The age old question, which bottle is best for my baby, which ones should I try? With so many products on the market it can be an overwhelming decision, especially for the mom who plans to breastfeed and return to work after three months of maternity leave. So, let’s dig in to find out the best bottle for breastfed babies.

Nipple Confusion

Many moms wonder, “Will my baby be confused after trying a bottle and not want to take my breast?” It is not as much confusion as it is preference of milk flow. Let’s explain this in more detail. Babies’ needs are very primal: feed me, change me, cuddle me, and help me go to sleep. The biggest primal need they have is hunger, and they want that need met as soon as possible. Cue a crying hungry baby that is content the second they get milk.

Bottles with anything except a slow flow will deliver the goods to your baby much quicker AND with less effort than being at the breast. So your baby isn’t confused, they are smart and learn what gets them milk faster. They prefer having to do less work at the bottle to get their needs met versus at the breast. Incorrect bottle flow and not pacing the bottle feedings will lead you to the land of preference, which is so confusing and frustrating  for parents. Good news, it is avoidable!

Preventing Bottle Preference

So how do we prevent bottle preference and have baby go back and forth between bottle and breast? Using a slow flow nipple with a gradual nipple slope and pacing the bottle feed can prevent this preference from happening. How you may ask? Your baby learns that the same mechanism of action (how they move their mouth) yields the same results. Once their hunger needs are met in a consistent way, there should be no issues!

Gradual Slope Bottles For Breastfed Babies

Ok, so now let’s look at why we favor gradual slope bottles for breastfed babies. First let’s define gradual slope, it just means that the top of the nipple is narrow and then gradually slopes and changes in shape- it is a more natural shape. This is to encourage the baby to have a wide open mouth with a nice seal to transfer milk just like at the breast, without air pockets.  

dr. brown's and advent bottlesLook at the difference between a gradual slope versus regular. The Dr. Brown nipple gradually changes in shape, whereas with the Avent & Tomee Tipee bottles start very narrow at the tip and gets wider at the base. What typically happens with the Avent bottle, is the baby is more inclined to stay on the tip of the nipple and use it like a straw. Or, they may try to get a deeper latch, but with the base being so wide they will likely end up with air pockets as it is more challenging for them to create that tight vacuum seal.

If a baby is exclusively bottle fed, then any bottle that they prefer works! Please don’t get me wrong, we are not saying that any of these mentioned bottles are bad or harmful. We are just focusing on which are the best bottles for breastfed babies to alternate between bottle and breast seamlessly. With a breastfed baby, it is important to have the correct bottle style to ensure fluid feeding between both. How great will it be to have your partner help feed your baby without having to worry if it will affect all the hours you and your baby have spent bonding and establishing a strong breastfeeding relationship!  

Top 3 Recommended Bottles For Breastfed Babies

So to recap, the best and most professionally recommended bottles for breastfed babies are  those with gradual slopes. The top three that professionals and experienced moms recommend are: Dr.Brown’s, Lansioh, and Evenflo glass bottles. The type of nipple is also important. You want a slowest flow to start, so as to mimic the flow that comes from the breast. A sign that the nipple is not the right size or the feed needs to paced more, is seeing milk leak out at the side of your baby’s mouth as they can not handle the strength and speed of the milk flow. Your baby should have a nice seal on the bottle with no leaks, smacking, or clicking. Keep in mind that Dr. Brown’s comes with size 1 nipple, and there is a slower flow newborn nipple, called level T.

Keep in mind when researching bottles that the anti-colic claims that companies state are solely for marketing purposes. There is no bottle on this planet that will cure colic. If there was, it would be an international bestseller and would be featured constantly on all the baby platforms! So please, consult with a licensed professional if you are having issues. 

We have a team of certified Lactation Consultants at Boston Baby Nurse & Nanny that can come to your home or have a virtual consultation to assist you in whatever you and your baby needs may be. Reach out to our team today to set up a free phone consultation to get started.

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About The Author

Olivia Wojcik is a registered nurse who graduated Summa Cum Laude. In addition, she is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), Newborn Educator, Newborn Care Expert, Sleep Consultant, and a level 2 reiki practitioner.  Olivia has experience with a vast range of newborn care both in the hospital, ​outpatient, and community settings, specializing in newborn care, breastfeeding support, and education from birth through twenty four months. Olivia is passionate about supporting family members as they welcome their baby into the world and understands how exciting and challenging that this transition can be. She prides herself on the compassionate, direct, and supportive role she plays in helping families find their way together. Olivia listens well to each family’s specific needs and goals, feeding related and more. It’s evident how much she truly enjoys guiding parents to achieve their goals. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, going to the beach, and spending time with family and friends.