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Choosing the right milk bottle for your baby

As first-time parents, something simple such as choosing and getting a suitable milk bottle proved to be a daunting tasks for us. We had to try 5 different brands of milk bottles before settling on one that is suitable – Pigeon SofTouchwide neck. What we like about it is that the nipple is soft, there is a PPSU (Polyphenylsulfone) option which is a better material than the common PP (Polypropylene) and it does not leak.

Features to consider when choosing a milk bottle

The Nipple:

Bottle nipples come in a large assortment of sizes and flow rates. It’s extremely important to choose the correct nipple size. Newborns will need a slow-flow nipple to prevent choking and overeating. On the other hand, toddlers can be given fast-flow nipples to speed up feeding. Giving them a slow-flowing nipple will cause frustration as it takes more effort for them to drink.

It is important to note that different brands have different naming convention, guideline and categorization of the nipples.

Most brands will have nipples that tries to imitate a mother’s nipple. It is thus important to choose a nipple that is closes to your nipple (which I realize much later). Most nipples shapes fall into one of three categories:

  • Narrow and longer (traditional)
  • Wide and shorter (designed to be breast-like)
  • Flat on one side (designed to mimic sucking on a human breast and/or be a better fit for baby’s mouth)

The Material and Size:

Material: Milk bottles are available in plastic or glass, with the former being more common amongst brands.

Glass Plastic
No chemicals, no need to worry about chemicals leeching into baby’s milk.Almost all plastic brands are BPA free but do not get non-branded bottles which may use cheap plastic, releasing chemicals when heated (sterilizing)
More thoroughly cleaned as less likely to develop scratches that hold on to residue and odorsPlastic is prone to scratches, which create tiny spaces for bacteria to flourish 
Heavy, expensive and will breakCheap, light for baby to hold and non breakable

Glass is definitely more durable (provided that you/baby do not drop it on the ground!). I would recommend just going for plastic bottles as its more readily available but do change a new bottle every 3 months, especially if you are using a steam sterilizer.

Size: There are usually 2 sizes of bottles for most brands, 120ml and 240ml. The taller bottle can be used when your baby intake increases. For me, I would get both sizes even when my boy was 9 months old. We would use the shorter bottle when going out as it is easier to bring around and put in the bag. We will top it up i.e. if his intake is 180ml per feed, we will make 100ml and another 80ml after he has finished.

Another important feature would be anti-colic which helps to reduce gas and spit-up but almost all brands have this nowadays.

Personal experience and review of milk bottles:

Philips Avent

The first brand we tried as my sister-in-law used this for her daughter, who is just few months older than my darling boy

Pros:

  • Affordable price, available almost anywhere which sells baby products
  • Easy to clean as there are few simple parts
  • Spiral nipple design lets it be flexible without collapsing

Cons:

  • Somehow it leaks easily,  seems to be a common complaint from mummies
  • The nipple design makes it difficult for baby to finish the last bit
  • Most importantly, our baby didn’t like it! He just refused to suck on it

Dr. Brown’s option baby bottle

Two of our close friends who have young toddlers raved and swore by Doctor brown. Thus, it prompted us to try it next

Pros:

  • In my opinion, Dr. Brown is the most effective in reducing gas and spit-up for babies and this is a super important feature for us as our baby is pretty colic-ky and tends to have spit-up

Cons:

  • It is pretty expensive
  • Difficult to clean – this is the main reason that we decided not to stick with it. We happen to know a senior and reputable nurse/lactation consultant (who has since retired) who advised strongly against using Dr Brown bottles, as it is difficult to ensure that it is clean thoroughly, that may lead to mould growing which obviously is a no-no for us

Tommy Tippie Closer to Nature

Pros:

  • Wide neck and design which imitates breastfeeding
  • Nipple is soft
  • Heat sensing feature which tells you if the milk is too hot for your baby
  • Colic reduction valve           

Cons:

  • We didn’t like the bottle design which is fat and wide, makes it difficult to hold
  • Leaks sometimes
  • Much more difficult to clean, as compared to Philips Avent or Pigeon
  • The nipple seems to be harder and our baby didn’t like it

Nuk

Didn’t heard about this brand prior and only happened to come across it while shopping for pacifier.

Pros: None for me

Cons: 

  • This is one of the more expensive brand
  • Nipple is flat on one side which is supposed to be better fit for baby mouth but my boy didn’t like it at all

Pigeon SofTouch Peristaltic Plus PPSU (a god send for me)

Pros:

  • Soft and natural nipple which our baby loves!
  • Wide neck design which is important as my baby loves my boob, and I need one that is as close as possible to breastfeeding
  • Cheap and available almost anywhere, including supermarkets
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Bottle design and color is plain but that is really just a nice-to-have

Finally we settled with Pigeon which our boy is happy with and is able to take his milk in double quick time

Pro tip:

  1. Look at the nipple size and design of each brand. As all mummys’ nipple shape and size is different, you need to find the one that is closest to yours (especially if your little one is a boobie monster like mine)
  2. There is no one-size-fits-all as all babies are different. Hopefully your bundle of joy is not too picky but do not be tempted to buy a few bottles at one go, especially if there is a greater discount. Once you are sure that it is suitable, you can get the extra bottles needed
  3. For bottles that you find not suitable, do not throw them away! You can do a trade-on for the bottle brand that you settled with and get them at a discounted price. Most big brands offer this trade-in and do not restrict it to just trading of their own bottles
  4. If you noticed, I did not comment on the price for Tommie Tippie as I got 2 bottles free when signing up the goodie bag for baby fair. Thus, look out for samples from fairs. Watch this space too as we will be giving out free products for mummies and gather your review!

Share your review on the milk bottles you have tried and 2 lucky winners will get $50 NTUC voucher each week (15 Jun – 15 Jul 2020).

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