We talked in an early post about your first days of breastfeeding and building a strong bond with your baby as you learn to latch, letdown, and feed efficiently. As your baby grows, however, your maternity leave may be coming to a close, or you begin to include other loved ones in feeding times. Finding the right bottle to match your breastfed baby shouldn’t feel like an interminable season of the Bachelor. Here are three key things to keep in mind as you shop.
Flow speed is paramount for your baby’s bottle. Too fast, and the baby could become lazy when he or she latches on to you. You also don’t want the baby to get used to that instant gratification that may not translate when you go back to breastfeeding. Also, a high rate of a letdown in a bottle could also overwhelm the baby leading to gagging and coughing. A slow flow also reduces the chance of a reflux episode or gas post-feeding.
When your baby latches onto you, your nipple flattens and grows wider to adapt to your baby’s mouth. Similarly, a wide nipple bottle is ideal for your breastfed baby. Many bottle options have nipples that are too narrow or upright. When a baby is alternating between bottle and breast, it’s key to make the experience as consistent as possible to avoid preference or nipple confusion. A wide nipple provides a familiar mouth-feel for little ones, and you can increase nipple sizes as the baby grows.
Like nipples, the shapes and sizes of bottles on the market vary tremendously. You’ll undoubtedly find people who swear by narrow bases to help encourage a baby’s latch without struggle, but to most closely mimic breastfeeding, we recommend wide base bottles. These short, squatty shapes, when paired with our aforementioned flow speed and nipple shape, give your baby the most similar experience to being latched on you. A wide nipple base helps babies get on naturally a latch as they would on an actual breast. With these wide bases, as with flow speed, baby won’t get lazy or forget how to properly latch once he or she transitions back on to your breast. Know that determining which bottle to use for your child may take some trial and error, and follow the baby’s lead on their preference.
Here are some of our favorites;
Whether you choose Tommee Tippee, Dr. Brown’s, Avent, Medela or others, we’ll be cheering you on, mama!