When to Stop using Dr. Brown Vent (Complete Guide)

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Many parents with babies who suffer from colic have found Dr. Brown’s bottles effective in reducing feeding time fussiness. Dr. Brown bottles have been around since 1996 and their vent system ensures your little one doesn’t ingest too many air bubbles during feeding. But, as your baby grows, you might be wondering about the following.

When can you stop using vents in a Dr. Brown bottle?

The Dr Brown bottle vent can be removed when your baby doesn’t show any more signs of burping, pain or fussiness during feeding. Introducing solid food will also result in fewer gas bubbles, which is also a good indication that it’s time to remove the vents.

How does the vent in a Dr. Brown bottle work?

Before anti-colic bottles showed up on the scene, dealing with colicky babies was very difficult. Fortunately, anti-colic bottles are designed to reduce the air swallowed during feeds. Vented baby bottles give air bubbles a way to escape. In an unvented bottle, the air bubbles become trapped in the bottle and are sucked up by the baby. 

I recently wrote an extensive article on Dr. Brown’s bottles leaking and how the vent works. Simply put, Dr. Brown’s internal vent system works by channeling air away from the bottle’s contents. Eliminating air bubbles and negative air bubbles means there’ll be no air in the little one’s tummy. It’s this excessive air that causes cramps, excessive gas and reflux. These symptoms result in less fussing and discomfort during feeding. 

Can you use Dr. Brown bottles without the inserts?

The insert’s main purpose is to prevent air bubbles from getting trapped in the nipple. The Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow bottles can’t be used without the inserts. Dr. Brown’s Options bottles can be used with or without the vents. You just have to ensure the bottle is assembled correctly

Dr. Brown bottles blue vs green (Options vs Options Plus)

The revolutionary venting system comes in two different options. 

Blue inserts are the original bottles, also called the Options bottles. The green inserts are for the Options Plus bottles, which is just a newer version of the original Options bottles. Both types of bottles are clear with either a green or blue insert. Here’s where I wrote more about the Dr. Brown blue vs green comparison.

Dr. Brown's Options Plus Baby Bottles, 8 Ounce, 6 Count Plus 2 Bonus Level 2 Nipples and Sippy Spouts Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® Anti-Colic Baby Bottle with Level 1 Slow Flow Nipples, 8oz, 4 Pack 

It’s important to note that Dr. Brown’s Original bottles can’t be used without the venting system. Without the venting system, it will leak extensively. With the Original bottle, you’ll have to continue assembling the vent system. If you’re still bottle shopping, it might be a good idea to get the Options Plus to make this process easier as your baby gets older. 

Indications on when to stop using vents in a Dr. Brown bottle

If you’re a new parent, or it’s your first time using this type of baby bottle, you might be wondering how long it’s necessary to use the vent. If you could feed your baby without the vent, it will save a lot of time on assembling the extra components. The good news is, that you can eventually use Dr. Brown’s bottle without the inserts!

There are a few clear indications to look for that will help you determine when it’s time to stop using the vent on your Dr. Brown’s bottle. 

Baby starts eating solid food 

As your baby’s digestive system develops, you’ll begin introducing solid food. On average most babies start eating solid foods at around 6 months old. This isn’t a hard and fast rule though, as each baby is different.

Eating solid foods means your baby ingests fewer air bubbles from breastfeeding. When your little one starts having a solid food feeding without experiencing any of the usual baby colic symptoms. Feeding your baby the correct foods at each stage of their development will make it easy to deal with feeding time fussiness. 

Baby sits up without help 

Most babies can sit up on their own between the ages of 4 – 6 months. This puts them in a position to burp on their own. They also ingest less air during feeding if they can sit up during feeding. When your little one becomes comfortable sitting up during feeding, the vent in your Dr. Brown’s bottle isn’t needed. 

Colic symptoms disappear 

Remove the vent for a few consecutive feeding sessions and check if the usual colic symptoms have disappeared. If there are no fussing or clear signs of discomfort, you can remove the vent completely. 

Dr. Brown replacement vent inserts

If your Dr. Brown bottle vents are worn or damaged, the good news is you can easily replace them without having to buy a whole new bottle! 

Simply buy the Dr. Brown’s Standard 8 oz. Bottle Replacement Vent Kit. The kit includes a replacement disk, 2 vent inserts, vent tube and also features a bonus storage cap. These vent kits are suitable for all Dr. Brown’s wide neck 8oz bottles. 

Dr. Brown's Options+ Vent Replacement Kit for Wide-Neck Baby Bottles - 8oz

Do Dr. Brown bottles leak without the vent?

The short answer to this question is Dr. Brown’s Options bottle can easily be used without the internal venting system. Some parents have found that feeding time becomes much easier as their babies’ feeding becomes more developed. The trick is to ensure that the bottle is assembled properly to prevent leaking. 

I’ve included a few easy steps to follow to ensure your Dr. Brown bottles don’t leak without the vent:

  • Don’t overfill the bottle. This will reduce pressure build-up.
  • Ensure the liquid you’re pouring into the bottle isn’t too hot.
  • If you’re using formula, it’s a good idea to mix the formula before putting it in the bottle. This ensures there’s no pressure build-up and air getting trapped in the bottle during mixing.
  • Don’t over or under-tighten the bottle. Overtightening can cause excessive pressure, while under-tightening causes leaking. 
  • Let your baby feed in more of a sitting position than the lying down position you might have previously used. 

How to properly put the vent on Dr. Brown’s bottles

Often parents complain that Dr. Brown’s bottles tend to leak. The main reason for this is vents not being placed in correctly or the bottle not being tightened correctly. It’s crucial to insert the vents of a Dr. Brown’s bottle properly. Putting the vents in correctly will increase the Dr. Brown bottle lifespan and prevent parts from becoming worn. 

The simplest and most effective way to insert the vents is as follows:

  • Warm the bottle exactly as per the warming instructions. Ensure the bottle isn’t heated too much.
  • Snap the reservoir onto the insert.
  • Remove the nipple and collar.
  • Place the reservoir in the bottle.
  • Place the nipple and collar over the vent.
  • Tighten till none of the parts feel loose. 

Final Thoughts

Dr. Brown has been making baby bottles for the last 25 years and his products are regarded among the top bottles for colic and reflux. What’s more, Dr. Brown’s bottles are by far one of the most popular options to use with a baby suffering from colic or feeding issues. The good news is, that you can still use your baby’s favorite Dr. Brown bottle even after colic and reflux symptoms start subsiding. 

However, many parents are concerned that Dr. Brown’s bottles will leak once they’re used without the vents. I covered the Dr.Browns Bottles leaking issue in a recent article. 

Simply do a few feeding sessions without the vents and see how your baby reacts. If there are none of the usual fussing feeding symptoms, it’s a sign that your little one is ready to feed without the vent. When this happens, feeding time will suddenly become so much easier!

Last update on 2024-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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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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