Choosing the Right Baby Bottle
If you are a new mom (or dad), finding the right baby bottle may seem like an easy, straight forward buying decision. Until you actually go to the store and stand there in the baby bottle isle. Staring at all those various brands and types of bottles and how they should be used can definitely be overwhelming.
Then you realize there is more to this process than meets the eye. The amazing thing is there is quite a bit of science behind this. There are some important factors to be considered. First, what type of bottle material should I consider, -- glass or plastic.
Some simple research will show that both have advantages and disadvantages over the other. Glass doesn’t contain BPA (Bisphenol-A) which was banned by the FDA in 2012 for its link to causing cancer and other ailments in the body. Almost all manufacturers stopped using BPA prior to that time due to the wide range of studies in the market. If you have, or if someone should give you, old plastic baby bottles made prior to 2012, it would be wise to simply through them out.
Glass can safely and effectively be washed and sterilized in a microwave. However, it can break or shatter when dropped and is much heavier and harder to transport when on the go.
When it comes to the materials being used today in baby bottles, plastic has become the most widely used and versatile material produced in the industry. Typically, there are three different types of materials used: polypropylene, polyamide and polycarbonate.
Polypropylene (known as “PP” or “Plastic #5) has become the industry standard for plastic baby bottles. It won’t break when dropped or deform when exposed to heat when sterilized or washed in a dishwasher. Polyamide (known as “PA”) is similar to polypropylene, as it is dishwasher and sterilizer safe, and has a high transparency like glass. Polycarbonate (known as “Plastic #7”) was the standard material used until BPA concerns became such a major issue after findings of BPA in polycarbonate were addressed.
The nipple is another important factor to any baby bottle, especially to your baby. They come in a variety of different sizes, shapes, and fluid flow rates to deliver the milk to the baby. The feel, texture, and fluid delivery that mimics mom is what a baby relates to. The three basic shapes associated in the baby nipple market are: bell-shaped, flat-topped, and orthodontic.
Bell-shaped is more conventional because pediatricians believe the bell-shaped nipples seem to work best for breastfed babies who need to transition from breast to bottle, and works well with bottles with pumped breast milk. Flat-topped nipples are more chic or trendy right now and many bottle manufacturers have jumped into the mix. These nipples are designed to look like a mother’s breast. Even so, the bell-shaped still leads the industry in popularity. Orthodontic nipples have been touted as being a better design for your baby’s teeth, tongue, and mouth muscles, but it always comes down to personal choice.
Silicone or latex is the typical material used in nipple design. Although using silicone seems to eliminate the possibilities of any latex allergy reactions and are always a safe bet.
Focusing on the nipple fluid-flow rate is another important factor when choosing your bottle feeding system. The lower numbers such as 00 or 0 are for newborn use, whereas a 1 or 2 is for older babies. Try to use a lower number when feeding breast fed babies who have to transition or switch between both bottle and breastfeeding. This will be closest to your own breastflow rate. Your baby in turn, will keep using the same tongue and mouth muscles without changing the ease of the feeding pattern.
There are bottles available which are also designed as anti-colic. They seem to each have their own design or unique features to them, but the basic concept is to allow air to be vented in the bottle which eliminates air from passing into the baby’s stomach. Colic and reflux causes babies to have digestive issues, spit-ups, and painful gas. Any parent who has dealt with a colicky baby knows the stress, frustration, worry and sleepless nights that come with those symptoms. Having a great bottle that can assist with those issues is any parent dream come true.
Two more points to ponder here. Having a bottle design that is easy to assemble, take apart and clean is critical. You will spend more time making sure this is done right than you think. A clean, sanitized bottle makes for a happier healthier little one. Lastly, find and use a bottle that is designed not to leak! Some really do leak, and they leak a lot. If the bottle was designed with a built in anti-leak seal, it will save you aggravation in the long run.
So in conclusion, remember to keep it simple and follow the above easy guidelines. You and your baby will both be pleased!