The 10 Best Baby Bottles to Buy in 2021

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 31st, 2021

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When it comes to baby gear essentials, bottles are always close to the top of the list. Both breastfeeding and formula-feeding families make use of them regularly, demanding that the best baby bottles be durable, safe, and easy to use. Beyond that, there’s lots to know about your options when choosing the right kind of bottle and nipple style for your little one.

Check out our baby bottle FAQ for a guide to the basics, as well as a rundown of this year’s ten best baby bottles, to help you make an informed decision.

FAQ

If I’m breastfeeding my child, will I actually need bottles?

The answer is almost certainly yes! Even if you are a stay-at-home mother who breastfeeds your baby, there’s a good chance that certain situations will see you and baby out and about, unable to directly nurse at feeding time. This is when a bottle is essential. For working moms and those using formula, bottles are often indispensable.

How many bottles should I keep on hand?

This is a question often asked by new moms, and the answer is situational.

  • If you stay at home with your baby and are breastfeeding, you won’t need bottles as frequently. Two or three should suffice.
  • If you’re using formula, your baby will always feed from a bottle; this typically requires between three and four bottles per day, while many moms prefer to keep up to six handy, helping to reduce inconvenient cleaning time.
  • If baby is in daycare, or other child care while you’re working, it’s wise to have at least one bottle for every two hours they’ll be in care; this could mean five or more bottles, depending on your needs.

Related: Why Is My Baby Refusing Their Bottle?

What types of bottles are available?

  • Standard bottles: These are the ones most people imagine when thinking of bottles; they consist of a vertical cylinder, topped with a nipple.
  • Angle-neck bottles: These feature an angled tilt in the neck, designed to promote feeding baby in a semi-upright position, which many pediatricians suggest can help prevent ear infections.
  • Disposable liner bottles: Bottles that use liners do so to help prevent air from mixing with milk during feeding, which can cause uncomfortable gas and fussy behavior in babies. Liners are single use only and make cleanup a little easier.
  • Wide-neck bottles: Unlike standard bottles, a wide-neck bottle has a larger opening which is designed to accommodate a larger nipple. They tend to feel more like mother’s breast than other bottles, and are often best for babies who alternate between breast and bottle feeding, helping to avoid confusion.
  • Vented bottles: Also called natural-flow bottles, these use a vent to prevent air from mixing with milk during feeding, thus triggering gas.

What materials are baby bottles made from?

  • Glass: Some parents love glass bottles because it’s a material they know they can trust — it’s free from BPA and non-toxic. However, glass bottles can weigh more, and, despite the fact that most are designed for durability, they’re still vulnerable to breaking if dropped. They’re unlikely to need replacing, but are also costly.
  • Stainless steel: There’s a lot to like about the functionality of stainless steel bottles, as they’re durable, long-lasting, and lightweight. However, they can be expensive and hard to find.
  • Plastic: Undoubtedly the most commonly used, plastic bottles are lightweight and won’t break when dropped. However, not all picks are non-toxic, and plastic tends to deteriorate over time, especially when cleaned repeatedly in high-heat sanitizers and dishwashers. This means that plastic bottles may need frequent replacing.
  • Silicone: These are dishwasher safe, lightweight, and non-toxic, but silicone bottles don’t come cheap, while replacement pieces often need to be specially ordered.

How do I choose a bottle that’s an appropriate size for my baby?

  • Small bottles: Until your baby is about four months old, a smaller bottle is best. Look for a 4-ounce bottle, which will hold just enough formula or milk to meet baby’s needs for one meal.
  • Large bottles: As your baby’s appetite increases with their growth, you’ll need to shift to larger bottles. This generally happens when they’re between 4 and 6 months. At this point, you can safely move up to an eight-ounce bottle.

What types of baby bottle nipple are available?

  • Traditional nipples: Available in both latex and silicone, these are basic bell-shaped nipples with a wide base and narrow top. They typically provide the slow flow of milk that newborn babies require, though babies who have issues transitioning between bottle feeding and nursing may require a different nipple type.
  • Orthodontic nipples: As baby teeth begin to appear, orthodontic nipples are important in ensuring healthy jaw development. They are concave on one side and convex on the other, molding to baby’s palate easily, avoiding disruption of healthy growth.
  • Anti-vacuum nipples: If your baby is frequently agitated after eating, they may be experiencing gas caused by air intake during feeding. Vented nipples use a small hole to prevent a vacuum of air from forming inside the bottle.
  • Multi-flow nipples: Nipple openings are an important consideration when feeding baby, as they help regulate the flow of fluid as needed for baby’s drinking. Multi-flow nipples use adjustable slots to allow parents to change their opening size as required.

