Even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed after giving birth to your little bundle of joy, or if you’re already in the trenches of motherhood for the first time, there may be times when you want to give your baby a bottle.
Perhaps you’re going back to work, for instance, and your daycare provider will be giving your baby bottles of expressed breastmilk while you’re not there.
Even if you’re with your baby 24/7, you might still find bottles very useful.
Expressing some milk during the day time and having your partner bottle feed for at least one of the feeds during the night, for instance, could get you some much-needed extra sleep – and goes a long way in helping strengthen the bond between your partner and the baby.
You may also be in a situation where you need to introduce formula in order to “top up” your milk supply – which means that you want to continue breastfeeding, but your baby needs the extra milk from a bottle too.
Whatever your exact situation is, you need to ensure that your baby will continue to drink happily from the breast and that they will take a bottle whenever needed. You need to prepare your breastfeeding baby for this because you never know what happens!
Best Bottles for Breastfed Babies – a Quick Look at Our Top 7 Recommendations
- Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle
- Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle
- Munchkin Latch Anti-Colic Baby Bottle
- Philips AVENT Natural Bottle
- nanobebe Breastmilk Baby Bottle
- MAM Newborn Gift Set
- Playtex Baby Nurser Baby Bottle with Drop-Ins Disposable Liners
Note: When clicking on any of the above links, you’ll go to the product listing pages on Amazon, where you can read further information, see current prices and read customer reviews.
Why Do Breastfed Babies Need Special Bottles?
Regular baby bottles can cause “nipple confusion” as your breastfed baby struggles to transition between what they’re used to (your breast) and the unfamiliar shape of the plastic bottle.
Obviously, there’s not a lot you can do about the different material of the bottle, but you can opt for a bottle that has a breast-shaped nipple to help your little one latch on.
Besides doing whatever you can to encourage your breastfed baby to take a bottle, making use of the right bottle nipple shape helps your baby to keep up the habit of forming a wide mouth to latch on properly. Getting this part right is crucial if you want to keep up breastfeeding.
If your baby learns to suck from a bottle by making a small shape with their mouth, that won’t work for continued breastfeeding, and could lead to them rejecting your breast altogether.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Bottle for My Breastfed Baby?
When choosing a bottle for your breastfed baby, you should obviously look for all the usual things that you’d want in just about any bottle you’d get to feed them from (such as being BPA-free and easy to clean) – but particularly pay attention to the following list of important things to look for.
A Naturally Shaped Nipple to Minimize Nipple Confusion
It’s very important to find a bottle with a nipple that mimics the mother’s nipple as closely as possible, as that feels like the real thing to your baby.
The closer it feels to feeding from the mother’s actual breast, the less nipple confusion there will be – and vice versa.
Some parents report trying a lot of different bottles before they manage to find the elusive one that their baby actually accepts, so be prepared to go through an initial period of trial and error to find out what’s a “hit” with your little one and what’s a “miss”.
(But that’s why we’ve put together our list of recommendations in this article for what we believe to be some of the best bottles for breastfed babies available today, so definitely take a look at the options we talk about in that section below.)
Some bottles even have large flesh colored nipples to help make the bottle look as familiar as possible to your baby and minimize any possible nipple confusion. If you’re really struggling to get your little one to take a bottle during the breastfeeding phase, these might well be worth a try.
A Wide Base Beneath the Nipple to Promote a Good Latch
When your baby forms a good latch on your breast, their mouth is wide open.
Some bottles, though, let your baby drink by simply making a small “o” with their mouth around the top of the nipple. That’s not what you want, because it can cause difficulties with continuing breastfeeding.
Instead, look for a bottle that’s been specifically designed for breastfed babies – particularly one that has a large, soft, and flexible area for your baby to latch onto, in just the same way that they latch onto your breast.
To get the best possible idea about which bottles excel at getting this part right and which ones fail, you might want to ask other parents who’ve been in the same situation you’re in now about what worked best for them, or read reviews about a particular bottle to find out whether users felt that the bottle encouraged good latching habits.
A Relatively Slow Flow of Milk
One big danger of introducing a bottle to your breastfed baby without knowing how to approach this the right way is that they could end up finding the bottle easier to feed from than your breast.
This can easily happen if milk flows more quickly and easily from the bottle than it does from your breast. Doesn’t make sense? Think about it for a second: why would your baby want to work harder to get the same amount of milk they would from a bottle that makes them work half as hard for it?
To avoid your baby rejecting to feed from your breast, make sure that you’re opting for a bottle with a slow flow of milk.
