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Best baby bottles 2022: Feed your baby with comfort and convenience

Victoria Woollaston Rachel Erdos
30 May 2022

We explain how to choose the best baby bottle for your little one, however you plan to feed

As a new parent, you may be surprised when shopping for a baby bottle by the range of options available. From size and shape to material and teat styles, the humble bottle can come with a variety of choices.

Don’t panic. Things aren’t as complex as they might initially seem. Plus, bottles are relatively cheap, so if you or your baby don’t like one brand, you can always reconsider.

Below, you'll find our top tips and questions for choosing the right bottle, followed by our picks of the best baby bottles on the market.

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Best baby bottle: At a glance

How to choose the best baby bottle for you

Baby bottles generally all have the same basic components: a main bottle section and a teat, with a screw-ring to connect the two together. Yet every model has its own particular characteristics and there’s no sure way to know which your baby prefers until they try a few – so if you can, buy one bottle in a few different makes to find out which works best for both of you.

Each bottle range comes with its own advantages, meaning it’s worth thinking about how often you’re going to be using your bottles when making a choice. Even if you’re planning to breastfeed, it can be worth having a couple of bottles on hand; a bottle of expressed or formula feed can be more convenient when you head out in public, and handing off a nighttime or early morning feed to your partner can work wonders for your mental state in the early months. If you’re planning to bottle-feed, you’ll need enough bottles for eight feeds a day. If you’re combi-feeding or just want an emergency standby, a few bottles will suffice.

Bear in mind, as well, that milk doesn't have to be served warm – room temperature is fine, but cold from the fridge is not. With our newborn, we started him on room temperature, ready-to-feed bottles of milk from the beginning, which made nighttime feeds and feeds in public much easier.

What size bottle should I buy?

The main variation in baby bottles is in the size. Newborn bottles have a capacity of around 150ml (5oz), going up to around 250ml (9oz) for older babies. Some sets have a number of each size. All bottles have measurements up the side to help you put the right amount of water in when making up formula. Some brands also do larger bottles if you find your baby draining 9oz each feed.

What bottle teat should I buy?

Almost all teats are made from clear silicone, although rubber latex is still found in some bottles. The latter can cause allergic reactions in some babies so that's worth bearing in mind. The shape of a teat varies considerably between brands and models of bottle: for newborns, you may see a wide, flat teat, rather like a thumb that's designed to more closely resemble a nipple and fit in smaller mouths. For older babies, you'll see a more bulbous shape that widens out to the bottle.

Newborn teats will usually be marked “slow-flow”, with the teat allowing less milk through to avoid flooding tiny mouths. Your baby will graduate to a larger teat size (and faster flow) at around six months old – but this is a guide only. You'll know your baby and if you think they're ready to move up, you don't need to keep them on the smaller teats unnecessarily. Signs your baby is ready to move up include taking a long time to finish a bottle (anything longer than around 20 minutes); they regularly fall asleep or seem exhausted at the end of a feed, due to how hard they've been sucking; they're drinking less than before; they make more of a mess or become frustrated.

It's also worth knowing that breast milk and formula milk vary in thickness. Breast milk is thinner and more closely resembles water, so if you're expressing into a bottle, your baby may need a slower teat to stem the flow. Equally, if you've been expressing and are now switching to formula, don't be surprised if your baby needs a faster flow teat.

Most teats have strengthening structures built in to prevent them from collapsing when the baby sucks. Valves, meanwhile, allow air into the bottle, so the baby can suck up milk continuously without forming a vacuum in the bottle: these might be built into the teat itself, or into the ring that attaches it to the bottle and are advertised as "anti-colic."

What is colic?

Many bottle manufacturers claim their designs help reduce colic – an uncomfortable condition not fully understood by doctors that could be down to trapped wind, indigestion or physical difficulties with feeding.

A valve that allows the pressure to remain constant inside the bottle makes it easier for the baby to feed. Having a soft nipple section helps too because the baby will suck it high into their soft palette and then stroke it with their tongue to draw the milk in. The bulb in the teat behind the nipple should act as a reservoir for the milk, preventing the baby sucking in air and thus helping to avoid trapped wind.

If your baby seems to be suffering with indigestion, it’s worth trying a few different feed formulas as well as trialling different teats.

How do I make up a bottle?

A little trick we used when our baby was a newborn was buying ready-to-feed bottles of formula to keep in the bedroom overnight. We also gave them to him at room temperature. That way, when he woke up, we could simply pour the sterilised milk into a sterilised bottle and feed him straight away without having to leave the room. It's almost as convenient as breastfeeding. You can buy ready-to-feed bottles from most supermarkets, corner shops, Mothercare and online. They are more expensive than formula powder, so you'll need to weigh up the cost versus the convenience.

It's also perfectly safe to give ready-to-feed bottles of milk at room temperature, saving you even more time and effort at 3am. Once opened, the bottles need to be kept in the fridge, which means you'll need to warm that milk back up. Always read the instructions on the brand you've chosen.

