How to Find the Best Bottles for Your Breastfed Baby (2018 Reviews)
You plan to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first year, just as your doctor suggested you should. But you’ve heard nightmarish tales of babies refusing to breastfeed after trying bottles, and you’re worried because you definitely don’t want your baby to stop nursing.
What are the best bottles for breastfed babies? Is there anything you can use to stop that breast/bottle confusion from developing?
Quick Comparison: Our Top 5 Bottles for Breastfed Babies
Colic & Gas
*All links above will take you to the latest prices on Amazon.com or you can read our in-depth breastfed baby bottles reviews below.
What Your Breastfed Baby Will Notice About Her Bottles
Buying bottles for breastfed babies requires some thinking ahead -- you can’t just grab the nearest bottles and call it good. You don’t want to risk turning your baby off breastfeeding forever with an ill-designed bottle.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Bottle feeding Your Breastfed Baby
Here’s what you need to look for to ensure your baby won’t turn her nose up the next time you offer her a breast.
The feel: You need any bottle you choose to have a similar feel to your breast to help your baby avoid any confusion.
The nipple: This might be the most important criteria when selecting a bottle. The nipple has to make your baby work to get her milk -- just like she’d have to work for it if she were nursing off your breast. If you give her a nipple that just leaks milk into her mouth no matter what her latch and sucking effort are like, she’s going to prefer that every time. If you make it too easy on her, she probably won’t accept the breast back. (Read: When Should I Change Nipple Sizes?)
The look: Babies may not have fully developed their brains yet, but they still recognize things by appearance (source). They recognize people and things. If you breastfeed them for the first few weeks and then switch to a bottle that looks breast-like, they’ll notice the similarities and go for it.
What You Should Look For in a Bottle
In some ways, it’s easier to go shopping for your new home than it is to pick out a baby bottle. At least with home shopping, you know what you want. You’ve lived in a house your whole life so you have a good idea about what your basic needs are.
But with bottle shopping, things are different. This is a completely foreign task if you are a new parent. And it can thrust you into a world you don’t understand.
So once you’ve narrowed down your search to some appropriate bottles that meet the standards your breastfed baby will notice, you’ll need to look at the next set of criteria the perfect bottle should have.
Anti-colic features: Colic goes way above and beyond normal baby crying. If your baby suffers from colic, he might be crying around the clock (source). You’ll be so tired, you would consider making a deal with the devil if the crying would just stop for a few hours. Before you sign away your soul though, look for a bottle that has anti-colic features, like inserts or vents. Those features cut down on the air your baby swallows, which can reduce the amount of gas and fussiness he’ll have (source).
Price: Ideally, cost wouldn’t be a big consideration when it comes to buy baby bottles. But, unfortunately, it’s one of the top priorities for many moms who are struggling to make ends meet. While you should definitely consider price in the equation, you shouldn’t let it be the deciding factor. You might buy cheap bottles and regret it later. Or you could learn they don’t work for your baby, and you might end up buying the more expensive ones anyway.
Ease of cleaning them: Some baby bottles, especially the ones with anti-colic features, can have so many parts that you feel like you’re assembling a bomb. That’s a lot of work for someone who probably didn’t get three hours of uninterrupted sleep in the past week. If you hate your bottles because they take too much effort to take apart and clean thoroughly, you should keep looking for the right ones.
Decide what material you want them made out of: Are you fine with plastics or silicone? Or do you prefer the appeal of old-fashioned glass bottles? If you want a bottle that is going to last, doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and is easier to clean, go with glass (source). If you feel the benefits of plastic bottles outweigh their potential health risks, then start looking for the best plastic bottles on the market. Fans of silicone will be glad to know there are silicone bottles available too.
Tips for Buying Bottles
When you finally get a lock on what type of bottle you want, you need to go through one more checklist to make sure you’re not sabotaging your own success by forgetting something crucial.
To make sure you aren’t making a big mistake, here are some tips you should follow when buying that first set of bottles.
Don’t buy too many until you’re sure your baby will like them: You’ve finally found the bottle of your dreams. But that dream could turn into a nightmare if you run out and buy 20 on them only to find during the first feeding that your baby hates them or they sprout big leaks. It’s a better idea to find three suitable bottle brands, buy one or two of each and see which one works best for your baby before making a bigger investment. Once you see your baby loves the bottle, then you can rush out and buy an armload of them.
