We pulled together 18 of the most popular baby bottles and put them to the test. Filled them, shook them upside-down, put them in the dishwasher, warmed them, froze them, fed 6 different babies with them, and tried out the various nipple flows. In the end, we found several top rated bottles that are high performing, low colic, and reliable. All of them are BPA-free, using either glass or BPA-free plastic (we strongly recommend glass baby bottles or stainless steel baby bottles). Here are the top 5 baby bottles of the year. Scroll down to see our full reviews!
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Comotomo Bottles|
|#2. Philips AVENT|
|#3. Dr. Brown's Bottles|
|#4. MAM Baby Bottles|
|#5. Joovy BOOB Bottles|
Newborn babies need to feed about 8 to 12 times per day. If you're using a bottle for even half of those feedings, you want to make sure it's not going to cause gas, stomach upset, spit-up, or colic. You also want to make sure the bottles are free of harmful chemicals, are easy to clean and promote a good latch. The best baby bottles can do all of this and more! To make our reviews, we scoured the internet, did focus groups with over a dozen moms, polled moms through our website, and pulled together our reviews. Our best baby bottles include some classic go-to options like the Dr. Brown's, and some relative newcomers like the Comotomo and Tommee Tippee.
Here are the Best Baby Bottles of 2019!
A little pricier than most other options on this list at around $14 per bottle, but you can get it for around $21 for a 2-pack. With green and pink versions, the Comotomo bottle is relatively new to the U.S. baby bottle market and is making a huge splash among discerning moms. Designed with a very wide (about 3") nipple base, a more natural nipple shape and feel, these are made for moms who want to switch flexibly between breast- and bottle-feeding. Our test moms loved the unique soft and squeezable silicone feel of the bottle, as did their babies, who could comfortably grip the bottle while feeding - it feels a bit like mom's soft skin. The width of the nipple base and its pliability make it a very natural baby bottle feel - in our testing, we found that babies are able to make cheek, tip of the nose, and chin contact with the wide nipple base, promoting a nice vacuum seal much like a real breast. If you want to mimic breastfeeding, this is the bottle for you. The vent design is quite unique and not as much of a hassle to clean like the Dr. Brown's or Tommee Tippee. Instead of a long tube to clean, the bottle uses two small vents positioned at the base of the nipple. The squeezable bottle is nice for adding a bit of pressure to the feed to mimic let-down. During feeding, we noticed that the entire wide base of the nipple elongated and retracted very smoothly, much like a natural breast. So that made for a really nice rhythmic suckling motion, which is rare to see in even the best baby bottles. The venting mechanism worked really well, and all of our test babies seemed to be comfortable after feeding without any gas issues. While feeding, you can see that there is minimal vacuum building up in the bottle, which is reassuring. It's made of high-quality silicone, and like all of the bottles reviewed on this list, there are no phthalates, lead, BPA, or latex in this bottle. In a more practical sense, the wide base made it easier to clean, and we also liked the small tab on the side of the wide green base ring, which made it much easier to grip and open or tighten the bottle. That's really helpful when the bottle or your hands are wet and slippery. Overall, this baby bottle is a fantastic option, and over the past 2 years, it has slowly climbed into this top spot, which we think is highly deserved. We tested the 250mL version (about 8.5 ounces), which is the larger one. There is also a smaller 150mL (about 5 ounces) version for slightly less money. Drawbacks? Just a few, mostly related to the translucent bottle, which moms report can make it hard to see the number labels on the side, but that's being a little picky. We didn't think this was a major issue but did agree that it made it a bit more difficult to see how much milk was remaining, especially during nighttime feedings. Note that this bottle is somewhat similar to the MimiJumi bottles, but those didn't make it onto this year's list due to a feeding angle that's a bit too extreme, the venting isn't quite as good, and some leaking and inconsistent flow issues have been reported. Want to fit a Comotomo baby bottle onto a Medela breastmilk pump? You'll need this adapter. Overall, we think this is one of the most realistic baby bottles with excellent safety, features, and reliability, and they are without hesitation the best bottles on the market this year. Interested? You can check out the Comotomo bottles here.
