The best bottles for breastfed baby should make transition between the breast and the bottle as smooth as possible. Read on to find the best bottle for your breastfed baby.
As soon as you think that you and your baby are rocking the skill of breastfeeding, its time to transition from breast to bottle.
Yes, at some point we all need to introduce bottle to a baby for different obligations. If you are exclusively breastfeeding, you haven’t given a much thought about the type of bottle you want to buy, right?
Does it even matter? It is just a bottle!!
Fill the bottle with expressed breastmilk or formula. Put the nipple of the bottle in baby’s mouth and done!!
I wish it is as simple as it sounds!!
Actually, for some babies it is exactly the case. They love the bottle so much that they refuse to breastfeed after bottle introduction. Reason being, milk from a bottle flows faster than it does from a breast, and once a baby gets used to the faster flow of a bottle, it will be hard to get them back to breast aka “nipple confusion”.
While for others its completely opposite. Getting a breastfed baby to take a bottle can be challenging (1) until you find a bottle that resembles the breast. Babies are smart, they sense the obvious difference between real nipples and bottle nipples.
So if your goal is to continue your breastfeeding relationship, you need to find a bottle that mimic the breast and not cause a nipple confusion.
Don’t panic! Before choosing a bottle, here are the features of the bottle you should look out with your bottle:
- The Nipple: This is the most important factor when looking for a bottle for breastfed baby. Baby will prefer a nipple that feels like mom’s nipple, and it will be easy to switch back and forth between the bottle and the breast. Also, a wide base of the nipple physiologically resembles mom’s breast.
- Slow Flow or Baby Controlled flow: When baby is at the breast, he is controlling the flow of milk by suck-swallow-breath pattern. Getting milk from the breast is hard job for the baby and it strengthens baby’s palate. Bottle, on the other hand pours milk into baby’s mouth, not allowing him to pause for a breath. If babies get used to fast flow of milk from a bottle, they will start preferring bottle over breast, hence the term “nipple confusion” because they don’t want to work hard to get milk from the breast. That’s why bottle should be slow flow or baby-controlled flow for breastfed baby.
- The shape of the Bottle: Babies do not like change, like everyone else!! So, changing too much in one go might not work for them. Therefor pick a bottle that resembles breast shape. If you breastfeed them for the first few weeks and then introduce a rounded bottle that resembles breast, they are more likely to accept it.
- Venting: Bottle feed baby are more prone to be gassy and colicky because of the amount of air a baby swallow. Picking a bottle with proper venting helps reduce gas and colic by allowing air to escape from the bottle.
- Safe materials: If you are looking for the safest material than look for glass or stainless steel or silicon bottle.
- Cleaning: Cleaning and sterilizing a bottle is an added work when you introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby. Especially, when you pick a bottle with anti-colic feature, you need to thoroughly clean every single part of the bottle to ensure no milk residue in vent part.
Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies
Here’re my top 10 best bottles for breastfed babies that other moms have recommended and have above listed features. I have personally used 3 of the brands when I introduce bottle to my breastfed baby.
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1. Comotomo Natural Feel
The most popular bottle among mothers is Comotomo natural feel. Credit for its popularity goes to its unique design. It is made from silicone so its squishy no matter where you touch the bottle thereby mimicking mom’s breast. Also, baby can get a deeper latch with its soft wide nipple teat. You can also get range of nipples to control milk flow for your baby.
Another great feature of this bottle is its ultra wide neck, making it super easy to clean even with your hand- no bottle brush needed. It’s a great bottle when you are travelling with the baby because of its low maintenance feature. Its microwave, dishwasher and sterilizer-safe, no need to worry about parts melting.
If you are worried about colic, Comotomo bottle has dual anti-colic vent with no extra part.
These bottles with its unique design and features, makes it a no#1 choice to get as close as the breastfeeding experience for your baby.
Some exclusively breastfed moms claim that “this is the only bottle their breastfed babies take”. If you are planning to switch between the bottle and the breast, give these a try.
- Unique design and only THREE pieces: the bottle itself, a nipple, and a plastic ring which secures the nipple to the bottle.
