Doesn’t it seem like every baby item you buy is made of some kind of plastic? I always had a few nagging doubts over the safety of all those artificial materials in my baby’s environment. Though it took a little more effort (and sometimes cost), I eventually decided to choose safer materials wherever possible.
If the recent BPA scare also has you worried about what harmful additives plastic baby bottles may still contain, you may want to consider going old school and buying glass baby bottles. Even if you’re not too bothered by the chemical risk, you may still like the charm and feel of glass. Glass just seems so much more durable and clean than plastic.
Keep reading to learn about the best glass baby bottles and how to choose a quality product for your baby.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Glass Bottle Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
- Quick Comparison
- Why Should I Choose Glass Bottles?
- The Benefits of Glass Bottles
- Glass Bottles: Not Always Ideal
- Why Glass Bottles Are a Good Investment
- The Best Baby Glass Bottles of 2019
- Do Glass Baby Bottles Break Easily?
- How Do I Care for Glass Bottles?
- How to Sterilize Glass Baby Bottles
- How to Warm Glass Baby Bottles
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Bottom Line
Why Should I Choose Glass Bottles?
When my first baby was born, I didn’t see the harm in buying plastic bottles – they were cheaper and they wouldn’t break into a million pieces if I accidentally dropped one. They were lighter and easier to grip than glass bottles. I didn’t understand why anyone would prefer glass bottles over plastic.
I quickly saw the appeal of glass bottles once I’d had my plastic ones for a while, though. It was impossible to keep those suckers really clean. They always had this weird film on them and there was no way to get it off.
They just never seemed to be clean, compared to the sparkling glass bottles a friend of mine was using for her child. I was developing a big case of bottle envy – I regretted my choice to save money with plastic bottles.
Even worse was wondering what I was doing to my child’s health by using plastic. That film had me wondering. For all we know, BPA isn’t the only harmful component of plastic (source).
With all the extra steps we take to ensure our babies’ health – sanitizing bottles, breastfeeding, washing their clothes in Dreft detergent rather than our usual detergent – it doesn’t make sense to ignore the big, plastic elephant in the room. Our children would likely be better off with glass bottles.
The Benefits of Glass Bottles
- No chemicals: Glass doesn’t contain any chemicals – it’s made from silica. With no chemicals, it’s a safe bet to use for your baby’s milk (source).
- Milk fat won’t stick to the sides of the bottle: When you use plastic bottles, the fat from your breast milk can stick to the sides of the bottle (source). That doesn’t happen as much with glass bottles.
- Better for heating milk: If you’re using plastic bottles, chemicals tend to leach out into your baby’s milk even more when the plastic is heated (source). You can safely heat milk in glass bottles without fear that you’re releasing more toxins into your baby’s food.
- Glass doesn’t scratch as easily as plastic: Scratches on plastic can quickly accumulate grime and bacteria. Glass bottles don’t scratch as often, but on the rare occasion they do, toss them out because you won’t be able to properly clean the scratch, and you can’t guarantee that bottle will be sterile (source).
- Plastic baby bottles smell bad: I hate that dreaded plastic smell that you get when you first begin using a new plastic product. If parents can smell that awful odor, can kids? Plus, when you’re drinking from a new plastic cup, your drink doesn’t only smell – it tastes bad too. It takes a lot of washes before that plastic smell and taste begins to fade.
Glass Bottles: Not Always Ideal
While it’s true that glass bottles have a lot going for them, it doesn’t mean they’re an obvious choice for you. Consider the following drawbacks:
- Weight: You might like the feeling of a solid glass bottle in your hands, but glass may actually be too heavy for your little one if they’re self feeding.
- Cost: Anything plastic is usually cheaper, and this is true for bottles, too. Glass bottles can be a lot pricier.
- Risk of breakage: You’re always going to be a little antsy about giving a tiny baby something made of glass. While many bottles have a safe coating around them to prevent shattering even if they fall, the fact is that if they’re dropped, they can and will break.
- Availability: Plastic bottles are more popular and that makes them far easier to get hold of. If you want good glass bottles, you may have to hunt them down.
- Less choice: Glass bottles are less likely to come in loads of shapes, sizes or styles as plastic bottles do, since they’re simply not as common.
Why Glass Bottles Are a Good Investment
As I’ve matured and become more interested in health issues, especially ones facing children, I’ve realized that sometimes you can really hurt yourself and the ones you love by trying to pinch pennies. It can be a natural tendency to try to save money when you know you have big expenses coming up.
