The First Years Breastflow has a loyal following among breastfeeding moms who want to supplement with a bottle without causing nipple confusion. This bottle's standout feature is its two-layer nipple, which forces a baby to use a proper nursing latch in order to drink.
The First Years was one of the first major bottle manufacturers to voluntarily discontinue the sale of baby bottles containing BPA in the U.S., so their bottles are all BPA-free. Although the nipple is a two-part system, there are no small parts that would pose a choking hazard.
One expert review says the two-part nipples on The First Years Breastflow bottles are easy to clean, but users beg to differ. There are many complaints about the difficulty of cleaning and reassembling the nipple system. The wide neck of the bottle itself makes it easy to clean. All components are dishwasher safe on the top rack.
There are also numerous complaints of leaking due to milk becoming trapped between the two nipples. This may be a function of the assembly process, which can be a bit tricky. One reviewer warns not to leave the bottles too long before cleaning after use, because milk trapped between the two nipples can be difficult to get out when it's dried. Others say that even when the bottle does not leak, the trapped milk makes a big mess when taking the bottle apart for cleaning.
The 5-ounce bottle fits directly on The First Years miPump (*Est. $60), which is convenient for moms who use this bottle to supplement breastfeeding. It does not attach directly onto other breast pumps.
Leakage issues aside, moms overwhelmingly say this bottle is the only one their breast-fed babies will take and still take the breast as well. The manufacturer says the Breastflow nipple requires both suction and compression, just like breastfeeding, and the dual nipple system mimics tongue position and flow used during the act of breastfeeding. Some user reviews even suggest using The First Years Breastflow as a breastfeeding trainer for babies who have trouble latching, which is particularly convenient for mothers who have had to delay breastfeeding due to post-natal issues with their newborns.
Reviewers say these bottles help to minimize gas bubbles and are good for children with colic or reflux issues. These bottles are also sold in a disposable bottle configuration that uses liners, which are convenient for travel.
The unusual and highly rated nipple design of The First Years Breastflow baby bottles make it a great choice for moms who switch back and forth between breast and bottle and want to avoid nipple confusion, or for babies who are reluctant to take a bottle after a period of exclusive breastfeeding. The many reports of leaking keep this bottle a runner up for us, but careful assembly and cleaning may make it worth the trouble if it makes baby happy.
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More than 100 reviewers give the The First Years Breastflow bottle 3.8 out of 5 stars. Many moms who switch between breast and bottle say it's the only bottle their child will take. There are many complaints of leaking.
Review: The First Years Breastflow BPA Free Bottle 3-Pack, Contributors to Amazon.com
In a handful of owner-written reviews, The First Years Breastflow baby bottle earns 4.5 stars out of 5. Comments and ratings are similar to those at Amazon.com.
Review: The First Years Breastflow Bottles 9oz(250 ml) 3 Pack, Contributors to Target.com
More than 130 reviewers give The First Years Breastflow bottles an 85 out of a possible 100. Again, breastfeeding moms love the way their babies take to the bottle but hate the leakage issue.
Review: The First Years Breastflow Plastic Baby Bottles Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
The First Years Breastflow bottle is chosen as Babble's Best Overall in their annual ranking of Best Baby Bottles. This review ranks less highly than user reviews, because there is no mention of testing methods, it's not really comparative, and the opinions of editors do not match up with the very real experiences of those who actually purchased and used the bottle over a period of time.
Review: Babble Best Picks: Baby Bottles, Editors of Babble.com, 2011