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Five Things to Consider When Picking out a Baby Bottle
Updated on
September 11, 2023

Five Things to Consider When Picking out a Baby Bottle

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Five Things to Consider When Picking out a Baby Bottle.
Five Things to Consider When Picking out a Baby Bottle

Before you became a parent, analyzing bottles might have been as simple as sparkling or tap, white or red. Baby bottles seem easy enough in theory, but if you find yourself suddenly faced with terms like anti-colic, natural shape and nipple flow, it’s perfectly normal to feel a little overwhelmed. Whether you’re planning to combo feed or exclusively bottle feed, we’ve partnered up with NUK to share five key things to consider when you’re selecting a bottle for your baby.

Material Matters

First things first, you’ll need to choose what kind of material you want your baby bottles to be. The standard baby bottle is typically plastic. They’re the most affordable and convenient, so you’ll have more options if you go this route.

Keep in mind, plastic can sometimes absorb odors and stains. If you still want the durability or ease of plastic but with a little more longevity, look for a bottle made with odor and stain-resistant materials like NUK’s Simply Natural bottle (it’s made out of a special kind of BPA-free plastic called Tritan that resists both stains and odors. And as a bonus: it’s GREENGUARD certified).

But if you want a bottle that can last through several babies without signs of wear, you may want to consider glass instead. Glass resists odors and stains and is chemical and BPA-free. Glass also has less of an environmental impact than plastic bottles do and can be sterilized at higher temperatures than plastic. They’re not as lightweight as plastic bottles, though, so they may be more difficult for your baby to hold when they’re old enough.

You may have also noticed a newer, squishier bottle on the shelves these days. Those are made from silicone, which is a soft, flexible material that’s free from chemicals like BPA, PVC and Phthalates. Because they’re newer, they’re often pricier, so consider this if you’re looking to have many bottles on hand at a time.

Go with the Flow

Another thing to look out for is nipple flow or flow rate—that’s the speed at which milk flows out of the bottle. But how that flow rate is determined changes from bottle to bottle.

Fixed Flow Rate: Younger babies need slower flow rates, while older babies can handle a faster flow rate, so most bottles let you swap out the nipple as your baby grows (usually you can figure out what your bottle’s flow rate is by looking at the packaging or the nipple itself—it should have a number or other symbol to indicate the flow rate). On NUK’s Simply Natural bottles, you can also tell how quick the flow rate is by simply counting how many holes are in the nipple (three for slow flow, six for medium and nine for fast).

Fun fact: human breasts typically have nine holes from which milk flows. So a nipple with multiple holes in it might feel more natural for a baby. Pro tip: it helps to stock up on multiple flow rates now so you’re ready when the swap needs to happen.

NUK Simply Natural Bottle Content photo

Adjustable Flow Rate: Some nipples, like the ones included on the NUK’s Smooth Flow Newborn bottles, actually allow your baby to control the flow rate themselves. Their suction strength causes the nipple shape to change so they always get the right amount. Which also means you won’t have to swap out nipples as your baby grows.

Get Rid of Gas

Some babies can take any bottle you hand them, while others may have digestive systems that are a little more sensitive (which can lead to gas and fussiness). If you know you were a colicky baby or if you just want to be as prepared as possible, you may want to consider a bottle with extra anti-colic features.

While bottles can’t 100% address all sources of colic, they can help reduce air when your baby eats, which cuts down on gas and discomfort. There are usually two different ways bottles do that: with an anti-colic valve or an advanced venting system.

Anti-Colic Valve: Have you ever noticed that bottles usually have a small hole in the top? It’s not just for decoration, it’s a special valve that allows for better airflow so your baby doesn’t accidentally gulp down a bunch of air and get uncomfortable gas pains (you’ll find it on bottles like NUK’s Simply Natural series).

Anti-Colic Venting System: For even more controlled airflow, there are bottles with an advanced anti-colic venting system. An advanced venting system like the one on NUK’s Smooth Flow Pro Anti-Colic Baby Bottle usually involves a straw-like insert that helps draw air toward the bottom of your baby’s bottle and away from their mouths. While both venting systems help reduce gas, this is the option you’d want to reach for if you’re concerned about colic and want to be extra prepared.

NUK Simply Natural Bottle Image 2

Clean Up and Prep

Feeding your baby is equal parts prepping, feeding and cleaning. So there are a few other things to consider when choosing your baby’s bottle. While you may have said yes to a more advanced anti-colic venting system, keep in mind it will mean washing extra bottle parts—so if that sounds like more work than you want to sign up for, you may want to wait until your baby shows signs of needing an advanced venting system before buying more complex bottles.

That said, not all advanced anti-colic systems are the same. NUK’s Smooth Flow Pro Anti-Colic Baby Bottle, for example, has fewer parts than the average anti-colic system.

It also helps to think about how you want to be washing your bottles (Hand-wash? Dishwasher? Sanitize after every use?). The good news is most bottles are dishwasher safe these days, and usually safe for sterilizers and bottle warmers, too. Depending on your preference for glass or plastic bottles, most brands offer multiple versions of their bottles, like the NUK Simply Natural set that comes in both glass and plastic.

Another tip: if you do end up with a bottle that has more parts, consider picking up a bottle or vent brush to get into those tiny nooks and crannies. Some bottles come with brushes, too.

Bonus Features

Some of the newer features on bottles are things you may not have even realized existed yet. For example, NUK has a handy temperature indicator on the side of their Smooth Flow Pro Anti-Colic Baby Bottles and Simply Natural Bottles with SafeTemp that looks like a little thermometer and fades when milk is too hot, reappearing when milk has cooled and is safe to drink. No more worries that your baby’s bottle is too hot.

Bottles may have a ton of features, but hopefully, learning a little bit about them has set you up for success. And if you want to know even more about what to look for, check out our Baby Bottle Glossary to get the 411 on what all the different parts are named and what they do.

This post is sponsored by NUK. Babylist’s free site, apps and emails are made possible by our sponsors. We limit our sponsored content to relevant partners that offer products and services we believe in and use ourselves.

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