But if I had known when I bought those first baby bottles what I know now about the health risks of using plastic, I would have paid for the glass ones happily. Second guessing yourself is awful under normal circumstances, but it’s incredibly painful when you’re a mom and you wonder if you’ve made a choice that will have a long-term negative impact on your baby’s health.
Most of the time, I’m fairly confident in my abilities as a mom, but one of the top five mistakes I feel I’ve made during motherhood is buying these plastic bottles. If I could pull a Marty McFly and travel back in time, I’d tell my past me to splurge on the glass bottles.
The Best Baby Glass Bottles of 2019
If you’ve been using plastic bottles for ages and like them, there’s no need to freak out and throw them away. But you might be starting out from scratch or on your second child and trying to do things differently this time. If so, there are plenty of great options out there; here are our top 7 picks for 2019:
1. Philips Avent Natural Glass Bottle
These bottles are made from high-quality borosilicate glass, and you’ll get three 8-ounce glass bottles in this pack. You can heat up all your baby’s bottles without fear because these are heat resistant.
The Philips Avent bottles are a good choice for breastfed babies because of their big, breast-like, silicone nipples. While using these, babies can find a latch similar to the one they’d form when breastfeeding, so there’s no confusion going back and forth between breast and bottle.
These wide-neck bottles are easy to clean and they only have four parts so they’re easy to put back together. They have an anti-colic system to help your baby feel more comfortable. While these bottles come with slow flow nipples, you can use any other Philips Avent nipples with them.
The ergonomic design of these bottles makes holding them easy – you won’t have any hand discomfort.
- These bottles have “petals” that make the nipple softer and also stop it from collapsing as your baby drinks.
- This anti-colic system means your baby will swallow less air, which means less colic and discomfort.
- The ergonomic design will help your baby hold onto the bottle, even though it will be heavier than plastic ones.
- Drastic temperature changes from hot to cold make these bottles break occasionally.
- The soft nipple leads to leaking sometimes.
2. Joovy Boob Glass Bottles
These Joovy Boob glass bottles come in a three-pack and they each hold 8 ounces. They have a one-piece Clear Flow vent that helps reduce the amount of air your baby gulps down, which will cut down the chances of developing colic. The vent is a snap to clean and great at preventing leaks.
For added comfort and security, you’ll get a silicone sleeve with this set. Simply snap that in place over the bottle for a better grip and less chance of the glass breaking.
This set comes with three medium flow nipples and caps for the bottles. Sudden temperature changes are fine with this bottle, up to 176 degrees Fahrenheit, which means if you bring it from the freezer to a warm cup of water to heat the breast milk, you shouldn’t have any breakage.
- Made to withstand sudden temperature changes from freezer, dishwasher or bottle warmer.
- Comes with a silicone sleeve, which may stop the bottle from slipping out of your hand.
- Helps reduce colic.
- More expensive than many glass bottles.
- The measurement numbers will wear off the glass over time.
3. Dr. Brown's Wide Neck Bottles
These bottles from Dr. Brown’s have two very attractive features. Firstly, they’re made of sturdy glass but are lightweight enough in their silicone sleeve that they almost feel like plastic, and secondly, their anti-colic mechanisms are great for helping babies with spit-up, indigestion and gas.
The makers claim that this bottle has been clinically proven to reduce colic by creating a vacuum that stops the formation of tiny air bubbles. There’s also a silicone nipple with a controlled flow design so your baby is never gulping milk down, but drinking more naturally, as they would if they were breastfeeding.
The internal straw-style vent can be easily removed from the bottle as your baby develops and no longer needs it. All the parts can be steam sterilized with no fear of breaking the glass.
- Sturdy, attractive design.
- Helps preserve vitamins in the milk.
- Wide necks make for easy cleaning.
- The bottles leak easily.
- Some have noticed that although it doesn’t shatter, the glass does chip.
4. Evenflo Feeding Classic Glass Twist Bottles
These bottles are super cheap, and they’re affordable for moms on nearly any budget. The set comes with six 8-ounce bottles, nipples and lids.
Made of tempered glass, these are a little more decorative than many other baby bottles with their twist design. This glass is thicker and sturdier than some other brands, and it holds up well to long-term use. If you tend to be on the clumsy side, you might appreciate the durability of these bottles.