About $4-5 per bottle (you can get them in 4oz or 9oz sizes). Philips AVENT bottles have been around for a long time now, but they are an innovative company that keeps improving their bottles to accommodate changing needs of moms and emerging research. The Natural series of AVENT bottles is no exception and is one of the best all-around baby bottles to buy for 2019, and comes in both plastic and glass versions. The base and nipple are quite similar in form and function to the Tommee Tippee, but with a slightly narrower nipple base, and narrower overall bottle as well. We found that the nipples were soft and compliant, promoted comfortable and fast latch-on, and the twin-valve venting system was quite good at preventing air swallowing, gas, and colic. The twin valves are unique to the others on this list, with tiny slits at the very far edges of the nipple that help air get into the bottle to prevent a vacuum forming. The reasonably wide nipple base promotes a relatively real breast feel, and the wide neck promotes easier cleaning, though it's not quite as easy as with the Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle. Definitely invest in a bottle brush! There are both glass and plastic versions, all BPA-free and free of other harmful chemicals (like all of the ones on this list). We prefer the glass, though we do understand that it's a bit heavier and makes moms nervous about breakage. Like the Tommee Tippee and Comotomo, the Philip AVENT anti-colic bottle has a nice ergonomic shape that helps babies to hold their own bottle. The venting system is quite nice, as it has no extra parts to clean, and we found that it works pretty well (though nothing is quite like the Dr. Brown's). Downfalls? Over the past few years, the Philips AVENT Natural bottles have used progressively thinner plastic that feels increasingly cheap, though the functionality hasn't seemed to change. We also didn't think the venting system was as good as the Comotomo. And with the natural glass version, it seems prudent to have a silicone sleeve for better grip and safety. Interested? You check out the Philips AVENT Natural bottles here.
About $4-5 per bottle. These are excellent bottles. Dr. Brown's has been making the original anti-colic, anti-gas, anti-fuss bottles since 1996. They use a unique vent system designed by Dr. Brown himself, a pediatrician who designed and patented a two-piece venting system that prevents the negative pressure "vacuum" that typically forms in bottles while a baby feeds. Like actual breasts, these create a positive-pressure flow. These are great for moms who switch between breast- and bottle-feeding, or moms who only bottle feed; they are particularly excellent for relieving the symptoms of colic and gas. The original glass version of this bottle has been around for about two decades, but the company has slowly phased out the glass in favor of BPA-free plastic. This has resulted in lower cost, though we must say that we prefer the original natural glass version, which is much harder to find and sellers are increasing the price due to the limited availability. If you can't find the glass ones for under about $20 each, then don't bother (you're getting ripped off). And if you're really intent on getting a glass bottle, check out the excellent AVENT and Joovy Boob options, which are excellent bottles for a reasonable price. The newer BPA-free plastic version is lighter weight and shatter-proof, definite advantages over the traditional glass version. The only downfall of the Dr. Brown's bottles is that the vent system can be a bit of a pain to clean; but we promise, it's worth it! In our testing, we found superior colic and gas prevention, great fit and function of the traditional-style nipple and collar, and minimal leaking unless vigorously shaking to mix formula. Some babies don't really like the narrow nipple, and one of our tester moms said her baby girl outright rejected it (and will only use a Comotomo!). Note that Dr. Brown's also sells the similar Options line of bottles. The Options bottles allow you to use the bottle with or without the venting system; in our experience, they are not quite up to par with the original Natural Flow bottles, but you can check them out and decide for yourself. Note that any of the regular (narrow) neck Dr. Brown's bottles will fit onto the Medela breast milk pumps, making it a great alternative to the Medela breastmilk bottle. Overall, this is an excellent baby bottle, but we highly suggest the glass version if you can find it! Interested? You can check out Dr. Brown's bottles here!
These are about $6 per bottle, but if you buy a 4-pack it's cheaper, like $4 per bottle. The MAM Anti-colic bottles come in three sizes, the smaller 5 ounces, a large 9 ounces, and a towering 11 ounces for those super-hungry babies! They also have 3 nipple flows, slow level 1 (0+ months), medium level 2 (2+ months), and fast level 3 (4+ months). There are so many things to love about these bottles! Like all the bottles on this list, they are free of BPA and BPS. They use an innovative SkinSoft nipple. What's cool about these nipples is they have a slight texture that helps babies keep the silicone nipple in the mouth because it's not as slippery as most bottle nipples. That worked wonders when we tested it, as did the nipple's unique semi-flat shape that was easy to put into the mouth and conforms to a shape that's a bit more like mom's nipple when it's under a bit of pressure. The nipple was impressive, though it would probably benefit from a slightly wider base to get a good sensation of the breast up against the cheeks. According to MAM's research, their nipples have a 94% acceptance rate for babies, and that's really impressive. The babies we tested on didn't reject it either, so that's saying something. The bottle is nice too. It uses a slight texture to help babies to hold onto it. And this is marketed as an anti-colic baby bottle, so how do they achieve airflow? This bottle uses a vent that's on the base, similarly to the Munchkin LATCH (below). We found that it worked very well, and we never had any leaking issues. Because it prevents a vacuum building up inside the bottle during feeding, it's a great bottle for preventing gas, colic, and reflux. Overall, we really liked these bottles, and want to point out that MAM also makes some of the best newborn and infant pacifiers on the market. Just one downfall, and it's with the complexity of the cleaning and assembly. The bottle separates into the nipple, nipple ring, cap, bottle, and vented base (which is 2 parts). So that's 6 parts for a bottle. The two-part base screws onto the bottom, then you place the nipple onto the top of the bottle and then screw on the nipple ring. So there's an extra step involved in cleaning the MAM Anti-Colic bottles, and that made them a bit more hassle than most others on this list. So overall, we highly recommend these bottles, with that one caveat. Interested? Check out the MAM Bottles here.
