One Mom’s Quest for the Perfect Bottle

breastfeeding
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I'm a proud breastfeeding, working mama.

Here's what this means: I get the ease of breastfeeding (perfect temperature milk on demand 24/7) two days a week and on the occasional holiday and the hassle of bottles (cleaning, measuring, warming, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning) the rest of the time, plus the extra burden of pumping at work (awkwardly explaining why you're late to a meeting, fear of someone opening the door to your pump room, lugging the pump around).

But like I said, I'm proud. I breastfed my first baby for a year exclusively when I figuratively kicked my breast pump to the curb–I wanted to literally kick it so, so bad, you guys–to start on whole milk. This time around, I've nursed my baby for three months and counting. I love breastfeeding, but I'm not going to lie, I hate cleaning bottles.

I've had experience with a variety of baby bottles with varying degrees of success. Whether you're a breastfeeding, working mama, a formula-feeding mama, or a mama who just wants a break now and then, here is a rundown on some of the top brands so you can find the best bottle to feed your hungry baby!

baby bottle
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Breastflow

Breastflow bottles were the first bunch on our list before our first baby arrived. We did lots of research, as new parents often do, and liked everything The First Years (the company who manufactures the Breastflow bottles) had to say about it. According to the website, the Breastflow has a 2-in-1 nipple that feels as natural as breastfeeding, keeping the baby's tongue in the same position as during breastfeeding. Breastflow bottles are designed to help prevent colic, gas, and spit-up.

Pro: My son had trouble latching, so I was thankful for these bottles during the first few weeks of pumping and feeding. I can't say definitively that these bottles helped prevent him from becoming confused, but the transition from bottle back to breast was easy for him, and he never had trouble with our Breastflow bottles after I returned to work. He also rarely spit up and wasn't a gassy baby, which I attribute to the bottles.

Con: These bottles were a BEAST to clean. They have three parts: the outer nipple, the inner nipple, and the bottle. Every evening, I was hand-washing 12 teeny parts, and that doesn't include all the breast pump parts. For everyday use, Breastflow bottles aren't worth the hassle.

tommee tippee
Image via Flickr/ Milo Riano

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature

I'm not going to lie, we bought the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles for our daughter because they were pink. After the latch problems with my first, I wanted to have bottles on hand when she arrived. Although we packed away bottles from the first round, we apparently forgot to clean them thoroughly first, so they weren't in great shape. The pink caught my eye (naturally), but it turns out these bottles are pretty amazing.

Pros: The Tommee Tippee website says the Closer to Nature collection has “flex and stretch ripples” to mimic the natural flex and movement of mama's breast–a soft nipple to feel like skin and a “breast-like shape” to help encourage a good latch. So far, so good. My daughter has latched on (no pun intended) to these bottles very well. My daycare lady raves about how well my daughter drinks from her bottle, and I know the softness and pliability of the nipples contribute to this.

Another bonus for Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles is the ease of cleaning. The wide bottle and nipple make them a breeze to scrub, so it's cut my cleaning time down considerably.

Cons: The only downside to the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles is that they are prone to leaking if the nipples aren't screwed on the right way. I've lost way too much precious breast milk because of leaky bottles! This is easily corrected by tightening the lid.

baby bottle
Image via iStock

Playtex VentAire

We bought a brand new, in-the-box Playtex VentAire bottles from a consignment sale after my son was born. Because they were rather basic (in other words, no bells, whistles, or “just like a breast” look and feel), we saved them for when our son was older. Surprisingly, they weren't half bad and served as a great transition bottle.

Pros: I loved how the bottle was designed to fit little hands. I wasn't a proponent of “bottle propping” when my son was super little, but as he grew, he wanted to hold his own bottle, and the VentAire was the right fit for his tiny fingers. Another bonus is that standard Playtex nipples fit, so you can switch from a slow-flow to a faster-flow nipple as your baby grows.

Cons: It all comes back to cleaning. Again, these bottles had a lot of individual parts to wash. The nipple, bottle, base, and cap could all be broken apart, and because milk could hide in the small crevices of the bottle, thorough cleaning was a must. I think it's clear at this point how much I enjoy cleaning bottles.

Finding the bottle that works for your baby and your lifestyle is important. Instead of buying in bulk, try a few different varieties to see what type of bottle your baby prefers.