They come with silicone nipples that have vents to stop the nipple from collapsing when your baby is drinking, and they also help cut down on how much gas your baby will swallow.
You can place these in a bottle warmer without fear that they’ll shatter, and you can boil them when you need to sanitize them. Many standard-sized rings and nipples will fit on these bottles as well, if you already have a particular type of nipple you like to use.
- These don’t break easily, even when dropped.
- Super cheap for glass bottles.
- Easy to clean.
- The twist design makes it harder to find a sleeve that will fit them.
- Doesn’t do well with extreme temperature changes – you don’t want to put these into boiling water straight from the freezer.
5. Lifefactory BPA-Free Glass Bottles
This great set includes two 4-ounce bottles that both come with silicone sleeves, and you’ll also get a teether too. The teether doesn’t contain BPA, phthalates, latex or PVC. It’s made with medical-grade silicone, and so are the nipples and bottle sleeves.
These are a good choice for newborns with their Stage 1 nipples. Because these are resistant to thermal shock, you can move bottles from the freezer straight to boiling water without fear the bottles will explode.
Every part of these bottles can be put in the dishwasher and sterilized. When your baby outgrows them, they’re compatible with faster flow nipples made by Lifefactory. As a bonus, if you’re breastfeeding, these bottles are compatible with most breast pumps, which means you can still buy these even if you’ve already bought a breast pump from another brand.
- Everything, including the sleeve, is dishwasher safe, and you don’t have to remove the sleeves before cleaning.
- Can jump right from the freezer to boiling water without breaking, which is good news for moms who freeze breastmilk.
- The sleeves make the bottles easier to grip, without fear of them slipping out of your hands and breaking.
- These are really expensive bottles.
- It’s hard to see how much the baby has already eaten through the silicone sleeve.
6. Simba 9-ounce Ultra Light Bottles
The Simba bottles have wide necks for easy cleaning, which is important when you’re on vacation and you don’t have access to all the cleaning tools you have at home.
These bottles are also made out of really light, medical-grade borosilicate glass, which means they won’t make your luggage as heavy as some other glass bottles would. When it comes time for your baby to learn the art of self-feeding, they won’t feel like they’ve just had a full-on workout just from holding their bottle up.
Drastic, sudden temperature changes won’t bother these bottles at all – the temperature can change up to 446 degrees Fahrenheit and they’ll be fine. They can also resist heat up to 1,112 Fahrenheit, a temperature not even my famous milk-burning husband can accomplish.
The nipples have an anti-colic design to help keep your baby comfortable, even when away from home. You’ll be able to steam sterilize these in the microwave in your hotel room, if you have one.
- Reasonably priced.
- Super lightweight, but durable.
- Dishwasher safe.
- You’ll need to make sure they are packed appropriately in your luggage because they are a thinner glass, which can mean breakage if they bump each other.
- These don’t come with silicone sleeves.
7. Chicco Natural Fit Glass Bottle
One glance at this bottle design and you can see why a baby might take to it. The soft, silicone nipples look and feel like a breast, and the angled shape makes it easier for you to cradle your little one with one arm and feed easily with the other.
The bottle has all the features you’d want, including a BPA-free nipple in various sizes for babies of all ages, and anti-colic vents to make sure that once they’ve fed, they can happily go right off to sleep. If you’re trying to coax your breastfed baby onto bottles, this one will likely do the trick, as the company claims that 96 percent of babies latch to it immediately.
These have a wide neck to make them easier to reach when hand washing, but can also be put in the dishwasher, microwave or steam sterilizer with no problems. These bottles are a great all-rounder and they offer all the features of a plastic bottle but made of a safer material that won’t discolor with time.
- Cheerful blue silicone cover is easy to grip and lessens the chance of breaking.
- Angled for a more comfortable hold.
- High quality glass doesn’t break easily.
- Many parents have complained that the nipple frequently collapses.
- The bottle isn’t freezer safe.
Do Glass Baby Bottles Break Easily?
If you’re living in fear that you’ll break bottle after bottle if you buy glass, you don’t need to be overly concerned. Unless you’re greasing your hands before handling your baby’s bottle, the replacement issue won’t be as big as you think it will.
You only need to replace glass bottles when you shatter them, or if they have chips or cracks in them (source).
To make sure you’re as gentle as possible with your glass bottles, avoid putting them in your kitchen sink when they’re dirty. If you keep them on the counter next to the sink, you’ll avoid accidentally breaking them when you place other dishes in your sink.
