We all want the best for our bundles of joy – from creating the ideal baby nursery to choosing high-quality products that are safe and free of any harmful toxins. After all, a healthy and safe environment is crucial for them to grow up properly. But what’s most important for the development of a young child is getting the right amount of nutrients.
When it comes to feeding your baby, picking the right bottle can be an overwhelming process since you’re hit with a huge range of choices once you visit any baby products supplier. Luckily, we wrapped up some useful tips you can consider when shopping for a safe and practical feeding bottle for your little one.
Consider the Materials Carefully
There’s a variety of materials that baby bottles can be made of – from plastic to silicone, glass, and even stainless steel. Truth be told, some of them are better and safer than the other ones.
Plastic is the most popular and commonly used option for producing baby bottles since it’s lightweight, won’t shatter or break once it falls and is one of the most affordable materials at the same time. But, be careful when choosing plastic bottles, since some of them might contain dangerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals which are toxic for both babies and adults and have been shown to cause infertility, diabetes and different cancers. For this reason, make sure you’re always buying safe and BPA-free baby milk bottles from trusted brands only.
On the other hand, silicone baby feeding bottles are also lightweight and flexible, and if you or your little one accidentally drop them, they won’t crack or break, but they’ll probably bounce.But same as in the case of plastic, make sure you’re always choosing baby milk bottles that are only made of food-grade or medical-grade silicones, which are the only ones that are BPA free and safe for your baby.
The feeding bottles made of glass are undoubtedly naturally BPA free, so they will give you the peace of mind you’re not exposing your little one to potential toxins. But on account of that, these bottles are not very convenient, since they are heavy and can easily break. For this reason, many of the manufacturers tend to upgrade the glass bottles with silicone sleeves around them to prevent shattering or breaking if they fall down.
Stainless Steel Bottles
Getting a stainless steel infant feeding bottle is perhaps the most durable, non-toxic and lightweight option that won’t harm your baby in any way. This is why stainless steel bottles are the priciest of all baby bottles. The only downside they have is that they are not transparent which makes it hard to spot how much milk your baby has consumed.
Choose the Right Shape
Baby bottles are available in different shapes which have different advantages and downsides.
- The standard bottles, which are the most commonly used ones are tall and straight-necked. These bottles are easy to fill and clean and will fit into most warmers and cupholders too.
- Angled bottles are a little bit bent at the neck so the milk concentrates at the bottom to reduce the amount of air your baby swallows. But at the same time, due to their angled neck, they are harder to fill and clean.
- Wide bottles may be a little bit more expensive than the other ones, but they’re the most recommended bottles for breastfed babies since they’re specially designed to hold wide nipples that mimic the mother’s breast.
Pick the Ideal Size
Baby bottles come in different sizes – from small ones that hold from 100 to 150 ml, to the larger ones where you can fit even 300 ml, depending on your baby’s age. That said, during the newborn days your baby should only drink a maximum of 100 ml of milk per feeding, so it’s better to choose a smaller bottle. Once your baby and their appetite grow, it’s best to switch the small bottle with a larger one that would fit around 250 ml.
The Bottle’s Nipple Is Important Too
The nipple plays a big role in your baby’s feeding process since it’s the area your baby will suck the milk from. If it doesn’t feel convenient or comfortable, the baby might resist feeding altogether. In general, bottle nipples are usually designed to be slimmer than the mother’s nipple and made of materials such as latex or silicone. Here’s what to pay attention to.
The Nipple’s Material
Latex nipples are softer, more flexible and less expensive than silicone ones, but they are not as durable and can cause allergies in some babies. On the other hand, some latex materials can be toxic and leach carcinogens, so they’re not recommended at all. Most silicone nipples are usually made from food-grade or medicine-grade silicones, which makes them toxin and BPA free and completely safe for your baby. They’re also firmer and more durable than the latex ones, and that’s why they’re mostly recommended by the experts.
The Nipple’s Shape
The standard bottle nipples are long and narrow which allows them to easily fit most of the standard baby bottles. On the other hand, the wide nipples are better and more recommended since they’re designed to mimic the natural flex and movement of a breast and help to reduce nipple confusion when switching from breast to bottle.
Nipple levels are important because they determine how quickly the milk flows out and are separated into 3 stages:
- First stage nipples are designed for preemies and newborns and they’re meant to slowly distribute the milk as the baby’s mouth compresses;
- Second stage nipples are designed for babies that are around 4-5 months old since it’s considered they can handle a quicker and larger flow of milk;
- The third stage nipples are designed for babies over 6 months since stage 2 nipples’ flow tends to be small for some babies.
Useful Baby Bottle Accessories
In addition to choosing a good bottle for feeding your baby, you’re probably going to need a couple of accessories that are helpful for both you and your little one. So first of all, having a single bottle is not enough, since you’ll have to constantly wash it. Babies need to be fed multiple times during the day, so having a couple of bottles will keep you assured that your baby is getting fed from a clean and hygienic bottle without having to constantly wash the bottle after each feeding.
But having a couple of baby feeding bottles means dealing with a great mess in the kitchen every time you visit it to give your baby a refill. For this purpose, a lot of mothers use specialised space-saving racks for bottles, which are compactly designed to hold cups, bottles and all their parts like valves and pacifiers without cluttering your benchtop. These racks can be placed wherever you want – you can fit them neatly under cabinets or hang them on the walls too.
When it comes to keeping the bottles clean and hygienic for your baby, specialized non-slip baby bottle brushes can be of great help. These feature two kinds of bristles – soft ones for gentle cleaning and firm ones when you need to scrub the bottle. But while scrubbing your baby’s bottles properly may help you get rid of milk residue and different pollutants, have in mind that some harmful bacteria can’t be destroyed unless being exposed to UV lights.
For this reason, a lot of mothers rely on UV baby bottles sterilizers, which don’t use any harsh chemicals, heat or steam to ensure that the bottles are sterile and safe for use. Not only are these sterilizers suitable for bottles, nipples, soothers and breast pump accessories, but some of them also work as storage containers that emit UV lights every two hours to keep the items inside sterile.
Also, a lot of mothers use electric steamers as well, which are also compact and feature enough space for a couple of bottles and their accessories too. These steamers are great for busy moms because they have a fast sterilization system that lasts only 5 minutes, and can keep the bottles sterile for up to 24 hours as long as they’re inside the steamer.