Choosing the perfect bottle for your baby is one of the most important decisions to make regarding your baby’s feeding, but it can also be the most difficult one. There are so many questions to consider. What are the best bottles for new-borns? What are the best bottles for breastfed babies? Which material is best? How should I choose between the varieties of lid shapes, teat sizes and flows?
With a greater awareness of harmful chemicals and toxins found in certain plastics, parents also have to be mindful of safety when choosing baby bottles. All parents want the best non-toxic baby bottles for their babies, whether they are filled with breastmilk or formula.
How to choose a baby bottle
Deciding on the best feeding bottle for your baby is a personal choice. Here are some things to keep in mind when finding the right bottle that works for you and your baby.
- Baby Bottle Teat Stages. Teats for baby bottles come in stages defined by their flow (how fast or slow the milk comes out). New-borns usually start with Stage 1 and move to Stage 2 after a few months. In some cases, they then progress to Stage 3. Choose a bottle compatible with different stages of teat.
- Ease of Use. Do you want a bottle that is microwave safe, that can go in the dishwasher, or that can be sterilised in boiling water? You should consider these factors when choosing a bottle.
- Anti-Colic Teats. Some bottles come with air vents, vacuums or valves to reduce air flow into your babies’ mouths. This reduces colic and gassiness, which is especially important for formula-fed babies.
- Baby bottle materials. Most baby bottles are made of plastic or glass, with other options of stainless steel or silicone. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss below.
Glass baby bottles versus plastic baby bottles
Whilst plastic has long been the standard when it comes to baby bottles as a lightweight and inexpensive option, glass bottles are the preferable material for parents who want the best and safest option for their babies. The benefits of glass over plastic include:
- Durability: Some parents are hesitant to buy glass baby bottles due to the fear that glass bottles are breakable and heavier than plastic, so harder to grip. However, plastic is less durable than materials like stainless steel and glass, needs more frequent replacement and careful cleaning to prevent scratching. Moreover, most glass bottles are now shock resistant, making them hard to break, and some also come with silicone sleeves for added protection and grip.
- Taste: For purity of taste, glass baby bottles are best. Glass does not affect the taste of milk and preserves the natural flavour, whilst plastic bottles tend to impart flavours into liquid, especially when heated.
- Health and Hygiene: BPA, a hormone disruptor linked to brain and behaviour changes, cancer and reproductive issues, is found in polycarbonate plastic used to make baby bottles. Infants are particularly susceptive to the toxic impacts. Even BPA-free plastic bottles should be avoided, as BPA substitutes like BPS could be just as bad. To ensure a totally non-toxic bottle which is safe from BPA, never choose plastic. Glass bottles are also more hygienic than plastic: they are easily sterilised and cleaned in soapy water or the dishwasher, and no milk will cling to the lining of the bottle.
- Environmentally Friendly: Of course, choosing glass over plastic is always the environmentally friendly option. It is more energy efficient to process glass than plastic bottles, and a glass bottle can be recycled endlessly into other glass bottles without chemical processing, compared to plastic.
Here is our guide to the best glass baby bottles:
These beautiful 300ml bottles are designed and engineered in Cairns Australia. They are completely plastic free, made of hand-blown borosilicate glass. These bottles are microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe and thermal shock resistant, meaning they can withstand heating and cooling.
The teat is made from all-natural rubber which is softer than silicone, are free from hardening agents or any harmful chemical compounds and are perfectly shaped for composite or bottle feeding. The teat is also available in different sizes, a choice between Slow Flow which is best for new-borns (0-3 months) or Medium Flow (3-6 months).
The teats are very hygienic as they are moulded as one piece without joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate, and all components are free of plastics, BPA, polycarbonate, phthalates and PVC.
Baby Quoddle, Abel Series Bottle, 300ml, Twin Pack: $34.95
The HEVEA baby glass bottles are made from pure borosilicate glass, which is both heat and thermal shock resistant. The glass does not react with the content of the bottles, so no substances will get into the food. The bottle is dishwasher safe and can be heated in a bottle warmer.
Similarly, to the Baby Quoddle bottles, the non-toxic natural rubber nipples come in slow flow, best for newborns (0-3 months) or medium flow for babies aged 3-24 months. These bottles have the added advantage of an anti-colic valve.
The HEVEA bottles are highly hygienic, due to the smooth and non-porous surface and BPA free.
HEVEA Glass Baby Bottle, 2 pack in White, 240ml: $25.50
While all these bottles are designed for supervised use, this bottle stands out due to its rubber design element making it easy to grab for small hands. The pure borosilicate glass bottle contains all the features of the above bottle – BPA free, dishwasher safe, thermal shock resistant – with the addition of a natural rubber star ball which prevents breakage by bouncing rather than cracking when dropped.
HEVEA 2 in 1 Baby Glass Bottle with Star Ball, 120ml: $32.95
Are there alternative options to glass?
Glass is the best option for baby bottles, but other materials that are preferable to plastic are stainless steel and silicone. Good options include the Klean Kanteen Baby Bottle and Comotomo Silicone Baby Bottle.
Baby bottle feeding tips
Once you’ve picked the best feeding bottle for your baby, check out these tips for using your bottle safely.
- When warming the milk, check the temperature of the inside of your wrist which is sensitive to heat.
- Always tilt the bottle so the teat is full of milk, tipping it higher as the bottle drains. This will avoid air bubbles getting in your baby’s mouth, which can cause colic.
- Take your time and relax. There are so many advantages to skin on skin contact and closeness between baby and parent when feeding, so enjoy the moment.
- Teeth can damage soft teats, so when your baby is teething keep an eye out for damage and replace your teats.
- Make sure you are cleaning and sterilising your baby’s bottle properly – you can check out our guide to baby bottle cleaning for more advice.