If you are extremely clumsy, you can separately buy silicone outer sleeves to wrap the outside of your bottle. That way if you drop the bottle, it will have added protection from breaking. The silicone won’t come in contact with any of the milk in the bottle.
How Do I Care for Glass Bottles?
Few things can panic a mom quicker than the thought of letting a baby drink out of a bottle that hasn’t been cleaned properly. Our minds immediately go to the worst-case scenario – our baby ending up in the hospital with a preventable illness while a doctor lectures us about our epic fail at performing the most basic of mothering duties.
You’ll clean glass bottles exactly the same way you would clean plastic bottles, but there are a couple extra perks to having glass bottles:
- You can boil them: While boiling plastic bottles to sterilize them is a no-no these days, you can still boil glass bottles (source). That’s good news for parents who are watching their money and don’t want to spring for a bottle sterilizer. Who wants to spend unnecessary money and give up extra kitchen counter space to buy a piece of equipment you don’t need?
- They air dry quicker: If you prefer to let your bottles air dry on the counter instead of drying them manually, you might want to buy glass bottles. Glass bottles air dry faster than plastic bottles do (source).
How to Sterilize Glass Baby Bottles
Sterilizing bottles is not always necessary, and certainly not needed after every feed unless your baby has been ill, is very young or has a compromised immune system. You will however want to sterilize your glass bottles the first time you use them.
Your bottles can be sanitized pretty well by placing them on a hot cycle in the dishwasher or else washing them and then boiling in a pan of water for 10 minutes. Air dry and seal carefully to prevent introducing any bacteria to the inside. If you’d like to sterilize more thoroughly, it’s usually fine to place glass bottles and all their attachments into an electric or microwave steamer.
How to Warm Glass Baby Bottles
We already know that microwaving baby bottles is not a good idea. So how can you heat them, then?
Most glass bottles can be warmed in pretty much the same way you’d warm plastic bottles, with a few exceptions. If you have a special bottle warmer, carefully read the operating instructions to see if they’re compatible with glass – some are, some aren’t. if in any doubt, a glass bottle can safely be warmed under running hot water or else by placing in a warm water bath for a few minutes.
The Philips Avent Fast Bottle warmer is a great bottle warmer that works with glass bottles, but there are many others on the market which do the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, yes. Check the pack the bottle came in to confirm the cleaning instructions, but most glass bottles and accessories can be placed in the top drawer of the dishwasher.
If you’d like to microwave your glass bottles to sterilize them, this should be fine so long as you use a special bottle steamer designed for this purpose. Avoid putting a bottle filled with milk in the microwave to heat for a feed, as this will result in hot spots that could scold your baby.
Again, check with the manufacturer first, since some glass bottles may be quite delicate and will break if repeatedly exposed to extreme heat changes. For this reason, take equal care when boiling to sterilize.
A few bottle brands make glass bottles that can be put in the freezer (for example LifeFactory and Joovy Boob) but most don’t.
Milk (or any liquid, for that matter) will expand when it freezes. Even if you leave enough of an air gap in your bottle for the milk to expand into, you still risk it breaking the glass. If you’d like to freeze your milk, specially designed milk storage bags that can be frozen are ideal.
Airport security protocols are bound to change with time, so if in any doubt, call your airline and ask what you are and aren’t allowed to bring in the hold or in your hand luggage. In general, there are exemptions to the liquid rules when you’re transporting food for infants, as long as you pack your milk in a separate bag in clear bottles (not opaque flasks) so that officials can inspect it if they need to.
This applies to milk or plastic bottles, breast milk, formula or pureed baby food. Some airports actually sell ready prepared formula milk, which you can reserve ahead of time.
My favorite pick on this list is Lifefactory glass bottles. You can’t beat their performance – I love that these can be moved straight from the freezer to boiling water without shattering the bottle. That’s very appealing to breastfeeding moms!
My only beef with these bottles is the price, but the good news is that if you spring for these, you shouldn’t have to replace them. You’ll be admiring how nice they look for years to come, and the silicone sleeves are included in the price. Finally, if you decide to have more children, they’ll be sitting in your cabinet, ready to be of service once again.
For those of us who have taken the plunge and bought glass for our baby’s bottles, what brand do you swear by and do you have any tips and tricks for moms looking to ditch plastic? If so, please share and comment below!