These are a recent addition to our best baby bottles list and made a great impression during our hands-on reviews. These bottles come in three varieties: Glass, PPSU, and PP. The glass bottles are our most recommended, and we believe these bottles, in particular, deserve a very high spot on this list; the glass is very strong, the bottle is comfortable to hold, and they come with nice outside silicone grippers (and impact absorbers if dropped!) that you can easily pull on and off. The PPSU is a slightly grey-tinted plastic that is not very vulnerable to staining, discoloration, or cracking, and tend not to absorb colors or odors as much as other plastic types. Finally, the PP is very similar to the PPSU, but not as invulnerable to the absorption of colors and odors. We found so many things to love about these bottles. First, the venting was really fantastic. Joovy uses a venting ring that goes onto the opening of the bottle before you screw on the nipple. And it worked substantially better than many of the other venting approaches used by the other bottles, which should result in less gas, fussiness, spit-up, and colic. Good venting is so important in a baby bottle! Second, we really liked the countors of the bottle itself, which make it not only look nice but feel nice in the hand; especially the glass bottle with the silicone sleeve on it felt really nice to hold. The only drawback with this shape, relative to something like the Tommee Tippee, is that it can be slightly more difficult for babies to hold since it is overall thicker in the middle. Third, the soft silicone nipples were really quite good and were great for preventing nipple confusion. The shape of the nipples is very similar to the Avent (below) nipples, and we think the Joovy and Avent bottles might be a good set to use interchangeably (we don't mean the parts are interchangeable, we just mean that the nipples are so similar that the baby won't likely notice a difference between the two). Finally, we found them easy to clean (including the vent ring), and we appreciated that they are dishwasher safe and safe to sterilize. Our only gripes with these bottles are: first, the vent ring is a bit of a pain, since you need to put it on each time before screwing on the nipple. This can be tough for late night feedings when you're stumbling around trying to get a bottle ready, possibly while also holding a baby in one hand. Second, we are all about boobs and their contributions to the world, but we're not sure it was the best marketing decision to place the word BOOB front and center on each bottle. But that's for you to decide! These bottles are a bit pricey, coming in at around $13 each for glass, $10 each for PPSU, and $6 each for PP. We think the glass is totally worth it, but note that the Dr. Brown's glass baby bottle is usually much cheaper (if you can find them). Interested? You can check out the Joovy Boob Bottles here.
About $6 per bottle, which come in 5oz or 9oz sizes. These Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles are a close runner-up to Comotomo, and you will realize that they are actually quite similar in shape, venting, and nipple. They have a wide body with nice curvature for grip (your grip, and baby's grip!). The nipple itself is not quite as wide and convex as the Comotomo, though it is basically somewhere in between Munchkin Latch (or AVENT) and the Comotomo in terms of nipple shape and size. In our test, we found that these nipples do replicate a natural elongation and retraction movement, though not quite as pronounced and natural looking as the Comotomo. Given their wider and shorter stance, these bottles were particularly easy to clean. The venting on the nipple is very similar to the Comotomo, except there is only a single vent. The single vent typically worked very well, but we noticed that it's more likely to be covered by the cheek, lips, or chin, which means it won't be venting very well. That's a distinct advantage to the Comotomo, as is the more natural form and function nipple. The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature is a decent option for moms who want the flexibility of switching between breast- and bottle-feeding. Because the nipple and its surround are relatively realistic, the baby does not become accustomed to a different nipple style and subsequently reject breastfeeding. Of course, this type of rejection is rare, but for very particular babies this is another great option. Interested? You can check out the Tommee Tippee Bottles here.
