Glass vs Plastic Baby Bottles – Pros & Cons (incl. Silicone)

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


If your first reaction to using glass baby bottles is that they break easily, you could be looking at purchasing plastic types instead! Plastic baby bottles seem safer and more convenient, but are they really better than glass? When comparing glass vs plastic baby bottles, I weighed up the pros and cons of each type. I’m also talking about silicone baby bottles to give you more options to pick from!

Glass baby bottles are durable while plastic is less resistant to scratches. Plastic bottles are lightweight, easy to use, and more affordable while many brands don’t manufacture glass types. Glass is naturally BPA-free while plastic bottles potentially contain harmful chemicals. 

Key takeaways

  • Glass is naturally BPA-free making it potentially safer than plastic as a material for baby bottles.
  • Glass bottles are durable and babies can start using them from birth.
  • Plastic baby bottles are lightweight, cheaper, great for storage of milk in the freezer and easily available. 
  • Stainless steel baby bottles are an attractive alternative to glass or plastic products!
  • Silicone baby bottles are toxin-free and don’t shed microplastic particles. 
  • Both glass and plastic baby bottles are easy to warm on the go. 

Glass vs plastic – what is the safest material for baby bottles?

Plastic has a reputation for containing toxins with one of the greatest concerns being bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic. Exposure to BPA can result in the following:

  • Negative effects on the brain of fetuses, infants, and children.
  • Poor behavioral responses in children.
  • Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and increased blood pressure. 

In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned BPA in all baby bottles and sippy cups. The regulation is still in place and includes all packaging for infant formula as well. Glass is naturally BPA-free making it a safer material for baby bottles. 

Are glass bottles healthier than plastic?

Glass baby bottles are more hygienic in that they don’t scratch or disintegrate as easily as plastic types. This makes glass bottles less resistant to bacteria growth in the material and easier to clean as well.  

All about glass baby bottles

When can babies start drinking from glass bottles?

Glass baby bottles can be used as soon as your little one starts bottle-feeding. However, glass bottles are heavier, making it harder for babies to hold the bottle by themselves, relying more on their caregiver to feed them. 

Do glass bottles break easily?

If you’re wondering if glass bottles break easily, the answer is yes if you’re rough or careless when handling them. Dropping glass baby bottles onto the floor could result in them shattering or cracking!

However, modern designs are made with sturdier, reinforced glass, preventing the bottle from shattering if exposed to high temperatures or when you or the baby accidentally drops one. 

Watch this informative video from Tommee Tippee demonstrating their Closer to Nature glass bottle. It shows all the beneficial features of the brand’s glass bottle range, from safety to the shape of the bottle’s teat. 

Why do we not use glass bottles anymore?

Glass baby bottles have become overshadowed by their plastic counterparts mainly because of convenience and cost. Plastic baby bottles are more cost-effective, less prone to breakage, easier to transport in the diaper bag, and lightweight. 

Pros of glass bottles

  • BPA-free
  • Doesn’t affect the taste of milk
  • Easy to clean and sterilize
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons of glass bottles

  • More expensive than plastic bottles
  • Fewer options available
  • Heavier than other types of bottles
  • Heavy for baby to hold during feeding
  • Less suitable for milk storage in the freezer

All about plastic baby bottles

Is it safe to warm milk in a plastic bottle?

One of the biggest concerns about heating milk in plastic baby bottles is chemical leaching. Heat causes chemicals to leach from the plastic into food or milk. To avoid this from happening, only use bottles that are clearly marked as BPA-free. 

Avoiding high temperatures helps to reduce chemical leaching as well as placing plastic baby bottles in the microwave or dishwasher. However, some brands do manufacture dishwasher- and microwave-safe bottles

Pros of plastic bottles

Cons of plastic bottles

  • Retains odors and residue if scratched
  • Potentially harmful chemicals
  • Prone to material deterioration from wear and tear

Comparison Table

Glass Baby BottlesPlastic Baby Bottles
BPA-freeBPA-free (when manufactured with premium-quality plastic)
No chemical leaching Risk of chemical leaching when exposed to high temperatures
RecyclableNot all plastic bottles can be recycled
Durable if handled with careProne to scratches and chipping
Dishwasher-safeNot all plastic bottles are dishwasher-safe
Not so great for storing milk in the freezerBetter suitable for storing milk in the freezer

Other bottles to consider

Stainless steel baby bottles

While not as readily available as glass or plastic bottles, stainless steel options are becoming a popular choice for many parents. This type of material is durable, easy to clean, and less prone to scratches, making them more hygienic. 