Nowadays, many brands have different types of nipples that you can use, so you may want to opt for one of these so you have a choice and can switch the nipple you’re using with time, as your baby gets quicker at the breast too.
The one exception here is if you have a relatively fast let-down of milk. In that case, a slow nipple on the bottle might just annoy your baby like never before.
The solution in this case? Switching to a nipple with two holes instead of one could do the trick in ensuring that they can continue to get milk fairly quickly from the bottle, as they’ve been used to from your breast.
A Vacuum-Free or Anti-Colic System
Your breastfed baby is probably used to not swallowing much air, and a bottle that has them gulping down air with their milk can (and will) cause them discomfort.
There are several different types of baby bottles out there with “anti-colic” or “vacuum-free” systems that you can choose from. These are designed to prevent air bubbles from forming in the milk so that your baby doesn’t end up swallowing air they don’t need to – just milk.
These systems work in different ways – for example, some have extra parts to the bottle, such as an anti-colic ring that sits beneath the nipple and on top of the bottle itself. This can make cleaning a little more complicated than usual, though, so you may want to consider this when deciding which bottles to opt for.
Compatible With Your Breast Pump
You may find it difficult to get a bottle that’s both compatible with your breast pump and has all the above features – but if you can, then that will definitely make life easier for you.
This, of course, is an important factor to consider only if you pump breast milk at all. If you don’t, then you have nothing to worry about, and can move onto the next point.
Instead of having to pump milk into a sterilized container and then pour it into a sterilized bottle (and risk crying over spilled milk!), you can simply pump straight into the bottle and move on with your day – saving all that liquid gold you put great effort into expressing.
This means less wastage, as you’re never going to be able to pour every last drop out of one container into another – no matter how accurate or organized you think you are – and also less cleaning, as you’ll just be washing the bottles themselves, not any additional storage containers too.
Keeps the Milk (At Least Somewhat) Warm During Feeding
When your baby feeds directly from your breast, your milk is always at body temperature, at every point during the feed.
When they drink from the bottle, the milk will gradually cool down during the feed, and this may lead to your baby drinking less milk than they otherwise would have. Babies aren’t usually fans of drinking cold milk.
Ideally, you want a bottle that will keep the milk at a fairly consistent temperature during feeding, so that it’s not stone cold after just 20 minutes.
There are a few bottles out there with heating systems that actually warm the milk (or keep it warm), so you might opt for one of those.
Best Bottles For Breastfed Babies – A More Detailed Look Into Our Top 7 Recommendations
Whether you’re completely weaning your baby from the breast or just want to mix things up by incorporating bottle feeding as well, you’ll need to tread carefully – or else things can get really problematic!
The following is a list that discusses what we believe to be some of the best bottles for breastfed babies of today.
Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle
This wide-necked bottle is a great option if having something that’s easy to clean is a priority of yours.
Like most baby bottles, you can pop it safely in your dishwasher, but it’s also quite easy to wash by hand. In fact, you can get your whole hand inside to give it a good scrub!
The wide nipple is designed to help your little one latch on easily, making this a great option if you’re moving from breast to bottle, or if you want to combine both breastfeeding and bottle feeding without your baby developing nipple confusion.
It’s also a good choice for colicky babies, as the two anti-colic vents help air circulate in the bottle. If your little one is prone to spitting up after a feed, or if they tend to swallow a lot of air, this could be a great choice to go for.
This baby bottle is designed to be suitable for little hands to grip, so once your baby’s old enough to hold their own bottle, they should be able to hold it and drink from it without your help.
- Great option for babies who’ve refused other bottles.
- Anti-colic vents mean you won’t need to burp your little one so frequently.
- Easy for babies to latch on to (and can help promote continued good latching for breastfeeding).
- Very easy to clean thoroughly due to the wide neck.
- You might have some trouble fitting the wide bottle in regular-sized bottle warmers.
- A bit difficult to take a glance at the bottle and find out how much milk is left inside, as the sides are frosted.
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle
Just like the Comotomo bottle, this baby bottle from the very popular brand Tommee Tippee has a broad breast-like nipple shape to help your little one latch on happily.
It also has anti-colic valves to help your little one drink without issues.
The bottle is cleverly designed so that you can hold it in multiple different ways – meaning you can get as comfortable as possible when feeding, whilst still ensuring you have the bottle at the right angle for your little one. Win-win!
They’re quite easy to clean, with a wide neck and a simple design that doesn’t involve putting multiple parts together in a complicated way.
There are clear measurement lines marked on the sides of the bottle, so you can get the right number of ounces in without any squinting or guesswork. This is essential for those middle-of-the-night feeds where visibility is limited and all you’re ever thinking about is getting back to bed!