About $5 per bottle, which come in 5oz or 9oz sizes just like most bottles. Nuk bottles use one of the most innovative nipple designs available on the market. The orthodontic nipple has several unique features: an angled top to help get correct tongue positioning on the nipple, feeding holes (from 3 to 9 of them depending on nipple flow rate) that release milk upward toward the palate of the mouth, an hourglass shape to help teeth develop and lips to close properly around the nipple, and an anti-colic vent system that is positioned at the base of the nipple. These soft silicone nipples are great, but we want to be clear that they seem most helpful for babies who are not breastfed. In our testing, we thought that this nipple style promoted what we call a "lazy latch" which means that the baby doesn't need to work their jaw or tongue very hard at all to maintain a latch and feed successfully. This is partly due to the shape of the nipple, but also its flexibility and ability to reorient based on the position of the mouth. But not having to work hard to maintain a latch is a bit unlike breastfeeding, so there is definitely a risk that babies who are fed with this nipple style will have a difficult time transitioning back and forth between breast and bottle. We suspect in most cases this won't be an issue, but it's likely to affect a good number of babies. So if you're looking to exclusively bottle feed your baby, this is an excellent option. Not to mention that it has fantastic anti-colic properties - the vent works really well to relieve pressure from inside the bottle and prevent swallowing air (and the gas that ensues!). Now that we've covered the bottle nipples, let's move on to the bottle. It comes in 5 ounces and 9 ounces sizes and is made from BPA-free Tritan plastic (see the end of this article for some thoughts about Tritan plastic). The bottle has volume markings on the side, though we're scratching our heads wondering why in the world they made them in white print - making them basically impossible to see when milk is in the bottle. There is a designer somewhere who needs to consider a career change! Because these bottles use Tritan plastic, they are very hard and clear, but because they are somewhat thin they are also brittle. We cracked one of the bottles by dropping it only about 2 feet above a hardwood floor, so that wasn't very compelling. Even the glass Dr. Brown's bottles don't crack under those circumstances (at least in our testing). So there's a lot of love about this bottle, but also some concerns, and it's probably best for babies who are exclusively bottle fed. Interested? You can check out the Nuk Simply Natural Bottles here.
About $6 per bottle. These latch bottles are relatively new to the baby bottle market, and they have some great innovative features. The unique anti-colic valve is located on the bottom of the bottle, which reduces the complexity of the washing process relative to the Dr. Brown's option. As the baby consumes more milk, the valve slowly allows air to enter the bottle, decreasing the negative pressure and reducing air ingestion. Less air being ingested means less burping and colic. In our testing, we thought the valve did a great job at reducing gas and colic. But we also thought that the design made it more difficult to clean, and we were never really confident that we got the valve entirely clean during washing. Also, in our testing, the nipple became pushed in a few times, which was a bit frustrating to have to pull/pop back out intermittently. This didn't happen with all the babies, though it did happen with two of them so it's worth mentioning. Now let's talk about why they named this the "Latch" bottle. Latching onto a natural nipple is something that comes innately to most babies, and there is a symbiotic relationship between the baby's mouth position, their sucking rhythm, the nipple, and the milk release. Latching is when the baby sucks the nipple back to their soft palate. As any breastfeeding mom knows, a good latch means a good let-down and a very satisfied baby (and mom!). Munchkin was inspired by the latch process and created a nipple that mimics the feel, movement, and let-down of a mom's breast. The nipple stretches as the baby sucks, to allow the nipple to maintain a good latch. This isn't an entirely innovative concept, and in our opinion, we believe the Comotomo does it a bit better. It also has dynamic milk flow: when the baby pushes more against the nipple, the flow increases (just like mom's). Finally, the accordion-style Munchkin Latch nipple also flexes with head and arm movement, helping the baby keep a latch and minimize air ingestion. First introduced onto our list in 2015, the Munchkin Latch is slowly rising up the list! Note that Munchkin also makes some great sippy cups that we find to be some of the best on the market.
