choosing the right bottle for baby

Choosing the right bottle for baby

Choosing the right bottle for baby is important, as different bottles and teats suit different babies.

Whether you use expressed breast milk or formula, it’s important that your baby is comfortable with the type of bottle and teat. We examine the various types of bottle-feeding products available.

Bottle types

Feeding bottles are made of food-grade plastic. A simple, easy-to-clean bottle is best to use, as patterns on bottles can make them a challenge to clean. You can choose from many different bottle types such as standard baby bottles, wide-necked baby bottles, anti-colic bottles (designed to reduce the amount of air a baby takes in) and self-sterilising bottles.


The bottle teat is what your baby sucks on. They are normally made from latex or silicone. Latex teats are usually softer and more flexible and might need to be replaced more regularly, while silicone teats are known for being more durable. The shape of a teat is meant to resemble a nipple but you might need to experiment with both to find which type your baby prefers. Your midwife can help you choose if you need; talking to other parents about their choices and preferances can also help.

The flow

The flow rate – or how fast the milk goes into your baby’s mouth – will depend on the number and type of holes in the teat. You normally start with a slow flowing teat and then as your baby grows bigger, she can progress to a faster flow teat. You can also buy teats with different sized holes that vary the flow depending on your baby’s age and ability to suck and swallow. If the hole in the teat is too small, your baby will not be getting enough milk. If it is too big, the milk will come out too fast.

How to take care of teats

Replace bottles and teats when they begin to look worn, as they can disintegrate or split. Always buy new teats and check that they are not over used or damaged.

choosing the right bottle for baby

Cleaning and sterilising baby bottles

Baby bottles and teats need to be cleaned and sterilised every time you use them. You must clean the bottles and teats by hand or in the dishwasher before you sterilise them.

Bottle-feeding essentials

  • Bottles with teats and bottle covers. You are better off buying more teats than bottles as you’ll use up the teats more often
  • Bottle brush and teat brush
  • Sterilising equipment
  • Formula milk powder/ready to feed liquid formula and/or breastmilk

Help your baby to bottle-feed

  •  Hold your baby close and look into her eyes when you’re feeding her. This helps to strengthen your bond with her and makes her feel safe.
  •  Hold your baby upright and support her head in a comfortable, neutral position.
  • Hold the bottle horizontally, tilting it to make sure that your baby is taking in milk and not air through the teat. You baby will feed in short bursts of sucking with small pauses to rest.
  •  Help your baby to draw the teat in by brushing the teat against her lips when she opens her mouth wide with her tongue down.
  •  Let your baby have short breaks during the feed, she might need to bring up a burp sometimes. This also gives her a chance to decide if she’s full or not.

How do I warm my baby’s milk in the bottle?

It is recommended that you make up a fresh bottle of formula for each feed, in which case you would not need to warm the milk up. However, if you are using expressed breast milk or ready to go formula milk, then you can stick the bottle in a jug of warm for a couple of minutes. Make sure you test the temperature of the milk by shaking a few drops onto the inside of your wrist or back of your hand. Remember that babies don’t need to have their milk warmed, most are happy with room-temperature milk. You can purchase baby bottle warmers – available in both standard and portable.

For more information go to

Dad’s tip

“Bottle feeding time is the only time our little girl is sitting still – so it’s a perfect opportunity to wipe and clean her little face!” – Joe Griffin

More like this:

6 tips to get baby to drink from bottle
Bottle-feeding essentials
Responsive bottle-feeding


Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….


Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.