- Wide flexible nipple teat- enables deep latch for baby
- Ultra wide neck- easy to clean
- Comes in two sizes- 5oz/150ml Bottles- Nipple slow flow (1 hole, 0-3 months) and 8oz/250ml Bottles- Nipple medium flow (2 hole, 3-6 months)
- Fairly expensive
- It takes twice as long to warm milk in milk warmer
- Few moms complained about milk leaking from anti-colic vent
- Measuring marks on the side are clear, small, makes it difficult to see and measure to.
2. Philips Avent Natural 4oz Glass
If you want the safest material for your baby bottle than Philips Avent natural glass is a great option. I have personally used this brand for my babies and never looked back. These bottles are eco-friendly, easy to clean and many infants – mine included- have no problem switching between the breast and the bottle.
The breast-shaped nipple is very flexible, wide base allowing deep latch to mimic breastfeeding. Also, anti-colic vent allows removal of trapped gas from the feeding, which helps reduce colic in baby (2).
These bottles come in a four-pack, and they can each hold up to 4 ounces. Although these bottles are glass bottles and won’t give your baby soft feel of breast like Comotomo bottle, its soft silicone, wider nipples are its unique feature to remind baby of a breast.
- Glass model is available in 4 and 8 oz
- Polypropylene model is also available in 2, 4, 9 and 11 ounces and colour coded.
- Any nipple from the Avent brand will fit.
- Few moms complained about leakage from where the plastic ring screws onto the glass bottle.
- Can not withstand sudden temperature change. Few moms complained about glass bottle breaking in bottle warmer.
3. DR. Brown’S Natural Flow
Another popular brand among mothers are Dr.Brown’s Natural flow. They are bestsellers all over the world meaning that they favorite of breastfed babies. Breast-like shape of nipple ensure the proper latch and a more natural feeding experience.
The multi part venting system is very effective in removing air bubbles (3) and aiding digestion; hence these bottles are no#1 to deal with colic and gas in babies. These bottles are engineered to be 100% vacuum free.
These bottles are the only convertible bottle that grow with your baby meaning that you can use these bottles with or without venting system. So, you do not need to buy a new set of bottles when your baby gets older, just remove the vent and you are ready to feed!!
- Straw-like vent system to remove every bubble that are trapped in the bottle
- You can use bottle with or without vent system
- Bottles are available in different sizes
- Reasonable Prise
- Multi part venting system-extra work to clean the bottle
- Few moms complained about bottle leaking and not holding shape while cleaning in warm water
4. Tommie Tippee Closer to Nature Fiesta Bottle
If you are looking for budget friendly and fun bottle to add to your collection, then this six-pack of BPA-free-brightly-coloured closer to nature Fiesta bottle are the one you need.
They are not only pretty looking but cleverly designed to mimic mom’s breast, so you don’t need to worry about nipple confusion. There are different silicone flex slow flow nipples to choose from for more natural comfortable feeding experience for your baby.
The closer to nature nipple has sophisticated anti-colic valve system to reduce excessive air flow, so baby will not ingest air.
These bottles are engineered in such a way that allows baby to get comfortable with you while feeding and babies can easily hold onto the bottle when they are ready to do so.
- Fun colour and easy to clean
- Breast-like flex nipple that’s easy to latch onto.
- BPA-Free material
- The body of the bottle can be hold in different position
- Few moms complained about nipple collapsing
- Measurement on bottle rubs off with hand washing
5. The First Years Breastflow
Unique double nipple design of the First year breastflow bottles, whether you are formula feeding, supplementing or weaning, works just like the breast. Baby has to suck and compress double nipple for to get milk, allowing them to control milk flow just like breastfeeding.
The vented nipple is made of soft silicone and designed to help reduce colic, gas and spit up. The double nipple and wide neck of the bottle is easy to clean by hand or dishwasher.
The Breastflow started set includes two 5 ounce bottle with slow flow nipples, two ounce bottles with medium flow, 4 storage lids, 1 container for snacks or formula and one cleaning brush.
Additional feature of these bottles is that the lid of the bottle snap on the bottom of the bottle when you are on the go. Isn’t it so convenient?
