Riff Raff Sleep Team - September 2020
The 5 Best Bottles For A Contented Baby
When you’re not getting enough sleep and you’re feeling a bit frazzled, choosing a bottle from the huge selection out there can be overwhelming. And getting it right can make or break feeding time. So let’s talk about what’s makes a good bottle and which are our Riff Raff family faves.
Top Tips For Choosing
The right nipple
Nipples come in all shapes, sizes and flows - just like ours, right? A good nipple can help prevent reflux, colic and choking. It will also encourage the correct development of your baby’s mouth muscles, which is important for speech development.
The key is to choose the right one for your baby’s age – slow flow for newborns to prevent choking, medium flow for three months to a year and fast flow for eager, hungry toddlers. Nipples with special features like angled tops and vents can limit the amount of air that your baby takes in, giving them less wind and discomfort.
Riff Raff recommends… immediately replacing nipples if they show any sign of overuse, cracks or discolouration.
The right shape and size
Smaller, slimmer bottles are easier for your baby to hold. Wider shaped bottles are easier to clean. Angled bottles reduce the amount of air your baby takes in and help prevent liquid build-up in the ears that can cause ear infections.
Riff Raff recommends… always bottle-feeding your baby upright, almost in a seated position, like in the crook of your arm, in a car seat or against a nursing pillow.
The right materials
Glass bottles are great for hygiene but there’s obviously the risk of them breaking. And babies have surprising strength when they get cross! Plastic bottles are lighter but make sure you always choose a bottle that’s Bisphenol A (BPA)-free. BPA is the harmful chemical in cheap plastic and is linked to all sorts of health risks. Other nasties to avoid are lead, phthalate, PVC and BPS.
Riff Raff recommends… introducing your baby to a bottle around six weeks once breastfeeding is well-established, even if you’re 100% breastfeeding, so they’re used to it in case of emergency
Our Five Favorites
1. Best for scientifically-researched technology and compatible products: Medela
When you hear Medela, you generally think ‘best breast pumps’. These guys are all about medical-grade technology and academic research and they’ve applied that foundation to their bottles (and the rest of their range). Medela Breastfeeding bottles can be used with all Medela breast pumps and other products. Medela also offers super-specialised feeding tools like the SoftCup nipple for babies with sucking difficulties and the SpecialNeeds feeder for babies who are unable to create a vacuum because of neurological disorders, cleft palates and so on.
We love how all their products work seamlessly together so you can pump, store and feed using the same container. This means no wasting any precious breast milk and less washing-up. It’s a win-win!
2. Best all-rounder : Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature
Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature bottles don’t just get the nod from us - thousands of parents voted them their Favourite Baby Bottle in the MyChild Magazine Excellence Awards in 2018 and 2019. Tommee Tippee bottles boast a really soft, breast-like teat that imitates the feel of mum, with an anti-colic valve that reduces excess air flow for more milk and less air intake. Their bottles are BPA, phthalates and toxin-free with an extra-wide neck that makes them easy to clean. They come in a selection of gorgeous colours, as well as a glass version. What’s more, Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature bottle is guaranteed to be accepted by your baby (a huge claim!). In their research, 92% of more than 1 200 parents who used their teat with their child said the baby accepted it within the first three attempts.
We love their catchphrase: ‘Parents aren’t geniuses. Babies don’t care’. And their Newborn and Essentials starter kits, which have everything you need for stress-free feeding time. And the heat-sensing strip that turns pink when the milk is the right temperature.
3. Best anti-colic bottle : Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottles
Anyone who believes that colic isn’t a real thing should try telling that to a mum or dad who’s been up every night for weeks, trying to settle their crying baby. Colic is horrible for parents and babies alike, and the Philip Avent Clear Anti-Colic Bottle offers proven results against colic symptoms. An observational study by the Childhood Nutrition Research Centre in London of 145 healthy, full-term babies found that those who were fed with a Philips Avent anti-colic baby bottle experienced less colic than the babies fed with a conventional bottle. And the effect was especially noticeable during night time, which is music to our ears.
We love Philips Avent’s slow-flow nipples that prevent choking or overfeeding for newborn babies. They flex to your baby’s feeding rhythm so milk will only flow at a pace they control, which minimises gulping and gas build-up.
4. Best old favourite: Pigeon
Making parents happy since the 1950s, Pigeon bottles come in a close second for babies who suffer from colic and reflux. Their bottle and teat are the result of extensive research into latching, peristaltic movement and swallowing, and close collaboration with paediatricians and more than 3 000 families. Their soft, flexible SofTouch™ Peristaltic PLUS teats are designed to reduce nipple confusion, with a long, slim shape that and fits perfectly in little mouths.
Their Flexible™ range is a great option for very small babies, particularly ones who can’t be breastfed for whatever reason. Pigeon bottles are BPA-free and also come in a glass version.
We love that the natural feel SofTouch™ range is recommended for parents who are struggling to get their breastfed babies onto bottles.
5. Best for the environment (and Australian-owned): Biome
Biome's mission is to preserve a safe, healthy environment and they’re obsessed with finding products with no hidden toxins, dubious ingredients or any other nasties. They’ve taken the guesswork out of it, which helps when you don’t have the headspace to do that kind of research. They stock a lovely selection of both glass and stainless steel bottles. Glass options are Lifefactory, Hevea and Baby Quoddle. In stainless steel there’s Pura Kiki and Klean Kanteen.
We love that Biome stocks a full range of teats and lids, which means you can reuse their glass bottles throughout your baby’s early years, then use the same bottle with a sippy cap during toddler years. There’s even a flat cap so it can become a water bottle later.