At some point, if you have a baby with stomach problems, you’re going to ask yourself: “is there anything I can do to make this kid stop screaming and crying?” I mean, you know the saying “happy wife, happy life?” That could be amended a little to “happy baby, happy wife, happy life.” There’s nothing that breaks my heart (or my eardrums) more than when Critter is in pain.
Although we ultimately discovered and untreated root cause behind Critter’s horrifying reflux, one of the suggestions doctors will give for reflux babies is lifestyle changes. One of the most important ways to treat infant reflux is by using the right bottle.
Pretty much every bottle we tried had both pros and cons. None worked a baby reflux miracle, and we did eventually have to use ranitidine. Even with ranitidine, having the right bottle made a big difference! Here’s what we tried, and what we thought were the best bottles for reflux and colic.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles: These bottles were recommended to me by just about everyone, and they show up on all the popular parenting “must-have” lists. Dr. Brown’s bottles contain a vent to reduce the amount of air babies swallow. This is great for fast eaters, because it slows them down and reduces the air they’re gulping in. This is also good for breastfed babies, who don’t swallow air at the breast and may not readily adapt to bottle-feeding, which has a faster flow.
Pros: Dr. Brown’s bottles reduce the air babies swallow, which can help reduce gas pain. They’re also good for fast eaters and over-eaters, who gulp down food too quickly. They come in several sizes, which allows you to keep using this brand as your baby gets bigger and hungrier.
Cons: The vent seems to frustrate some babies, who may need a faster flow. We had a hard time using these bottles once we had to start thickening our formula, although some people have used thickened formula in these with success. The vent takes extra time to clean, although not much. The new “Options” line by Dr. Brown’s may solve these issues, as they can be used with our without vent. Dr. Brown’s bottles can be harder to find than several other brands.
Avent: Philips Avent bottles are another extremely popular option for new parents. They’re on just about every registry I see! This is actually the brand we used for the longest amount of time. Philips Avent offers Classic, Natural, and Anti-Colic bottles. We have tried all 3 lines, and wound up settling on the Naturals.
Pros: The 3 different types of bottles all come in multiple sizes, allowing this brand to grow with your baby. The Anti-Colic bottles are vented to keep baby from gulping in too much air. The wide mouth on these bottles makes mixing up late night bottles easy— you can’t accidentally miss and pour formula or breastmilk all over the counter. These worked best of all the bottles we tried with thickened formula. The Avent bottles are easy to find at multiple retailers.
Cons: The Classic+ and Anti-Colic bottles are not breast-shaped, so some breastfeeding parents who pump have issues adjusting their baby to these bottles. The Natural bottles are breast-shaped, but the nipples are not interchangeable with the other two lines. We occasionally had problems with the bottle not sealing all the way and leaking formula all over everything we loved, and this occurred across all 3 lines.
Nuby: Nuby makes every kind of Baby bottle you can imagine, and then some. Nuby will solve feeding problems you didn’t even know you had! The Nuby bottle most highly recommended for reflux and Colic is the Nuby Comfort 360+. We tried this one later on in our baby feeding life, and I do wish I had found it sooner. We are currently using the Nuby Natural Touch 3 Stage Bottle-to-Cup for weaning Critter from bottle to cup.
Pros: No matter what you’re looking for in a bottle or sippy cup, Nuby probably has it. Some of the nipples are ribbed to aid teething, some of them are slow-flow and vented to help Colic, and some are both. Some are neither. Nuby is (so far) great for transitioning from bottle to cup, and I say this as a person who has been through no less than six brands of sippy cups with limited success. Nuby is an affordable brand, and is easy to find.
Cons: With so many options, it may take a while to find the bottle or sippy that is right for you. Some parents have trouble with Nuby products leaking, which can be extremely upsetting if you’ve just pumped a lot of milk or mixed up some expensive formula, only to find it all over your baby. We have not tried thickened formula in a Nuby bottle, but reviews on that are mixed.
Evenflo: Evenflo bottles are a popular choice among new parents, too. I mean, they wouldn’t be on this list if they weren’t! Evenflo offers traditional bottles along with newer models meant for reflux and Colic. (I can’t believe I just said “newer models” in reference to a baby bottle.) Evenflo offers wide mouth, standard mouth, traditional, and angled bottles.
Pros: We lost a bottle while on a trip and had to make a quick stop in the store. Evenflo bottles were cheap, readily available, and easy to use. They’re very standard, and work well with thickened formula.
Cons: Even the angled bottles made it easy for Critter to gulp down too much food in one feeding, which left her prone to Reflux and vomiting. The bottles don’t seem to be vented, despite their claims, giving her gas pains and Reflux.
Playtex: We’ve only used Playtex a few times, so I can’t speak to their effectiveness. Playtex offers an easy option for people who pump, with a bottle that uses a drop in bag of breastmilk. They also offer options for formula feeders.
Pros: Easy clean-up for pumped milk, easy to use for pumped milk. Playtex also offers an angled bottle with a vent at the bottom of the bottle, which is an option that people I talked to about Reflux spoke highly of.
Cons: Several people have said they had a hard time finding the vented bottles, as did I. Stores in my area that claimed to carry them were constantly out of stock. It may be your best bet to order these online.
Gerber: Gerber is possibly the most well-known baby brand out there. I mean, the Gerber baby? Iconic. I’m sure that’s why we, and plenty of other parents, wound up with a collection of Gerber bottles. These bottles are similar to Evenflo: a classic workhorse of a feeding system. Not fancy, just reliable.
Pros: Easy to find, affordable. The kind of bottle everyone pictures in their head when they think of babies. Works with nipples from several brands, and can be used with thickened formula.
Cons: Not exactly great for reflux, these bottles don’t seem to vent. Critter gets the hiccups every time she uses a Gerber bottle.
Munchkin: While we didn’t use Munchkin bottles ourselves, I have heard them recommended by lots of reflux moms! The Munchkin Latch bottles have an anti-Colic valve on bottom, and the flow mimics breastfeeding. The nipple is designed to resemble a real nipple, and the bottle has a wide top, like a real breast. This bottle is perfect for parents who need to pump part-time, or formula feeders who are looking for a bottle that mimics a “natural” feeding. When Critter refused to use cups with spouts, we bought a Munchkin 360 Spoutless sippy cup, which is a great way to transition babies from bottle to cup.
Pros: Mimics the shape and feel of a mother’s breast, making nipple confusion less likely in babies who primarily breastfeed. Anti-Colic valve reduces air flow through milk or formula, reducing the risk of Colic or gas pains. These bottles have a wide mouth, which is something that I really liked about the Avent brand bottles we primarily used.
Cons: Some people say the nipple gets pushed in too easily, and they have to stop the feeding to pull it back to its original position. We’ve had this happen with a few brands, like Nuby, and it can be frustrating.
There are many more bottles for reflux and colic, but this post is getting long! So let’s talk about it: did your baby have reflux or colic? What worked for you?