Although popular, The First Years BreastFlow bottles can be a bit hit or miss with ratings. A lot of moms love them for how similar they are to the breast. For others, they found the inner and outer teat design trapped some precious breast milk.
I took the plunge on buying these one for my Little A, when he was 8 weeks old. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed him – after a little break due to nipple crack – so I wanted bottle that works breast-like. Little A loved it and it was no problem putting him back to the breast when my nipples were healed.
- Made from BPA-free Plastic
- Patented double nipple allow baby to suck and compress in order to get milk just like breastfeeding
- Easy to assemble and clean
- They are mega in size
- Some mom complained about the double nipple design trapped some precious breast milk.
6. Medela Calma Breastfeeding Bottle
If you are looking for a such-swallow-breath pattern of breastfeeding in bottle – than look no further!! Medela Calma was designed using evidence-based research on baby’s feeding behaviors.
Just like the first year Breastflow bottles, the calma works by encouraging baby to create a vacuum in order for milk to flow from the teat. This natural feeding behaviors allows baby to transition back and forth between the breast and the bottle.
This 5 ounce BPA-free bottle comes with only one size Calma nipple. You should consider this bottle if you already have a bottles and breast pump from Medela.
- BPA free bottles
- Flow control valve allows baby to control milk flow
- Mimics natural feeding behavior
- Unlike other bottles, it does not leak easily
- Only one size nipple available
- Few moms complained about teat being too long for their babies
- Nipple has several pieces to assemble
7. NUK Simply Natural Newborn Giftset
The only nipple that gives the closest experience as breast for your baby is- NUK simply natural bottles. The nipple has multiple holes and it feels, work and moves just like mom’s breast, giving baby a close-to-mom feel.
The nipple has advance 1-piece anti-colic went system to help reduce colic, gas and spit up in baby.
This BPA-free 9-piece set comes with two 5 oz. bottles with slow flow nipple and two 9 oz. bottles with medium flow nipple. Depending upon the flow rate, NUK nipples have 3 to 9 nipple holes making it natural, closest to breast experience for baby.
This gift set also comes with three NUK Orthodontic silicone pacifiers: one 100% silicone newborn pacifier and two panda face design pacifiers for 6 to 18 months of age. These pacifiers are truly orthodontic nipple shape that fits naturally into baby’s palate promoting healthy oral development and not to mention, will come in handy when you need to soothe and calm your baby
NUK pacifiers have a truly orthodontic nipple shape that soothes and calms baby better than our original nipple and help promote healthy oral development by naturally fitting into baby’s palate.
- Odor and stain resistant crystal clear, BPA-Free
- Nipple has multiple holes providing natural feed just like mom’s breast
- 5 oz bottle comes with slow flow nipple with 3 holes.
- One-piece anti-colic vent system to reduce colic, gas and spit up- Easy to clean
- Gift set comes with 3 truly orthodontic pacifier
- Few moms complained about bottle not withstanding sterilizing method ( bottle sterilizer or dishwasher) and bottle cracking after couple of months use
8. Lansinoh MOmma Natural Wave Bottle
This Lansinoh m0mma bottles are highly rated by exclusively breastfeeding mamas because of its distinctive soft short teat. If you have got a picky eater on your end, then consider this soft short nipple. The uniquely designed nipples do not collapse in baby’s mouth.
The NaturalWave design allows same sucking patterns as breast for your baby thereby avoiding nipple confusion. Like other brands, The Lansinoh bottles also vented to reduce colic in your baby. If you are looking for a bottle that is comparable to DR. Brown bottles but easier to clean, go for The Lansinoh natural wave bottles.
- BPA-free, durable
- The natural wave design of nipple is clinically proven to reduce nipple confusion
- Very easy to clean, do not leak
- Does not give information about nipple flow
- Few parents complained about nipple being to fast for newborn
9. Munchkin Latch
As the name suggest, if you don’t want your munchkin to give up latch using bottle, you might want to try Munchkin latch. The nipple is designed in a way that it stretches just like breast, encouraging baby to latch perfectly.
