Baby Care Part 2

This week I’m taking a retrospective look at baby bottles. Buddy our super-cute test baby is using the bottle less and less now as he embarks on his own culinary explorations in the big, wide world of solid foods. Save for a nice big milky bedtime drink (and the occasional ‘moo-milk’ morning pick-me-up) we’ll give Buddy his drinks in his own sippie cup, a personal favourite of Buddy’s especially since we pimped it right out with googly-eye stickers.

We have still hung onto the varied collection of bottles we’ve amassed in Buddy’s first year. Some are cheap pound shop ones, others from established market brands. Whilst traipsing around baby care outlets (as I’m sure many expectant parents do) it became evident that the two dominant baby bottle brands were Tommee Tippee and Philips Avent (at least in the shops we visited). Both have differing designs so it was decided early on that we’d try both and see which worked best.

Buddy was breastfed for the first six months but the bottles we had were still well used as excess breast milk was collected for feeds throughout the day, we also supplemented breast feeds with the occasional formula feed. To start out with we had the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles;

and the Avent Feeding Bottles;

From experience both have their relative merits. The Avent bottles were easier to keep clean due to their slimmer design. The Tommee Tippee bottles with their curvaceous bodies, tended to trap residual milk deposits around the upper rim, so extra care was needed to get these washed before they could go into the sterilizer. I’d argue also that the Avent bottles have greater longevity as they seemed to hold up better to constant sterilizing in the microwave.

Blurb from both the brands talks of the teats and how they’ll be easy for baby to get on with due to their similarities to Mummy’s superior design. We found however that Buddy put all his money on the Tommee Tippee version. Perhaps, when he has developed enough vocabulary to explain why I’ll post back to let you know. In the meantime I’d like to assert my own theory that the Tommee Tippee teats, being wider and extending from a rounded body, emulate Mummy’s breast much more accurately.

Buddy was also very early to develop the ability to hold his own bottle and had a lot less trouble getting his little hands around the curves of the Tommee Tippee version.

From the outset we also used these;

We had the larger 260ml capacity bottles which we used primarily for formula feeds. These were again well received by Buddy who could get a good grip on them (even though they seemed to dwarf him). From the parent perspective we found these bottles pretty neat, the venting tube which runs down the middle of the bottle not only serves to reduce air bubbles in the milk but also has a heat sensitive strip to indicate when the sterile (boiled) water in the milk-mix is cool enough for Baby to drink.

On this issue of air bubbles, it is argued by some that excess air trapped in the intestines is a cause of Colic or Gripes (although a conclusive causality for Colic is yet to be firmly established). With Buddy I’m pleased to be able to say he didn’t display any of the unhappy symptoms connected with Colic, could it be down to the use of vented bottles? Well maybe, my thoughts on the issue are that it’s better to take the precaution just in case, a happy baby equals happy parents after all.

With continual sterilizing the heat sensitive strips on the Tommee Tippee vented bottles did eventually wear out. This happened fortuitously roughly around the same time we stopped sterile feeds (around 6 months) although the vented bottles were looking a bit shabby so we looked at getting new ones.

We found a particularly good price on the 260ml version of these;

The Dr Brown’s bottles have a similar venting system to the Tommee Tippee ones, although no heat sensitive element is included. At this stage in the saga this wasn’t so much of an issue. The venting system in the Dr Brown’s bottles has less removable parts, I immediately favoured them for this reason, the Tommee Tippee vent tubes have very small stopper bungs at the bottom which if lost would render the whole exercise useless. I recall more than once in the very early days getting the hump trying to find these elusive trinkets at ‘Stupid O’clock’ whilst Buddy wailed for a night feed.

The vent tubes on the Dr Brown’s bottles also have a wider aperture so were easier to clean with the tiny wire brushes you should get bundled with your baby bottles when you buy.

Buddy took very well to the Dr Brown’s bottles and they are now the only bottles we’ll use. The size of the 260ml Dr Brown’s bottles, still now, seems to dwarf Buddy. For amusement purposes watching a little person guzzle from a giant bottle almost the length of their torso still brings a smile, visually it’s comparable to watching an adult greedily trying to drink directly from an oil drum, although, of course much, much cuter!

Before I close up it is worth mentioning that the cheap pound shop bottles we collected along the way were never well received. The bottles we bought were tall and slender and were always a trouble for Buddy to get a decent grip on, as a result full baby meltdown would often ensue, so they were shelved very early on.

I realize that all babies are as individual in character as the grown-ups that share their little world and that strident successes for Buddy may well be triumphant fails for other people’s smalls. These are my findings however and I do hope you’ll be able to make some use of them.

All the best

Steve and Buddy

Express Chemist

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