Breastfeeding & Bottle Feeding | Bottle Feeding | Bottles
| Formula Transition
Most people are now well aware of trying to get bottles that are BPA free. What is BPA?
Bisphenol-A (BPA) became highly publicized shortly after my son’s birth (May 2008).
BPA is an industrial chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonate plastic is commonly used to make consumer products. This type of plastic is clear and shatter-proof. It is commonly found in products such as water bottles, food storage containers, toys…(Medela).
There were studies published that linked BPA to cancer which is why most bottle companies started advertising new bottles that were now BPA free or had always been BPA free. If you are having a baby now, in general I think most all new bottles are now BPA free, but it should state on the product label if it is BPA free.
If you receive used bottles from friends or family you may want to investigate to make sure they were BPA free.
The Haberman bottle is different than most other bottles as “with all but the Haberman, the formula just falls into the bottle, and gravity, not baby, determines the flow. . . "(Hogg 120). Medela makes a Haberman feeder. It describes that it is for babies with special feeding problems but it may be beneficial if you want to use a bottle but you also want to successfully establish breastfeeding. After establishing breastfeeding you would be able to switch to more standard bottles.
For more information on the Medela Haberman feeder, please refer to this link: http://www.medelabreastfeedingus.com/products/breastfeeding-devices/83/specialneeds-feeder.
We started with the Avent bottles since my sister-in-law was kind to give us all of her old bottles. We liked the Avent bottles because of the wide opening so they were easy to pour breast milk or formula into. The nipples were nice as our baby latched on similar to how he would latch on for breastfeeding. After using the bottles for a few months we became concerned since they were old bottles and may not have been BPA free so we decided to purchase ALL new Avent bottles. For more information on Avent bottles, please refer to the following web site: http://www.avent.philips.com/.
After using the Avent (BPA Free) bottles for a few weeks, I decided I wanted to get glass bottles; I didn’t know if glass would be safer than plastic but I decided to get glass. So I started looking at other brands. I almost bought the Dr. Brown’s but then I worried that the plastic insert in the bottle was not BPA free as the Dr. Brown’s glass bottles hadn't yet put the BPA free information on the glass bottles.
So I bought the Evenflo glass bottles, one of the only other brands that had glass bottles at my Babies R Us store. They were fairly cheap in price and later I discovered why. We used the Evenflo bottles for a month or two and then they started breaking after being in the bottle warmer. The entire bottom would fall out. In addition, the bottles didn’t seem to vent properly and since my son had enough issues with drinking we didn’t need to add to the problem with a poorly ventilating bottle. Your baby may like Evenflo bottles but for us we didn’t like the Evenflo bottles as much as the other bottles we tried.
For more information on Evenflo bottles, please refer to this link: http://www.evenflo.com.
One time when I was out and I forgot to bring a bottle I bought a Playtex bottle as it used the plastic drop ins and thus I could easily sterilize the nipple but I didn’t have to worry about sterilizing the entire bottle since the formula only has contact with the plastic drop ins which were already sterilized.
I think some people really like the bottles with the inserts as they may be easier to clean and/or for some babies the insert may help limit the air intake when the baby drinks the bottle. I didn’t think the drop in bottle was worth the extra cost of the drop-ins since I didn’t think it saved much time nor eliminated air intake for my baby. I never actually used the Platex drop-in bottle since my son wouldn’t drink out of it because the Playtex nipple had a completely different texture than the other nipples he used. For more information on bottle nipples, click here. So I do not know if the Platex drop-in helps eliminate excess air for the baby. I also felt you still needed to clean the insert since it had some contact with the nipple. It probably would help eliminate some cleaning time though. My friend used the Playtex drop-ins and really like them.
For more information on Playtex bottles, please refer to this link: http://www.playtexbaby.com.
The last bottle we tried with my son was the glass Dr. Brown’s bottle, the one I almost started with, later almost switched to and finally tried and really liked! The Dr. Brown’s bottle seemed to flow easily without air bubble problems. My son seemed to drink from the Dr. Brown’s bottle much more easily than the Evenflo bottles. (My son drank well from the Avent bottles but again I only switched from them to buy glass bottles.)
Dr. Brown’s bottles are different than most bottles in that as described on the Dr. Brown’s web site, the bottle is
a patented two-piece internal vent system that works unlike any other bottle design. The vent system fully vents our bottle for vacuum-free feeding, which we call positive-pressure flow, similar to breastfeeding. As the baby feeds, air is channeled from the nipple collar through the vent system, bypassing the breast milk or formula, to the back of the bottle. Air never mixes with the breast milk or formula which minimized oxidation and helps maintain essential nutrients like Vitamin C, A, and E.
Dr. Brown’s also makes plastic bottles. I did buy a few of the plastic bottles to use for traveling and also when my son wanted to hold the bottles himself. I planned to mainly use glass bottles for the majority of the feedings. Dr. Brown’s also made wide neck bottles although I couldn’t find those in glass so I bought the standard neck bottles. The wide neck bottles may have nipples more similar to the Avent nipples and thus that bottle type may be helpful if your baby prefers a wider bottle nipple.
