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Buyer's Guide: Bottles & Teats

Buyer's Guide: Bottles & Teats

Whether you breast-feed or use formula, using bottles and nipples means your baby gets any-time access to milk. The design of bottles and nipples has evolved so much in recent years, with different materials, shapes, and internal design. Your baby may have a preference for a particular type of bottle or nipple, having reduced colic and spit-up from using these feeding accessories. Or perhaps you find it simpler to assemble, use and clean a certain brand of bottles and nipples.

Whatever the case may be, many reputable brands sell their bottles and nipples in starter packs which are fantastic for figuring out what works. Alternatively, you could consult friends for recommendations or browse through online reviews.


what's available

nipples

    • Material: Majority of nipples are made using two materials – silicone and latex.

Silicone

Compared to its latex counterpart, Silicone teats tend to be firmer and less flexible. They rarely trigger allergic reactions in babies, unlike latex. Moreover, wide-necked bottles normally use silicone teats, while standard bottles can utilize either. However, given its firmer texture, babies may take a longer time to get used to silicone teats.

Latex

Latex has a softer, flexible texture, which makes it more appealing to babies as it mimics mothers’ nipples more closely. However, latex tends to be less durable than silicone, and you may notice some wear and tear after time. One of the concerns of latex material is the reported cases of allergy. If your baby suffers from a latex allergy, then it’s best to avoid nipples made from latex, and use silicone ones instead.


    • Shape: Regular nipples are dome or bell shaped, and are the default nipple shape for most bottles. Orthodontic nipples have a bulb that’s flat on one side to rest against the tongue. 

Standard Round Nipple

Standard nipples are shaped to feel just like mom’s, and are well-received by babies in general. They are a good bet if you plan to switch between breast and bottle feeding.

Orthodontic Nipple

Orthodontic nipples are designed to promote healthy oral development, with an unsymmetrical shape that is angled to fit the contours of a child’s palate and gums. These tend to be more costly than its standard counterparts.


bottles

    • Material: Baby bottles come in a plethora of materials – glass, thermoplastics and silicone are most commonly available.  

Glass

Glass bottles are both solid and beautiful. They hold out better against repeated sterilization, and do not contain harmful chemicals such as Bisphenol A. Moreover, due to the smooth surfaces, glass tends to be easier to clean as milk residue does not stick to the surface. However, they run the risk of breaking, chipping, or cracking, and are more expensive.

Thermoplastics

The thermoplastic family of milk bottles includes Polypropylene (PP), Polyphenylsulphone (PPSU) and Polyethersulphone (PESU). Cheap, lightweight, and easily molded, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They are also resistant to breakage, which is an important consideration if you’d bring your bottles wherever you go.

However, plastic bottles are less scratch-proof, so be sure to stick to softer bottle brushes and microfiber cloths for cleaning. They also tend to degrade over long periods of sterilization and use. The good thing is, lightweight and inexpensive; be sure to look out for BPA-free bottles if you’re going for the plastic bottle route!

Silicone

The latest generation of materials being deployed in milk bottles, silicone is BPA and Phthalate free, with a soft feel and squeezable texture that mimics the feel and function of nursing.

The nature of silicone means the volume gradation on the milk bottle can be harder to read, making it less suitable for night feedings. Also, the bottle will take a longer time to heat up due to the insulating properties of silicone.


    • Design: There are a myriad of options here – anti-colic, straight and bent-necked, wide-shaped, natural flow, among others. We’ll cover several of the major shapes that you’ll likely encounter.

Straight/Standard

The typical shape of milk bottles, and is basically a lid and nipple attached to a simple bottle. And because they have a basic shape, they will fit in most bottle warmers, sterilizers, and diaper bag pockets.

Angled

As the name suggests, these bottles are crafted with a noticeable bent, which is designed to keep the nipple filled with milk, therefore minimizing the chance of air ingestion by your baby. It also promotes feeding in an upright position that reduces ear infection.

Given the rather unusual shape, it may take some time for parents to learn how to hold it properly. It may not be the most versatile when used with standard feeding gear products, such as breast pumps, sterilizers and bottle warmers.

Wide-Necked

Wide-necked bottles come with a wider opening that mimics the shape of a mother’s breasts. This bottle shape is especially useful for the breast to bottle transition as they help to prevent nipple confusion. The wide opening also makes cleaning easier, but these tend to be more expensive, with a smaller selection of teat shapes that could fit.

Vented

Vented bottles are also known as natural flow, or anti-colic bottles. The distinguishing feature of these bottles is the straw shaped tube in the middle of the bottle, which prevents air bubbles created or trapped through mixing from being swallowed by your baby, via straw venting. Some vented bottles only include top venting, identified by the presence of a valve or vent in the nipple.

Vented bottles are definitely useful for preventing a colicky baby, but they are harder to clean due to additional parts, and tend to be pricier. Still, the additional features are often compelling enough for most mothers to add these to their arsenal.


refine your choice

During feeding, milk should drip steadily out of the nipple, instead of a constant stream. If the flow is too fast or slow, you may have to change the nipple to a more appropriate size for your baby. The suggested age range is meant to be a guideline, so you can be flexible in testing out different nipple sizes and flows to find one that works.

Glass or plastic bottles is a matter of personal preference. If you’re going for plastic bottles, ensure that they have the “BPA-free” label, due to the possible health risks of Bisphenol A, a common chemical found in plastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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