For formula, the instructions can be a little confusing. The rule of thumb is that once the formula pack is open, the powder is no longer sterile. To sterilise it, you need to put it in water that is hotter than 70°C, so just boiled water is fine. Once the germs in the powder have been "killed" by the shot of boiling water, you can simply top it up with cold water. This is how the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine works, meaning the bottle is lukewarm and ready to go as soon as it's made. We cannot recommend this machine highly enough: it's incredibly easy to use and since our six-month-old started weaning, we use it to get sterile water for his drinks, porridge and more. This machine is very often on offer so look out for a bargain.

What else do I need when bottle feeding?

As well as your bottle of choice, you’ll need a way to sterilise the bottles – this is easily done with a standalone steam steriliser, a sterilising box placed in the microwave or sterilising tablets in cold water. If you’re making up a lot of formula, an automatic formula prep machine can save you a lot of time and fiddling about.

Finally, if you’re using bottles with expressed breast milk, you’ll need a way to express – see our roundup of the best breast pumps here.

The best baby bottles to buy

1. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Complete Feeding Set: The perfect all-in-one package

Price: £75 | Buy now from John Lewis

If you want to have everything ready and waiting for day one of your baby’s life, this comprehensive set will fit the (slightly pricey) bill. A generous set of eight bottles (four small, four large) should be enough to get you through the day, and the set comes with a steriliser that cleans five bottles at a time. There’s also a handy bottle warmer for babies that won’t take a cold bottle (this doesn’t replace the need to use boiled and cooled water when making up formula, but it can be more comfortable for babies who prefer warm milk). The Closer To Nature design is created to look and feel more like the shape of a natural breast, and this is certainly a popular brand with many newborns of our acquaintance.

Key details – Bottles: 4 x 260ml, 4 x 150ml; Teats: 8 x slow-flow, 2 x medium-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes; Microwave-safe? Yes

Buy now from John Lewis

2. NUK First Choice+: The best baby bottle with built-in temperature control

Price: £22 | Buy now from Boots

We're big fans of the NUK First Choice+ range. Firstly, the teat has been designed to mimic the shape and size of a nipple. It has a flat side that sits on the tongue, and the teat lifts towards the roof of your baby's mouth. Our son struggled with the rounded teats on other bottles in this list and we found he suffered from much more trapped wind with rounded teats versus the NUK First Choice+ ones. He was also tongue-tied until he was eight weeks and he took much more easily to these smaller, angled teats.

Secondly, this range in particular has a built-in temperature control. Knowing exactly when your baby's feed is at the right temperature can be a challenge – yes, splashing it on the inside of your wrist is one way to test it, but it's far from scientific.

NUK First Choice+ baby bottles have a built-in Temperature Control indicator on the outside of the bottle that changes from blue to white when the milk – or water – is too hot, which is above the optimal feeding temperature of 37°C. Once it goes back to blue, you're good to go.

Our one complaint is that the blue and white are quite similar in colour and it's not incredibly easy to make out the colour change in the middle of the night, especially when you're sleep-deprived. This is a minor point, though, and you're not paying much more for the feature so it's worth it.

Key details – Bottles: 4 x 300ml; Teats: 4 x Size 1 (0-6m) Silicone Teats with Medium Feed Hole; Dishwasher-safe? Yes; Microwave-safe? Yes

Buy now from Boots

3. Philips Avent Natural Newborn Starter Set: The best starter set

Price: £45 | Buy now from Amazon

This simple but well-designed set will serve you right through the bottle-feeding stages of your baby’s development. Designed with a natural, breast-like shape in mind, the teats have an anti-colic twin valve with reinforcing sections to prevent the teat collapsing and allowing air in when your baby sucks hard. The set comes with a brush with a wide section for cleaning the insides of the bottles and a thin side to scrub inside the teats. There’s also an orthodontic silicone dummy. With two slow-flow and two medium-flow teats, this set should cover you from birth until baby is ready to drink from a cup.

Key details – Bottles: 2 x 125ml, 2 x 260ml; Teats: 2 x slow-flow, 2 x medium-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes; Microwave-safe? Yes

4. Chicco Natural Feeling: The best baby bottle for new feeders

Price: £13 | Buy now from Amazon

Italian brand Chicco has designed the Natural Feeling bottle with a cleverly angled teat that mimics the angle babies nurse at for more comfortable feeding, especially for little mouths. The extra-soft silicone teat has a valve to keep milk inside and prevent air bubbles being gulped down with the milk, while the wide and sturdy bottles are also super easy to clean. If your baby isn’t getting on well with traditional bottle designs, give this angled style a go. Suitable from birth.

Key details – Bottles: 3 x 250ml; Teats: 3 x slow-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes; Microwave-safe? Yes

5. Philips Avent Classic+ Feeding Bottle Pack: The best-value all-rounder baby bottle

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it: this classic bottle design was invented 30 years ago and has remained a bestseller ever since. The Classic+ has an integrated anti-colic valve and the components are compatible with other bottles, teats, feeding handles and breast pumps from the Phillips range. The bottles are simple to clean and have clear, easy-to-read markings on the side for measuring formula. Also available in a smaller 150ml size for younger babies.

