Anti-Colic Bottles Pros and Cons – [COMPLETE Guide]

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.

Updated:

If your baby is battling with digestive issues such as colic, gas, or infant reflux, switching to anti-colic bottles is often the best solution. But what are the pros and cons of anti-colic bottles you need to be aware of before deciding to change from regular ones? 

Anti-colic bottles help to manage a baby’s digestive problems such as colic, reflux, spit-ups, and excessive burping. Design features such as venting systems prevent too much air from being swallowed when drinking from an anti-colic bottle which reduces painful digestion symptoms. 

Key takeaways

  • Anti-colic bottles help reduce gas, minimize burping, control colic and reflux, prevent bloating, and improve digestion.
  • The benefits of anti-colic bottles include improved bonding, reduced stomach aches, and easy-to-use features.
  • As cons, anti-colic bottles with irregular shapes can be difficult to clean and store neatly.  
  • Another cons is that quality anti-colic bottles are more expensive than regular ones with more parts to assemble and clean. 

Pros of Anti-Colic bottles 

Helps prevent gas

Infant gas is quite common in babies who swallow air while feeding or sucking on a pacifier. Even crying can make your little one gassy! Signs of gassiness in your baby include:

  • A bloated or hard stomach
  • Burping
  • Fussiness
  • Crying
  • Farting

Anti-colic bottles are specifically designed to reduce air bubbles while feeding, preventing gas buildup in your baby.

Helps prevent bloating 

Babies between the age of one to four months often have bloated stomachs as their immature digestive systems adjust to infant formula or breast milk. One of the most common reasons for bloating is swallowing air while feeding. Air vents in the bottle’s nipple or a venting system help to reduce air while drinking milk from an anti-colic bottle. 

Other reasons babies get bloated bellies include:

  • Swallowing too much air while feeding in the wrong position
  • Eating too much
  • Constipation
  • Food allergies or intolerances 

Improves digestion 

A baby’s digestive system only matures from four to six months old, making it important to manage digestion problems when bottle or breastfeeding. With features such as a venting system, anti-colic bottles can improve digestion by reducing air bubbles in the milk. 

Anti-colic bottles help to control the flow of milk which contributes to improved digestion and a happier baby! Using the right nipple and flow rate for your baby’s age will help your infant feed more comfortably and at their own pace. 

Designed to reduce colic

Infant colic results in excessive crying, fussiness, and distress in an otherwise healthy baby. This can be equally distressing for parents trying to manage this unpleasant, and at times, painful condition. Anti-colic bottles are specifically designed to reduce colic, significantly reducing the duration and severity of this condition. 

If your baby is screaming, tensing their body after a feed, having a flushed face, or clenching their fists, they could be struggling with colic. Experimenting with anti-colic bottles vs regular bottles will help you find the best feeding equipment for your little one who displays typical colic symptoms.  

Increases bonding and comfort 

When our daughter is content and happy, it makes it easier for us as her parents to bond with her. As an infant, we were able to offer her comfort when she was relaxed after a feed so it was vitally important to ensure she enjoyed her bottle. An unhappy baby can make a parent feel very stressed, making it difficult to bond or comfort their little one. 

Anti-colic bottles minimize the risk of your baby battling digestive problems that would interfere with the natural bonding that takes place between an infant and parent. The features of these bottles reduce gassiness or colic in babies which in turn, decreases a parent’s distress and allows them to soothe their baby when they need comfort. 

Easy to use 

With improved designs, anti-colic bottles have become a lot easier to use. Quality brands, such as Dr. Brown alternatives use fewer parts, making it simpler to disassemble or assemble before and after cleaning the bottle. 

Assembling anti-colic bottles is pretty straightforward so you don’t need to worry about the bottle malfunctioning during a feeding session.

When comparing Dr. Brown to MAM anti-colic bottles consider the latter brand for its quick self-sterilizing feature that lets you clean the bottle in three minutes. It couldn’t get any easier to use and clean! Maybe this is why some celebrities use MAM bottles, such as Molly-Mae Hague. 

Comes in different flow options  

Anti-colic bottles with advanced teats reduce air building up in the nipple and offer different flow rates. The right flow rate is important for reducing wind, reflux, and other uncomfortable digestive problems in babies. Most brands offer slow- or fast-flow anti-colic teats and picking the right one depends on your baby’s feeding style and age

Anti-colic teats include a valve that draws air away from the milk, helping to decrease digestive discomfort for your baby. This feature, in conjunction with the right flow rate, will help you manage your baby’s digestive problems. 

