If you’re new to the world of baby bottles, you’re in for a ride. There’s a lot to learn and even more to choose from. It’s up there with choosing the right crib mattress, baby glider and even diaper brand!
The best bottles of 2020 don’t just feed; they store, stack, reduce colic, and in some cases, are breast pump compatible. All these (helpful!) features mean there’s a lot to consider, and to add to the confusion, you may be concerned about your baby’s transition from breast to bottle (and possibly back again). The good news is, there are bottle sets and bottle types to suit your lifestyle and your tiny human’s preferences; the bad news, of course, is that it’s tricky for us parents to know exactly what will work until we try it (sometimes leaving trails of useless bottles in our wake).
To make sure you don’t end up with a pantry drawer stuffed with bottles that don’t work, we did our homework (as mamas do!) and bring you the lessons we’ve learned by at-home testing (yep, we’ve got a few between us). From formula-friendly and glass bottles to big names like Comotomo, Avent, Dr. Brown’s, and PopYum, we’ve rounded up the top bottles and brands trusted by moms and dads everywhere.
Best Baby Bottle for Formula Feeding On-The-Go
This bottle was designed especially for parents who feed their babies formula, and it’s so ingeniously simple, you’ll wonder why no one’s thought of it before. Here’s out it works: You load the top compartment with formula powder, then fill the bottle with the appropriate amount of water or breastmilk. When baby’s ready for a meal, press the buttons on the sides (*pop*) give it a little shake, and voilà — freshly-mixed formula that’s ready to drink (*yum*)! Thanks to its one-handed, sanitary prep, PopYum is an essential for formula feeders who are on-the-go.
“Many daycares require parent(s) to pre-fill up the bottles with the amount of water and formula,” points out one Amazon reviewer. “We just make the formula milk pre-fill mixture every morning. It’s fast and easy.” Adds another, “I just prepare 2-3 PopYum bottles before we go to bed and keep them on my nightstand. As soon as Baby starts stirring, I pick her up, change her, and pop the bottle and feed her within a minute without ever having to get out of bed!”
Most Touchable Baby Bottle Texture
Ranked as an Amazon Best Seller (the larger size has over 9,000 ratings!), this Comotomo bottle set is a smart option for parents and their littles. For Baby, the texture of the bottle and nipple is soft and squishy, making it easy to grip and transition from breast to bottle. Moms and dads love that the silicone body is hygienic, safe for boiling, warming, and cleaning in the dishwasher, plus assembly and hand-washing is also a cinch. The nipples also contain two anti-colic vents to reduce gas, and although it’s not a top priority, these bottles are also pretty darn cute. You can snag packs in 5 and 8-ounce sizes, or invest in a bottle bundle that has two of each.
“My baby was exclusively breastfed until I went back to work at 16 weeks and I was so concerned how he would transition to bottles,” says a reviewer. “These were the bottles that worked for him and I’m happy to report we are going strong at 8.5 months.”
Most Versatile Bottle Set for Pumpers
Any mom who’s pumped (whether exclusively or as-needed) knows it’s a gigantic chore, and if there’s any way to make it easier, you’re probably all for it. Enter the Hegen PCTO™ Express Store Feed Starter Kit, a multitasker that’ll save you steps, time, and effort. It includes a manual breast pump (you can also snag an adapter for your electric pump) so you can express, store, and feed right from the same bottle, eliminating the need to clean excess parts and reducing the milk’s exposure to germs. Other notable features include: A stackable “soft-square” shape, snap-on tops for one-handed assembly, and interlocking lids that make these bottles perfect for snack storage once your kiddo graduates from bottle feeding.
“These bottles are amazing!” raves a reviewer. “You can pretty much open and close them one-handed, which is awesome when holding a crying baby. The bottle portion is a harder plastic than most brands offer which I really liked, and the shape makes it so much easier to clean. The fact that these transition into sippy cups (you can even use the larger ones for shakes or smoothies for Mama) and food storage containers makes them totally worth the higher price.”
Best Baby Bottle for Self-Feeding
Holding your baby and their bottle renders you useless during mealtimes. But once your LO can hold the bottle on their own? Game changer. Imagine the possibilities: You can brush your teeth, load the dishwasher, or even get dressed during those precious few minutes when your BB is occupied. (That said, don’t ever let your baby eat unattended.) Thanks to the nanobébé’s instinctual design, your tiny human can quickly learn to grab the bottle on their own, possibly as young as a few months old. That’s because its short length, wide base, and curved bottom are made for easy, intuitive grasping, as opposed to traditional bottles that are tricky for little hands to hold. Further, its shape mimics the “real thing,” making the transition for breastfed babies even easier. P.S. If you’re pumping, consider getting the feeding set so you can pump right into the bottles.