The nipple of the bottle is designed to be flexible and move in a natural way (just like mom’s breast), so these are a particularly good option for babies who are used to breastfeeding.
- Designed for the parents’ comfort as well as the baby’s – these bottles are easy to hold.
- The nipple is large and flexible to help breastfed babies feed happily and easily.
- The wide-necked, straightforward bottle design makes it easy to clean.
- Anti-colic valves mean that your baby won’t swallow so much air.
- The flow may be too fast with the size 1 nipple provided – you might want to get a size 0 nipple separately, just in case.
- The numbers and markings on the side may rub off fairly quickly, sometimes after just a few washes.
Munchkin Latch Anti-Colic Baby Bottle
This cute baby bottle is perfect for newborns and small babies, particularly those that have been (or are still being) breastfed.
The nipple is made from flexible silicone and designed for a slow milk flow, and it can flex in just about every direction imaginable – it even pumps up and down for your little one.
Something special to note about this option is that unlike what’s usually out there, the anti-colic valve in this baby bottle is at the bottom rather than in the nipple.
The bottles shouldn’t leak, though (as long as you put them together correctly), just in case that’s something you’re worried about.
These bottles are compatible with many big brands of breast pumps (such as Medela and Lansinoh), although you’ll need to buy the Munchkin LATCH breast pump adapter if you want to pump straight into the bottles.
Even though you might not feel too good about having to buy yet another accessory, you’ll see just how much it’s worth it to avoid losing precious milk when you pour it from one container to another.
- Bottle is interchangeable with sippy cup parts, making for an easy switch from bottle to cup.
- Small bottle that’s just the right size for feeding a newborn.
- Very little leaking (to no leaking at all), even if you have doubts about the valve being at the bottom.
- A combination of breast-like feel and slow-flow nipple that makes for an excellent option if your breastfed baby has refused other bottles.
- Putting together and filling the bottle can feel a bit complicated at times, as you need to pinch the valve before filling.
- The valve can also make cleaning the bottle slightly complicated, though keep in mind that you don’t have to do this by hand – they can easily go in the dishwasher.
Philips AVENT Natural Bottle
The nipple that comes with this baby bottle has an unusual “petal” design, unique to AVENT, which means it’s comfortable and flexible but won’t collapse in on itself when your little one is feeding.
This is a problem that many baby bottles have, but Philips AVENT have come up with an excellent solution for it.
The bottle itself is designed to be comfortable for you to hold and grip – and for your baby to grip too.
There are lots of mix-and-match parts you can buy, such as handles to add to the bottle and sippy cup lids as your child gets older. You can also buy nipples with a good range of different flows, so you can find something that suits your child perfectly.
Along the side of the bottle, you’ll find clear markings that you can use to measure out the exact amount of milk that your little one needs.
Like other bottle nipples, AVENT’s nipples are designed both to mimic the mother’s breast and to minimize the amount of air your little one swallows.
They might not be the cheapest bottles for breastfed babies out there, but if you’ve tried other more budget-friendly brands and found out that your baby is still struggling to feed from those, this could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
- Nipple won’t collapse even if your little one sucks pretty hard, due to the unique “petal” design.
- Lots of compatible parts are available, so these bottles can grow with your little one.
- There’s a wide range of nipples available, with varying flow rates to choose from.
- Comfortable for both you and your baby to hold.
- You may find that the nipples leak sometimes, even if you fit them carefully into your bottles, because they’re so flexible.
- The nipple supplied with the bottles is size 1, so it’s not designed for newborns. You’d probably want a smaller bottle for a newborn that’s less than one month of age, anyway.
Pick #5: nanobebe Breastmilk Baby Bottle
This unique baby bottle might look a bit odd at first glance – because it’s not really bottle shaped!
It’s designed so that the whole bottle, not just the nipple, mimics mom’s breast. The bottle itself is a concave dome shape with the nipple planted at an angle on the top.
When you fill it with milk, the milk is spread in an even layer that makes for quick, easy warming – without hot spots developing.
You can pump directly into the bottle with the included breast pump adapter, and again, the large surface area means your milk will cool down quickly. This is really important if you want to ensure that bacteria growth is kept at bay.
Again, this one is also not the most budget friendly option out there, but could be a game changer if it means your breastfed baby finally takes a bottle happily.
Also, keep in mind that the purchase you make will include the breast pump adapter that’s supplied with the bottle, and you won’t have to buy that one separately.
The bottom of the bottle can be removed, so it’s super easy to clean.
