One Mom’s Quest for the Perfect Bottle
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!
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 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.
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.
What is your favorite type of baby bottle?Read More