Astounded by the sheer variety in baby bottle and nipple types? Here are some basic considerations to be kept in mind while making a purchase.
While breastfeeding is great for your baby till he is at least till six months old, eventually you will have to make the move to bottle feeding. Here are some tips for choosing the right kind of bottle and nipple for your little one.
Plastic baby bottles are the ones chosen by most mothers because they are light and do not break. On the down side, these bottles may get worn out quicker than glass bottles, and may contain certain chemicals like bisphenol A (or BPA) that are suspected to be harmful to babies. Some manufacturers offer bottles that are BPA free. It is also a good idea to replace these bottles frequently, especially if the plastic starts to look cloudy, or if it develops cracks.
Glass baby bottles are safer for your baby as they contain no harmful chemicals that can leach into your baby’s food, but they may prove to be harder for you to manage, as they are heavier and can shatter easily. Still, some mothers prefer these as they last a long time, unlike plastic, and because they can be cleaned thoroughly by boiling.
Disposable baby bottles come with sterilized liners that you can insert into the bottle for each feeding and then throw away afterwards. These are convenient as the bottles don’t require much cleaning. But these are usually more expensive than regular glass or plastic, and also produce enough waste to be considered an environmental hazard.
You may have to try a few types before you find the one that works best for your baby. Once you have settled on one, you can go ahead and buy about a dozen of that type.
Nipple shape, flow rate
The shape of the nipple on the baby bottle may be important too, and you may also have to try a few of these before finding the right one for your baby. Baby bottle nipples are usually made of rubber or silicone. They may have a rounded, wide or flat shape, or they may be shaped like a mother’s nipple. Finding the right shape is particularly important if you are breastfeeding your baby also, as your baby may reject a nipple that feels too different from his mother’s breast, or may reject breastfeeding if he gets accustomed to a different nipple shape.
Another factor to consider is the flow rate of the nipple, which may range from slow to fast. Babies who are just starting to feed from a bottle should usually be started out with a slow flow rate, and moved to a faster one later. But you may have to experiment a bit to get the right flow for your baby. A flow rate that is too slow will frustrate your baby, while one that is too fast could cause stomach problems. Once you have figured out what your baby likes, you will also probably need to stock up on about a dozen nipples and covers.
If your baby is making a lot of noisy sucking sounds while feeding, this means that he is taking in too much air along with the milk. Try holding him up at a 45 degree angle, and also keep the bottle tilted so that the top part is always filled with milk. A bottle that is designed to reduce air intake, or a bottle with an angled shape may help with this. But these bottles may be harder to clean.
If your baby rejects a particular bottle/nipple combination once, that does not mean you should give up on it immediately. In fact, making frequent changes may be even more frustrating for your baby. Be patient and give your baby some time to get used to a new bottle or nipple shape.