Choosing which bottle to feed your baby with depends on what you are looking for. Are you more concerned about easy to heat bottles (in the middle of night feeding)? Do you prefer a material such as glass or silicone over plastic? Because burping after each feeding can take forever, we opted for anti-colic or vented bottles. The one thing we didn’t know about feeding babies was gas and burping. I cannot emphasize how important it is to remove gas for newborns, they cannot burp themselves so we have to do it. I also experienced distended abdomens that required de-plugging with WINDY (Swedish plastic tubes) to release gas. It is a horrible experience when your baby doesn’t feed much for hours and cannot sleep, because his abdomen is distended full of gas. Therefore buying anti-colic or vented bottles is a big part of feeding.
Overall, Comotomo bottles are fantastic – they are similar to Avent with the air vents x 2 on the nipples. Comotomo bottles are soft medical grade silicone, do not crack under high temperature (such as in a dishwasher or a in microwaveable sterilizer), nor do plastic toxins enter the milk when heated. These bottles are easy to clean and assemble. Comotomo bottles are wider, but do fit in the Avent bottle warmer (see picture depicting this). CT bottles are made in Korea. Babies latch on well to them, therefore you can switch between breast and bottle feeding . In fact, one of mine won’t latch to the other bottles (this baby is the one who prefers breastfeeding more than his brother). Babies love to touch and feel the soft bottles while drinking too, and this is helpful later when they learn to hold their own bottles.
Mam bottles are superior for anti-colic (can literally hear air escaping as baby feeds!), but cannot be heated in the actual bottles because of its construction design. You have to heat in another bottle then pour, which is inconvenient at 3 am…due to MAM’s super thick plastic bottoms that don’t transfer heat well and the detachable plastic bottom parts where water can enter (while in the bottle warmer). Furthermore, MAM bottles have to be disassembled/assembled and if not done perfectly, leak! (This happened to me a few times at night and I had to change my clothes. Plus the milk was wasted.) MAM bottles are made in Austria. MAM bottles are impractical when leaving the house. If milk is leaking, you have to first pour out the milk then take the bottle pieces apart to re-adjust the bottle pieces. In order to adjust the pieces, you have to pour the formula out first. Not all babies will latch on to a MAM nipple as it is shaped wide and flat.
Dr. Browns bottles are good for colic too, but narrower to hold and quite a few pieces to disassemble. When cleaning, you have to use a pipe cleaner, then put the bottle parts back together again. The nipple is a bit too narrow, so my babies leaked milk around their mouths (especially with weaker mouth suction). My babies didn’t like to drink from a narrower nipple (less boob like?). But I have friends who swear by Dr. Brown’s bottles, so I wouldn’t rule it out as an option especially as the bottles vent well.
Avent bottles are easy to clean and sold everywhere (good when traveling), but I had to line up the 2 vents with the white bar on the white ring and 14 of my 22 nipples cracked (sterilizer heat perhaps?). The cracked nipples sprayed milk on babies’ faces as flow was too fast with the cracked nipples (suddenly hole was too big so flow too fast). It was annoying to line up the 2 vents to the white bar every time before sterilizing them, plus with formula leaking around their mouths, and gas afterwards…I do however love the Avent microwaveble sterilizer and Avent bottle warmer. The Avent glass bottles are very nice too, but Avent nipples don’t vent as well as other brands.
I used MAM and Comotomo in the daytime and Comotomo at night.
In the fridge, I would prepare for at least 4 feedings in the fridge so I grab a bottle, place into bottle warmer and voila! ready to feed.
If you pump breastmilk, you can measure the amount pumped, then pour into a bottle. We always mixed breast milk with formula from the very start, but the ratio changed. At first, I mixed 80% breast milk and 20% formula (heavier to keep baby full longer). Then I went to 50% breast milk and formula. The reason for this was 1) there was enough breast milk for every bottle this way, even as the baby drank more and more 2) the baby got accustomed to the formula taste (so wouldn’t refuse the formula when you switch to formula completely) 3) breast milk won’t keep a baby full for more than 2-3 hours and you may want to sleep train.
Using Abbott breastmilk cylinders, I would measure an amount of breast milk and mix with formula (we used ready to feed Similac Alimentum). Then we placed the prepared Comotomo bottles in the fridge. Now we have a few prepared bottles in the fridge. Whoever is feeding the baby (nanny, grandma, husband) can just grab a prepared bottle from the fridge and put it into the bottle warmer.
We didn’t time the warmer, just touch outside and check that it is lukewarm, not too hot for the baby but not freezing cold…or squeeze a drop of milk onto the hand to test the temperature. (Eventually we offered the bottle straight from the fridge when they were older babies.)
The two best bottle warmers with dials (with dials to adjust heat, not just on/off button) are Kiinde and Avent. We liked Avent, but do watch that water goes down, so need refill the water to the level marked. I like to use the highest dial setting when in a hurry with a wailing baby, then pull the bottle out quickly after a minute. The bottle warmer’s lower dial settings were used to keep a bottle lukewarm when I have time (like bathing a baby before bedtime). If you go with Comotomo bottles, their website has a list of 8 bottle warmers that are compatible with Comotomo bottles.
Similac Alimentum Ready to feed liquid is corn-free (but Alimentum powder contains corn!). This is NOT an organic formula, but the benefits outweigh being organic for us. It is a lactose-free ready to drink formula, good for colic, gas, and eczema, and contains a milk protein that is broken down into tiny pieces to virtually eliminate allergic reactions in most babies who are allergic to cow’s milk protein. The sealed formula bottles or cans are stored at room temperature and once opened, last for 48 hours in the fridge. You crack open the seal and just pour out! No measuring is required! (I hated mixing powder formula and water.)
After feeding, I placed babies in Fisher Price Sit me up seats with neck/back support to help with reflux. (Like my other mummy friends, we also ended up feeding mostly with baby sitting up vs half lying down.) This is such a useful seat as it folds and it keeps a baby in place (cannot tip over)…great to put in the kitchen when you cook or in the dining area when you are eating.
Basic list for bottles
- Comotomo 5 oz bottles (need about 4 per baby daily)
- Comotomo slow flow nipples
- Avent Phillips fast bottle warmer (with dial)
- Any formula measuring cylinder (Abbott)
- Any sterilizer (microwaveable is easiest – pour 1-2 cups water and 2 minutes in the microwave)
- Plastic containers to place post-sterilized bottles in (to distinguish), we had Interdesign bins
- Baby washcloths to wipe and catch milk spit ups, easier than bibs – recommend Burts bee washcloths. (Bibs can leave a red mark on chubby baby necks, few bibs are truly adjustable.)
- Baby burp cloths to put on your shoulder (such as Burt’s Bees baby organic cotton burp cloths)