Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Battle of the Bottles

As you know, I've been pumping since this Little One came home from the hospital. It started when she was in the NICU out of necessity, and then continued as we weren't allowed to sleep when she sleeps - meaning Dad and I had to alternate sleeping shifts. I suppose the plus to this is that I am always prepared to feed her with a bottle if I have to, and will be super prepared for my back to work date. It also means that at almost 3 months, we have done our fair share of bottle hunting! Many mommies wait until 6 weeks, or until it's time to go back to work before they introduce the bottle, but it wasn't an option for us, and I think it probably saved us quite a bit of frustration.

I'm sure you have all heard about how babies are 'fussy' when it comes to bottles, and they will let you know which one they like. I think this is true TO AN EXTENT. A baby will drink from whatever you give them if they get hungry enough and their protests will definitely subside. I am not saying that you should starve your baby by any means... but if Mama isn't going to be back for another 15 minutes and the bottle they dislike is the only way they can get to the end result quickly- they will make due begrudgingly. 

In the NICU, the nurses supplemented with formula to no end. They used the pre-made Similac bottles with the standard nipples. Violette would suck down formula like it was nobody's business, not because it was good - but because she was a little sucker fish. She liked it so much that some of the lesser experienced nurses just let her continue to eat, and that made her REALLY sick. Babies arent supposed to eat more than an ounce at a time when they are brand new. The nurses even wear charts of the size of a baby's tummy on their name tags at Providence! 

When we got home, we had a gaggle of bottles to play around with - some were gifted, some were registered for and some were samples. We actually ended up buying 2 additional packs after all of this to get to her favorite! So let's get started: Here we have the contenders... the progression... and the star rating (★) we gave them!

Avent Bottles - These bottles were pretty basic, received as a sample through Motherhood Maternity. There was no real trouble here - she was SUPER gassy afterwards so we explored the other options to see what could work.

Tommee Tippee Standard Bottles - We registered for these ones based upon many good remarks from friends. Though this is a favorite among the posh mommy circle, I can honestly say that we were disappointed. The baby didn't disagree about the nipple shape and the husband didn't complain about the bottle shape... HOWEVER every time she used this bottle she would be COVERED in breast milk! It leaked something terrible! We weren't sure if she was just a messy eater, or if we had damaged the nipples at some point in our cleansing. So we moved on to...

Tommee Tippee Anti-Colic Bottles - We also registered for these, just in case our baby had gas issues. We broke them out after the nipple issue with the normal Tommee Tippee and found that it was still an issue. We decided since we hadn't had trouble with other bottles that it can't be her being a messy eater.. it must be the bottle. After looking online, we found that Tommee Tippee is one of the only bottle makers to also sell a baby bib... it's main feature? A milk catch that is like a rolled up towel around the neck. Um... If the bottle company sees that there is an issue with leaking to that point... FIX IT, don't put a Bandaid - or in this case BIB - over it. The anti-colic stick makes for an additional piece during clean up as well.

mOmma Bottles - These were basic as well, received as a sample at an event I attended. It seemed that Violette preferred the nipple on this bottle to the Avent. And they made less mess than the Tommee Tippee. Dovey preferred the shape of this bottle over the Avent as well, saying that it was easier to hold at the proper angle. She didn't have very bad gas with this one, though she did still have a lot of discomfort.

MAM Bottles - These were a recommendation from my cousin whose baby girl (just two months older than Violette) preferred quite a bit. She suffered from gas and a touch of colic, and my cousin was very happy with the MAM bottles. We decided to give them a go - and found a package on Amazon for a really great price, that included 3 bottles and 2 pacifiers. Though Violette had the worst spit - up reaction of all of her bottles with this one (probably lost an entire ounce every time we used them, it was worse than the mess from the Tippees!) she really liked the pacifiers... so it wasn't a total loss. :) These bottles have a really cool clean up ability - because the bottom screws off (I know, it's strange to think this bottle doesn't leak with this setup!) You just place the nipple inside the bottle with an ounce of water and nuke it in the Microwave for a few seconds to sanitize. It's pretty nifty, but not necessary. We ended up giving the unused set to a friend who is having a good experience with them.

Dr. Browns Wide Mouth Anti-Colic Bottles - At this point Dovey had yelled at me to NOT BUY ANY MORE BOTTLES and said we would just continue with the Tommee Tippee and the mess that they caused. And I almost listened... but there was a nagging in my head about how Johanna (my best friend who went to Heaven in 2009) swore by the Dr. Brown's bottles. Both of her babies preferred them, and I remember when another friend said that her twins wouldn't take a bottle, Jo said to try Dr. Brown's. She did and it worked! So I wen't against Dovey's judgement and ordered them.
Obviously I should have done this in the beginning instead of going through the rounds of all of the others... because it was HANDS DOWN the best option for us. The baby didn't argue about the nipple, she had considerably less gas, spit - up and discomfort as well. There are quite a few peices to this one - the anti colic stick is actually 2 separate pieces - so it's a bit more labor intensive upon cleanup... but worth every step.  Another thing I really liked is the plastic used... it seemed more durable than any of the other bottles, like it would stand up better in the bottle warmer, and since it's BPA free as well it was a great fit for us.

We had only had need for a 3-pack thus far, (three bottles is plenty for us!) however I should warn you that the 8 oz bottles in the wide mouth are HUGE. When you breastfeed you supposedly will never need more than 4 ozs at a time - or so they say - but the 8 oz Tommee Tippee were significantly smaller than the wide mouth Dr. Brown's. Since we are putting Violette in daycare, we needed another 3 pack for their location - we ordered the standard width bottles this time around and though they are still 8 ozs they definitely feel less GIGANTIC. And the best part? The standard ones also come in PURPLE. :) 

Of course EVERY baby is different, but I wanted to write this post so that mommies can take a peek at our experiences with the different brands and decide which is best for them. Maybe this will lead you to try our favorites, or our second favorites - we just hope that it will help!