With so many bottle options available for purchase it can be difficult for a new parent to choose the right type for their baby's individual needs. We can help! Keep reading to learn about different styles and shapes, nipple flow, and bottle sizes.
The 3 basic bottle shapes include standard, wide-neck, and angled
Standard sized bottles are a traditional shape with different venting options to reduce gas in your baby's belly. Wide-neck bottles are great for breastfed babies because they are most like mom’s breast due to a wider nipple. Angled bottles are designed for semi-upright feeding to reduce air intake, which can lead to gas and fussiness.
Tip: When bottle feeding, hold baby in a different position than when you breastfeed. Babies often do better with a bottle if they are not cradled similar to when breastfeeding. Face your baby away from your body, somewhat reclined, with their back to your stomach.
Our top bottle recommendations
Some babies prefer a wider mouthed nipple that resembles the breast, while others prefer a smaller size. Don't go out and spend a fortune on different types, though. Two or three different kinds should be enough with which to experiment.
- Standard: Evenflo or Gerber
- Wide-neck: Avent and Tommee Tippee
- Angled: Playtex Baby VentAire and Evenflo Advanced Angled
How to select the right bottle size and nipple flow rate
Begin bottle feeding your newborn baby with a 4-6 oz bottle and switch to an 8-9 oz bottle around 4-5 months of age. On bottle systems, nipples are numbered with a guide to their flow rate. Nipple flow rate number 1 is an ideal size for a newborn baby. As your baby grows, if you notice he or she takes a longer time to bottle feed, you will want to upgrade to a number 2 sized nipple. Be sure to choose the nipple flow number to the bottle's recommended size.
Tip: Experiment with the nipple flow. Some babies like a slow flow and others like a faster flowing nipple. If you choose a faster flow, be aware some babies can't handle it and may choke easily.
Quantity, care, and storage bags
Most bottles are dishwasher safe, or you can use hot soapy water and a bottle brush to thoroughly clean the bottles and nipples after each use. If you are strictly bottle feeding, have on hand around 8-10 bottles; fewer if you are only going to bottle feed once or twice a day.
If you plan to pump and store breastmilk to feed in a bottle, breastmilk storage bags are needed. There are several brands, but the Target Up and Up brand is just as good as the slightly more expensive Medela brand.
To thaw breastmilk quickly, only store 2-5 ounces of pumped milk in each bag. The measurement increments listed on the bags are generally inaccurate, so be sure to label each bag with the pumping date and amount of breastmilk. For compact storage, lay the bag flat in the freezer so it is easier to stack later on.
When to start bottle feeding a breastfed baby
Introduce your baby to a bottle when they are around 3-4 weeks old. At this time, your breastfed baby will have figured out how to latch correctly, so there is little reason to be concerned about nipple confusion. Begin bottle feeding once or twice a week until your baby has successfully fed from the bottle.