The Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies - 2024

Breastfeeding is a beautiful journey, but every mom knows there will come a time when she needs an extra pair of hands – or in this case, a bottle. Whether you're returning to work, need a well-deserved break, or your little one's struggling to latch, having the right bottle can make all the difference in ensuring a smooth transition from breast to bottle.

But not just any bottle will do for your breastfed baby. The wrong choice can lead to nipple confusion, fussiness, and even impact your baby's ability to get the proper nutrition. With so many options, finding the right bottle can feel overwhelming, especially for first-time parents.

But fear not! We've done the research and spoken with experts to bring you a complete guide to the best bottles for breastfed babies. From mimicking the natural feel of a mother's breast to reducing air intake and colic, we'll explore the different types of bottles and what to look for to make this transition an easy one.

So, whether you're planning ahead or in the thick of your bottle-feeding journey, get ready to find the perfect partner for your breastfeeding routine. Your baby's comfort and your peace of mind are in reach.

Why Use Bottles for Breastfed Babies?

Breastfeeding is a natural process, but there are times when a mother needs to use a bottle. Whether it's because you're returning to work, your baby is struggling with latching, or you simply need a break, using a bottle provides a practical solution.

A bottle that closely mimics the breastfeeding experience can make the transition easier for breastfed babies. Additionally, the right bottle can also have a significant impact on a baby's health. Some bottles are designed to reduce the amount of air a baby swallows during feeding, which can help prevent gas and colic.

Best Types of Bottles for Breastfed Babies

Not all bottles are equal, and the type of bottle you choose can make a significant difference. Here's a closer look at the most common types of bottles for breastfed babies:

Anti-Colic Bottles

Anti-Colic Bottles

Anti-colic bottles are specifically designed to reduce the amount of air a baby ingests during feeding. They feature unique venting systems that eliminate air bubbles in the milk or formula, which can lead to gas, discomfort, and colic in babies. 

By minimizing air intake, these bottles help make feeding more comfortable for your baby, leading to less fussiness and more enjoyable feeding sessions. The venting systems in these bottles also help preserve the nutrients in breast milk or formula by preventing oxidation. 

The Best Anti-Colic Bottles:

  • Dr. Brown's Options+ Anti-Colic Bottle: This is one of the most highly recommended anti-colic bottles by experts and parents. It features a vent system that helps prevent air bubbles and reduce colic, spit-up, and burping.
  • Philips Avent Anti-Colic Bottle: Another top choice, these bottles have a unique valve integrated into the nipple that draws air away from the milk to prevent excessive air intake.

Natural-Feel Bottles

Natural Feel Bottles

Natural-feel bottles aim to closely mimic the breastfeeding experience to make the transition from breast to bottle easier for your baby. They feature nipples that are wide and soft, similar to a mother's breast, which can help your baby latch more easily. 

Some natural-feel bottles also have flexible bodies that allow your baby to control the flow of milk, just like they would when breastfeeding. This can help prevent overfeeding and make feeding more comfortable for your baby.

The Best Natural-Feel Bottles:
  • Comotomo Baby Bottle: With its soft, squeezable body and wide-shaped nipple, the Comotomo closely mimics breastfeeding. It's a favorite among lactation consultants and breastfeeding mothers.
  • NUK Simply Natural Bottle: The nipple on these bottles is designed to mimic the shape and feel of a real breast, helping babies latch on easily and avoid nipple confusion.

Glass Bottles

Glass Bottles

Glass bottles are a durable and eco-friendly option for parents who prefer a more natural material. Unlike plastic, glass doesn't absorb odors or flavors, so your baby's milk will taste as fresh as possible. 

Glass bottles are also often easier to clean than plastic bottles, as they don't stain or retain residue. However, they are heavier and can break more easily, so they aren’t the best option for older babies who like to hold their own bottles. 

The Best Glass Bottles:

Plastic Bottles

Plastic Bottles

Plastic bottles are a popular choice because of their lightweight and unbreakable nature. They are easy to handle, both for parents and for older babies learning to hold their own bottles. Modern plastic bottles are made from safe materials that are free from harmful chemicals like BPA. However, it's important to replace plastic bottles and nipples regularly as they can wear out over time. 

The Best Plastic Bottles:

Silicone Bottles

Sillicone Bottles

Silicone bottles offer the best of both worlds. They are soft and flexible like natural breasts, which can make them more acceptable to breastfed babies who refuse harder bottles. Silicone is also a very safe material that is heat-resistant and free from harmful chemicals. These bottles are unbreakable and often have a wide design that is easy to clean. However, silicone bottles can be more expensive than other types. 

The Best Silicone Bottles:

What to Look for in a Bottle for a Breastfed Baby

Here are some key factors to consider when making your choice.

Nipple Design

The nipple should mimic the shape, feel, and flow of a mother's breast. This can help the baby latch onto the bottle more easily and reduce the risk of nipple confusion.

Material Safety

The bottle should be made from safe materials that are free from harmful chemicals like BPA. Many parents prefer glass or silicone bottles as they’re considered safer and more eco-friendly than plastic.

Ease of Cleaning

Bottles that are easy to clean and sterilize can make life much easier for busy parents. Look for bottles with wide necks and fewer parts, as they’re generally easier to clean thoroughly.

Size and Capacity

The size and capacity of the bottle depend on the age and feeding habits of your baby. Newborns typically need smaller bottles, while older babies require larger ones. It's also helpful to have bottles with clear measurement markings to ensure accurate feeding.

Frequently Asked Questions

You've got questions? We've got answers.

Can I mix breastmilk and formula in the same bottle?

Yes, you can mix breastmilk and formula in the same bottle, but it's important to prepare the formula correctly before adding it to the breastmilk. Make sure to follow the formula manufacturer's instructions precisely for measurements and water temperature. Once prepared, let the formula cool completely before combining it with your refrigerated breastmilk.

How many bottles do I need for a breastfed baby?

The number can vary based on your feeding routine, but a good rule of thumb is:

  • If only using occasionally: 2-4 bottles
  • If supplementing regularly: 4-6 bottles
  • If exclusively bottle-feeding: 8-10 bottles

It's best to have enough to allow for cleaning between uses. Babies tend to prefer feeding from the same bottle each time, so having multiples of their favorite can be helpful.

At what age can I introduce a bottle?

Most lactation consultants recommend introducing a bottle around 2-4 weeks after birth, once breastfeeding is well established. However, every baby is different, so follow your pediatrician's guidance. Holding off too long can lead to bottle refusal.

How do I prevent nipple confusion?

Use bottles with a slow, newborn flow nipple that mimics a breast's natural pace. Avoid lengthy bottle times by alternating breasts and paced bottle feedings. You can also try using a bottle nipple made of thin, flexible silicone that feels more like skin.

Do I need special bottles for breastmilk?

While regular bottles work fine for breastmilk, some parents prefer bottles and accessories designed for breastmilk storage and handling. Look for bottles with volume markings, lids for fridge/freezer storage, and materials that protect nutrients.

How do I transition back to breastfeeding after bottle use?

Be patient and consistent. Start by giving a bottle before putting baby to breast. Skin-to-skin contact and experiment with positioning. Don't get discouraged - with time, most babies can switch back smoothly.