Related: 6 Best Baby Bottle Warmers (2021 Guide & Reviews)

What nipple material is best for my baby?

  • Latex: Latex is naturally sourced, but also tends to age more rapidly than silicone. These nipples need to be stored carefully in order to extend their life, and, while softer than silicone nipples, are more resistant to tooth damage. Some babies dislike new latex nipples because of their taste, but this can be resolved by boiling.
  • Silicone: Although silicone is synthetic, it holds up to repeated high-heat cleaning, doesn’t require special storage, and doesn’t discolor or degrade easily when exposed to oil. Its texture may be off-putting to some babies, and it’s also prone to tooth damage, so shouldn’t be used once baby starts teething.

What’s the best way to sterilize my baby’s bottles and nipples?

Thanks to improved access to safe water supplies, routinely sterilizing bottles isn’t as necessary as it was for your mother and grandmother. However, we still suggest that you sterilize all bottles and nipples after purchase and before use. Fortunately, this is a fairly simple process that you can do in several ways. Though several appliances are available for sterilizing bottles and nipples, none are actually necessary. Here are three alternative options:

The old-fashioned way

A well-cleaned pot full of boiling water is all that you need to sterilize your babys’ bottles and nipples. While it’s ideal to have a pot saved exclusively for sterilization, one that’s thoroughly clean will do just fine.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, remembering to leave room for the items you’ll be submerging in order to avoid dangerous overflow. When water boils, submerge the bottles and nipples for at least five minutes to remove all impurities.

When ready, move the items to a clean, dry towel, shaking them gently to remove excess water. Allow them to air dry, patting clean with the towel as needed. When dry, store the sterilized items in a clean, dry place.

The dishwasher

If you already have a dishwasher in your kitchen, there may be no need to invest in a steam sanitizer. Some modern dishwashers have their own sanitization cycle, labeled as such, using high-heat steam exposure to kill germs and bacteria. This is simply a larger version of what a counter-top appliance or microwave steamer does, so remember to check out your dishwasher before making any unnecessary investments.

Running the ‘sanitize’ cycle is as easy as pushing a button, while your bottles, nipples, and other heat-safe items can be placed on the top rack of the dishwasher as usual. Do NOT use soap while running this cycle.

Electric steamer

If you’d prefer to opt for a fuss-free sterilization method, an electric steamer might be the right solution for you. They come in large or small sizes, creating a high-heat environment that neutralizes germs and bacteria.

Operating a steamer is virtually foolproof. It plugs into any outlet, with bottles being inserted face-down, just as they would be in a dishwasher. A touch of a button will run the sterilization cycle, after which bottles will be ready to cool and use.

Our picks of the best baby bottles

Editors choice

Our opinion

Traditional vented
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): two 4 oz bottles, three 8 oz bottles
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

It’s helpful to have both large and small bottles on hand, especially as your babys’ growth causes their appetite to increase. The Dr. Brown’s Original Newborn Feeding Set (check price on Amazon) has all the essentials for getting started with bottle feeding, including non-toxic BPA-free plastic bottles in both four and eight ounce sizes, as well as five level-one nipples for newborns and two quicker flowing level-two nipples for older babies.

Five internal vents are also included, regulating airflow during bottle feeding and helping to prevent gas, colic, and fussiness. They’re great for on-the-go feedings, as two travel caps are enclosed to keep bottles sanitary during your journeys. Finally, you can skip out on buying a bottle brush separately, as one is included in this comprehensive set.

 

What we love:
  • The set includes two 4 oz bottles and three 8 oz bottles as well as natural and medium flow nipples, so you’ll have a good starter set for baby’s first year of life
  • Vents are also included, which can help to reduce colic and stomach discomfort in babies

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide neck
Bottle material:
Size(s): One 9 oz., two 4 oz. bottles
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional

If you’re a new parent who isn’t completely sure what you need for a proper bottle-feeding setup, this Natural All in One Gift Set from Phillips Avent (check price on Amazon) is for you. It includes one 9 oz. and two 4 oz. bottles with natural slow-flow nipples, a microwave sterilizer, a bottle warmer, a cleaning brush, and two handy silicone pacifiers that are perfect for newborns.

