Monday, September 9, 2013

Selecting a baby bottle

*I finally wrote the follow-up to this post! Check it out here!*

Back in the spring I went to a continuing education course for Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists on providing therapy for babies in the NICU {Neonatal Intensive Care Unit}. One topic that fascinated me was feeding and bottle/nipple selection. My interest in this area prompted me to read the book Balancing Bottle and Breast which is a must-read for any expectant mother that is going to do both breast and bottle feeding. {Check out my review of the book!}

There are some very important criteria for selecting a bottle for a full-term healthy infant, especially if you plan on switching back and forth between breast and bottle feeding. Ideally, you want the bottle and nipple selection to promote breastfeeding mechanics {aka a wide latch} as closely as possible. Since all babies {and moms} are different, there is not a "perfect bottle or nipple" out there. I plan on having 3 different bottle and nipple combinations available when I introduce the bottle at 3-4 weeks. Having Balancing Between Breast and Bottle handy will help me trouble shoot and decide which bottle is best for my baby.

What I am looking for in a bottle:
  • Nipple shape with gradual {NOT abrupt} widening for better mouth placement
  • Nipple flow rate

Bottles I'm Planning on Trying and Why:
This posted is intended to share the decisions I've made regarding bottle selection. Is not advice for what selections you should make for your baby, however hopefully it will get you thinking about the different options and encourage you to try different bottles till you do find the right one.

Dr. Brown's Standard Bottle 4 oz.
Your first reaction will probably be "why not the wide neck bottle? aren't they suppose to emulate the breast more?" 
Actually, if you look closely, the wide neck nipple {on the RIGHT} has a VERY abrupt transition from the top of the nipple to bottom whereas the standard {on the LEFT} does not. The standard nipple is shaped more like the real thing. 

As for flow rate, Dr. Brown's is one of the slower flowing nipples, which is a good thing. Babies should not be gulping down their bottle meals - they physically can't do that while breastfeeding and you don't want to give them any reason to prefer the bottle. 

I also like the Dr. Brown's venting system which reduces gas and colic, however I here there are a lot of parts to clean. We will have to wait and see what our family's verdict is on the cleaning. 

Joovy Boob 
{don't you love the name?!}

This is  a newer bottle on the market and has been around less than a year. It is exclusively sold through Joovy and Buy Buy Baby. I love the nipple shape {very smooth transitions} and flexible feel. The bottle itself is also very comfortable to hold.  I don't have solid data yet on the flow rate but it appears to be in the slow to medium category {from reading other reports online}. It has a simple vent system which is less parts than the Dr. Brown's. 

Early reviews have been very positive. I like that this bottle comes in 5 oz. {compared to Dr. Brown's 4 oz.} as we may get longer use out of the smaller size. Another interesting option is that you can buy this bottle in varying grades of plastic - high end medical grade which is extremely durable or a more traditional grade like most other bottles. The price difference is pretty significant and I plan on sticking with the traditional grade, but at least you have options. 

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature 5 oz. 
This is another very popular bottle right now. I received one free when I signed up for a Target registry. 
It is one of the fastest slow-flow nipples out there, and for some babies it is definitely too fast. However, you never know what type of eater your'e going to have, and the nipple shape is pretty good as well {although not as a soft as the Dr. Brown's or Joovy Boob}. 

The nipple shape has a fairly smooth transition, although maybe not as gradual as the other two bottles. This will give me a faster flowing option to have around if needed.

What bottles worked for your baby? 
Did you try multiple bottles in attempt to get a good wide-mouth latch? 

If you're interested in more information regarding "what is a good latch" please check out the book Balancing Breast and Bottle. There are so many fabulous photos that can help if you're having trouble with bottle feeding. 

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