Evenflo. Breastflow. Playtex. Born Free. Dr. Brown’s. Tommee Tippee. Avent.
Glass or Plastic?
Drop-ins or… what’s the opposite of a drop-in?
In 2014, you can choose from a seemingly endless list of bottle types, names, and sometimes even more detailed styles bottles within brands- it can be an overwhelming process for anyone.
While I will always proclaim that “Breast is best!” there are many times when a bottle is necessary, especially when a nanny or caregiver is the primary person feeding the child.
When deciding on what type of bottle to use, first ask yourself what are you trying to accomplish? Your goal may be to find a bottle that doesn’t leak, or one that limits gas or spitting up. Keep in mind that this may take some experimentation; make sure that you don’t rush and don’t get frustrated. It’s possible that you will love the first bottles that you try (maybe they are easy to clean and store!) but your baby may not agree with you.
One way to start is by using a well-known cheaper priced bottle such as Evenflo, as this will save you money as you begin experimenting. Or, for babies that are almost exclusively nursed, a bottle that mimics a mother’s breast may be the best choice. A few of these brands are Breastflow, Tommee Tippee, and Mimijumi. These bottles vary in price from $5-$45 for an individual bottle and are generally sold in sets as well.
For babies battling gassy bellies, colic and spit up, you should always consider the brand and type of formula that you are using, especially if they are not exclusively fed mother’s milk. I have a lot of first hand experience with Dr. Brown’s bottles and they receive my highest recommendation for a baby with spit up issues. The vent system eliminates vacuum and air so that your child can feed comfortably. They come in BPA free plastic, wide neck (easy to clean and hold), glass, and can be purchased in pink or blue. A single 4 oz standard bottle will cost you $6 while the 19 piece set will cost you $40.
Another reason I like Dr. Brown’s is because they have pacifiers, cups, and accessories that all feature the same style of nipples. Continuity can be key! Some other brands, such as Tommee Tippee, also do this; however, since I have seen Dr. Brown’s in action, that’s the direction I lean.
Another benefit you may want to think about in selecting a bottle is washing/ sterilization. In my opinion, Tommee Tippee takes the cake in this area. It might be because the bottles have so many parts to begin with, which would typically be cumbersome, but I LOVE the microwave and electric sterilizers that they produce. All the bottle parts have a place! As an organized, busy Nanny of more than one child, I have to say that this piece-based system wins me over. The microwave sterilizer can sterilize 4 bottles in 7-11 minutes, including cool down time. The electric sterilizer can sterilize 6 bottles in 8 minutes, also including cool down time. Bottles will stay sanitized inside for 24 hours and the lid doubles as a sanitary surface for feeding prep. What could be better?!?! These can be purchased for between $15 and $40 and are worth well more for the amount of time saving and peace of mind they produce.
A great source to take advantage of is a lactation consultant. Most people think that these gurus are for breastfeeding mothers only. Not true! Your local lactation consultant likely specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding, but they also have a wealth of information on feeding in general. They can help you pinpoint latch issues or other common problems that will lead you to the right bottle for your baby.
A private practice lactation consultant most likely works in an office and makes home visits, while a hospital based consultant is more likely to have out-patient clinics and meetings for continued support for nursing mothers.
The process of finding the right bottle will be one of trial and error. Your baby may love the first bottle and pacifier that you bring home, or it may seem like you will never find the right one. Feel free to ask other moms, nannies, and caregivers for their opinions, but remember that they may not have the right answer for your case: they can only share what was right for them, which may or may not work for you. Above all, remain patient and know that there IS a bottle and a solution out there for you!
Keyanna Barr is in the 7th year of her full time nanny career. She’s currently in a live-in position in Washington, DC where she cares for 4 year old J & 1 year old V. Keyanna has always been a lover of children, growing up in her grandmother’s home where the door was never closed to any kid in the neighborhood that needed a hug, a meal, or a listening ear. A Midwestern girl at heart, Keyanna is enjoying exploring the nation’s Capitol and all it has to offer with her charges in tow. When she’s not at work you can find her at a MLB game, traveling home to Columbia, MO to visit friends and family, at the nearest outlet mall shopping or at her local Starbucks ordering a caramel apple spice with easy whip. Keyanna is also the co-founder of the online group known as the #Nannymafia. Follow her on Twitter @TheSuperNanny.