About $5.50 per bottle. Baby Brezza makes a wide range of baby feeding appliances and supplies - including bottles, sterilizer systems, formula makers, and baby food makers. In fact, their baby food maker has appeared in the top 10 of our best baby food makers for several years! They have a reputation for making visually appealing and high quality products with innovative functions that suit busy parenting lifestyles. The Baby Brezza Bottles are no exception - we first got our hands on them in early 2019 for testing and we were pleasantly surprised with several aspects of these bottles. First, the bottle itself is lightweight BPA-free polypropylene (PP) plastic that is easy to hold, stands nicely on its own, and has a nice modern sleek look to it (it's available in several nice colors). Second, the nipple shape is awesome - very similar in nipple and base shape and width to the Comotomo and Tommee Tippee options, with a natural feel and shape that make these bottles a great option for breastfeeding moms who want to avoid nipple confusion. Third, these have a good venting system that is integrated into the nipple base, which means they make a great anti-colic baby bottle that is also simple to clean because it only has two pieces (the nipple and nipple collar are integrated, and screw right onto the bottle itself). Another aspect that makes them easy to clean is the wide mouth bottle that you can fit your hand and sponge right into without issue. So these bottles definitely have a lot of positives! In our testing, two babies (3 months and 8 months) tried the bottles out, one with formula and one with breast milk. The medium nipple flow was a bit too fast for the 3 month old, but worked really nicely with the 8 month old. The 3 month old also had a hard time keeping a good latch on the bottle, and it tended to pop out of his mouth once in a while. But mom mentioned that he does that on the breast as well. The other downfall we found is that you need to keep the venting port (the hole on the nipple base) oriented upward for it to work well: when it was oriented to the side or downward, milk would bubble and leak from the hole. That was pretty unfortunate especially with the 8 month old because she wanted to hold the bottle herself but we needed to fix the orientation so it wouldn't drip. Another con is that it these cannot be sterilized in the microwave or they get mis-shapen, they should be sterilized in boiling water or a steam sterilizer system (like the great one made by Baby Brezza!). So these bottles are definitely deserving of this top-10 spot on our list, and we will continue to use them and see how they perform over the long-term. Note that any leakage we experienced was pretty minor, so you definitely should try them out and see how they work for your baby! Also check out their glass baby bottles, reviewed on our best glass bottles page.
About $8-9 per bottle. We like Smilo products for a few reasons. First, they are a small, local company based only a few miles from us outside of Boston. Second, you can actually walk right into their office if you live nearby and talk to someone about their products - that's unlike 90% of other baby bottle companies and that makes us (wait for it) smile! And finally, Smilo makes some great products, including their pacifiers (ranked near the top of our best pacifier list) and these baby bottles. We first got our hands on these for testing in early 2019 and spent a few months gathering feedback from parents. There was some great feedback, and a couple cons worth considering. Let's start with the good stuff. First, let's talk about the physical aspects of these bottles. They use a thin BPA-free lightweight polyamide plastic bottle that has a modern shape and stands well on its own. It is contoured a bit to be narrower in the center to help your baby grip the bottle more easily. They come in 5-ounce and 10-ounce varieties with interchangeable nipple parts (collar, nipple, leak preventer), and they have clearly labeled measurement units, with milliliters (ml) on one side and ounces (oz) on the other. The colors are aqua, orange, or plum, and there are 4 nipple flow rates available (newborn, slow, medium, fast) to be purchased separately. Second, let's get into some basic functionality. These bottles have a removable silicone sleeve that has a ring on it. At first, we thought it was just decorative, then we figured out the clever function - you can carry the bottle with your pinky finger, or hook the bottle onto anything with a clip. The pinky trip is a life-saver when you're trying to hold the bottle and pick up your baby, or position your baby for burping: you no longer need to put the bottle down on a table or counter, you can just have it hanging from a finger. We also clipped it onto our stroller using a little carabiner and that worked pretty well. For cleaning, there are two basic parts: the bottle and the nipple and collar. The nipple and collar are separable for cleaning, but it's not really necessary if you're boiling for cleaning, and they are very difficult to actually get apart so it's unclear whether Smilo even wants parents to be separating the nipple and collar. We kept them together to make cleaning easier (just 2 parts!). You can choose to have the silicone sleeve on the bottle or not, that's up to you. It also comes with a leak preventer cap (for under the nipple collar), and a regular lid. The nipple was a bit tougher to screw on and off than other bottles, likely owing to its narrow collar diameter and its tight leak-proof seal. Third, let's talk about actual feeding. We tested it with both breast milk and formula, and it worked pretty well. The anti-colic system was good - not as good as what you find with a more complicate anti-colic multi-part system (like on the Dr. Brown's bottles), but just as effective as the valves on the Baby Brezza or Tommee Tippee systems. The silicone nipple itself was pretty similar to the Munchkin LATCH nipples, with a relatively natural shape and feel. Nowhere near as natural as the wider options, like the Comotomo, but pretty good, especially for a normal-width bottle. The nipple uses a unique flared design that maximizes the width of the nipple base without having a wide-mouth bottle. Clever! Our testing parents reported no leakage, decent anti-colic function, and easy to clean parts. On the negative side, two parents said the bottle itself cracked when dropped (one onto tile, and one onto hardwood), one reported higher than usual colic when using it, and one reported that their baby wouldn't feed from it at all. The latter point is to be expected with any bottle - some babies are just more picky about what they feed from, especially when it's not mom! So definitely more pros than cons here, and we will update this review after we conduct some longer-term testing!