Stainless steel baby bottles are lightweight and have insulating properties, keeping the milk warmer for longer. They’re also completely toxin-free. 

There are some disadvantages to using this type of bottle though and these include the following:

  • Measurements: You’ll have to use a different container to measure out the infant formula and water before decanting the mixture into the stainless steel bottle.
  • Fewer options: Stainless steel bottles aren’t readily available in local baby stores.  
  • Cost: This type of bottle is more expensive when compared to glass or plastic baby bottles. 

If you decide to use stainless steel bottles, buy one to trial-run with your baby before purchasing more. This way, you can be sure your baby is happy with this type of bottle!

Silicone baby bottles

Silicone baby bottles are a popular alternative to glass, plastic, or stainless steel types. Silicone baby bottles win hands-down for being toxin-free, soft and malleable for babies to hold, and resistant to scratches. They’re unbreakable too!!

If you’re switching between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding, your baby will love the squishy feel of silicone baby bottles which resemble the feel of a mom’s breast! This type of bottle is lightweight, making it ideal for transporting in a diaper bag as well as making it easier for your baby to hold during feeding. 

Being highly heat resistant, silicone baby bottles can be washed in the dishwasher and sterilized in bottle sterilizers without causing any damage to the material. 

Silicone vs plastic baby bottles

When comparing silicone vs plastic baby bottles, the biggest winning factor is that the former is toxin-free. Plastic baby bottles deteriorate faster than their silicone counterparts and not all of them are freezer or dishwasher-safe

Silicone baby bottles mimic breastfeeding making them more attractive for breastfed babies while plastic types are easily available and cost-effective. Both bottle types are lightweight, so they’re easy to use and to pack into a diaper bag for when out and about with your baby. 

Both silicone and plastic baby bottles are prone to retaining odors and residue so thorough cleaning is important. Silicone baby bottles aren’t easily recyclable while some plastic types can be tossed in the recycling bin when they reach the end of their lifespan. 

Polypropylene vs silicone baby bottles

Most baby bottles and sippy cups are made with polypropylene plastic. While premium-quality plastic baby bottles may be free of BPA and other harmful chemicals such as BPS, a rising concern is microplastic parts being found in food. A 2020 food additives and child health study revealed that millions of microscopic plastic particles were released into liquids fed to babies. 

On the other hand, while silicone may share similar properties to plastic, it doesn’t shed microplastic particles or other harmful chemicals as easily. When it comes down to the health and safety of your baby, using silicone bottles is highly recommended by child experts. 

How to warm any baby bottle on the go

Whether you’re using a glass or plastic baby bottle, warming it for feeding can be challenging when you’re on the go! Here are some ideas for moms on the go:

  • Ask for hot water: If you’re feeding your baby in a restaurant, ask for a cup of hot water. Make sure it’s big enough to place your baby’s bottle in it and let it sit for a few minutes before feeding.
  • Portable bottle warmer: This piece of equipment can either be charged up before you leave home or plugged into a USB charging port. Make sure your bottle brand fits into the warmer before purchasing it. 
  • Use a thermos: Filling a thermos with hot water solves a lot of problems when on the road. You can use it to warm up pre-prepared baby bottles or add it to infant formula which has been scooped into the bottle.

Glass bottles do warm up faster than plastic types. However, they’re heavier for packing in diaper bags when on the go with your baby so weigh up the pros and cons before picking them for travel. 

Final Thoughts

Despite strict regulations stipulating that plastic baby bottles must be manufactured free of BPA, picking glass types is your solution if you have reservations. On the other hand, premium-quality plastic baby bottles are lightweight, easily available, better for storing milk in the freezer and cheaper. 

Another advantage of glass bottles is that they don’t discolor. Moreover, whereas all glass baby bottles are recyclable, some plastic bottles aren’t.

Photo of 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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