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Even if you’re a minimalist when it comes to baby gear (and let’s face it — the amount of baby gear you can accumulate is staggering), a baby bottle is one of the must-haves for many parents. It’s right up there with diapers (unless you’re bravely trying elimination communication).
Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, going back to work or staying home, there is a very high likelihood that at some point it will be helpful for your baby to take a bottle.
If you’re formula feeding, you’ll be using a bottle 6 to 12 times per day depending on your baby’s age.
And if you’re breastfeeding, a caregiver may give your baby pumped milk in a bottle if you return to work. Or you may decide that your partner can also take care of some feedings by giving pumped milk in a bottle, which gives them great bonding time with baby — and gives you a chance to sleep for a longer stretch or run an errand that takes more than 2 hours.
Bottom line: You’ll spend a lot of time feeding your baby during the first year of their life, and selecting the right baby bottle might make the process much easier.
Plus, there are enough things to worry about as a new parent. Complications of bottle feeding (gas, spit-up, colic, and high maintenance clean-up) shouldn’t be among them. A good baby bottle used correctly may help.
No particular bottle is proven to be better than any other at lessening gas, spit-up, colic, or other medical conditions. And notably, breastfed babies can have these issues as well.
Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. We read countless reviews, polled real-life parents, and tested some products ourselves to develop our list. So whether you’re building your baby registry or frantically searching the internet at 2 a.m. because your baby simply will. not. take. the. bottle. — we’ve got an option for you.
Dr. Brown’s Original
As the name implies, this is a classic. Dr. Brown’s reasonably priced bottles have been preferred by many parents for many years now. The two-way vent system is designed to mimic the positive pressure flow of breastfeeding, which may make it one of the best when it comes to minimizing air intake — and therefore gas, spitting, burping, and all the screaming that can accompany those uncomfortable things — for your baby.
You can use a variety of nipple flow sizes — such as preemie, newborn, and older baby — so you can adjust the flow of milk based on your baby’s ability to drink. This is huge, as venting and appropriate milk flow can be two of the most important features to make bottle feeding comfortable for your little one.
The one complaint we have with this bottle is that it has more pieces than some competitors, and therefore is more difficult to clean. (You do have to use several sizes of bottle brush to make sure you’re getting every piece really free of milk residue.)
However, most parents found the extra cleaning to be totally worth it for the superior feeding experience.
This bottle was — along with Dr. Brown’s — by far the top parent favorite in our research. The Comotomo baby bottle, while pricier than many other options, was reported to provide superior feel and function when it comes to mimicking mama’s breast.
It’s made of a soft, squeezable silicone that babies seem to love holding — and also allows you to control the flow to help mimic mom’s letdown reflex. It has a very wide nipple base and a more realistic nipple shape and feel. This allows baby to latch and suck in a very similar manner to when they nurse at the breast. For moms worried about nipple confusion in their breastfed baby, this bottle earns the top spot.
It also has a venting system built into the nipple base (rather than separate parts), which makes it easy to clean and may be helpful for reducing gas. All parents we talked to, whether feeding formula or breast milk, loved this bottle.
Several parents did say that the nipples wore thin over time and needed to be replaced.
Buy it here. $$
Another all-around favorite, the Avent Natural baby bottle is a great choice for those looking for a venting system and a design with a wide base and shorter nipple, and best of all — ease of cleaning. It doesn’t have a bunch of tiny pieces to deal with. (In our book, parenting is complicated enough. If there’s something you can simplify, it’s a win.)
Parents love the shape and ease of use, and report that this bottle has a high acceptance rate by babies. It comes in several sizes and nipple flow rates.
MAM is well known for their pacifier nipples, which have a shape and texture that a very high percentage of babies seem to love. They’ve brought that same technology and experience to their baby bottle nipples.
While every baby’s different in their bottle preference, these orthodontic nipples have a soft texture and shape that many babies — even those who aren’t convinced a bottle is the way to go — accept. This bottle also has a great venting system designed to minimize air swallowing. It’s reasonably priced and comes in a variety of sizes and nipple flow rates.
The main downside to this otherwise great bottle is that it has a number of separate parts to clean, which some parents felt was a hassle.