For anyone over the age of 40, they might remember the very popular Playtex bottles with the disposable bag of milk. You would fill the bag, drape it over the edges of the bottle, then screw on the nipple. They were really popular and excellent at preventing colic since the plastic bag could conform to the amount of remaining milk without generating any vacuum pressure build-up. The Flipsi baby bottle uses a similar concept but has been executed in a much more ingenious way. It uses a silicone cup-like reservoir that you fill with milk, then place it into the bottle itself, then screw on the nipple. The silicone sits over the top edge of the bottle, so when the nipple cap is screwed on a very nice seal is formed. This is an interesting concept for a few reasons: first, the flexible silicone is highly conformant, making it shrink in size to accommodate the decreasing amount of milk in the bottle. This prevents the negative back-pressure (vacuum) that can cause gas, spit-up, and colic. The silicone baby bottle pouch can also be pushed up a bit from the bottom and sides, to help this process occur. Basically what you're doing here is removing the need for a venting mechanism, which is often the source of leaks. Second, we loved that the silicone reservoir could be turned inside out for easy cleaning, including in the dishwasher. No more bottle brushes! Third, we liked the wide natural nipple shape that can reduce nipple confusion; the shape is quite similar to our highly rated Comotomo bottle. Fourth, silicone is quickly becoming a very popular food-grade product, with its heat and cold resistance, BPA-free quality, and durability. The jury is out regarding any leaching of harmful chemicals from silicone, though this particular silicone is free from BPA, BPS, phthalates, latex, nitrosamines, lead, PVC & PET. Downfalls? Not many, but our hands-on testing revealed a few things worth considering. First, the bottle was a bit larger in diameter than the others on this list, likely because it has the thick silicone reservoir surrounded by a plastic bottle, which makes it a bit more complex than the others. Second, speaking of complexity, having to assemble the bottle itself and then attach the nipple might be a detractor for some parents looking to save some time. Finally, for a plastic baby bottle, the Flipsi is a bit expensive, coming in at around $10 each. Overall, however, we believe this is an exciting new addition to our baby bottles list, and after some long-term durability testing, we believe it might start creeping higher on our list!
About $4 per 9-ounce bottle. Playtex has been making excellent and innovative baby bottles and sippy cups for several decades, and the Ventaire is no exception. This model uses an angled bottle shape that makes it much easier to comfortably hold and tilt the bottle during feedings. This helps your arm from getting sore, but also puts the baby in a relatively upright and natural position for feeding, without having to tilt their head way back. There is some mixed evidence that a relatively upright feeding position also helps reduce the odds of ear infections. Like the Munchkin, these Playtex baby bottles use an air flow valve at the bottom to help air enter the bottle and prevent a vacuum from forming as baby drinks the milk or formula. In our testing, we thought the valve did a very good job of keeping the flow rate nice and consistent, and also preventing too much air swallowing, burping, and spit-up. The nipple is nowhere near as wide and natural feeling as the Tommee Tippee or Comotomo, but our test babies did latch on easily and nobody rejected it, and we saw no signs of nipple confusion after using it several times. It uses a similar nipple texture as the Dr. Brown's to promote an easy latch. Cleaning was easy, with dishwasher safe (top-rack) parts that are all removable (the bottom valve, nipple, lid, can all be cleaned separately). The pack we got came with slow-flow nipples suitable for little babies (0-3m), though you can purchase medium flow and fast flow nipples separately. So there are a lot of great things about this bottle, and we think it's worth including on this list. However, there is one major downfall that we encountered: the venting mechanism on the base of the bottle tended to leak. We tested out the three bottles that came in the pack, and after leaving filled bottles on the counter (or in the fridge) for a couple hours, there was a puddle formed under two of them. So overall this is a great bottle, but the odds are you might have a leaking problem like we did.
About $5 per 9-ounce bottle. The Born Free bottles are relatively new to the baby bottle market (like the Comotomos), but they are making quite a splash. Like most fuss-free bottles, these use a unique ActiveFlow venting system that reduces gas and colic. In our testing, the ActiveFlow venting did indeed work very well, though we did find it a bit aggravating to have yet another small plastic piece to clean, assemble, and probably misplace! Like basically all modern bottles, the silicone nipple shape feels relatively natural and does a nice job controlling flow. If you get a gift set, it also includes some handy accessories: bottle brushes, silicone sleeves, level-3 (fast) nipples, and often a cool little formula holder and dispenser. One unique feature of these bottles is that they hold a bit more milk than the typical 4 and 8-ounce bottles, leaving a bit of room at the top when you mix in formula, which makes the mixing process much easier and more effective. Overall, we consider these bottles great for formula-fed babies, given that the nipple and base are not very natural feeling (like the Comotomo or even Tomee Tippee). Overall great bottles and good enough to make it onto our annual list. Also reasonably priced if you purchase with the accessories. Note that we also tested out the newer model, the Born Free Breeze, but it didn't make the list due to a poor (and collapsing) nipple design.
