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Whether you’re bottle-feeding, combination feeding, breastfeeding the occasional expressed bottle or simply transitioning from breast to bottle, knowing which bottle to choose for your baby can be a daunting prospect.
As a first time parent, you may be shocked to learn just how many choices are available when selecting a bottle for your baby. The path to feeding your baby doesn’t always run smoothly either - knowing when and how to introduce a bottle can be a fine art, particularly if you are currently breastfeeding or planning to combination feed and want to avoid nipple confusion.
Every baby is different, so whilst to a certain degree finding the right baby bottle will be down to trial and error, here are some things to consider when making your choice:
How you are feeding? - Are you formula feeding, expressing breast milk for your baby or doing a combination of the two? Some bottles are more closely matched in both size, texture and flexibility to natural feeding, and as such, are often better accepted by babies who are used to the breast.
Ease of cleaning - How easy are the bottles to clean? Are there lots of individual parts to remove and sterilise? Is the neck wide enough to clean around inside or do you need to use a bottle brush? Some bottles are even smart enough to self-sterilise in the microwave, which is a really convenient option for time-poor parents or those not wanting the additional cost of a steriliser.
Feeding challenges - Does your baby have any feeding challenges such as colic or reflux? Do they regularly get trapped wind, gas, or spit up milk? Some bottles have anti-colic valves to help prevent air bubbles, which can cause painful gas or trapped wind.
Teat size - What teat size do you want to use? Generally, most bottles come with a slow flow teat suitable for newborns, with babies generally moving to faster flow teats as their tummies get bigger. If you are breastfeeding and have a particularly fast let-down, your baby may prefer a faster flowing teat which requires them to work less hard for their dinner!
Material of bottle - Baby bottles have traditionally been made from BPA-free plastic, but many brands are now offering premium glass options too, which are a more sustainable and eco-friendly choice.
Material of teat - The material of the teat can have a big impact on how likely your baby is to accept it, with some babies rejecting plastic teats which feel different to the breast. Others are made from soft silicone or latex with a wide neck for more natural feeding sensations, however, the softer teats can be more prone to collapse if your baby is a vigorous feeder.
Easy to hold - What shape are the bottles? Some bottles are straight, whilst others have gripped sides or ridges to create an ergonomic shape, which can be easy for your baby to hold as they get bigger.
Bottle size - not all baby bottles are created equal, newborns only drink a few ozs of milk at a time and therefore you may start with smaller 150ml bottles. As your baby grows, however, their appetite increases significantly, so you may need to shift to a larger size.
Here are our favourite baby bottle brands to explore.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle
With a huge number of positive reviews and high rankings on bestseller lists, Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles offer large and wide teats made from soft silicone - a material which flexes as your baby suckles, more closely replicating the natural sensation of feeding at the breast.
Not only does this result in a more comfortable feed for your baby, but parents found these bottles were far more likely to be accepted, even by babies who have rejected several other bottles.
With an anti-colic valve to prevent the air bubbles that can cause unwelcome wind and gas, Tommee Tippee also offer an Advanced Anti-Colic option, which comes with the addition of an anti-colic straw - these are a great solution for babies who are really struggling with painful trapped gas, colic or reflux.
The Tomee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottles are made from BPA free plastic and are available in multiple easy hold sizes and designs.
Price for two.
Buy now £12.99, Boots
NUK First Choice+
If you’re combination feeding or transitioning to bottle feeding after a period of breastfeeding, you may find that your baby struggles to adapt to the unfamiliar sensation of a bottle teat.
NUK First Choice+ bottles are ideal for newborns and come with a super soft silicone teat that is shaped to mimic the breast. This orthodontic teat is shaped specifically to help improve the quality of your baby’s latch, helping make feeding more comfortable (and efficient) for your baby.
Whilst the teats may not last as long as some others due to their finer silicone make-up, parents speak highly of these bottles’ innovative built-in temperature indicator, which will clearly highlight if your bottles are too hot.
The built-in anti-colic vent and easy clean size and shape, make NUK First Choice+ another popular choice.
Price for three.
Buy now £13.49, Amazon
Philips Avent Natural Feeding Bottle
Another great option for combination feeding, the Philips Avent Natural Feeding Bottles have a natural ultra-soft nipple like teat, reducing rejection from those used to the breast.
With a built-in AirFlex valve (an anti-colic twin-valve design), you can also feed with peace of mind, knowing your baby is unlikely to swallow significant amounts of excess air whilst they feed.
The curved shape of these bottles makes them easy to grip during a feed (even for your baby’s tiny hands) and with few parts to assemble, it’s also convenient - easy to clean, sterilise and assemble before and after use.
Price for three.
Buy now £18.79, Amazon
MAM Easy Start
If you are mostly breastfeeding and only want to make up the occasional bottle, you may not want the additional cost of a separate steriliser unit.
