Best Bottle For A Breastfed Baby

It’s TIME. You need to offer the first bottle to your exclusively breastfed baby. I bet your mind is spinning after looking in the Target baby aisle and you must have wondered: WHICH BOTTLE IS BEST FOR MY BREASTFED BABY?

Most bottle companies tend to make pretty bold statements on how only their bottle is “best possible transition to bottle feeding”, “designed to mimic breastfeeding” or “breast-shaped nipple promotes natural latch”…. Ask yourself: why do companies go out of their way to prove to us that their bottles are JUST LIKE BREASTFEEDING? Because they know that bottle-feeding CAN affect breastfeeding and that it happens quite often!

So. Now that you are even more nervous than when you first started reading – how in the world are you supposed to determine which bottle will be best for your baby? Let’s dive in!

You will hear the word “nipple confusion” thrown around quite often. In almost every aspect of the infant’s behavior, we notice what amazingly smart little creatures they are, and yet suddenly they get “confused”? THEY’RE FAR FROM BEING CONFUSED. I like to call that “nipple preference” instead. It is mostly due to the faster flow and how much easier it is to get the milk out of the bottle vs. from the breast. Do you see now how very little confusion is involved, and how absolutely smart our babies are?

Bottle-feeding and breastfeeding use the same muscle, yet, these muscles work completely different when the bottle gets involved. It’s like switching from automatic car transmission to manual – you really need to learn the first one and practice a lot before you feel confident enough throw in another one!

Now. You see how babies are not confused but actually making an educated and smart choice when given an opportunity. There is currently NO bottle in stores that would match the mechanics of breastfeeding, regardless of what some of the brands are trying to tell you.

Do you see these bottles? I bet you recognize them. Just because they’re the same skin tone color or shaped like a breast, not only they do not guarantee an easy transition but may be a recipe for disaster. Please stay away from these bottles!…

 

“Breast-at-rest” shape is NOTHING like what happens to your breast when a baby is breastfeeding, and your nipple gets pulled in and elongates all the way into the back of the mouth by baby’s soft palate.

When a baby is breastfeeding, they should get as much of your areola in their mouth as possible. Nice, wide, deep latch. And what are these bottles promoting? A shallow latch where baby mostly latches on the nipple itself, not the base as promised in fancy ads on Instagram. Thank you, NEXT!

There are only 2 things that you should focus on when choosing a bottle for your breastfed baby:

  1. FLOW SPEED     
  2. BASE SHAPE AND SLOPE    

Let’s dive in!

FLOW SPEED

What hides under this term? Well, it tells us how fast the milk can flow out of the bottle. The important thing to remember is that not all sizes are the same between brands, so size 3 of one brand might be completely different than size 3 of the other one. They are NOT UNIVERSAL. We want babies to work for their milk from the bottle, just like they work for it from the breast.

So, which flow should you choose? That will depend on many factors and is also not universal. I like to match the bottle’s flow to mom’s natural flow or slightly slower.

Start with Newborn flow, or if your baby is less than 3 weeks old, use Preemie flow. Observe your baby for signs that milk is flowing too fast – gulping, frequent pausing, eyes widening, eyebrows lifting, general discomfort, crying, spitting up and burping a lot and “drowning” like behavior.

BASE SHAPE AND SLOPE

When we’re breastfeeding, we want our baby to get as much of areola in their little mouths as possible. Yet, many bottles that change shape abruptly (like these below) promote exactly the opposite and encourage the baby to have a shallow latch while latching to the nipple tip only. After they get used to it and want to recreate it on your breast. OUCH!

And which bottles have a more ergonomic shape that allows a wide mouthul of nipple and have a gradual slope? They include Lansinoh mOmma, Dr. Brown’s Options+ Narrow neck, Evenflo Balance+ and Joovy Boob with Noob nipple. Let’s take a look!

I can recommend all four bottles, 3 of them I have tested with my breastfed boys with great results. Some other tips would include:

  1. Always buy the slowest nipple flow available
  2. Learn about pace bottle feeding
  3. Only purchase 4-5oz bottles (no need for the 8oz sets!) as your breastfed baby will most likely only take 2-4oz at the time
  4. Never screw the nipple ring on too tightly
  5. Make sure that the bottle is properly ventilating during the feed – you will see little air bubbles coming up while your baby suckles. If bubbles are not visible but only show up when baby unlatches, try not tightening the nipple ring as much and see if it improves. If not, contact the manufacturer
  6. To make the pumping experience easier, get attachments for your bottles to pump directly into the bottle of your choice
  7. Always look for signs your baby is done – turning away, crying, wiggling, and losing interest

I hope you have enjoyed this little post. If you have any more questions – let’s chat!

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Comments

  • Jennette

    July 28, 2020 at 12:57 am
    Reply

    Are there any that you recommend that are glass bottles? We don't do plastic. We've used avent glass with our first and it's worked for […] Read MoreAre there any that you recommend that are glass bottles? We don't do plastic. We've used avent glass with our first and it's worked for us but I love the idea of the nipples mentioned for the ones you have recommended and wouldn't mind trying with our second that's about to be born. But would prefer a glass bottle option. Read Less

    • Karolina Ochoa IBCLC
      to Jennette

      September 12, 2020 at 3:31 am
      Reply

      Hi Jenette! I believe Dr. Browns Options+ Narrow Neck has glass bottles option available :)

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About Me

Hi, I'm Karolina. I am a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) providing kind, real life, guilt-free greastfeeding suppoert for those in the Inland Empire Area and beyond. Read More

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