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These vented baby bottles have been designed for faster flow, which means less swallowed air for your little one. Built-in anti-colic air vent also aids in keeping air intake to a minimum. One-handed closure means you'll have less spillage. Bottles are stackable for easy storage.
Pricier than other models.
This four-pack of wide-neck bottles from Dr. Brown's has a vent system that's proven to reduce air intake, thus decreasing colic in babies. The silicone nipples provide consistent flow, most comparable to breastfeeding. The internal vent system can be removed as baby grows. These are top-rack dishwasher-safe.
Has more parts than other bottles, which can be hard to keep track of.
Three-piece airflow system directs air bubbles away from milk, drastically reducing gas and spit up. Heat-sensing tube changes color to indicate temperature. Naturally shaped nipple improves latch and is readily accepted by most breastfed babies. Conveniently comes with bottles and nipples of varying sizes, as well as extra venting tubes.
Multiple components make cleaning and assembling a chore.
Strategically placed angles enable upright feeding, reducing reflux and minimizing the risk of ear infections. Bottom vent draws air away from milk for a happier digestive system. Wide, textured nipples help babies get a secure latch. Easy to clean and relatively easy to assemble. Attractive price point.
Screw-on base can leak if not properly aligned. Base can become excessively hot when placed in a bottle warmer.
Extra-long venting tube creates a unique hands-free anti-colic setup. Upright feeding reduces reflux and ear infections. Allows babies to safely feed without assistance. Milk flows easily despite the longer journey to the nipple. Clearly marked measurements. Freezer- and microwave-safe. Allows slow eaters to take their time without restricting parents.
Lots of little pieces make cleaning and assembling a time-consuming task.
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We have good news and bad news for parents of colicky babies. The good news: colic usually disappears by the time your baby is four months old. The bad news: colic may last until your baby is four months old.
Colic is a mysterious condition relatively common in babies. The telltale sign of colic is repeated, regular periods of crying that don’t stop with comforting. Many pediatricians recommend that babies with these symptoms feed from anti-colic bottles that prevent them from swallowing air while they eat. Colicky babies often have gas, but it’s not clear whether that’s the cause or a side effect of inhaling air during extended crying jags. Either way, anti-colic bottles seem to help many.
But what are the characteristics of a good anti-colic bottle, and how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Learn more about which anti-colic bottle would ease your baby’s suffering — and yours.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to test for colic. Babies are declared “colicky” if they cry for more than three hours per day for more than three days per week for three weeks or more. Colicky babies are healthy in all other respects: they eat well and put on weight, they spit up occasionally but don’t vomit regularly, their stool is normal in consistency and regularity.
Babies may cry for reasons other than colic, of course. If your baby is not putting on weight, has a poor suck reflex, or vomits repeatedly, pay a visit to the pediatrician to get a clearer diagnosis.
Bottle-fed babies will likely switch to an anti-colic bottle easily. Those who have been primarily breast-fed may resist. Colic doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding — you can pump and bottle feed before your baby’s fussy period to see if it makes a difference. If you primarily breastfeed your baby but want to try an anti-colic bottle, look for bottles with soft silicone nipples that closely mimic the human body.
All anti-colic bottles vent air, but different bottles achieve this goal differently. Since colic isn’t fully understood, it’s impossible to predict which system is best, but you have three main options.
Some bottles use a valve system in the nipple to channel air to the back of the bottle. These bottles tend to have fewer parts for cleaning and are relatively easy to reassemble.
Other designs place a venting tube system inside the bottle that pushes the air away from the nipple. Bottles with these systems function well but can be tedious to clean and reassemble.
Recently, some bottom-venting system designs have been introduced that vent air through the bottle’s bottom. This system is effective and easy to clean, but anti-colic bottles of this type can cause a mess if you don’t screw bottles together correctly.
It’s important to keep your baby’s age in mind. Younger babies need slow-flow nipples to avoid gagging on liquid that’s delivered too fast. Likewise, older babies get frustrated with the slow pace of a nipple for newborns. Keep this in mind when purchasing, and if your colicky baby is young, make sure you can switch out nipples later.
Smaller 4-ounce bottles are designed with young babies in mind, while bottles holding 8 to 9 ounces are intended for older babies. But there’s nothing to stop you from saving money and putting 4 ounces of liquid in an 8-ounce bottle. The nipple flow is the key concern.
Anti-colic baby bottles are made from plastic or glass. Both materials have advantages and disadvantages.
Plastic bottles are more common and less expensive than glass. They’re lighter for packing in a diaper bag and won’t shatter if dropped. Some parents, however, are wary of the substances that may leach out into milk. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned BPA in baby bottles in 2012, and most countries prohibit the substance. The safest anti-colic plastic bottles will not only be BPA free but will also be free from phthalates and PVC.
