this colic-prevention feature is indeed an improvement over standard baby bottles.
Dr. Brown's bottles went entirely BPA-free in 2008, and now contain no BPA, PVC or other harmful plastics. Be sure you order only bottles manufactured after 2008. These bottles have more parts than most, but none small enough to present a choking hazard.
Dr. Brown's anti-colic system relies upon an assembly that includes a nipple with ring, vent system and straw, in addition to the bottle. While it's this system that controls air in the liquid, it can be difficult to assemble, disassemble and clean. The parts also have to come together just right for the bottle to work correctly, which can be difficult to manage with one hand while holding a baby. Once the bottle is assembled, reviewers say it is easy to use. They also say it gets easier with practice.
Once taken apart, the bottles are easy to clean and dishwasher safe on the top rack. There are a few reports of leaking, but not many. They come in both standard and wide-neck designs. There's not much difference between the two, except the wide-neck design makes the bottle easier to clean.
Because of the anti-venting system, formula is more difficult to mix well in this bottle. Pre-mixing in a separate container may result in a more thorough mix.
Dr. Brown's bottles are popular for a reason, in spite of their less-than-user-friendly assembly: The anti-colic system really does work, according to most parent reviewers. A few even say their children born with rare feeding issues can only be fed with Dr. Brown's bottles. Two expert review sites selected Dr. Brown's as the best bottle for preemies with the optional Preemie Flow nipple (*Est. $4 for a pack of two).
Some parents complain that Dr. Brown's bottles are expensive, but they actually fall somewhere in the middle of the price point when compared to other bottles in this review. The wide-neck bottles are slightly pricier, but there is no real difference between the two bottles other than the neck.
Dr. Brown's is our pick for a colicky baby. You can't argue with success, and Dr. Brown's bottles earn high praise for colic prevention. Yes, they can be a pain to assemble; If done incorrectly, it can lead to leaking, a fussy baby and a few frantic moments. But if your baby suffers from gas, this bottle is the one most apt to fix the problem.
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In more than 1,000 reviews, Dr. Brown's bottles earn a score of 86 out of 100, primarily because of their anti-colic feature.
Review: Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Baby Bottles Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Dr. Brown's Natural Flow gets a rating of 4 stars out of 5 in more than 150 owner reviews. Parents comment favorably on the venting system and the variety of available sizes, but some complain that there are too many parts to clean and assemble.
Review: Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Newborn Feeding Set, Contributors to Amazon.com
Dr. Brown's Natural Feeding System is included in this roundup of the 15 best baby bottles and sippy cups. The author, Heather Eng, says these bottles really do work to prevent spit-up and notes that the polypropylene heats up quickly -- a plus for middle-of-the-night feedings.
Review: 15 BPA-Free Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups, Heather Eng
4. The Essential Infant Resource for Moms
In this detailed baby bottle buying guide, editors of The Essential Infant Resource for Moms say the Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottles are the best option for fussy and gassy babies. Editors commend the unique venting system for preventing vacuums.
Review: What's the Best Baby Bottle for…?, Editors of The Essential Infant Resource for Moms
This well-balanced review of the best baby bottles deems the Dr. Brown's Natural Flow bottle the best for preemies, because it offers a slower-than-usual, slow-flow nipple. On the downside, Dr. Brown's bottles have a lot of parts to clean.
Review: Best Baby Bottles, Editors of MomFinds.com
In their annual roundup of best baby bottles, Babble.com picks Dr. Brown's as the best bottle for preemies. They state that it's not the easiest to clean and the internal system makes it harder to mix formula, but the other features are ideal for preemies.
Review: Babble Best Picks: Baby Bottles, Editors of Babble.com, 2011
Editors say the Dr. Brown's Natural Feeding system is known for its internal venting system that helps reduce gas and indigestion.
Review: The Five Best Baby Bottles, Editors of LilSugar.com, Feb. 23, 2010
Reviewers at Target.com tend to give the Dr. Brown's Newborn BPA-Free Feeding set high marks -‑ more than half the users give it 5 out of 5 stars. However, even those who like this bottle warn that it is cumbersome and time consuming to use, so make sure your baby needs it before going through the hassle.
Review: Dr. Brown's Newborn BPA-Free Feeding Gift Set, Contributors to Target.com