Baby Feeding Bottle

How to choose feeding bottles for infants?

Buying the right feeding bottle for your infant is quite tricky. You are flooded with options when you go shopping. If you do check online, then, you wonder if you should buy one or buy them all, because of the product descriptions. So, how do you choose the best feeding bottles for your child?

Not surprisingly, there is no magic formula that you can use to choose the bottle that is best for your baby. The easiest way to choose a bottle is to look at what the baby is comfortable with. That said, it is advisable to take a few factors into consideration before you look only at comfort.

The first tip for choosing a bottle is to not buy just one. Yes, you read that right. Buy more than one bottle. The reason is simple- check which of the bottles your baby likes to use, and then you know which type works for you.

Though this is a good way to get started, do not buy too many bottles and offer a wide range of choices, because the baby is already transitioning from the mother’s breast to a bottle. Too many choices could end up confusing the baby.

Next, take all these different factors into account-

  • Material
  • Safety certification
  • Shape
  • Size
  • Teat

All of these are important factors that help to determine the right bottle for your baby. Let us look at each of these in detail.

Material

Baby bottles are usually made of plastic, glass, metal, or silicone. Each of these has its own pros and cons.

Glass: Glass bottles were the preferred choice years ago, and are still popular because they do not contain chemicals. Despite having silicone sleeves to protect them, glass bottles could be difficult to handle. When buying glass bottles, consider these-
Pros:

  • They are naturally BPA and EA-free
  • Safety certification
  • They are durable
  • You can boil them during sterilization

Cons:

  • They are heavy
  • They break easily
  • The chip when they come in contact with hard surfaces or even taps
  • If not cleaned properly, they could develop a thin film of fat on the inside
  • They are more expensive than plastic and silicone ones

Silicone: Silicone bottles have been gaining popularity recently. Many parents believe that these are safer options for their children, especially those infants who are learning to walk and like to take their bottles with them on their explorations.

Silicone is a material that is naturally occurring. One of the main reasons behind their popularity is that bottles made of silicone are also BPA and EA-free. Here are some of the pros and cons.
Pros:

  • They are soft and flexible
  • They are naturally BPA and EA free
  • They can be cleaned in the dishwasher or sterilized at high temperatures
  • They do not break when dropped

Cons:

  • Since they are flexible, they could aggravate colic in babies, unless they have proper vents
  • They are not as durable as plastic
  • TIt may not be safe when exposed to high temperatures during sterilization
  • They turn yellow even if they are thoroughly cleaned

Metal: Baby bottles usually come in stainless steel. Again, these are BPA and EA-free and highly durable. However, the disadvantages of using these bottles seem to outweigh the advantages.
Pros:

  • They are highly durable
  • They are lightweight
  • They do not break
  • They are free from chemicals

Cons:

  • They are expensive
  • They dent easily when struck against hard surfaces. These dents could prove tricky to clean
  • They are opaque so you cannot see the quantity of liquid within
  • They transfer heat, so they could be difficult to hold

Plastic: The most common materials used to make baby bottles, plastics have been in the news for the wrong reason- they leach chemicals that lead to illness in the long run.

Plastics are durable, but they also show signs of deterioration over time. Some plastic bottles do come with BPA, which can be harmful to babies. Here is what you should take into account when buying plastic bottles-
Pros:

  • They are durable
  • They are lightweight
  • They do not break when dropped
  • They can be sterilized easily
  • They are safe to use
  • They are cost-effective

Cons:

  • Not all plastic bottles come with a BPA or EA free certification
  • They may not be food safe, especially after they are subjected to high temperatures
  • They develop scratches that could prove difficult to clean

Safety Certification
Although plastic bottles are extremely easy to handle and lightweight, there is the question of how safe they are for use. Organizations like the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), specify that only certain plastics can be used to store food.

This is because many plastics contain bisphenol-A, a chemical that could leach into the food when the container is heated. This could cause many health issues. There are some chemicals that mimic estrogen. This leads to many developmental problems, both mental and physical if the baby is exposed to it at an early stage.

Companies like Niniobaby use only BPA and EA-free plastics in their baby products. They understand that the health of the baby is of utmost importance. Long-term effects of using plastic problems should not outweigh their benefits, is what exponents of plastic believe.

Therefore, it is important that you choose the right baby product, after doing your research. Check the labels of the products that you are buying for food safety certifications.

Shape
You must be wondering why we are talking about the shape. Yes, most bottles are cylindrical, but there are some minor changes that could affect how your baby feeds. There are some bottles that are shaped like a hemisphere, to resemble the mother’s breast.

These are sometimes given to babies who are being introduced to feeding. Weaning them from the mother, and making them comfortable with using the bottle could be a lot easier this way.

Some bottles also come with handles on the sides. These help children who are not able to hold the larger bottle too well. These are especially handy for infants with early developmental problems. The grip that they have could be made better when they have to hold on to a smaller area.

There are also bottles with vents for colic babies, and some are at an incline, to suit the feeding needs of the baby.

Size
When mothers have to go to work, or when they are not always around to monitor their baby’s feeding, the size of the bottle plays an imperative role. Overfeeding a baby is never a good idea. Choose your bottle based on the age and dietary requirements of your baby. You cannot use the same bottle for a long period of time.

So it is not a bright idea to buy a bottle that is more suitable for a 9-month-old baby when your baby begins to use the bottle. Since many parents are not sure about the quantity of milk or baby product that they have to give the baby at a certain time, bottles come with instructions. There are bottles specifically for various age groups, and the sizes of these bottles vary according to how much they can contain.

As your baby grows, the size of the bottle changes. Look for bottles that have a wide mouth so that cleaning is easy.

Teat
The teat is as important as the bottle because babies take to the teat more than the bottle. Since teats come as a package with the bottle, you must choose the bottle based on how the teat is shaped and the material that it is made of. Teats come in various sizes and shapes, mostly to resemble the nipple of the breast. Usually, teats made of silicone are preferred over others.

Here are a few more tips for choosing a bottle-

  • If you are using a breast pump, choose bottles that are of the same brand. In this way, pumping milk straight into the bottle becomes easy.
  • You could use disposable liners to protect the insides of your bottle. This makes cleaning a lot easier because the food does not touch the inside of the bottle.
  • If your baby tends to inhale a lot of air, use a bottle with an angled neck. This will reduce gas formation.
  • As your baby grows older, look for bottles that can be fitted with a sipper instead of a teat.

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