Baby showers are a great time for getting gifts for your little one and you most likely received a variety of bottles from different brands. But, is it OK to use different bottles for babies, or will it confuse them when bottle feeding? Not all baby bottles are the same and if they’re fussy feeders you may find it necessary to experiment with different brands.
Babies can drink from different baby bottles. The reasons for trying another brand include a fussy baby battling colic or reflux, or the size is incorrect. Cost, shape, material, and nipple flow rate also influence the decision to try different bottles for bottle-fed babies.
- Using a different bottle can cause the baby to become fussy
- You must make sure that the size of the bottle and nipple are correct
- Learn how to choose a different baby bottle brand
- Using a different bottle if your baby has colic
Can different brands of bottles confuse your baby?
Picking the right bottle for your baby can be challenging when faced with an array of different shapes, sizes, and features! It takes some trial and error before your little one settles on a bottle and once this happens, you want to avoid suddenly changing over to another brand.
However, using different brands doesn’t always lead to confusion especially if your tiny one is pretty relaxed about drinking from a bottle. Confusion can arise when you’re switching between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. Looking for features such as a wide-neck bottle that mimics breastfeeding does make it easier for your baby to latch.
Choosing a bottle with natural-shaped teats helps to avoid nipple confusion and not all brands offer this feature. If you’re going to use different bottles for your baby, make sure they all share similar features to prevent confusion when it comes to feeding time!
Why you should have different types of baby bottles
Your baby is being fussy with one type of bottle
Babies can be fickle when it comes to their feeding equipment and while yours has been happy with one brand for months, she may suddenly decide to reject it. If your fussy baby starts to battle with gas, colic, infant reflux, or spit-ups, she could start to turn away from her bottle. If this is the case, it’s time to switch over to an anti-colic design that helps to minimize air intake.
Baby bottles with a venting system are specially designed to reduce the amount of air your little one ingests during a feed. The wrong nipple design can also result in fussiness during and after a feed and if you can’t replace it with a different type, you’ll need to try another brand.
The size isn’t correct
Baby bottles come in different sizes, ranging from 4 – 5 ounces for newborns and smaller babies and 8 – 10 ounces for older infants. If you’re using the wrong size bottle, your baby could end up still being hungry or overfed!
While your newborn only needs to drink a couple of ounces at every feed, having both small and large-sized bottles gives you more flexibility. Using different-sized bottles is OK as long as you fill them to the correct quantity for your baby’s nutritional needs.
Do you want to try a different brand or type?
There are SO many different brands and types of baby bottles that it’s only natural to wonder if one is better than another. But there are other reasons why you may want to try a different brand or type:
- Cost: Some brands are more expensive than others and if you’re on a tight budget, experimenting with cheaper options could be your solution.
- Material: Not all brands include plastic, silicone, and glass bottles in their product range. If you’re looking to switch from one type of material to another, this could be the reason for trying a different brand.
- Shape: Baby bottles come in a variety of shapes and this can affect the way you or your infant holds them. You or your little one may be more comfortable with a straight or narrow bottle compared to an angled or wide design.
- Disposable liners: If you’re traveling with your baby and looking for a convenient solution when you want to keep your bottles sterilised, e.g. in a hotel, disposable liners are a great option. However, not all bottles take inserts so you may need to find a different brand from your usual one to accommodate this feature.
- Cleaning: Some bottles are easier to clean than others so trying different brands or types is a good idea especially if you’re handwashing your baby’s feeding equipment. When comparing wide-neck to narrow-neck bottles, keep in mind that the wider design is easier to clean.
- Bottles leaking: Some bottle brands leak more than others which is a good enough reason for trying another type!
How do you know when to try a different type of bottle?
When the baby isn’t taking to the nipple
Does your baby keep turning her head away as soon as you bring the bottle to her mouth? Or your little one might be biting onto the nipple? The culprit could be the nipple and she’s not taking to it because it’s uncomfortable. The material could be too hard (try switching to latex which is softer but not as long-lasting) or the shape is wrong.
If the nipple size is too big or small
Nipples come in different flow rates to match your baby’s natural feeding pace. If the nipple size is too big, the flow rate will be faster and your little one could start gagging or coughing. If the flow rate is too slow, your baby could get frustrated during a feed and this means you’ll need to move up a size. Note that when you want to try a different nipple, nipples are usually not interchangeable with other brands’.
If your baby has colic
If your baby is battling colic, changing to a different design that includes a venting system will reduce the symptoms associated with this unpleasant condition. Depending on the brand, the anti-colic features could differ, and experimenting with the different designs will help you find the best bottle for your infant.
A quick tip! Start by comparing Dr. Brown to MAM anti-colic bottles before venturing out into other brands.
Watch this video which demonstrates how an anti-colic bottle works for reducing colic in babies.
If your baby has reflux
When looking for the outstanding bottles for reflux, you want to ensure it includes the following features to help reduce this condition:
- A built-in vent system
- Angled bottle design
- Using the right nipple for a consistent flow rate
When switching between breastfeeding and the bottle, your baby could develop reflux, and finding the right bottle is vital for happy feeding!
How many baby bottles should you have?
A number of factors influence the amount of baby bottles you need including:
- The number of feeds: Newborns up to two months old have more feeds during a 24-hour period which means more bottles especially if you’re not washing immediately after each feed. It’s recommended to have at least 8 bottles during this stage of your baby’s life. Once your baby reaches two months and more, you can go down to 4 or 5 bottles.
- Twins or triplets: The more babies you have at the same time, the more bottles you need! In this case, you’ll need 10 to 16 bottles.
- No breastfeeding: If you’re only giving formula to your bottle-fed baby, you’ll need 5 to 6 bottles.
- Exclusive pumping: If you’re only giving your baby breastmilk that’s been pumped, it’s recommended to have 6 to 8 bottles.
- Disposable bottles: You’ll only need a maximum of 2 disposable bottles but the number of liners depends on the age of your baby and how often you’re feeding them.
- Daycare: When you take your baby to a daycare, they typically request 2-4 bottles per day.
Most parents find that their baby isn’t too fussy about using different bottles. But, don’t get too carried away with different bottles if you want to avoid confusion, colic, or reflux during feeding time!