Introduction to Baby Bottles
Selecting baby bottles can be a difficult task, especially for new parents. The selection of baby bottles, nipples and accompanying accoutrements provides parents with many choices. Your child’s needs, preferred material and if you’re pumping breastmilk, or opting for formula, will all affect what type of baby bottle you choose.
Baby bottles were once made in only one type of material: glass. Although glass baby bottles are still available to parents, there are two different plastics now commonly used in the manufacture of baby bottles. Polycarbonate is one type of plastic used, and its safety has recently been called into question. A chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA), leaches into the milk under certain conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug administration has deemed it safe to use under normal conditions, which typically involves heating the contents to room temperature. The other plastic used to make baby bottles, polyethylene, is also considered safe.
Baby bottles are available in 4 to 9 ounce (113 to 255 g) sizes. They come in a variety of shapes, including angled, to let less air into the fluid, and easy to hold designs, as well as a variety of colors and embellishments. A simple baby bottle can start at $1 US Dollar (USD) and range to around $10 USD. Disposable systems range from $15 to $25 USD.
For babies with gas, or who are prone to swallowing a lot of air during feedings, there are baby bottles with a right angle in the design of the bottle to keep the air at the bottom (or top when inverted during feeding) of the bottle during the feeding. Disposable baby bottle systems are easy for on the go families, or may be designed to work with a breastmilk pumping system. Breastmilk can be stored in bags which fit into the disposable baby bottle system.
Nipples are an equally important selection to make when shopping for baby bottles. Parents can choose from the traditional rubber nipple, or nipples made from latex or silicone. Silicone nipples last the longest, while latex may have the shortest life. Nipples come in a variety of sizes to accommodate the age of the baby, and get progressively larger to fit the baby’s growing mouth. A nipple should drip the milk or formula slowly — if the fluid pours out, the hole is too big.
In addition to the selection in material, there are several types of nipple available, including orthodontic, to fit the baby’s growing teeth and palate; flat topped, to simulate the mother’s breast; and traditional. Nipples range in price from $2 to $5 USD.
Both baby bottles and nipples can deteriorate with time and use. They should be replaced when bottles or nipples become cracked, discolored or brittle.
Written by O. Wallace
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