This is one of the most unique baby bottles out there — it’s actually shaped like a breast. This shape allows easier warming of milk — which helps prevent over warming, which damages breast milk — and faster cooling once refrigerated to help prevent bacteria growth. It also:
- can be gently squeezed
- has a natural-shape nipple
- has nipples in a variety of flow sizes (including preemie)
- is stackable for easy storage
- can be attached directly to your breast pump so you don’t have to worry about transferring milk
The reason we picked this for preemies — aside from the obvious that it has a preemie nipple option — is that many moms of preemie babies start out pumping and bottle feeding while their baby gains strength to be able to feed at the breast (or while mom builds her milk supply. This bottle very effectively mimics the shape and feel of the breast, which may help promote a smooth transition back to the breast if that’s what mom wants to do once baby is able.
Buy it here. $$
Dr. Browns Options+
The Dr. Brown’s Options+ bottles have all of the same great benefits as the Original Dr. Brown’s mentioned above. Parents love the venting system, which — although not the easiest to clean — is by far the top rated by parents when it comes to reducing gas, colic, and spit-up.
Pair the Options+ bottle with a Dr. Brown preemie nipple, which is the slowest flow available, to make a feeding set-up ideal for the tiniest humans.
Buy it here – $$
If you don’t think you’ll be using bottles very often, are a fan of simplicity, or just don’t want to break the bank, Medela baby bottles are a great option. Several of them come free with your Medela breast pump (which may also be free, through your health insurance) and you can purchase more at a reasonable price. They’re simple, easy to clean, have several nipple flow sizes, and attach directly to your pump for easy pumping/feeding.
Some parents felt these bottles didn’t do a great job preventing gas compared to other bottles on the market.
Buy it here. – $
Munchkin Latch Transition Cup
While technically a cup and not a bottle, the Munchkin Latch Transition Cup can be used for babies as young as 4 months old. Most doctors recommend starting to introduce a cup around 6 months, and most babies can transition off a bottle around 1 year. Transitioning from a bottle to a cup is important to prevent dental and some feeding issues.
This bottle/cup features a soft, moveable silicone spout that offers a nice transition from a bottle nipple that babies still feel comfortable using. It also has a venting system that’s supposed to help prevent gas and upset tummy and is easy to clean. This transition cup has easy-to-hold handles that little ones love as they gain independence and start feeding themselves.
Munchkin Latch bottle
This is the bottle version of the cup mentioned above, and many parents love it. It features an ergonomic shape, simple venting system (aka easy to clean), and a soft flexible nipple that many babies accept.
Joovy Boob Diamond
While all bottles are now required to be made from BPA-free plastic, many parents prefer to use glass bottles to avoid the risk of leaching chemicals into their baby’s milk — especially when heating milk or sterilizing bottles. The Joovy Boob Diamond does a nice job with its venting system, ease of washing, and silicone sleeve option that can help with grip and preventing breakage if the bottle is dropped.
Indeed, there is a real concern that glass bottles can shatter if baby might toss the bottle from, say, the stroller to an asphalt sidewalk. However, the Joovy Boob Diamond is 50 percent less breakable than its original counterpart, says the manufacturer. And, yes, glass bottles can cost more, but for caregivers who are concerned, the peace of mind that comes with glass versus plastic may be well worth these downsides.
Buy it here. $$$
Evenflo Classic Glass
These glass bottles from Evenflo have been around for years — they might even be what you drank from as a baby. They’re wildly popular for a number of reasons: The twisted design makes them a little easier to grip than some glass bottles, they’re easy to clean, they’re glass (versus plastic) for those who prefer it, and they’re inexpensive. You can get a value pack of these bottles about $3 per bottle.
Playtex Baby Nurser with Drop Ins Liners
While a little old-school, many parents love the Playtex baby bottles with disposable liners. They have a disposable bag insert that you fill with breast milk or formula and then toss after feeding. This makes clean-up a breeze! You really just have to wash the bottle nipple, which is great for parents on the go.
Interestingly, this bottle also ranks right up at the top for babies with gas or colic issues. The bag collapses on itself as your baby drinks, so less air gets gulped. These bottles come in a variety of sizes and nipple flow rates.
Some parents experienced leaking, and others didn’t like having to purchase additional liners.