One of the more expensive bottles on our list, coming in at around $10 per bottle, plus the cost of nipples (about $5 each), the Minbie collection of newborn and infant bottles (slow to fast flow) are an excellent newcomer to the marketplace. The Minbie bottles use BPA-free polypropylene plastic and BPA-free flexible and super soft silicone nipples. There are so many things to love about these nipples. The shape is super unique, with a tip shape and contours that are unlike any other bottle, with an award-winning teat that supports both latch-on and a natural breastfeeding motion. The flat side of the nipple tip goes up against the roof of the mouth, resting comfortably on the palate. These nipples are excellent for preventing bottle rejection, and also reduces the incidence of nipple confusion for moms who switch between the breast and bottle. Like many all the others on this list, the Minbie bottles also integrate a very effective anti-colic system by venting air into the bottle through small holes at the base of the nipple. In our testing, we tried this bottle on two infants, one 2 months of age and one 4 months of age. Both took to the nipple without a fuss, and were very successful at feeding and didn't seem to ingest much air and develop gas. A couple things we realized about this bottle. First, we thought the slow flow nipple was a bit faster than what we experienced with other brands, such as the Comotomo or Tommee Tippee; nothing major, but noticeable in a head-to-head comparison. Second, because the nipple is directionally specific and you need to place the flat side against the roof of the mouth, you have to pay a bit more attention than usual. This especially becomes an issue when your baby is old enough to hold (and spin around!) his or her own bottle. We didn't have any particular issues with it, but we were testing with a 2 and 3 month old. Overall, this is our first year for testing the Minbie, and we were happy to get our hands on it to write this review. Other than the small limitations, we think this is an excellent bottle, even with the slightly high price tag!
It's not really fair of us to put a system like this in a list of baby bottles, but we had the opportunity to try it recently so we figured you all would like to read a bit about it. The concept is that you can use pouches similar in size and function to a juice pouch, to connect directly to your breast pump, use for freezer storage, and then use for feeding. The idea is that instead of using the typical Medela or Lanisoh bags for pumping and freezer storage only, you can also use them for feeding. It makes this possible by incorporating a screw top onto the pouch instead of the usual Ziplock closure. The screw top can be directly attached to your manual or electronic breast pump. Then after pumping, you put a cap on the screw top and throw it in the refrigerator or freezer. When you're ready to feed your baby, you can thaw a pouch in a bowl of lukewarm water (or using the Kiinde bottle warmer system). Then, slide the pouch into the Kiinde Squeeze bottle, squeeze out the air, and attach a nipple. The first time we tried this feeding system process we were impressed by how easily the pouch transitioned from one mode to another, like from pumping to storage, and storage to feeding. Kiinde also makes a nifty (though limited capacity) storage rack for your freezer to prevent random piles of pouches from stacking up and falling over. In any event, we have to applaud Kiinde for coming up with such a comprehensive system that handles the entire process from pumping to feeding. But the question we ended up asking ourselves was whether it was really a problem that needed solving? After pumping, you still need to clean the pump parts and the pump-to-bag adapter threads. Why not a small bottle while you're at it? So maybe that saves a little bit of clean-up time, but not much. Also, during our testing, we thought it was challenging to tell exactly how much milk was getting into the bags. We pumped until the milk got to the 4 ounce mark and then poured it into a Medela breastmilk bottle and it was only about 2.5 ounces; turns out the milk wasn't heavy enough to really puff the bag out and get an accurate volume measurement. But we do realize that's no different than any other breastfeeding pouch on the market. So we considered that maybe we were in the same position as before: pumping into a glass or plastic bottle to get an accurate measure, and then pouring into a bag for storage. Personally, we find the breastmilk bottles much better than the pouches. How about the other feature, the fact that you can feed directly from the pouch, using an attachable nipple? This part we really liked. The nipple is good quality with a nice wide base, and the bottle does a nice job preventing gas and reflux due to the pouch not containing any air (the baby acts like a vacuum to suck out the milk, squeezing the pouch empty as they go). You can also squeeze the bottle a bit to simulate let-down. So maybe it's worth it after all? The pouches are about the same cost as the conventional (Medela and Lanisoh) pouches, but with the nifty cap. And if you puff out the bag a bit before pumping it will give you a more accurate volume indication. Overall, we think this concept is awesome, though the execution has some challenges. We say give it a try, but don't expect miracles. You can get a starter system with the pouches, adapters, nipples/squeeze bottles, and freezer rack for about $30 online. If you want the bottle warmer as well (note that it only fits Kiinde bottles), you can get the gift set for about $70 online. So certainly this system will set you back a bit relative to just purchasing some bottles and pouches for storage, but we think it might be worthwhile if your baby really takes a liking to the nipples, as it will certainly save you some time and energy.
