Which bottles for breastfed babies are best?
A primary concern for many new parents is properly feeding their babies. For many caregivers who choose to breastfeed, the transition to a bottle can feel overwhelming. But with the right bottle, your breastfed baby can enjoy feeding times just as much as before.
The hands-down most recommended bottle for breastfed babies is the Comotomo Baby Bottle. Composed of a pliable food-grade silicone, it naturally reduces colic and the wide, soft nipple is ideal for transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding.
What to know before you buy a bottle for breastfed babies
Knowing when to introduce your breastfed baby to a bottle is tricky. If you already know how to express or pump your breastmilk, you’re on your way. From there, you should make the decision based on your baby and your needs. If you’re desperate for some sleep or need to return to work or school soon, it might be time to consider transitioning to a bottle.
The American Association of Pediatrics has several recommendations for easing your baby into bottle feeding. Start by offering them a small amount of breastmilk after their normal feeding time. You should wait until they are definitely hungry, but before they become frustrated.
During the bottle feeding, stay calm and reassure your baby as they explore the bottle. Smiling and using a soft voice can make a huge difference in how relaxed your baby is. If they don’t seem to be interested in taking the bottle, try dripping a little breast milk from the bottle on their lips or in their mouth to cue them into what is happening.
Always approach them with the bottle nipple slowly, never forcing it past their gums. The goal should be a gentle introduction, rather than a battle. Take the time to let them explore the new texture, shape and feel of the bottle’s nipple with their mouth. If they do become aggravated, feel free to stop and try again later that day or the next. The key is ending the practice on a high.
If you’ve made several attempts to introduce your baby to a bottle but haven’t had any success, you might want to try a different style of bottle or nipple. Babies can be particular, especially when they are used to breastfeeding.
Once your baby accepts their bottle, start using it during their regular feeding times or when they seem hungry. As you create a familiar pattern, your baby will become more and more accustomed to feeding from a bottle.
These are the most important things to keep in mind:
Baby bottles come in two primary materials: glass and plastic. Glass is heavier, but you have the reassurance there are no chemicals in it. Glass bottles are also easy to clean and sanitize.
Plastic bottles, on the other hand, are lighter so they are easier for smaller babies. The key is finding a plastic bottle that is free of harmful chemicals. Be sure to wash your plastic bottles before feeding your baby, because they can sometimes have a plastic-like taste. These are a highly cost-effective way of experimenting when first transitioning to a bottle.
Assembly and parts
Every bottle will require some amount of assembly. The key is understanding how much assembly is required and the number of parts involved. The more components, the more time you’ll spend cleaning. Plus, if there are too many parts, you have a greater chance of losing one, rendering your bottle useless. And if the assembly is complicated, you could become frustrated during middle-of-the-night feedings.
Your baby will have a preference when it comes to including a bottle in their routine. If it’s too heavy, they may grow tired of holding it. If the nipple isn’t the right shape, they may reject it. Rather than buying a complete set, you may want to buy a single bottle from several brands to see which one your baby prefers.
What to look for in a quality bottle for breastfed babies
Your breastfed baby is used to the flow from your breast. A baby bottle nipple will have a different flow rate, which they will have to become accustomed to. Start with a slow-flow nipple. This will keep your baby from eating too fast or choking. If you notice them gagging or gulping their bottle, you might need a slower-flow nipple.
Wide, soft nipple
Part of the reason the transition from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding is so difficult is the difference in the feel of the nipple. You will have the most success when you find a bottle nipple that best mimics the feel of a natural breast. Look for a wide, soft nipple.
Colic can be an exasperating experience, both for the baby and for the caregiver. You can reduce colic by choosing a baby bottle with a venting system. This prevents your baby from sucking in air as they eat.
A highly desirable feature to look for is pump compatibility. If you’re switching from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding, but plan to continue feeding your baby breastmilk, you will likely invest in a breast pump. If you can find a baby bottle that attaches directly to your pump, it will cut down on the mess and cut out steps, like transferring breast milk from a bag to the bottle.
Easy to clean
Keeping your baby bottles clean is your first defense against your baby being exposed to harmful viruses and germs. If your baby bottle isn’t easy to clean, you’ll be more likely to avoid the hassle. Rather, find a bottle with as few parts as possible that will be simple and quick to clean.
How much you can expect to spend on a bottle for breastfed babies
The average amount you’ll see when looking for a set of baby bottles for breastfed babies is about $20 for two to four bottles. The price will vary, depending on the material and features of the bottles, as well as the number of bottles in the set.
Bottle for breastfed babies FAQ
Do breastfed babies refuse bottles?
A. It’s very common for breastfed babies to initially reject or resist bottle feeding. The transition takes time as they adjust to the new feel of the bottle, but with the proper introduction, you can help ease your baby through this phase.
When should you introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby?
A. You should wait to introduce a bottle to your breastfed baby until they are at least 4-6 weeks old. Make sure to wait until you can readily express or pump your milk if you want to continue feeding your baby breast milk. If you’re returning to work or school, start the transition a couple of weeks before you return.
Can I breastfeed during the day and bottle feed at night?
A. Using a combination of breastfeeding and bottle feeding is an effective way to keep your baby fed, while providing you with the occasional and much-needed respite. You’ll be able to get more sleep and it’s a great way to involve your partner more in caring for your baby.
What’s the best bottle for breastfed babies to buy?
Top bottle for breastfed babies
What you need to know: As one of the most popular transitional bottles, the Comotomo Baby Bottle is a great option when starting the switch from breastfeeding to bottle-feeding.
What you’ll love: The Comotomo Baby Bottle has a shape that will feel more natural for your breastfed baby.
What you should consider: Some caregivers have noted the unique shape can be difficult for babies to hold.
Top bottle for breastfed babies for the money
What you need to know: Dr. Brown’s is a trusted name for baby bottles and for good reason: These are proven to help with colic and reduce gas.
What you’ll love: There are several options, so you can experiment with styles to find what your baby likes.
What you should consider: Because these are glass, they will be heavier and could be more difficult for your baby to hold.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is another popular transitional bottle, thanks to its soft silicone nipple that moves more naturally for your baby.
What you’ll love: It only has three parts, so cleaning is a breeze and there are different flowing nipples to better acclimate your baby to the bottle.
What you should consider: To adapt the bottle to your pump, you’ll likely have to buy an additional attachment.
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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