Consider getting the largest size of bottle the company makes: Those cute little 4-ounce bottles are perfectly sized for your newborn. But that newborn is going to grow quickly, and before long she’ll need 6 ounces of milk, not 4 (source). That’s why it’s best to buy the biggest sized bottle when you’ve found a brand you like. You can always buy a pack of slow-flow nipples to go with them to use until your baby is ready for faster-flow nipples.
If you have a breast pump already, look at that product line’s bottles first: Compatibility is a great thing. If you buy bottles that are compatible with your breast pump, you’ll be able to pump directly into the bottles. That’ll save you from having to wash extra dishes. What new mom doesn’t like saving her time and energy?
If this is your second baby, and there’s been a dramatic pause between this one and your first, get new bottles: I know no one likes to spend extra money, but if you have a bunch of older bottles that you used years ago with your first baby, it’s worth it. Those older bottles may contain BPA, a chemical that can hurt your baby’s health in a number of ways (source).
Bottles for Breastfeeding Reviews
Now that you know exactly what to look for when buying a great set of bottles -
Here are our top 5 picks in 2018:
Best Travel Bottle for Breastfed Babies
When you’re on the go, you don’t have time to mess with bottles that require a lot of care. You need something that can be put together in a flash, will do the job you need it to and isn’t hard to clean. When you’re on vacation, you want things to be low-maintenance, and your bottles are no exception.
It doesn’t get any simpler than this bottle. So simple to assemble, you’ll be able to stick your whole hand in this ultra wide-neck bottle to clean it when you don’t have access to a dishwasher on your vacation.
These bottles are as close as you can get to the breastfeeding experience. The nipples are big and soft. In a dramatic twist from most other bottles, even the base of the bottle is flexible. Your baby can grab and squish the bottle when she’s feeding, just like she does with your breast.
You can microwave this bottle or stick it in boiling water or dishwashers. If you have a bottle sterilizer, you can toss it in there. It won’t warp or melt no matter which sterilization method you choose.
Both the nipple and the base of the bottle are made completely from silicone. And if you’re worried about colic, these have dual anti-colic vents.
- These bottles will hold up to all the heating and squeezing you can dish out.
- You don’t even need a bottle brush to clean these, which is great for vacation.
- Will help you avoid breastfed babies rejecting their bottles.
- These bottles are fairly expensive.
- It can give off a plastic smell when the bottle is warmed up.
Best Plastic Bottle for Breastfed Babies
Despite their use of questionable chemicals, plastic bottles are sturdy, cheaper and they don’t break if you drop them. There are many plastic bottles that can mimic the feeling of breastfeeding so you have a good chance of finding one that won’t confuse your baby.
Your baby should love the appearance of this bottle set. The flesh-colored big nipple is surprisingly boob-like. It looks and feels like the real deal. This is hands-down the most realistic-looking nipple on the market. Your baby might do a double take when he sees this thing.
This set comes with four bottles -- two in the Very Hungry bigger size and two in the Not So Hungry smaller size. There are hardly any parts to fuss with on these bottles, which makes them extremely easy to assemble. You don’t even need to put a ring around the nipple to hold it onto the bottle base because the nipple screws directly onto the bottle.
The slow-flow nipples and the nipple design help ward off baby fussiness caused by colic. The bottles don’t contain BPA. The super wide necks to these bottles mean you’ll be able to clean them in seconds.
- Realistic looking and feeling nipple.
- Easy to put together and clean.
- Helps fight colic.
- The bottles are really expensive.
- The nipples can be a little difficult to screw on correctly without having leaks.
Best Cheap Bottle for Breastfed Babies
One of the reasons you might be breastfeeding to begin with is because of all the money it saves. You don’t want to see those savings eaten up when you buy bottles. Luckily, there are some great affordable bottle options for breastfed babies.
This three-pack of 9-ounce bottles blends together great performance with an affordable price. Because the bottles are so big, if you buy these you won’t have to upsize from any newborn bottles you might have considered purchasing.
This bottle features multiple nipple holes that give a more realistic feel, like your baby is sucking on your breast instead of a bottle. Depending on what flow the nipple is, it can have up to nine tiny nipple holes.