Baby bottles have come a long way in recent years. To start with, the hard plastics used to make baby bottles are no longer made with
Some baby bottles are now made with food-grade silicone. Both plastic and silicone bottles are lightweight, and relatively easy to use and clean.
Many top-rated bottle brands also have a glass option available, for those who prefer it — although shattering glass is a safety concern as well. Glass bottles don’t have the risk of chemical leaching, but are heavier and may break easily.
In addition to the materials of the actual bottle, another primary consideration as you shop is the bottle nipple. Nipples come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flow rates.
- regular bottle nipples, which come in slow, medium, and fast flows — sometimes labeled 1, 2, or 3
- orthodontic nipples, which are designed to better mimic the human nipple
- specialized nipple sizes, such as for premature babies
- nipples specifically designed for babies with cleft palate
Each baby is different in their needs and preferences, so it can take a little trial and error to figure out the best option for your little one.
Start by making sure you’re selecting a nipple that’s the right flow rate for your baby’s age and size. If you use a flow that’s too fast for your newborn, they may choke and take in a lot of air, which can cause gas and fussiness. If you use a flow that’s too slow for your older baby, they may become frustrated because feeding is so much work.
If you’re primarily breastfeeding, you may want to start with a bottle nipple that mimics the natural breast to avoid nipple confusion.
Depending on the size and whether you get them in a value pack, baby bottles tend to range from $2 each up to $20 each. You can typically purchase replacement parts (such as nipples or sealing rings) separately as needed.
You can help things go smoothly by following a few bottle-feeding tips:
- When first introducing the bottle to a breastfed baby (preferably after 4 weeks of age, once breastfeeding is well established), it may help to have a different person — such as your partner — try giving the bottle. Baby is more likely to reject the bottle if they have the option of the breast.
- Try offering the bottle an hour or two after baby nurses (so when they’re hungry — but not hangry, if you know what we mean).
- If you give your bottle a good ol’ college try and your sweet pea just won’t have it, you may want to try another option. Babies, for reasons best known to them, can be very picky.
- Cuddle your baby close, and coo and talk to them. This helps with bonding and development of communication skills. It also reduces stress — for both of you!
- Keep your baby slightly propped up in the crook of your arm, so they aren’t trying to drink lying flat.
- Never microwave a bottle of breast milk or formula. This can damage breast milk and cause “hot spots” that can burn your baby. To warm the bottle, use a bottle warmer or sit the bottle in a mug of hot or warm water for a few minutes. Always check the temperature of the milk by dripping a bit on your wrist before offering it to your baby.
- Make sure you’re using the right nipple size — too small and your baby will have to work hard and may become frustrated; too large may have your baby gagging and choking.
- Keep the bottle angled to help with less air swallowing, and burp your baby once or twice during the feeding session.
- Keep your baby upright for 15 to 30 minutes after feeding to help reduce spit-up.
- Don’t let your baby fall asleep with a bottle or prop the bottle up for your baby to take by themselves. While convenient, these practices can increase the risk for tooth decay and ear infections.
- Keep your bottles, nipples, and all other parts clean. Wash everything with hot soapy water and bottle brushes. You don’t need to sterilize bottles after every use, but do this occasionally. Babies have immature immune systems, and are more susceptible to infections than adults.
- Don’t push your baby to finish the bottle if they seem done. It’s good for babies to learn to follow their own hunger cues. If you’re worried that your little one isn’t eating enough, give your pediatrician a call.
- If your baby seems colicky, try:
- adjusting the interval between feedings
- reducing the amount given at a single feeding
- talking to your pediatrician about switching formulas
- laying your baby tummy down across your arm and rubbing their back
- swaddling or rocking to see if this helps keep your little one more comfortable
You’ll spend a lot of time feeding your baby during their first year. Regardless of your feeding choice, you may give your baby a bottle at some point (or around the clock).
Some babies don’t accept bottles at first, or struggle with gas, spitting, and colic. Choosing the bottle that best fits your baby’s needs may help make the process smoother and more comfortable for both of you.
When to consult a doctor
If your baby is having feeding issues or fussiness that isn’t improving with a change in bottle or nipple type, talk to their pediatrician.
We hope this has helped you sift through some options for bottles to help get you and your baby through the first year well rested and well fed. Cheers!