Also, milk will only come out when baby applies pressure at the teat just like they do at the breast. Another unique feature of Munchkin latch is – anti-colic valve is located at the base of the bottle to reduce colic or reflux in babies.
Munchkin Latch bottles are also compatible with breast pumps from Medela, Lansinoh and Evenflow. All you need to do is purchase an adapter and you are good to go!!
- BPA-free, durable and easy to clean
- 8oz bottle comes with one ultra flexible silicone slow flow nipple and one sealing disc
- Nipple stretches, flexes and pumps lust like the breast for a correct latch
- Anti-colic valve at the base of the bottle to reduce gassiness and fussiness
- Few moms complained about leakage at the sealing disc
10. MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic bottle
The MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic bottles are another alternative if your baby has a colic or reflux. These bottles are designed for reflux babies, with vented base to allow air to escape so baby is not ingesting it while drinking milk. Research study conducted by company suggest that their patented vented base releases liquid slowly thereby reducing colic in 80 % of the babies by eliminating bubbles that cause colic and reflux in babies.
These bottles are also highly recommended by mothers who have tried lots of other brands because of its soft silicon elongated nipple shape just like real nipple making it easier to switch between the breast and the bottle.
Another great feature of this MAM anti-colic bottles is that they are self-sterilizing. Just fill the base with water and place in the microwave for 3 minutes and you are done!!
- BPA and BPS free
- Two 5 oz bottles come with 2 slow flow silicon nipples
- Vented base to allow air to escape when bottle is tilted
- Self-sterilize in microwave – no need to buy sterilizer
- 5 pieces (nipple, nipple ring, bottle body, bottle bottom, bottle anti-colic silicone insert) to assemble and clean
- Base is opaque so hard to see when filling it with water or milk also no 1-ounce measurement.
Once you decide on what type of bottle you want, following tips will guide you what to consider when buying your first set of bottles.
- Do not buy in Bulk: If you get excited about your choice and buy in bulk, next thing you know is that your baby won’t even touch it. So you want to pick 3 brands of your choice that suits your need and only buy one bottle of each. This way you will not invest lots in buying only one brand that you end up throwing.
- Buy Breast pump compatible bottles: Consider the brands that is compatible with your breast pump. You can directly pump into bottles. This will save you tons of time and energy doing washing.
- Buy bigger size of bottle: For newborn, we all go for 4 oz bottles. They are cute and babies don’t need much. But babies do grow quickly, in no time your baby will start drinking 6oz. Consider buying 8oz bottles of the brand you like and buy slow flow or newborn nipples to try. If you really into buying 4oz bottle because of its cuteness, most of the brands has really cute newborn baby gift set -with two 4 oz bottles for newborn and two 8oz bottles with pacifier and bottle cleaner.
When should I Introduce Bottle to my Breastfed Baby?
Breastfeeding is recognized as the optimal way to feed babies, with many benefits to mother and child (5). But if you need to introduce bottle to your baby for other obligations, introduce bottle to your baby at 4-6 weeks after birth when breastfeeding is well established.
One of the most common breastfeeding mistakes among first time mother is Introducing bottle too early before their breastfeeding is well established. Introducing bottle too early may;
- Interfere with mom’s efforts to establish a good milk supply
- Increase baby’s risk of nipple confusion- baby may prefer a bottle over the breast. This can cause sore nipples, clogged milk ducts and mastitis.
- Study published in journal of Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med in 2012 suggest that babies fed by bottle tend to gain too much weight (6)
But choice of introducing bottle to a breastfed baby will depend solely on you;
- If you need to return back to work, then it’s a good idea to introduce bottle to your baby.
- If you have sore nipple, cracked nipple like I did, and you need a break from breastfeeding than introduce bottle for a relief.
Keep in mind that sucking milk from a bottle requires different mouth and tongue movements than breastfeeding, so it may take some time for your baby to get used to the bottle. Patience is key when you try to bottle feed a breastfed baby.
