Baby Bottles: What Type Is Best for Your Little One?

Should you go with glass, plastic, or disposable bottles? Do you need a bottle warmer and sterilizer?

Fortunately, you don’t need all the products out there, but a few will come in handy.

Baby Bottle Basics: Plastic Vs. Glass

You've got three basic choices:

1. Plastic

Pros: They’re light-weight, strong, and unbreakable.

Cons: Plastic baby bottles may not last as long as glass.

2. Glass

Pros: They last a long time, and you can boil them for a deep clean.

Cons: They’re heavier than plastic and may shatter if dropped.

3. Disposable

Pros: These reusable plastic bottles have a disposable sterilized liner for each feeding. They’re very convenient because they clean-up quickly.

Cons: The disposable inserts may not be great for the environment, and the bottles are usually more expensive than regular plastic or glass. You also need to have a supply of liners, which can be costly.

Which kind should you choose? Ask for advice from friends, family, or your baby’s pediatrician. Experiment. Try a few and see which you and your baby like best.

Once you pick a specific bottle, buy at least a dozen of them. Even if you’ll be breastfeeding, you may want some extra baby bottles for pumped breast milk storage.

Nipples for Bottles

Baby bottle nipples are usually rubber or silicone. They can be rounded, wide, flat, or shaped to mimic a mother’s nipple when in the baby’s mouth. Depending on the size of the nipple hole, they also have different flow rates, from slow to fast.

As with bottles, your baby may prefer a certain nipple type. The only way to find out is to try them out. To get started, ask friends, family, and your baby’s doctor about which types and brands they recommend.

Get at least 12 nipples and covers. Remember, these nipples crack and leak with use, so you may need to buy more over time.

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Baby Bottle Gear

There are lots of accessories to choose from, including brushes, carrying cases, sterilizers, and dishwasher bottle baskets.

Pediatricians and parents generally agree that the following items are helpful to have:

  • 1 baby bottle brush
  • 1 nipple brush
  • 6-12 bibs
  • 1 breast pump with storage bottles (if breastfeeding)
  • 12 burp cloths, receiving blankets, or clean cloth diapers

Are Plastic Baby Bottles Safe?

Yes. In the past, some people worried about the safety of baby bottles made with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used to make hardened plastic. The FDA banned the use of BPA in 2012 from baby bottles and sippy cups.

6 Dos & Don’ts

1. Don’t sterilize glass baby bottles and nipples before every use. Sterilizing bottles was only necessary in the past, when local water supplies were not as reliably clean as they are now.

You may want to sterilize new glass baby bottles and new nipples by putting them in boiling water for 5 minutes Afterward, you can wash bottles in the dishwasher, which cleans better than hand-washing them, or wash by hand with hot, soapy water and rinse well.

2. Do replace baby bottles and nipples if you find a certain set just doesn’t agree with your baby’s needs.

3. Do replace a glass baby bottle if it’s cracked or chipped.

4. Do replace a plastic baby bottle if it’s cracked, leaks, is discolored, or smells bad.

5. Do replace a nipple if it’s discolored or isn't in good shape (a damaged nipple can be a choking hazard), or if baby formula comes out too fast.

To test the flow, turn the bottle upside down. Only a few drops should come out. If more do, the hole is too big, and your baby may get more infant formula than he can handle. Nipple packages should state the flow rate on them.

6. Don’t buy a baby bottle warmer unless you really want one. Standing a baby bottle in a glass of hot water for a few minutes is easier and less expensive. Also, don't heat your baby’s bottle in the microwave. That can create hot spots in the liquid, because microwaves don't heat evenly.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on January 30, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Infant Formula.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Bottle Feeding a Newborn Baby.”

WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic: “What Baby Gear Do You Need for Your Newborn?”

Kaiser Permanente: “Bottle Feeding: Choosing Baby Bottles and Nipples.”

Federal Register, July 17, 2012.

 

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