The best baby bottle has:
- Durability. Look for a bottle that can stand up to
repeated falls, trips through the dishwasher and temperature extremes.
- An easy-to-clean design. You'll appreciate
a minimum of small parts and hard-to-reach crevices, and make sure the bottle
is dishwasher-safe for when you're pressed for time.
- BPA-free parts. As the editors at ConsumerReports.org note, the
industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) was banned from bottles in July 2012. Yet
it's still worth checking the label, especially if you buy older merchandise
from discount stores or clearance centers.
- Several available nipple speeds. Baby bottle nipples come in
various stages to accommodate changes in feeding abilities and styles as babies
grow. Generally, slower nipples are for smaller babies while faster nipples are
for older, hungrier, more efficient babies.
- A venting system to cut down on excess air consumption. A baby who sucks
down too much air while feeding is more susceptible to gas, reflux and the
fussing that accompanies both. While some companies claim their bottles help
ease colic or uncontrollable crying, the true cause of colic remains unclear,
according to KidsHealth.org.
Know before you go
- What does your baby like? It's impossible to tell which bottle
and nipple will work for your baby before you try it. Experts advise starting with
one or two starter kits rather than stocking up on a particular brand. If your
baby rejects a specific bottle or seems to be gassier or crankier than usual,
trying another brand or style could make all the difference.
- Will you be feeding on the go? Look for a bottle with a leak-free reputation and sturdy travel
cap that securely fits over the nipple. You may also want to consider bottles
with disposable liners that require less cleanup.
- What is that nipple made of? Latex and silicone nipples are both
considered safe, but many experts recommend silicone. Latex exposure can
increase the risk of latex sensitivity or allergy for both mom and baby. Some
reviewers say latex is more susceptible to bacterial growth. It can also be
bitten through more easily, posing a choking hazard. That said, some babies
have a strong preference for either silicone or latex and will refuse the
- Will you be using a breast
pump? Look for a bottle you can connect to your pump, either directly or
with an adapter. Otherwise, you'll be cleaning double the bottles: those you
pump into and those you use to feed pumped milk to your baby.
Value expectations: The dollars and cents of it
always pay less per bottle when you buy in packs instead of individually; just
be sure your baby likes the bottle! Three- to five-pack sets are most common.
Once you find
the perfect bottle, what else do you need? Bottle manufacturers would love to
sell you a range of accessories, including brushes, drying racks, warmers and
sanitizers. However, the latter two are the most expensive and probably the
most unnecessary, experts say. According to WebMD, sterilizing bottles is overkill because
a thorough wash banishes germs just fine. And baby product experts, including editors at Babble,
have long derided bottle warmers as unnecessary. Most babies are content with
room-temperature breast milk or formula. If not, putting the bottle in a bowl
of warm water or under the tap will do the trick.