Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Product Review: bottles

Playtex VentAire bottles. I thought I had done my homework before Caleb was born. My requirements were an angled bottle with a wide nipple, and this is what I found. And I loved those aspects of this bottle. However, there were problems. Really just one big problem. If I needed to warm milk, I couldn't put it in this bottle to warm it.

Something about the fancy venting system coming in contact with water from the outside caused milk to go everywhere! Not only was it a mess, but milk (either breastmilk or formula) is kinda precious, and I was not a happy camper to see milk drain out of the bottle.

There was also the fact that this bottle had no fewer than six parts per bottle. Granted, being able to unscrew the bottom made it easier to wash the bottle itself, but the bottom and the vent were a hassle.

All that said, these bottles worked for us when Caleb was a baby. He nursed most of the time, and the times he took a bottle, we either warmed the milk in a separate, simpler, bottle, or just gave it to him cold (which he didn't mind).

Fast forward to James. When James was born, we started out with little tubes that held only two ounces, and nipples supplied by the hospital. We were documenting every milliliter that he drank, and these Playtex bottles were not accurate enough for us. As he grew and ate more, we switched to the Medela bottles that worked with my pump. These worked much better for us, and it was easy to tell how many milliliters of milk James had taken in.

Then we started thickening his milk, and he started drinking more. We slit open all the bottle nipples to allow the thickened milk through, but eventually he outgrew the 5 oz. size. He also started sucking harder, so we reverted back to the freebie hospital nipples and cut smaller slits in them. By this time, I'd realized that he did just fine with a plain-jane bottle, and we were mangling up the nipples, no matter how advanced, by cutting Xs in them. We no longer had to document every ounce, so we decided to go basic.

Gerber First Essentials. Cheapo, simple, and just what we needed. We're still using the hospital nipples until we run out of our supply, though these nipples look just about the same. James doesn't get gassy, he doesn't get colicky, and we even manage to feed him upright through most of his feeding, despite the lack of an angled bottle. The narrow nipple doesn't seem as natural or comfortable, and if I'm able to nurse my next child, I will probably look for another wide-base nipple to avoid confusion, but for now this works for us.


  1. I like the Dr. Brown's bottles... long and narrow (although not cheapo, I guess, and has a few parts to it). They do make a wide version, too. They sell "y-cut" nipples for the thicker liquid.

  2. who knew there were so many kinds and criteria? I'm glad you can use the cheap ones now b/c James will be using them for a while longer. The fewer parts, the better IMHO.

  3. My sister also used Dr. Browns but we opted for Medela because of my pump. It's amazing how you really don't know how the bottles will work until baby comes. That's why we opted to just get the starter kit and see how things go, then order more. This is very helpful though. Glad to see you doing these reviews. :)

  4. @Margie: You're right! Before James was born, I planned for a healthy little nurser who would rarely use a bottle. Instead I got a high-maintenance bottle-feeder! So you just never know. One thing I did find out through this is that other bottles (the Gerber First Essentials included) fit the Medela pump attachment, so they might be a cheaper option if you ever needed extra.

  5. (But they don't fit in the Medela insulated bag, for pumping on the sticking to Medela is probably the better idea.)

  6. I'm a fan of the platex drop-ins. Easy cheap and not a lot of clean up. You can also press them up to get a lot of the air out for the little guys (like the vent-air). You can also use the bottle again w/o cleaning...just add new liner...and lots of nipple options.
    Also, the medela ones were really easy for him too.
    Also, also, we didn't experiment too much. O, you get what you get! =)

  7. Some babies can be picky, though... we tried the Gerber Nuk bottles with Seth (Ian took them just fine) and he wouldn't take them! His pacifiers are that brand, though. Silly babies!


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