For less frequent bottle feeders, these MAM Easy Start bottles are quick and efficient to use, self-sterilising in the microwave using water alone.
With a medium flow teat made with ‘skin soft technology’, they offer a familiar feeding experience for your breastfed baby. They also have the reassurance of an anti-colic valve - with less colic confirmed by 80 per cent of mothers surveyed by the brand.
Price for two.
Buy now £11.99, Amazon
For those who are exclusively breastfeeding, the fear of nipple confusion can be real, not wanting to rock the boat once a successful feeding routine has been established. That said, having responsibility for all of your baby’s feeds can be exhausting, so the flexibility to share feeds with your partner is appealing.
Whilst more expensive than most, if you’re feeding the occasional bottle of expressed breast milk, the Lansinoh Momma breastmilk bottle is the obvious choice.
Based on over 50 years of breastfeeding research, the Lansinoh Momma bottles come with a ‘NaturalWave Nipple’ teat made from super soft silicone, clinically proven to prevent nipple confusion. It is stimulated using the same feeding actions and tongue movements as a breastfeeding baby, but unlike some other silicone teats which may collapse or compress as your baby suckles, it has inner vertical grooves to keep it in shape.
With a wide base, you can be confident your baby will create a secure latch, whilst the air venting system prevents them from swallowing excess gas.
Price for three.
Buy now £47.00, Amazon
Vital Baby Nurture Breast-Like Feeding Bottle
These smaller sized 150ml bottles are ideal for newborns, who in those early days with tiny tummies, will only require a small amount of milk.
The Nurture Breast-Like Feeding Bottles come with a wide flattened teat made from super soft silicone that flexes just like a nipple. It’s also slow flow, allowing your baby to feed at a pace that’s comfortable for them, whilst the triple anti-colic valves help reduce air intake to prevent gas, wind, colic and reflux.
Easier to clean than some other bottles on the market, they have an extra-wide neck so you can easily clean the entire interior with ease and are also suitable to clean in the dishwasher, microwave or steam steriliser.
Price for two.
Buy now £7.84, Amazon
Nuby Reduce Reflux Bottle with Easy Latch, SoftFlex Silicone Teat
If you’ve ever cared for a baby with colic or reflux, you will know just how challenging it can be, not to mention heartbreaking to observe your baby in so much distress and pain.
For babies who are struggling significantly with reflux, these innovative bottles come with a unique weighted straw that enables upright feeding, preventing the need to tilt your baby backwards to feed. Holding your baby in a more natural seating position helps prevent the build-up of air and wind, making a more comfortable feed and relaxed post feed experience - for both baby and parent.
As your baby’s stomach grows, they tend to outgrow their reflux. When this happens, simply remove the straw from the Nuby Reduce Reflux bottle and return to a traditional style feeding hold.
Buy now £12.99, Amazon
MAM Feel Good Glass Bottle
With an increased focus on climate change and sustainability, many parents are shifting away from the traditional plastic bottles and opting for the more eco-friendly premium glass bottles as an alternative.
Whilst the prospect of using glass around a baby may mentally take some getting used to for parents, these safe premium glass bottles are highly resistant to temperature and come with beautiful designs that make a great gift for a new parent.
Whilst the reviews overall are very positive, some did find the teats can collapse with older babies through more vigorous feeding.
Buy now £13.00, John Lewis
Dr Brown’s Anti Colic Bottles
Whether your baby has trapped wind, gas, reflux or colic, or simply spits up regularly after a feed, Dr Brown’s anti-colic bottles have got you covered. These bottles come in a pack of two, with a long inner tube creating a vacuum inside the bottle to prevent your baby from taking in too much air or bubbles as they feed.
In a similar way to the Nuby Reduce Reflux, as your baby matures and their reflux symptoms reduce, the inner tube can be removed.
With a variety of designs to suit personal preference, parents can also choose from sustainable premium glass (with an optical silicone sleeve) or BPA free plastic.
Price for two.
Buy now £13.90, Amazon
Finally, if your baby is four months or above, or you are experiencing significant teat rejection from a predominantly breastfed baby, you may want to move away from traditional baby bottles and consider transitioning straight to a cup.
The Munchkin Latch is a great transition between the bottle and cup, providing easy-grip handles that can be removed when your baby feels more confident holding the cup themselves and self-feeding.
With the welcome reassurance of an anti-colic valve, the Munchkin Latch offers a flexible teat which encourages babies to sip rather than suckle. With a handy no-spill lid, it’s also handy for those weaning days where throwing things around the high chair is your baby’s favourite new form of entertainment.
Buy now £19.97, Amazon
A great all-rounder bottle for babies which is most likely to be accepted the first time, the Tommee Tippee Close to Nature offers both a competitive price and a familiar, natural feeding experience for your baby. The anti-colic valve helps ensure a safe and comfortable feed whilst the easy to clean bottle shape comes in a choice of sizes, colours and designs.