Please refer to this link to go to the Dr. Brown’s web site, http://www.handi-craft.com/home.html for more information.
As expected our daughter didn't like the bottle our son liked. She loved breastfeeding and didn't want to drink from a bottle. As discussed in the "To or Not To" article I needed to find a bottle that had a nipple that more closely corresponded with what she was use to with breastfeeding. I found that the Tommee Tippee bottles worked best. The bottles seemed to be similarly designed like the Avent bottles but with an even shorter nipple.
One of the Tommee Tippee bottle types had an internal vent system similar to Dr. Brown's, look for the "Sensitive Tummy" bottles. These bottles were the perfect fix for our daughter who started rejected the bottle when she was 2 months old. She would gag soon as we tried to use other bottles but with the Tommee Tippee bottle she drank much easier.
Please refer to this link to go to the Tommee Tippee web site, http://www.tommeetippee.us/index.html for more information.
As discussed in the Tommee Tippee section, something else to consider when looking into bottles is the type of nipple that comes with each bottle. Refer, to the "Nipples" article for more discussion on finding a nipple that will support breastfeeding.
Once you determine which type of bottle to buy you then will want to consider different methods of cleaning the bottles. We purchased the Avent sterilizer which we really liked and used several times a day while we were using the Avent bottles. We would scrub out each bottle, nipple, and other accessories with a bottle brush and water and soap and then sterilize the products in the case that you put in the microwave.
Later when we switched to the other bottles they didn’t fit well in the sterilizer and so we started washing the bottles in the dishwasher. With the Dr. Brown’s bottles we bought the Dr. Browns Dishwasher Basket which was very helpful in washing the accessories for the bottles.
I would scrub out all parts of the bottle with a bottle brush and soap and water before putting the bottles in the dishwasher. This helps especially since we add cereal to the bottles and the cereal tends to stick like glue if you don’t prewash; I’d recommend rinsing the bottle immediately after use and then washing later when you have time. I tend to stock pile several bottles and then fully wash all at once.
Generally most of the bottle brands have different accessories to help with the cleaning process such as sterilizers and dishwasher baskets. You could also sterilize the bottles and equipment in a pan on the stove.
Pad the bottom of a large pan with a towel or dishcloth. Immerse open bottles, nipples, and other equipment in the pan (place bottles on their side to be sure that they are filled with the sterilizing water) and boil for ten minutes with the pan covered. Allow to cool to room temperature while still covered. Remove the bottles and nipples with tongs or a spoon and place the bottles upside down on a clean towel with the nipples and caps alongside. Let the equipment dry (Sears, Ask).
Please refer to the bottle care instructions on the package.
If you are able to afford it, the more bottles you have the easier. If you are able to buy enough bottles for the entire day and then simply put them in the dishwasher once a day that is ideal. If you get around 8 – 10 bottles generally that should be sufficient.
How to Warm the Bottles
For bottles made with formula or breast milk from the refrigerator we always warmed the bottles using a bottle warmer. You can also warm the milk by running it under warm water or first heating a pan of water on the stove and then putting the container in the pan. Do not heat the milk directly on the stove. You are not suppose to use a microwave as it "may cause the loss of some of the beneficial properties of the milk" and it "may leave hot spots in the container of milk [or formula]" (LLLI). You do not want to boil the milk.
If the breast milk is frozen, first "thaw in the refrigerator overnight or under cool running water. Gradually increase the temperature of the water to heat the milk to feeding temperature" (LLLI). Both of our babies like to drink the milk warm or at least at room temperature. Our baby girl liked it very warm as she was use to Mommy's warm breast milk and so it had to be at least as warm as Mommy's milk. We always tested the milk on our wrists before giving it to our babies.
We used the Avent bottle warmer which worked with all of the different types of bottles we bought.
We felt the Avent warmer worked well but could have been designed better. For example, when you turn it on to warm the light comes on for about a 2 1/2 minute cycle and then turns off; this does not mean the bottle is actually warm. We generally waited for it to go through two cycles (about 4 - 5 minutes) if the bottle was cold out of the refrigerator. Another problem with the light continuously going on and off was that we would leave the bottle warmer on and so we'd resort to unplugging the warmer to make sure we did not leave it on.
As you may learn, you may have to try a few bottles until you find one your baby prefers or your baby may be happy with the first bottle you use. I hope the bottle you choose works well and you don’t have to go through as many versions as I did, but if not, remember to just keep trying until you find something you really like.
Dr. Brown’s. “How It Works.” DrBrowns Natural Flow. 8 Nov. 2009
Hogg, Tracy and Melinda Blau. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and
Communicate with Your Baby. New York: Ballantine, 2001.
La Leche League International (LLLI). "What are the LLLI guidelines for storing my pumped milk?"
La Leche League International. 17 Nov 2010 <http://www.llli.org/FAQ/milkstorage.html>.
Medela BPA-free Information and Solutions. 7 Nov. 2009
Sears, William M.D.,Martha Sears, R.N., James Sears, M.D., and Robert Sears, M.D.” Bottlefeeding:
Sterilizing.” AskDrSears.com. 8 Nov. 2009.
Last Updated: March 2011; November 2009