Friday, 19 September 2014

Best of Brands: Bottles

When I was pregnant, I gave bottles no thought at all.  I was convinced I would be breastfeeding and wouldn't need very many.  Due to my son's latch, stress, and a host of other reasons, we decided as a family that he would be better served with a full belly and a sane mommy.  I don't regret it, but I can tell you that it was an amazingly difficult decision.

Now thriving on formula, I had to invest some time in to finding, sanitizing, and stocking all the bottles I had been gifted at my shower and given as samples.  As time progressed, I realized that having a few extra on hand wouldn't be a bad thing either.  By 2 months in, I owned eight different brands of bottles with different advantages, disadvantages, and price points attached.  Yes, eight.

I can tell you, not all brands are created equal.  One brand, despite a hefty price tag, was so unusable it was thrown out within weeks.  Another inexpensive bottle was fine, but seemed to take forever for my little one to drain.  His frustration made it not worth using. Here are some of my thoughts on the five brands that ended up in our rotation. I have taken the prices from and I have used a scale of 5 diapers to consider the value, ease of use, and overall experience, with 5 being the highest ranking.  As ordered above:

AVENT 4oz BPA Free Natural Polypropylene (2-Pack $19.97):
This bottle was given to me as a sample, and honestly, I think it is over priced.  In my experience, it was the most difficult to latch, to clean, and to heat.  The lid attachment is almost as big as the storage, making it awkward to hold, but very balanced so it does not tip over easily.  It is a solid product, so it would survive a lot of reuse, but it is not my cup of tea.

Playtex Drop-Ins Premium Nurser (2-Pack $9.97 not including replacement liners):
This system is classic, and boasts a major advantage that no other bottle on this list can - contractible bag liners that minimize gas and spit up.  Feeding-wise, they are great and I did notice a difference.  However, the liners are an additional expense and are not available as readily as I thought.  They also cannot be heated in my bottle warmer at home, but heat more quickly when out and using a mug and hot water.

NUK Nature Silicone Wide-Neck Bottle 5oz ($5.94 each):
This bottle provided the best latch for my little one when he was first starting on bottles. This was not as much of a factor later on, but it was an advantage.  The size is good, it heated well, and was an overall decent product.  The only problem here is; there is nothing particularly special about this brand to merit the slightly higher price.  If you get it as a gift, wonderful, but I wouldn't spend my pennies.

Gerber First Essentials Bottle 5oz (3-Pack $3.99):
For many, Gerber means "baby" and there's a reason why.  These bottles are inexpensive, easy to clean, and heat evenly.  They even have replacement nipples if you don't want to replace your whole set.  This plus, however, results in the only negative I can say for the product; since the nipple snaps out, it can come slightly askew and leak.  That means lost formula and an even messier baby.

Parent's Choice 8oz (3-Pack $3.97):
I was surprised to learn that this is Walmart's own house brand as I was extremely impressed with this bottle and it is the product of which we have subsequently bought the most.  It is the nicest to look at, with great colours and designs, it comes apart easily for washing, and it heats well whether you have 2oz left or a completely full serving.  Best of all: it is the only brand discussed here that has never leaked. It is a high value for the price.

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