Baby Bottle Basics
Whether you're planning to bottle feed your baby exclusively, or just want a backup plan for when you need a few hours away from home, choosing the “right” type of baby bottle can be challenging. There is a lot of conflicting information about the types and models that are safe for babies and the ones that are not.
The Truth about Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A has been widely used as an additive to many different types of plastics. Although it has been suspected that this compound was hazardous, it wasn't until 2008 that several governments began seriously looking into the health issues caused by this compound. Studies show that exposure to Bisphenol A can disrupt the body's endocrine system, which can lead to disruptions in the development of brain function, behavior, and the prostate gland – particularly in fetuses, infants, and children.
BPA can be released from the plastic when it is heated, which is why it is a particular concern for baby bottles, as when they are heated it allows the Bisphenol A to leech into the contents of the bottle, which is then ingested by the infant. However, the FDA advises that as long as the bottle is heated for less than 20 minutes at 212° F there shouldn't be significant amounts of Bisphenol A transferred to the liquid. Most manufacturers have already removed Bisphenol A from their plastic bottles, but it's a good idea to look for BPA-free bottles, or use glass instead.
Choosing the Right Baby Bottle
All babies are different, which means they all prefer different styles of baby bottles and nipples. It may take a few tries to find one that your baby likes, so hold off on major purchases of bottles and supplies until you know that you've chosen the model that they prefer. Some babies prefer a nipple that more closely resembles the human breast, while others might like a nipple that is completely different. Be patient, and within a few tries you will probably find the type of bottled that he or she prefers.
If you are choosing a bottle for occasional feedings, it is a good idea to have someone other than the breastfeeding mother bottle feed the baby in the beginning. Most babies may sense that the “real thing” is close by and may refuse to be fed from the bottle.
Baby Bottle Supplies
Here is a list of some suggested bottle feeding supplies. The amount of bottles and nipples you buy depends on whether you will be using the bottle for occasional feedings, or all the time.
- Baby bottles and nipples: At least enough to get through one night of feeding, so you don't have to wash them when you want to be sleeping.
- Bottle and nipple brush: To ensure that all parts are clean.
- Drying rack: If you are hand washing, this provides a clean place for them to dry.
- Sterilizing rack: Some bottles can be sterilized in the microwave using a special rack; this is a good option if you don't have a lot of time.
- Bottle warmer: If you expect to be doing a lot of night time bottle feedings, this can save you a lot of time and preparation.
When in doubt, find other moms who are also bottle feeding, and ask them their opinion. They may have some great tips and suggestions for choosing the right bottle, and which accessories are absolutely necessary.