While you might think that these bottles would take up a lot more space than standard bottles because of their shape, that’s not really the case. They’re designed to be stackable, so you may well find you actually save on storage space using these!
- Ideal for tiny hands to grasp as they can grip around the edges of the bottle.
- Cools pumped milk quickly, and warms milk from the fridge quickly as well.
- Bottles can be stacked on top of one another to save space (and to track pumping order easily).
- Includes a breast pump adapter so you can pump directly into the bottle.
- If you’ve struggled with traditional bottle designs, this might be “the one” that your baby finally accepts.
- Baby will have to lie in a breastfeeding position for the bottle to work best.
- Could be tricky for family and friends to use if they don’t feed your little one very often, and aren’t quite used to something like this that looks “unordinary”.
Pick #6: MAM Newborn Gift Set
If you’re buying bottles for a baby shower, or for a friend who’s been exclusively breastfeeding but wants to start using bottles too, these might be just what you’re looking for.
The set includes two 5 oz bottles, two 9 oz bottles, and two pacifiers that are designed for newborns.
The nipples on the bottles are described as “SoftSkin”, and they’re designed to feel as natural as possible for your little one. The lightly textured base of the nipple means it won’t slip out of your baby’s mouth by accident, either.
The pacifier nipples are special orthodontic ones that won’t affect your baby’s budding teeth – they can be used either way up, too, making it easier for your little one to pop their own pacifier in their mouth.
This is very handy for “sucky” babies who have had their fill of milk, but still want something to suck on.
The bottle comes with several different parts, including a leak-proof bottle cap that can double up as measuring cup, which comes in very handy for when you’re on the go.
They can also be self-sterilized – all you need to do is pop the nipple in the base of the bottle, add 1 fl oz water, and microwave it for three minutes.
If you want to just give your baby one or two bottles a day, or plan to go on vacation, this means you won’t need a whole sterilizer in addition to the bottles themselves.
- Good value pack of four bottles plus two pacifiers – makes a great starter set or baby shower gift.
- Bottles are designed to be self-sterilized in the microwave, without the need for an additional sterilizer.
- Bottle cap doubles up as a measuring tool.
- Nipples are designed for an easy latch.
- The bottles come with several different parts (five altogether), which can mean a lot of taking apart and reassembling when you clean and sterilize them.
- You might find that the nipples leak, especially considering that there are several different parts that need fitting correctly to keep that from happening.
Pick #7: Playtex Baby Nurser Baby Bottle with Drop-Ins Disposable Liners
These bottles come with pre-sterilized liners that you simply drop into the bottle.
The liner contracts during feeding to minimize the amount of air swallowed by your little one: you squeeze out all the air before filling it, so there’s only milk in there for your baby to gulp down. Genius!
Using the liner also ensures that your baby will only be drinking from a sterilized container – even if the bottle itself isn’t sterile, or has been carried around in your diaper bag for most of the day.
If you hate washing and sterilizing bottles, or just don’t have the time to do this task as much as you’d like to, then these could well be worth a try. With these bottles, you’ll only need to give the nipple a good wash.
You can pump straight into the bags, too, if you get the rings and lids that are sold separately.
These bottles are particularly handy if you only want to bottle feed occasionally, or if you’re often on the go and don’t want to be washing up lots of bottle parts.
They’re easy to hold as well, but don’t be surprised by the lack of a bottom on the bottle!
- The liners come pre-sterilized, so you don’t need to do anything except pop them into the bottle.
- The liner system is designed to minimize the amount of air your baby swallows, and could really help if your little one has colic.
- If you purchase the additional parts, you can pump straight into the liners, store them, and then use them in the bottles.
- The bottles are easy to hold and can be angled for different feeding positions.
- You need to carefully push all the air out of the bag or it won’t work properly (and your baby will very likely swallow a lot of air as a result).
- These are a little more complicated to use than regular bottles. This is at least true temporarily and when you first start using them, until you get the hang of things.
- The liners aren’t reusable or biodegradable.
Wrapping it Up
Many parents do use bottles with their breastfed babies – whether that’s for practical reasons such as going back to work or needing to rest and catch up on some much needed sleep, or for more emotional reasons such as wanting their partner or younger child to be able to enjoy feeding the baby too and strengthen the bond between the two.
By choosing the right bottle for your breastfeeding baby, you’re giving them one less reason to refuse the bottle and making sure they won’t get confused between the bottle’s nipple and your breast.
You’ll also be able to bottle feed without having to worry that your baby is going to end up preferring the bottle to your breast – which is definitely not what you had in mind in the first place!
Product photos: © Amazon.com
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