Though you may want to supplement the kit with a few extra bottles, it provides you with all the essentials for getting started from a Brand you can trust to deliver safe, high-quality gear for caring for your baby. We especially love the bottle warmer, which provides quick, even heating without monopolizing space on already crowded kitchen counters.

What we love
  • It has everything you’ll need to get started, and it takes the struggle out of locating these items individually
  • The bottle warmer has a streamlined design that minimizes its space impact on your counter
Watch for
  • Though there’s a lot of helpful gear, there’s only three actual bottles in the set, so you’ll probably need to supplement with some extras eventually

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide-neck vented
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 5 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Orthodontic
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

Parenthood isn’t always easy on your wallet, especially as your little one grows out of infancy and requires new clothes, toys, and gear. Budget friendly picks like these Perfect Fit bottles from NUK (check price on Amazon)  can be lifesavers during these transitions, offering a quality product that won’t break the bank. These sweet dino-themed bottles have a wide base that’s easy to grasp and makes the bottle harder to topple. They feature orthodontic nipples, which are best for older babies as they encourage healthy jaw and tooth development by molding to the natural shape of their palate. Another bonus? The nipples feature anti-colic vents, so they’re good for babies prone to gas and digestive upset.

At a glance
  • It’s an affordable multi-pack from a trusted brand with a fun outer design
  • The orthodontic nipples are ideal for healthy jaw development in older babies

Most natural nipples:

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide-neck vented
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 9 oz
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

The need for baby to routinely move between breast and bottle feedings is common — some babies adapt well to the change, while others struggle with rejecting a bottle. Wide-necked bottles with nipples that mimic mother’s breast are often best when transitioning back and forth, and Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature Bottles (check price on Amazon) hit these marks while also adding vents for gas prevention and a natural, slow-flow nipple that’s ideal for newborns.

The curved shape of the bottle makes it easier for little hands to grasp for self-feeding, and accurate, clear measurement markings take some of the frustration out of preparing bottles. In a 2012 online survey, 97% of respondents noted that their baby accepted the bottle within three feeding attempts, making it an especially good pick for infants who struggle with the transition.

At a glance
  • The natural shape and feeling of the bottle mimic mother’s breast, which can make transitioning from nursing to bottle feeding easier
  • The curved shape of the bottle is easy for small hands to grasp when self-feeding

Best for newborns

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide-neck vented
Bottle material: Silicone
Size(s): 5 oz. or 8 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

Wide-bottle openings and nipples allow a bottle to provide an experience that more closely mimics breastfeeding. It’s exactly what these Natural Feel medical-grade silicone bottles are designed to do, and the soft exterior of the bottle more closely mimics the feeling of skin than traditional plastic bottles.

The Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle’s (check price on Amazon) opening is also so wide that parents can reach right in and clean with soap and water — no bottle brush needed, and no struggle with narrow bottle openings and tough-to-reach crevices. The silicone construction of these bottles renders them heat resistant in dishwashers and sterilizers, but parents should note that silicone bottles are more likely to discolor over time than plastic ones.

At a glance
  • The bottle’s opening is extra wide, which makes cleaning a breeze and removes the need for a bottle brush
  • The silicone construction feels more like skin than a traditional plastic bottle, which combines with a wide traditional nipple to facilitate an easy transition between breast and bottle

Best bottle with travel caps

Our opinion

Bottle design: Traditional
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 8 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

Almost all nursing mothers use a breast pump from time to time, and Medela makes some of the most popular pumps out there. If you’re one of the many moms who uses one, this convenient travel set has all you need to prepare bottles by pumping, storing, and feeding with only one container. The Medela Breast Milk Storage Set (check price on Amazon) contains three eight-ounce bottles that are compatible with all Medela breast pumps, so compatibility is never an issue. Wide, traditional, medium-flow nipples and collars are included, best for babies around four to six months. The set also conveniently includes a Quick Clean Micro-Steam bag for sanitizing bottles, nipples, and collars.