Conclusions. We want to stress that baby bottles are not a one-size-fits-all solution. This is one of the main points we make in our ultimate baby bottle buying guide. Every baby latches and suckles a bit differently, every baby is comfortable with a different nipple length, width, and flow, and every baby is more or less prone to gas and colic. You have to be receptive and responsive to baby's preference, which might change quite a bit over the first year of life. The secret is to try at least a few best baby bottle options to figure out what works for your unique baby. Of course, that approach can get expensive and time consuming, but it's likely well worth it for your baby's comfort (and your sanity!). Also, if you're switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding with a breastfed baby, you will likely find success with the nipples that are more like natural breasts, to mimic breastfeeding like you'll find with the Comotomo and Tommee Tippee (which both make great newborn bottles, especially for breastfed babies). The more the nipple feels like mom's, the easier breastfed babies will transition between bottle and breast. Of course, every breast and nipple has its own unique size and shape, so think about mom's unique attributes before picking a nipple style and nipple size. If you're exclusively bottle feeding, then you won't need to worry about this as much and something like the Dr. Brown's, AVENT, or Born Free options might be perfect baby bottles for your situation. Breastfed babies just have unique requirements due to the switching between breast and bottle. Regarding burping, spit-up and colic, all of the anti-colic bottles in this buying guide do a fantastic job of preventing air bubbles and vacuum pressure from forming in the bottle. So when it's feeding time, you can be confident that the internal vent systems will minimize the risk of gas and bloating for your baby. The best bottle for gas seems to be any of our top options, though the Dr. Brown's has really proven itself in this area for many years, demonstrating large reductions in gas and acid reflux with bottle-fed babies (of course, any of these bottles can be used with breast milk or formula). Another thing to think about is the shape of the nipple for encouraging proper tooth growth, which usually means that an orthodontic nipple has an indent where the gums and teeth meet the nipple (giving it an hourglass shape). The Nuk and Munchkin nipples are good examples of that, and many moms told us that they made great baby registry gift ideas. Finally, if you're looking for a great bottle warmer to go along with the bottle you've chosen, check out our reviews of the best baby bottle warmers.
We also want to make sure you realize that BPA-free does not mean that the plastics used will not leach estrogenic chemicals into milk, particularly when the plastics are stressed (like heated or microwaved). In fact, a recent study published in Environmental Health demonstrated that several BPA-free plastic products, including BPA-free baby bottles, still leached harmful chemicals. For example, some studies demonstrate that the plastic used in Nalgene water bottles (called Tritan plastic) leaches estrogenic chemicals. Of course, nobody knows the short- or long-term consequences of this, but it is worth considering. In comparison, the study found no evidence that two particular plastics, COC and COP, do not appear to leach these chemicals. Overall, because of the potential risks associated with estrogenic chemicals being leached from plastics, we highly recommend glass baby bottles (check out the Dr. Brown's, Joovy Boob, and Avent glass versions). The same goes for sippy cups, which can also include harmful chemicals in their plastic parts, though it is even harder to find glass sippy cups than it is to find glass baby bottles. Every few months we devote many hours of research to finding baby essentials, like bottles, that don't leach harmful chemicals. We did recently test out a new stainless steel baby bottle made by thinkbaby, and we loved the concept and not having to worry about plastics leaching chemicals into milk or a glass bottle shattering when dropped. But the stainless steel bottles fell short in a few regards: first, the plastic threaded nipple ring is very brittle and easy to crack (and when they're stainless collars they tend to leak), and we couldn't find any replacements online. Second, unlike plastic, the stainless bottle was easily dented when dropped, and it dented in the dishwasher as well. They also tend not to be insulated and don't help milk hold its temperature for very long. We suspect these will improve and become more common over the next few years, so we'll keep an eye on this growing trend. In the meantime, you can see our list of the best stainless baby bottles (or best glass bottles).
For toddlers, most parents transition away from a baby bottle to a sippy cup or straw cup. We recommend skipping the sippy cup entirely and going straight to the straw cup. The suction required to successfully use a straw cup is great for the development of lip, tongue, and cheek movement and control, and there is some research suggesting that this benefits speech production. Some great options for first sippy cups and straw cups can be found in our best sippy cups review!