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The truth is, you will eventually need to buy some bottles, even if you plan to exclusively breastfeed. You may want to pump breast milk and let other family members take on feeding duties, or go back to work before your little one is weaned.
As a runner up, we also liked Philips AVENT Natural bottle system (Amazon | buybuybaby). The AVENT bottles come in both ‘classic’ and ‘natural’ lines. The classic bottles have a teat similar to regular baby bottle teats while the natural bottles are similar to Comotomo bottles with a wider, breast and nipple shaped teat.
The AVENT bottles also come in either plastic or glass. The AVENT teats do not mimic the natural breast as well as the Comotomo’s so I would only get the Philips AVENT bottles if your baby isn’t fussy about her bottle.
Why is switching from breast to bottle such a pain?
That leads us to the challenges with introducing a bottle to a baby who has only been breastfed. Once your baby is old enough, you can try paced bottle feeding as a way to introduce a bottle.
If you wait too long to introduce a bottle, your baby will refuse to take to a bottle because the teat does not feel like your nipple. The sucking motion of feeding from a bottle is also different to that of nursing from your breast.
On the other hand, if you introduce a bottle to a baby who is still learning to breastfeed (say within the first two months of birth), you might cause nipple confusion. In this situation, your baby might prefer bottle feeding since it takes less effort to suck milk from a bottle compared to breastfeeding. If this happens, your baby might refuse to nurse at your breast!
The solution to bottle feeding headaches
The trick to introducing a bottle to a baby who has been exclusively breastfed is to use bottles with teats that feel like the natural breast and to stick with a slow flow teat (designed for newborns) for as long as possible.
We chose the Comotomo (Amazon | buybuybaby) as the best bottles as they have teats that are most similar to a natural breast and nipple shape, easing the transition from breast to bottle (and back to breast).
What’s with all the different types of baby bottles? I thought a bottle was a bottle!
There are a huge number of different bottles for today’s mom’s to choose. While some moms are most concerned about nipple confusion and bottle refusal, other moms worry about the safety of plastic or problems with colic. Here’s a pros and cons list for each type of bottle:
- Regular neck bottles – These are great if you pump because they screw onto your breast flanges without the need for adapters. On the other hand, if you supplement with formula, you might want to get some wide neck bottles.
- Wide neck bottles – These are better for formula feeding as the wider neck means it’s easier to mix in a scoop of formula without it spilling all over the place. Some breast pumps sell adapters so you can use wide neck bottles with your breast flange.
- Plastic bottles – Most bottles are plastic and BPA free so there’s no real need to worry about chemicals from the plastic escaping into the milk. Plastic bottles are light, shatterproof, and widely available.
- Glass bottles – Some moms who are still worried about chemicals from plastic bottles leeching into breast milk will choose glass. Glass is easy to clean and there’s no need to worry about chemicals. The downsides to glass bottles are that they’re easy to break (avoid these if you have clumsy butterfingers like me) and they’re too heavy to pump into directly.
- Stainless steel bottles – Steel is another alternative to plastic. It’s lighter and less breakable than glass, but they are difficult to clean since you can’t see through the steel to see if the insides are dirty. You also have to watch out for unscrupulous manufacturers who claim their aluminum bottles are steel. Aluminum bottles will have a BPA interior liner which defeats the purpose of choosing them over plastic!
- No-gas/vented bottles – These bottles have a vent in the inside, like Dr. Brown’s (Amazon | buybuybaby), that are supposed to prevent air bubbles from getting into the milk. If you have a colicky baby, then these bottles are for you. While they seem like a good idea, I would avoid these bottles if you plan on hand-washing them as there are more parts to clean.
#1 Comotomo – the absolute best breastfeeding bottle.
- Teats wide and round at the base with a larger and stiffer nipple that mimics the natural breast. This makes it easier for babies to latch on even if they’re not used to a bottle.
- The newborn teat has only one hole for a slower flow so the milk won’t flood your baby’s mouth. This bottle is perfect for preemies and newborns. Move up to the 2 hole (medium flow), 3 hole (fast flow), or variable flow teats as your baby grows older.
- Has venting on the teat to prevent gas and colic, but without all the complicated and difficult to clean parts.
- The bottle and neck is extra wide, big enough to fit the width of most hands, so it is easy to clean and wash.
- The bottle is made from squishy silicone so babies can grab onto the bottle similar to when they’re nursing from your breast.
- Made from BPA, PVC, and phthalate free plastic.
- Heat safe so it can be sterilized in boiling water or washed in the dishwasher.
- The neck is non-standard width so you can’t pump directly into the comotomo bottles.
- The soft body of the bottle means that any pressure will squeeze the milk out, so you can’t use the comotomo to carry around a full bottle of milk in a diaper bag.
- The shape of the bottle (wider top, narrow bottom), means it is easy to tip over. Make sure you place the bottle on a flat surface or a rubber/silicone mat to prevent spilled milk.
Comotomo is a bottle designed to be soft, comforting, and as close to the breast as possible. A wider and slower flow nipple makes it easy for babies to latch on and suck without causing problems in the transition from breast to bottle.
#2 Philips AVENT Natural – runner up, budget choice.
Our second choice bottle for breastfed babies. While the AVENT bottles come in classic+ or natural lines, you’ll want to get the natural line of bottles (Amazon | buybuybaby) which have a wider nipple and are easier for breastfed babies to latch on to.
- Wider nipple is shaped like a natural breast and nipple, promoting easy latch-on.
- Anti-colic vents in the teat prevent air bubble buildup in the milk.
- Extra-wide bottle body is easier to clean and hold.
- Teats come in 4 flow rates, ranging from sizes 0m-6m (slowest-fastest). If your baby is used to being breastfed, get the ‘newborn, 0 months’ teat even if she’s older. The other teats are too soft and the milk will flow out to fast for a baby that’s used to sucking strongly from your breast.
- Parts are dishwasher safe and can be sterilized in boiling water.
- Made from BPA free plastic. There’s also a glass bottle option (Amazon | buybuybaby).
- Bottles have a wide and stable base so the bottle doesn’t tip over.
- Non-standard bottle width means you can’t pump directly into the bottles.
- The size and feel of the teats are not as ‘natural’ as comotomo’s, so the AVENT natural bottles will not work if your baby has severe latching problems.
- Milk gets trapped in the cap where it screws onto the bottle. Not a big deal, but a pain if you plan on hand-washing your bottles.
- The teat is softer than the teats on Comotomo bottles and prone to collapsing at the base. If your baby likes to play with the teat and push it in, you’ll have to yank it back out!
- The vents don’t work as well as Comotomo’s at getting rid of air bubbles. Get the Comotomo bottles instead if you have a colicky baby.
The Philips AVENT Natural is a bottle with an almost ‘breast-like’ nipple to ease the transition from breast to bottle. A great money-saving choice for babies who do not have problems with latching-on or colic.
The two best baby bottles for breastfeeding babies
In conclusion, if you are a breastfeeding mama who wants to introduce a bottle to your baby:
- without causing nipple confusion
- without your baby refusing the bottle
I’m Jane and this is my project to chronicle everything I’ve learned as I raise my little one.