how to choose the right baby bottle for combination feeding

My Experience

I combination feed my baby – nurse and pumped in the beginning and now pump and formula so bottles have been a staple since the second week she was born.  If you are going to nurse and bottle feed formula or expressed milk you need to make sure that the bottles you use are compatible with breastfeeding so that your baby doesn’t get confused and your nipples don’t get trashed.  I knew I was going to be pumping before I even delivered so I had my pump delivered to my house and my bottles purchased – you can read all about my pumping experience  Breast pumps and pumping or exactly how I combination feed read My Formula & Frozen Milk Strategy.

Before I bought mine I did  a bunch of research into the bottles that are most like your natural breast and narrowed it down to Dr. Brown’s, Tommy Tippee, and Avent Natural.  I read a lot of complaints about Dr. Brown’s being too many parts to clean, Tommy Tippee I just think they are ugly  – all of them and the nipple is a weird shape.  My friend uses them and her baby can push the nipple down inside itself very easily which inhibits flow and frustrates her – my husband fed her once and said he didn’t like holding her bottle because of the weird shape and it felt flimsy and cheap compared to the glass he’s used to holding.

I went with Avent Natural for a couple reasons –

  1. I’ve always been attracted to their design and they are a trusted brand

2. They introduced the Natural line to mimic BF’ing (in addition to the Classic range they’ve had for years)

3. They come in glass

I really wanted glass bottles because I thought they would be ‘healthier’ than plastic (no worries about BPA or other chemicals leaching into your baby through the plastic) and I thought they would last longer.  This is especially important if you are going to put your bottles in the dishwasher or will be using them for formula which requires boiling or slightly boiling water to be put into them and then cooled quickly with cold water on the outside.

How My Avent Natural Glass Holds Up

After using them they clean easier, are a nicer weight to hold because they don’t feel flimsy, they don’t absorb smells or discolor like plastic, don’t scratch with use. Most importantly they don’t break when pouring boiling water into them to make formula or when you run them under cold water immediately afterwards (which I would never want to do with plastic because it does break down when you warm it so something is going to leach into your formula!).  Yes the drawback is they could break but so far I’ve dropped two from waist level onto our wooden floor and only managed to dent the floor.

My baby never had any issues with nipple confusion because I started her early enough (if you wait too long they may reject a bottle forever I started before three weeks to make sure this didn’t happen to me I know other mothers who started too late and now totally regret not starting earlier).  However I do recommend that YOU start feeding your baby bottles first not anyone else for two reasons:

  1. so they will take a bottle from you because some babies refuse bottles from mom but take it from everyone else
  2. so that you can make sure that their breastfeeding latch is mimicked on the nipple (bottom lip out is the most important) otherwise you will find out the hard way like I did that your husband doesn’t do this and you wonder why your nipples are being attacked and destroyed – luckily she was young enough to retrain and I did switch easily and effortlessly between the two without discomfort

What I use:

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AVENT NATURAL GLASS- 2 4oz (120ml) and 4 8oz (240ml) bottles which came with #1 slow flow newborn nipples and #2 flow, rings and lids.  Because I pump as well I have always used the remaining bottles as storage in the fridge so that I could eventually combine to freeze or warm later (you can only combine feeds of the same temperature and to freeze breast milk it has to be cooled in the fridge first).  I haven’t had an issue with needing more bottles – if you are going to exclusively formula feed I think you only need two of each size as you can’t prepare formula more than two hours in advance so you don’t have the ability to use them as storage like you do with breast milk.

When using the bottles they have anti-colic technology  (like Dr. Browns) so the niple has two plastic bands – you need to make sure you pull the nipple up through the top of the ring so that the first band sits flush with the plastic ring to ensure the nipple is on correctly.  Myself and a friend of mine both separately pushed the nipple through the bottom of the ring so it fit under the tabs on the bottom but both bands were still underneath the top of the plastic ring so that the nipple was sunk causing it to look like it was on but it leaked.I had to buy my Avent glass on amazon from France for some reason they aren’t available here in the UK.

SEALING DISCS- I bought one pack of these and use them to store expressed milk in the fridge to cool it first before freezing or to use later  Avent Natural sealing discs

NEOPRENE SLEEVES – I bought a small and a large neoprene sleeve because the bottles are glass and I thought I might need them. In reality I haven’t had any issues with the bottles so far and I have been using them for six months.  They haven’t been too heavy, or slippery that I needed a sleeve.  At six months my baby has just started dropping things but I still feed her a bottle or we use the bottle holder So dropping and breaking hasn’t been an issue with her yet.  Right now I just use the sleeves as insulation to keep bottles warm when we go out walking in the cold or to keep them chilled if I need the breast milk to go longer out of the fridge.

NATURAL NIPPLES – the small bottles came with #1 newborn nipples which I used for a long time because she was such a fast eater I had no reason to increase flow to make it even faster.  I ended up switching her to #2 flow around three months and used #2 for a while as well. I then switched to #3 around five months and just switched to #4 at six months.  Your baby will be different the key is to watch them – if they seem to be struggling sucking and/or losing interest/taking to long to feed it may be because you don’t have a fast enough flow on your nipple.  You can tell if your nipple is too fast because their will be a lot of liquid coming out of their mouth and pooling at the corners of their mouth.  My baby wasn’t struggling or getting bored eating which caused me to switch to the next level I can’t explain it you’ll just have to observe your baby but I just had a feeling that it was time to move up each time based off of her slight change in eating and each time she had no issues at all with the next level.

You definitely want to make sure you buy breastfeeding compatible bottles if you will be combination feeding, and buy the same brand across all your nipple needs (binky, sippy cup etc), get something that feels good holding in your hand (because you will be holding them a lot!) and get something that is easy to put together and take apart because you will be spending a lot of time doing that every day!

What do you think about your bottles or using glass?

#baby #babybottles #combinationfeeding #formula #pumping #expressedmilk #avent #aventnatural #aventglass #newmom #millennialmom

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