Buying baby bottles is a much more difficult task than it seems. There are so many choices, including different materials, how are you supposed to know which is best?
In this article, we will cover the pros and cons of glass and plastic bottles and even go over a third option you probably didn’t know about, so that you can make a conscious decision on which is best for your family.
Glass Bottle Pros
- No chemicals: It is a sure thing that glass bottles contain no harmful chemicals, and there is no need to worry about chemicals leeching into your baby’s milk.
- Easier to clean: Glass bottles are much easier to clean than plastic, because they are less likely to develop scratches and hold on to residue and odors. Small scratches, which plastic is known for, creates minute spaces for bacteria for grow. It’s also extremely easy to tell when glass is clean vs. dirty compared to plastic.
- Full sanitization: You can heat up glass to higher temperatures without having to worry about melts, so you are able to truly sanitize your bottles.
- Tastes better: Plastic bottles absorb odors and impart various “flavors” into the breastmilk/formula it comes into contact with. Glass seals in the purity of taste of the liquids.
- Compatible with common breast pumps: Just because you are using glass bottles, doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy separate bottles to fit your breast pump. Many glass bottles today actually work with common breast pumps. For example, glass bottles that work with Medela pumps include Lifefactory, Avent, Born Free, Evenflo, Joovy Boob, and Dr. Browns (source).
- Durable: Glass bottles are much more durable than plastic ones. Unless they happen to break, your glass bottles can last through multiple children.
Glass Bottle Cons
- More expensive: Glass bottles tend to be more expensive, as the material is more costly and the process to make them is more time consuming.
- Not readily available: You most likely won’t be able to find any glass bottles at your local Target or WalMart. You will have to either find a local health food store or order off of the internet for your glass bottles.
- Fewer options: There aren’t nearly as many options for glass bottles, as there are plastic, but there is still quite a good variety available on the internet. Common ones found on Amazon, include Lifefactory, Avent, Dr. Brown’s. HEVEA, and Evenflo.
- Heavy: Glass bottles tend to be on the heavy side, which can make it difficult for your baby to hold.
- Small chance of breaking: We use Lifefactory glass bottles, and they have taken many hits to our hardwood floor, but we haven’t ever had a break. I would say unless your toddler is throwing it down on a slab of concrete, the chances of your glass bottles breaking is relatively low. If your bottle has a silicone sleeve, that will greatly reduce the chances of breaking and will contain the shattering glass if it does happen to break.
Most glass bottles are now also made with reinforced glass, so if they do break, they are designed to disintegrate into rounded pebbles, rather than sharp shards, reducing the chances of your little getting hurt (source).
Plastic Bottle Pros
- Readily available: You’ll easily be able to find plastic bottles at local and chain retailers.
- Easy to Measure: With their transparent material and clear markings, plastic bottles make it easy than ever to measure how much milk your baby is drinking.
- Less expensive: Plastic bottles are generally less expensive than glass ones, as the material is cheaper and they are quicker to make.
- Light: Plastic bottles are lightweight, making it easier for your baby to grip and hold on to their bottle.
- Won’t break: Plastic bottles might not last as long as glass, but they are essentially unbreakable and you won’t have to worry about shattered glass.
Related Reading: What are the Best Bottles for Gas?
Plastic Bottle Cons
- More chemicals: Even though plastic bottles are now BPA-free, they still contain other chemicals with estrogenic activity. In fact, some even contain more estrogenic chemicals compared to plastics containing BPA. Plastics, especially when heated, leach these estrogenic chemicals and they enter the body through liquids which were in contact with the plastic. These chemicals have the potential to pose health risks, such as weight gain and even cancer (source).
- More difficult to clean: Plastic is prone to scratches, which create tiny spaces for bacteria to flourish and make cleaning difficult.
- Can’t truly sanitize: Plastic can’t withstand the amount of heat that glass can. Too high of temperatures increases the risk for melts and creates leaching concerns.
- Absorbs odors: Plastic is known to absorb odors, so you will be having to deodorize your bottles more often than if you used glass.
- Less durable: Plastics don’t last nearly as long as glass. Plastic bottles are more likely to get scratched and damaged and will eventually wear down.
A Third Option
Still undecided on if you should choose glass or plastic? Well, there’s actually a third option you probably didn’t know about.
In recent years, stainless steel has made its way into the baby bottle market. But just with glass and plastic, these bottles have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Stainless steel tends to have insulating properties and will keep your baby’s milk warmer longer. Stainless steel is also easy to clean, less prone to scratches, and extremely durable.
However, it’s difficult to measure how much formula/breast milk your baby is getting with stainless steel bottles, and they are also hard to find and tend to be more pricey than the convenient plastic bottles (source).
Related Reading: What are the Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies?
Choosing What’s Right
There are numerous choices when it comes to baby bottles, but no matter how much research you do and which choice you think is best, your baby may think differently and may ruin your well-thought-out plans. You may decide to use Joovy Boob glass bottles, but then your baby will only take milk out of Munchkin Latch plastic bottles.
Because babies can be finicky, I would recommend buying just one or two bottles of a few different kinds, until you figure out which one your baby prefers. Then you can invest in a complete stash. Your baby will choose what’s right.
Which bottle worked best for your baby? Comment below and tell us why you went with the bottle you did, and be sure to share this post with your expecting friends.