Key details – Bottles: 3 x 260ml; Teats: 2 x slow-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes; Microwave-safe? Yes

Buy now from Amazon

6. NUK First Choice+ Bottle with Latex Teat: The best baby bottle for sensitive mouths

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon

The second entry in our list for the NUK First Choice+ range but this does have a very specific USP: latex teats.

Silicone suits most babies and is the most commonly found material used in modern baby bottle teats, but traditional latex has its adherents and you may find your baby prefers a softer rubber teat to more durable silicone versions.

NUK’s First Choice+ baby bottles come with a choice of teats with a natural shape, soft orthodontic tip and anti-colic air system to prevent your bub from swallowing bubbles. If your young baby doesn’t seem to enjoy latching on to slightly stiffer silicone, a latex teat such as this one may be the answer.

As your baby grows, and their mouth widens, NUK also sells a range of larger teats and bottles in the Nature Sense range, which we also highly recommend.

Key details – Bottles: 4 x 150ml; Teats: 4 x medium holes (small holes available separately); Dishwasher-safe? No; Microwave-safe? Yes

7. Lansinoh mOmma Feeding Bottle with NaturalWave Teat: The best baby bottle for combi-feeding

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Lansinoh’s teat has been designed to closely mimic the way a baby draws milk from the nipple using the tongue, so if you’re combi-feeding this promises to be a good bottle to use to ensure your baby can continue to latch onto and nurse from the breast. The bottle also features Lanisoh’s Air Ventilation System, a simple valve that prevents babies sucking in air with the milk, which may be a cause of tummy pain and colic. This pack of two bottles comes with medium-flow teats suitable for babies aged three to six months.

Key details – Bottles: 2 x 240ml; Teats: 2 x medium-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes, but hand-wash recommended; Microwave-safe? Yes

8. Dr Brown's Options Wide Neck Starter Kit: The best baby bottle for colic

Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Recommended by mums for babies with colicky tummies, these bottles feature a distinctive green internal vent designed to deliver an even, easy stream of milk and minimise the risk of colic. Once your baby is past the colicky age (usually around three to six months) the vent can be simply removed and the bottle used without. Almost all bottle brands incorporate a valve of some sort, but third-party research suggests that Dr Brown’s may be more effective than others at alleviating colic, and feedback from parents suggests the same. On the downside, taking the bottle apart for washing and sterilising is definitely more fiddly than with other bottles, but if you have a colicky baby you’ll definitely want to give this bottle a try.

Key details – Bottles: 2 x 150ml, 1 x 270ml; Teats: 3 x slow-flow, 2 x medium-flow, 2 x fast-flow; Dishwasher-safe? Yes, but hand-wash recommended

9. MAM Easy Start Bottle Set: The best bottle for breastfed babies

Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re exclusively breastfeeding but want to introduce a bottle once a day, you may be finding it hard to find a teat that your baby will accept. You may have also heard from other mums that MAM bottles are particularly good in this scenario and according to our experience, they aren’t wrong – all of our baby testers readily accepted the slow-flow teats and fed easily and comfortably.

So, what makes them so good? Vented bases help babies to drink at their own pace which reduces colic, while the SkinSoft silicone teats are designed to feel familiar and more like a nipple. According to MAM’s research, this makes them accepted by 94% of babies – hence their reputation.

The MAM Easy Start Bottle Set is a bestseller on Amazon and comes with everything you need to get started including four 160ml self-sterilising, anti-colic bottles with slow flow No.1 teats, four easy-start 260ml bottles, one attachable bottle handle and a soother. The smaller bottles are ideal for those early months and, as your baby starts feeding more, you can move on to the larger bottles and faster-flowing teats.

Key details – Bottles: 4x 160ml self-sterilising bottles, 4 x 260ml; Teats: 4 x slow-flow + 1 x extra-soft bottle spout; Extras: 1 x start soother and 1 x handle; Dishwasher-safe? Yes, but hand-wash recommended.

10. Munchkin LATCH Bottles: Best for fussy babies

Price: £25 | Buy now from Amazon

Much like MAM, LATCH bottles are well revered for their ability to be accepted by fussy babies who are struggling with latching, colic, or both. They’re also a good option for breastfed babies who won’t accept anything that feels too hard or synthetic.

Like the name suggests, each bottle is designed with a patent-pending ultra-flexible accordion teat that stretches like a breast and only releases milk when the baby sucks. It also has a clever anti-colic valve that prevents air bubbles and is proven to reduce discomfort and improve sleep.

Our tester found that these bottles worked well when their breastfed baby was getting used to having a bottle and struggling with reflux at the same time. They definitely deserve their good reputation and are a safe bet during those tricky first few weeks and months.

Key details – Bottles: 3 x 236 ml; Anti-colic valve; Dishwasher safe? Yes, but hand-wash recommended.

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