Some parents aren’t comfortable with heating plastic bottles, period, and prefer to use glass. Glass bottles are heavier and more prone to breaking. They’re also more expensive. To some, the peace of mind is worth the tradeoff.
When doing your homework, please also consider:
In old movies, Dad squeezed a drop of milk on his wrist to check its temperature. Now, a quick glance at some bottles can tell you if it’s ready. Many bottles have Goldilocks heat sensors that change color to tell you whether the liquid is too hot, too cold, or just right.
Some anti-colic bottles employ unusual shapes to channel gas and may be challenging to clean in the dishwasher or with a standard bottle brush. If your bottle is angled or shaped unconventionally, it should come with a specialized cleaning brush to keep it clean, safe, debris-free.
Colic usually disappears as mysteriously as it arrived at around four months of age.
Colicky babies are often slow eaters, and busy parents don’t always have hours to spare. Some bottle systems accommodate hands-free feeding, so both you and your baby get dinner. Be aware that hands-free systems often have age restrictions.
Other features to keep in mind include:
Bottle brushes: BluBox 5-pack of bottle brushes
Hungry babies aren’t known for their patience, so you always need a clean supply of bottle brushes on hand. BluBox bottle brushes make washing bottles easy. This versatile brush set not only works for baby bottles but also handles sports cups and hummingbird feeders.
Bottle sterilizers: Wabi Baby Electric Steam Sterilizer and Dryer
Sterilizing your bottles before their first use is key to safety, and they will also need deep cleaning from time to time. This countertop electric sterilizer from Wabi Baby fully sterilizes up to eight bottles in less than 15 minutes. Sensors detect when the cycle is done and shut off automatically to keep you and baby safe.
Baby swings: Graco Abbington Gliding Baby Swing
Sometimes, your arms just need a break. For those moments, there’s Graco’s soothing system gliding swing. This unique swing mimics the soothing motion of your nursery glider. And no worries if baby drifts off to sleep — this versatile machine also doubles as a portable bassinet. It’s recommended for infants up to 30 inches tall.
Anti-colic bottles aren’t cheap, but it’s hard to put a price on your baby’s comfort and your peace of mind. You will find a variety of venting types in every price tier.
Inexpensive: You can find plastic anti-colic bottles for less than $5 per bottle. At this price, they will not have many extras, even when sold in multi-bottle packs.
Mid-price: The next tier of anti-colic bottles usually costs $7 to $8 per bottle. Bottles in this price range are also made of plastic, but they feature higher-quality silicone nipples that make the transition to bottle feeding easier for breastfed babies. Bottles at this price point may have special features like temperature sensors or options for convenient feeding.
Expensive: The most expensive anti-colic bottles typically cost between $11 and $14 per bottle. Bottles in this price range may be made of plastic or glass and come with natural-feeling silicone nipples. They should have special features to determine whether liquid is the proper temperature. Multi-packs will include many extras to simplify cleaning and other routines.
Besides being adorable, these Comotomo baby bottles are worry-free, with both nipples and bodies made of food-grade silicone. Comotomo bottles simulate the breastfeeding experience in both look and feel. Dual air vents in the nipple help ward off colic through effective air circulation.
If you’re more comfortable with glass construction, consider this set of wide-neck bottles from Dr. Brown. A unique vent system aids in reducing colic and other digestive upsets. The venting portion of bottle can be removed after baby passes the colicky stage so you can keep using it for regular feedings.
Q. Do I need to buy new bottles when my baby’s colic stops?
A. Not necessarily — especially if you have lingering concerns about gas or if you don’t have the budget to buy a slew of new bottles. You may tire of cleaning bottles with complex venting systems, however, so consider buying bottles initially that let you remove vents or swap out vented nipples after the colicky phase passes.
Q. What’s the best way to clean bottles?
A. After initially sterilizing them, you can wash bottles in the top rack of your dishwasher, as long as they’re dishwasher safe. Place nipples in a small basket. If you’re wary of the dishwasher, you can soak them in a basin of hot, soapy water and wash them by hand, scrubbing with a bottle brush. Look for special brushes that feature a nipple tip cleaning design to adequately wash that part of the bottle.
Q. Should I sterilize the bottles after each use?
A. It’s not necessary. Bottles need to be sterilized before their first use, since you can’t know where they’ve been and who has handled them before purchase. After that, a good washing should do the trick. You may wish to sterilize them again periodically, especially after your child has been sick. The Center for Disease Control says you can stop sterilizing when your baby is three months old because by that point, a baby’s immune system has developed sufficiently to offer protection against common germs. Many dishwashers include a sterilizing setting, and many baby brands sell microwave or countertop sterilizers. The easiest way, however, is to boil the bottles in a pot on the stovetop for five minutes.
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