Monday, January 18, 2010

Bottles for Breastfed Babies

   One of the most frequent questions I get asked by breastfeeding mothers is about bottles that will be used for baby when mama is away or when supplementation is needed. We've all heard about "nipple confusion" and though lactation consultants tend to disagree about this issue, it has been my experience both as a doula and a breastfeeding mom that babies can have difficulty going from breast to bottle (and pacifiers, too!) That is why I highly recommend to all of my new mamas to wait until breastfeeding is well established (good, strong latch, no more nipple soreness, content baby, etc.) before introducing a bottle or pacifier.
     There is also concern about BPA, a chemical found in several types of plastics that are used to make baby bottles. Safe Mama is a great organization that takes all of the guess work out of shopping for BPA-free shopping for us. Check out their "cheat sheets" on a variety of topics, including bottles and sippy cups!

I've been through a number of different bottle types for Ruby and Clay. Because of my low milk supply (more on that later) I avoided bottles in the first few months and used a Supplemental Nursing System that allowed additional breast milk or formula to flow into baby's mouth via a tiny spaghetti-like tube. I promise to share more info on low supply soon!

Below are the bottles that we had success with, after many trials. My criteria for bottles were that they had to a) be BPA free, b) have a breast-feeding friendly, wide-mouthed nipple and c) be economical (over $10 per bottle is ridiculous!) and d) come with slow-flow nipples. I only use slow flowing nipples and occasionally medium flow, because a faster flowing stream of milk will cause baby to slow down the sucking action that is so important in nursing.

My "splurge" bottle of choice is the soft and lightweight Nuby which is BPA free, and has a great wide base on the nipple that helps baby open wide and latch on. This makes it a good choice for a first bottle. We do use glass bottles, but they are very heavy, and this bottle is super lightweight. Other bottles with similar wide bases are:

MAM Sassy
Born Free
Breastflow Bottles

Our economical bottles of choice, and the ones we use most often these days, are a throwback to the good ol' days. The Evenflo Classic Nurser is a glass bottle with a classic tapered nipple. Because the nipple is thin with a narrow base, I DO NOT recommend this as a starter bottle. Something with a wider base will help to avoid nipple confusion. However, now that Clay is 5 months and is a nursing champ with a good latch, these suit us just fine. They are the least expensive glass bottles and are available in stores everywhere. Target has their own line of similar bottles in the same price range. I should note that I only use the 4oz glass bottles, because the 8oz glass bottles are so darn heavy! Evenflo also makes a BPA-free plastic version and I keep these on hand to throw in the diaper bag and for travel.


Kara said...

Hey girl...i have a bunch of born free's if you want to borrow. Addy will not take them but Cooper loved them. You are more than welcome to them if you want.

Esther said...

I am out of this stage of parenting (Yeah!!), but I could have used this blog when I was in it!!
I'll bet you're encouraging a ton of moms out there.