At a glance
  • This bottle set is compatible with all Medela breast pumps, so compatibility isn’t an issue as long as you’re pumping with one of their models
  • A micro-steam bag is included to make sanitizing bottles and parts quick and easy

Best bottle for breastfed babies

Our opinion

Bottle design: Traditional
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 8 oz
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

The struggle to transition back and forth between breast and bottle feeding is made easier through the use of bottles that mimic the sensation of nursing. Nanobebe Bottles (check price on Amazon) have an undeniably natural shape, with a wide base and mounded top that feels just like mom, making the switch to bottle feeding that much easier.

That’s not the only thing that’s easy about this bottle — it’s also compatible with breast pumps, so you can pump, store, warm, and feed, all with the same bottle. Unlike many uniquely-shaped cups and bottles, these bottles also store very efficiently in the fridge or cabinet. They are concave on the bottom, so they stack inside one another, minimizing their impact on your kitchen space. This base style also allows milk to be spread in a thinner layer when warming, allowing you to warm bottles for baby more quickly.

What we love
  • The unique shape of the bottle is very close to that of mother’s breast, which makes transitioning back and forth between nursing and bottles a bit easier
  • The bottle’s shape doesn’t create storage issues thanks to a concave bottom that also spreads milk out into a thinner layer to facilitate easy warming and preserve nutrients found in milk
Watch for
  • The bottle requires a bit of assembly that others don’t, and some parents find the instructions to be unclear

Best glass baby bottles

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide-neck vented
Bottle material: Glass
Size(s): 8 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

If using plastic or silicone bottles to feed baby isn’t your preference, you may feel more comfortable with this durable Natural Glass Baby Bottle from Phillips (check price on Target). Glass is an all-natural, non-toxic material that will never discolor or alter the flavor of its contents, and can be both heated and refrigerated safely.

This set of four 8 oz. bottles is resistant to thermal shock, which means they’re less breakable than typical glass when transitioning between hot and cold environments. They also make use of Phillips Avent Natural nipples with air-vent technology to reduce air intake and prevent colic and gas, making them a well-rounded pick for parents who prefer glass bottles.

At a glance
  • They’re made out of heat and thermal shock-resistant borosilicate glass, so there’s no risk of chemical leeching
  • They include Phillips Avent Natural nipples, which have an air vent to prevent colic and gas and have a silicone construction that mimics mom’s breast for easy latching

Best for gassy babies

Our opinion

Bottle design: Angled neck, vented
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 6 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

Reflux and gas are all fairly common issues with infants, but, for parents struggling with a constantly fussy baby, they can become all-consuming.

The good news is that, for many babies, angled-neck and vented bottles like the Playtex VentAire (check price on Target) can take the pain out of mealtime by actually reducing air intake during feeding, a common cause of digestive issues in babies. The angled shape of the bottle encourages that baby be semi-upright while feeding, which pediatricians recommend to help reduce the likelihood of ear infections. These bottles also feature a traditional silicone Naturalatch nipple, designed to feel just like mom and promote easy latching for your little one.

At a glance
  • It’s one of the best picks for babies who struggle with colic and gas, as it features both vents and an angled neck

Best wide-neck baby bottles

Our opinion

Bottle design: Wide-neck vented
Bottle material: Plastic
Size(s): 5 oz.
Nipple material: Silicone
Nipple shape: Traditional
Dishwasher safe?: Yes

Parents on the hunt for glass bottles may find themselves with fewer options than they anticipated, and may face a bit of sticker shock when they realize just how pricey these sets can be. This set of Wide-Neck Glass Bottles from Dr. Brown’s (check price on Walmart) defies expectations, offering quality bottles just right for newborns in a multi-pack with a consumer-friendly price tag.

The bottles’ contoured shape is designed to be easy for small hands to grasp, facilitating self-feeding, and the use of a wide, traditional silicone nipple helps breastfed babies to latch easily and comfortably. The slow/natural flow rate also mimics the breastfeeding experience, and digestive problems are reduced through the use of an optional internal vent system.

At a glance
  • It’s a glass bottle set that’s user friendly and won’t break the bank

And the winner is…

Parenthood is a journey, and the right ‘gear’ can make your adventure much easier. Which is exactly the case with Dr. Brown’s Original Newborn Feeding Set (check price on Amazon), featuring both small and large bottles, as well as slow and medium-flow nipples. That means this set will transition smoothly as your baby grows beyond infancy, while it’s also perfect for feeding both milk and formula. These vented bottles also sport convenient travel caps, keeping them sanitary while you and the little ones are on the go.

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on August 31st, 2021

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