Try these tips to bottle feed a breastfed baby:
- Offer a bottle after regular feed: Offer him a bottle when he is not hungry to get used to the nipple. Let him play with the nipple. Start with small amount of breast milk
- Go for breast-like nipple: Babies do not like change like everyone else so opt for slow flow, breast like nipple to mimic breastfeeding
- Let someone else give him a bottle: If you try to give your baby his first bottle, he may fight for your breast. He may be less confused if someone else makes the introduction. If possible, try to be out of the house at feed time as baby can smell his mother from a distance.
- Feeding time and position: Try varying the time, place and position of feeding. Also, try different temperature of breastmilk
- Try Paced Bottle Feeding : Paced bottle feeding is a way of feeding bottle to your baby that is most closely resembles breastfeeding. Check out my detailed article about how to do paced bottle feeding.
Briefly, this method of bottle feeding requires slow flow nipple. When you are introducing bottle to your baby, hold bottle horizontally, after every 20-30 seconds tilt the bottle downward to give your baby a break to breath. Also, switch the side when bottle feeding like you do during breastfeeding and stop feeding your baby when he shows the sign of fullness.
Check out this paced bottle-feeding video to learn about how it is done
What can I do if my baby resists taking a bottle?
Some babies are so easy going and have no problem switching between a bottle and the breast, while others struggle so much with the transition. If your baby resist taking a bottle, follow these tips;
- Let her play with the nipple so he can familiarize himself with it. Let him chew on it, eventually he will start sucking.
- Apply some breastmilk on the nipple to lure your baby in to sucking to get more from the bottle.
- Try different temperature of milk. Your baby may prefer warmer or colder milk than what you give her. Experiment with different temperature of the milk and see what he likes.
- Try different position. Try holding your baby differently than usual at the bottle-feeding time. Try putting your baby in car seat and give him a bottle while facing him. Or hold your baby’s back on your chest and give her a bottle.
- Distract her while feeding. Talk to him or sing to him while you try to give him a bottle.
- Offer the bottle at different place and time. If you are giving a bottle in nursery usually, go to family room or vice versa. Also, changing the daytime to nighttime or vise versa may work.
- Sneak bottle in. Offer him a breast at first, then unlatch him and quickly sneak a bottle into his mouth.
Our top pick as the best bottle for breastfed babies is the Munchkin Latch. It is inexpensive and works great!! The nipple is designed in a way that it stretches just like breast for perfect latch. Also, baby has to apply pressure at the teat to get milk just like they do at the breast.
Anti-colic valve is located at the base of the bottle works really well to reduce colic or reflux in babies. I also like that Munchkin Latch is compatible with other brand of breast pump.
We like to buy the products that works really well and are inexpensive and Munchkin Latch is the product that serves our purpose.
If this bottle and all other inexpensive brands you have tried won’t work for your baby, then try the Comotomo Bottles. They are expensive but favorite among mothers.
How About You?
How was the transition from the breast to the bottle for you? Which brand of bottles worked for your baby? Share your tips in comment section.
1. Maxwell, C. A mixed methods study exploring UK mothers’ experiences of bottle refusal by their breastfed baby. Diss. Liverpool John Moores University. 2019. doi:10.24377/LJMU.t.00010480
2. Kreitschmann M, Epping LC, Hohoff A, Sauerland C, Stamm T. Sucking behavior using feeding teats with and without an anticolic system: a randomized controlled clinical trial. BMC pediatrics. 2018 Dec;18(1):115. doi:10.1186/s12887-018-1092-0
3. Johnson JD, Cocker K, Chang E. Infantile colic: recognition and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Oct 1;92(7):577-82.
4. Kellams A, Harrel C, Omage S, Gregory C, Rosen-Carole C, Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. ABM clinical protocol# 3: Supplementary feedings in the healthy term breastfed neonate, revised 2017. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2017 May 1;12(4):188-98. doi:10.1089/bfm.2017.29038.ajk
5. Review: Breast feeding.Hoddinott P, Tappin D, Wright C BMJ. 2008 Apr 19; 336(7649):881-7.
6. Li R, Magadia J, Fein SB, Grummer-strawn LM. Risk of bottle-feeding for rapid weight gain during the first year of life. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(5):431-6.