{ MORE: Why Breastfeeding Doesn't Have to Be All or Nothing }

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One Mom’s Quest for the Perfect Bottle

Amanda is a social media manager for a health care organization by day, a blogger and freelance writer by night, and a celebrity news junkie all the time! She's also mom to an amazing 2 year-old boy and wife to a great guy who indulges all her celebrity gossip (and sometimes tries to scoop her!) Amanda loves coffee, fashion, nail polish, cats, and Tim Gunn (not always in that order.) For more celebrity gossip, fashion, beauty and DIY, visit Amanda's blog, It's Blogworthy. ... More

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8 comments

  1. Profile photo of Aubrey Aubrey says:

    Dr. Browns- another one that if you don’t get together just right, they are going to leak everywhere and a ton of cleaning of all the different parts. Playtex nursers with the drop in liners (or your milk bag liner) are awesome. Used them with my first 2 kids and never had an issue. With my last son, we tried 5 different types of bottles, the nursers, Dr. Browns, breastflow, avent, and another one that I can’t remember the name of (he’s 3 now, so we don’t have them anymore to check) and never found one that he would take without issue. He was a breast only baby, and would only take a bottle (reluctantly) after hours of screaming on the few nights I worked. My hubby actually brought him to my work more times than not, so I could feed him instead of pumping!

  2. Profile photo of Kim Kim says:

    We tried several different kinds of bottles before my son could latch on good. He finally took MAM bottles and absolutely love them. Although the replacement nipples are some what difficult to find the price is very reasonable and I think they are very under rated. No matter parents opinions the baby is going to choose the nipple they will latch on to.

  3. Profile photo of Jacqueline Jacqueline says:

    Mimijumi has to be my absolute favorite! nipple flow is perfect! It is only 2 pieces (and a rubber bottom that is optional, but doesn’t require any real cleaning as it does not come in contact with the milk). Only con… super hard to find right now. But they do come in two sizes, and my breastfed baby LOVES this bottle! I will buy more as soon as I can find them! OH, and my fav part about this bottle is that there is no ring around the nipple! It is only ONE PIECE! Cleaning is so easy!

    Another great bottle, the Como Tomo, the nipple is in 2 pieces, but other than that, a breeze to clean, and the whole bottle is soft and rubbery for baby to squeeze and grasp at !

  4. Profile photo of Katlyn Katlyn says:

    Did you ever try the Playtex Drop-Ins or something similar? Since your article focuses quite a bit on the cleaning of the bottles, it seems that this type of bottle may be ideal since the liners are easily removed and you just have to clean the nipple part. You can also change between a variety of different Playtex nipples for versatility and there are converter pieces available to hook the liners/bags directly to different types of pumps so you don’t lose any milk from having to transfer. I don’t have personal experience with these bottles, but am currently pregnant and planning to use these when baby arrives. They seem to be exactly what we are looking for! I would be interested to hear if others have had experience with these particular bottles, as well.

    • Profile photo of Michelle Michelle says:

      I used thise with my first 2 kids and already have them for the baby im due to have in three weeks. I love those bottles and there are so many different nipples yoi are bound to find one your baby likes. Easy to clean and with the drop in liner so easy to use. They do get kind of pricy because of having to buy liners but well worth it i think. I hated cleaning regular bottles with my first and this was the answer

  5. Profile photo of katrinatee katrinatee says:

    Avent natural nipple bottles all the way :))! I’ve used these bottles since my baby boy was born, he’s now 4 months old and I’ve never had any issues. I have tried a few other bottles simply out of curiosity , but just ended up throwing them all away because they either always leaked or were too complicated. I love my Avent baby bottles !

  6. Profile photo of Alyson Alyson says:

    Thanks for this article! With my first, I think I introduced the pacifier and bottle too early, during the first week. After that, we were both frustrated with nursing and I was left to exclusively pump. This time around? I’m desperately trying to figure out which bottle would work best with nursing. I hear people give advice all the time, then I hear moms say, “Your baby will determine which bottle they like.” ::oh dear::

    • Profile photo of Laura Laura says:

      Sad but true in my experience. Luckily I’d gotten some free samples of different bottles, including the Tommee Tippee. Ultimately the only bottle that didn’t leak all over my son was Muchkins Latch bottles. They are a pain to clean though since there’s also a colic nub in the bottom.

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