One reviewer says their 3-month-old can already hold the nanobébé by himself. Another says, “My daughter is 7 months old with Down Syndrome. After using these bottles for a few days, she’s able to hold them on her own for short periods of time.” Also, she says, “they are easy for both of us to hold at the same time.”
Best Bang for Your Buck Bottle Set
If you’re thinking, “I just need to get the damn job done without spending a small fortune,” this Avent gift set will get you started and then some. It includes two 4-ounce bottles with newborn nipples, two 9-ounce bottles with slow-flow nipples, two Soothie pacifiers, and a bottle brush for cleaning. You’ll still get must-have features like easy-latch nipples and anti-colic vents, and with bottle designs like seahorses and starfish, these no-nonsense bottles still manage to be cute. Even more impressively, Avent bottles have a nearly perfect rating out of over 2,800 Amazon reviews — and you can have it all for one heckuva price.
“These are hands-down my favorite bottle for my breastfed kids,” one buyer says. “We tried others, but these were the easiest when slipping back and forth between the bottle and the breast. Plus they don’t have a bunch of parts to wash.” Adds another buyer, “Exactly what I needed for my when I watch my grandchild. This saves her mom always packing one and dad sometimes forgetting [!]”
Best Anti-Colic Baby Bottle
Dr. Brown’s is known as one of the leading brands in anti-colic baby bottles, thanks to its specialized vent system that’s clinically proven to reduce gas. The updated Options+ design offers the colic-relieving benefits that Dr. B is known for, but once Baby can better tolerate milk, the bottles can be used without the vent system, too. A few things to note: The nipples have a narrow base, which is especially great for small mouths (but a matter of preference), and they offer size 0m+ with a flow speed that’s gentle enough for preemies. Be prepared to spend a few extra minutes cleaning the additional vent parts, but parents say it’s worth it to keep Baby comfortable.
One Amazon reviewer offers some been-there-done-that advice: “Ok, so originally I hated these bottles because they leaked all over,” she admits. “Turns out, the fill line (‘do not fill above this line’) is obvious once you look for it. The directions, ‘hold at 45 degrees and keep the vent end out of the milk’ are much less obvious. Bottom line is that they really reduce gas.” Comments another, “Our baby had serious aspiration issues and we also researched that no other bottle came close to Dr. Brown’s with Ultra Preemie Nipples. So grateful and thankful that we have these.”
Best Glass Baby Bottle Set
Once again, Avent makes the list! Although most big-brand plastic and silicone baby bottles are BPA free, some parents still prefer good ol’ fashioned glass. Luckily, many brands take a modern approach to the old-school bottle material. Take, for instance, these Avent bottles: They’re made of durable, thermal shock-resistant glass, come in multiple sizes, and have compatible nipples with anti-colic symptoms in different flows. In addition to containing three 4-ounce bottles and two 9-ounce bottles, this set also comes with two Soothie pacifiers and a protective, insulating bottle sleeve (you can order sleeves for the larger bottles, too).
Customers comment that these bottles are easy to clean and nice and sturdy. “They have some weight to them, but worth it,” says a reviewer. “I’ve used many bottles and brands for 8 children over 17 years, and for siblings before that. Avent [bottles] are my favorites, and the glass is superior. Clean up so nice, no staining.”
Best Baby Bottle for Daycare
If you’re currently or planning on taking your kiddo to daycare, consider getting a set of bottles that stands out. The NUK bottles come in a variety of adorable patterns — including Minnie and Mickey Mouse, stars, elephants, polka dots, and trucks — so there’s never a question as to which bottle is whose. They’re all equipped with smooth-flow, anti-colic nipples that are designed for easy transitioning and feeding, and at this price point, you can stock up (and losing one won’t mean the end of the world).
Many reviewers mention that their picky babies easily latched to the Nuk’s unique nipple shape. “I’ve literally tried maybe 10 different bottles for my exclusively breastfed baby, this is the only one she’s taken consistently,” one customer shares. “I have 3 weeks left on my maternity leave and was getting massive anxiety because she has rejected so many bottles … this was the only one that worked. If you’re dealing with bottle rejection you should give this a try.”
Need more help? We’ve got your covered! Check out more mom-approved picks for all your baby gear needs.