Eliminates the need to burp your baby 

Burping your baby is an integral part of their feeding routine. especially if they’re prone to swallowing air during a feed. Infant gassiness can be solved by burping your baby to release trapped air in their tummy. 

However, if your infant cries when you take the bottle away to burp so she objects to burping during a feed, letting them drink from an anti-colic bottle can eliminate gas and the need to burp them. 

Prevents stomach aches

If your little one has stomach pain or ache it could be because they’re battling with wind, food allergies, formula intolerance, or constipation. Swallowing too much air during a feed will lead to stomach aches and a cranky and disgruntled baby! 

You can avoid this from happening by using bottles similar to Dr. Browns which come with an internal venting system for eliminating air bubbles while feeding. 

Cons of Anti-colic bottles

Can be expensive 

A major downside for families on a tight budget is the cost of anti-colic bottles. Design features such as venting systems, valves, and anti-colic teats, make these bottles more expensive than regular types. FYI, I mentioned that fact also in the article that elaborates on why baby bottles are expensive.

May be difficult to assemble 

Anti-colic bottles are often made up of several parts, making them more difficult to assemble. This can become frustrating when preparing an anti-colic bottle for a hungry baby screaming for their feed! Disassembling can be complicated as well when washing the different parts.   

Difficult to clean the venting system

Cleaning the venting system of an anti-colic bottle can get difficult especially if it’s made of several parts. Venting systems are made up of tubing and valves which need to be thoroughly cleaned to ensure they’re hygienic

Has irregular bottle designs 

Anti-colic bottles often come in irregular shapes, making them harder to store such bottles neatly in the kitchen cupboard! Some have an angled design that’s used to improve milk flow and reduce air in the bottle but it does make it awkward for cleaning and storage purposes.   

How to choose the best anti-colic bottle 

Here are three options you can consider PLUS the pros and cons of each bottle.

1. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Anti-Colic Options+

Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Anti-Colic Options+ Narrow Baby Bottle Gift Set with Advantage Pacifier, and Bottle Travel Caps

This bottle comes with an innovative internal vent system that helps to reduce colic, burping, spit-ups, and reflux in babies. 

Pros

  • Consistent flow rate for comfortable feeding
  • The internal vent system can be removed when the baby outgrows colic
  • The bottle and parts are dishwasher-safe

Cons

  • Too many parts make it difficult to assemble or clean quickly

2. Philips Anti-Colic Baby Bottles

Philips AVENT Anti-Colic Baby Bottles with AirFree Vent, 4oz, 4pk, Clear, SCY701/04

Designed with a unique Airfree vent that keeps the nipple full of milk instead of air.

Pros

  • Reduces digestive issues such as colic, reflux, and gas
  • Makes it easier to feed in an upright position
  • Comes with different flow rate nipples
  • Fewer parts for easy cleaning and assembling
  • Made with BPA-free materials

Cons

  • The flow rate can be too fast for slow feeders

3. MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic Bottles

MAM Easy Start Anti-Colic Bottle, 11 oz, Unisex, 2 Pack

This bottle has a vented base that releases liquid slowly when bottle-feeding while eliminating air bubbles at the same time. 

Pros

  • Reduces colic and reflux symptoms
  • Self-sterilizing for easy cleaning
  • Made with BPS- and BPA-free materials

Cons

  • A fast flow rate can lead to leakage during feeding

Watch this video demonstrating how to use the self-sterilizing feature of this bottle.

Are anti-colic bottles better than normal ones? 

Anti-colic bottles are better than normal ones if you want to manage your baby’s digestive problems. These bottles are designed to reduce air bubbles in the milk, minimizing symptoms associated with colic and gas buildup in the baby’s tummy. 

Can newborns use anti-colic bottles?

Newborns can use anti-colic bottles but make sure you use the right flow rate nipple for comfortable feeding. Pediatricians often recommend anti-colic bottles for newborns as their digestive systems are still undeveloped at this stage which can result in colic or infant reflux. 

How will I know my baby needs an anti-colic bottle?

Fussiness, intense crying fits, bouts of stomach cramps, and excessive burping can all be signs your baby is swallowing too much air during a feed. Using an anti-colic bottle will prevent this from happening. 

Conclusion

The best bottles for reflux and colic let you get on with enjoying parenting your baby while knowing they’re free from digestive problems. As a father myself, I know very well how important it is to have a happy baby so I don’t get disturbed when I want to watch a bit of TV! 🙂

Last update on 2024-05-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Author

I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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