Plus, the wide silicone nipple stretches with your baby’s movement, which means she won’t break her latch as often.
To help cut down on spit up and gas, this bottle uses a one-piece anti-colic system. Because the colic system is built into the bottle, you won’t have to mess with trying to clean a complicated system.
The bottles are stain resistant, which will keep them looking newer for longer. The ergonomic design will make this bottle comfortable for both you and your baby to hold during feeding time.
- Inexpensive bottle option, especially considering you won’t have to upsize down the road when your baby’s appetite grows.
- Built-in anti-colic system means this bottle is easy to clean.
- The milk comes from more than one hole -- just like a real breast.
- The milk won’t come out of the bottle unless she forms a proper latch.
- The cap can be tough to pull off the bottle.
- Because of a tiny air hole at the top of the nipple, you must position the bottle correctly when feeding.
Best Glass Bottle for Breastfed Babies
Finding glass bottles that look and feel like real breasts is a challenge. The glass won’t have the softness that plastic or silicone does. Your best bet is to look for a breast-like nipple that will help trick your baby into thinking she’s getting the real deal.
Philips Avent has a lot of products aimed at making the breastfeeding experience a successful one for moms. These bottles are just one more tool in the shed to help with that particular battle.
These bottles come in a three-pack, and they each can hold up to 4 ounces. What makes them really shine when it comes to bottle feeding breastfed babies is the realistic nipple. The nipples are made of soft silicone and are wider than many other nipples on the market. That wide nipple will remind babies of their mother’s breast.
They have an anti-colic system that is already incorporated and doesn’t require moms to go through the hassle of having to assemble a lot of parts. These bottles are straightforward and easy to operate.
They are made of borosilicate glass, which means your baby won’t be ingesting any harmful chemicals like he might with a plastic bottle.
- The wide neck on these bottles makes them easy to clean or fill without spilling.
- Any nipple from this brand will fit onto this bottle -- they make their products compatible with each other.
- Anti-colic features should make your baby more comfortable.
- These are smaller bottles that your baby will outgrow in a few months.
- They aren’t made to withstand sudden temperature changes, like being moved from the freezer to a bottle warmer.
Best Anti-Colic Bottle for Breastfed Babies
Not being able to soothe your crying baby no matter what you do is tough for a mom. By the time your baby gets gas from sucking in too much air while he’s feeding, it’s too late. He’s going to be miserable for a while until that gas works its way through -- and you’ll be right by his side miserable with him. Finding an anti-colic bottle is your best bet to nip this problem in the bud.
This bottle set will offer you a lot for a reasonable price. You’ll get two 4-ounce bottles with slow flow nipples, two 8-ounce bottles with medium flow nipples, a newborn pacifier, a bottle and valve brush, two pump adapters and four sealing discs. The pump adapters will allow you to connect these bottles to many breast pumps.
These are a good choice for preventing colic because the stretchiness of the nipple helps encourage the right latch. A proper latch can ensure your baby is taking in less air with every sip because the nipple will move with your baby’s mouth. The anti-colic valve also reduces any gas your baby might suffer from as a result of feeding.
These bottles are made out of plastic and silicone. Everything in this set can be cleaned in the top rack of the dishwasher. This brand of bottle won the 2015 American Baby’s award for Best Bottle Chosen by Moms.
- Really affordable bottles.You get a lot of extras with the bottle set.
- This bottle has an anti-colic valve and a nipple that requires a correct latch to help reduce colic.
- The anti-colic valve is hard to clean, even with the included brush.
- You have to make sure everything is assembled perfectly or you’ll have a leaky bottle.
My Favorite Bottle for Breastfed Babies
I’m a firm believer in not paying more for something if you don’t need to. That’s why my favorite bottle off this list is NUK Simply Natural. It’s inexpensive and it works really well.
The built-in anti-colic system does a nice job, and I like how they made more than one milk hole in each nipple to imitate the feeding experience of a real breast. I also like how milk won’t come out unless your baby forms a correct latch.
With this bottle, you’ll be able to switch back and forth from the breast to the bottle without any problems.
If you're willing to spend more money, the Comotomo Bottles are also one of our favorite. Read more about them in this review.