One of the hardest things you might experience as a parent is watching your baby cry because of discomfort caused by reflux. The pain etched on their little face is absolutely horrible. That’s why it’s a good idea to look for the best bottles for reflux that you can find so that you can help your baby to feel better.
That is precisely what this article will help you to do! It will also discuss what reflux is and how it can be treated.
The Best Bottles For Reflux (Updated)
Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Bottles *Best Choice*
(*) Below, you'll find my detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Symptoms of Reflux
So, what does reflux look like in an infant? There are several key symptoms to keep in mind if you think your baby might have acid reflux. These symptoms may include:
- Lack of Weight Gain
- Forcefully Spits Up
- Odd Spit Up Color or Consistency
- Bloody Stool
- Lack of Appetite
- Chronic Cough
- Difficulty Breathing
- Seems Irritable or Gassy After Eating
- Starts Spitting Up Around 6 Months of Age
While all of these can be signs your baby is suffering from reflux, it is best to take them to a doctor so that they can help you determine if that truly is what is going on.
What Causes Reflux?
Every single baby in the world will occasionally spit up. This is mostly due to their liquid diet, the fact that they are flat on their backs for large periods of time, and the immaturity of their body systems. However, if a baby is spitting up multiple times per day or even per hour, there could be a more complex problem at play.
Some of the less likely, but more serious types of reflux might include a food allergy, a food intolerance, or as is shown here, GERD, which is when the stomach’s acid flows into the esophagus, causing irritation.
How Can Reflux Be Prevented Or Treated?
There are several ways that you can treat an infant’s acid reflux, and the best ways are actually usually the least intrusive and expensive, depending on how severely your baby is affected by their reflux. The methods for treatment include:
Medication and Surgery - If your baby has other symptoms caused by their reflux, like trouble breathing or an extreme lack of weight gain, your pediatrician may prescribe medication to control the amount of stomach acid or surgery to strengthen the seal between stomach and esophagus.
Change Their Sleeping Position - If your baby often spits up during the night, you may want to look into changing their sleeping position. There are several options available to elevate your baby while they remain sleeping on their back, like this Rock and Play.
Alter How You Hold Them - Once you have finished feeding your baby, try and hold them upright almost immediately, giving their stomach’s contents a chance to settle.
Burp Often - Make sure that you burp your baby after every feeding. If air gets trapped inside of their stomach, it is more likely to cause them to spit up.
Give More Frequent Feedings - A baby that has a full belly is more likely to spit up the contents, especially since reflux is usually caused by a weak stomach. If you feed your baby more often but feed them less, it may help them keep their meal down.
Adjust Bottle and Nipple Size - This may take a bit of trial and error, but you want to look for a bottle that will keep the nipple full of milk/formula, thus limiting the amount of air your baby swallows. This is by far the easiest way to treat reflux in a bottle fed baby and will usually solve the problem the quickest.
Bottle Features To Combat Reflux
Since adjusting the bottle or nipple type will help you combat your baby’s reflux really quickly, you should understand the best features in a bottle for treating reflux. These features include:
Proper Nipple Size - Since each baby is a bit different, you need to make sure that the nipple size that you are utilizing remains full of milk during feedings. This will make sure that your baby swallows as little air as possible during feedings, making them easier to burp and less likely to spit up.
Air Flow Control Valve - The very best bottles for reflux will have some sort of air eliminating system, which will either reduce or eliminate air bubbles in their formula/milk. This feature helps to reduce your baby’s gassiness, which makes them less likely to spit up.
Top Five Bottles For Reflux
The Good: Out of all the different bottles that I checked out, Dr. Brown’s, which you can purchase here, are by far the best bottles for reflux on the market today. They can be purchased with different size nipples, making it easy to find the right size for your baby.
What really sets these apart when compared to other bottles on the market, however, is their vacuum system which removes pretty much all of the air from the milk/formula, creating a feeding experience akin to breastfeeding. This will help your little one to more easily keep down their meal since they won’t be dealing with an excess of gas in their tummy.
Another huge benefit of this system is the fact that since the air is never introduced into the milk, there is no chance for oxidation to occur. This helps to make sure that all of the essential nutrients and vitamins found in the milk remain in the milk.
The Bad: These are an absolutely fantastic baby bottle, so there really isn’t too much that they do poorly. However, their airtight design makes them a bit difficult to clean, since they need to be fully disassembled in order to reach each area effectively.
Summary: A bottle with multiple size nipples and an air removal vent system, Dr. Brown’s bottles are a wonderful way to help prevent reflux.
The Good: Another good option to help reduce the amount of air that your baby will consume, the Tomee Tippee, which you can check out here, have some great features to help alleviate your baby’s reflux. Firstly, they come with a natural feeling, slow flow nipple, which, since it is slow flowing, will remain full while your baby is eating.
While not quite as advanced as Dr. Brown’s vent system, the Tomee Tippee bottles vent works remarkably well at removing most air bubble from your baby’s milk before they drink it. This system is relatively straightforward, as there are simply vents built into the sides of the bottle, which allows air to escape, rather than be trapped in the milk.
Another great feature to help a breastfed baby accept the bottle is their shape and feel. The nipples are extremely soft and natural feeling and the bottle is itself is shaped to feel like the real deal to your baby.
The Bad: You really need to make sure that you have the right size nipple for these. Otherwise, instead of getting the right amount of milk or even just a faster or slower flow than your baby needs, you might actually have a nipple collapse upon itself. This might make your baby fussy and should be avoided.
Summary: A naturally feeling bottle that is vented to remove air, the Tomee Tippee is a great way to reduce reflux in your baby.
The Good: Much like the Tomee Tippee bottle, this offering from Comotomo is designed to closely replicate or mimic a mother’s breast, helping breastfed babies to easily transition between the two, without, hopefully, rejecting either. The is accomplished with the design of the bottle and the materials used in its production. Both the bottle and nipple are made with BPA free silicone, making them just as soft as the real thing.
This bottle also features a vent system to help remove air bubble from the milk before your baby’s consumption. While it worked to remove some air, since it is just a gravity system, it wasn’t as effective as some others on this list.
Depending on how your baby drinks, there are multiple nipples available, with each having a different flow speed. This will also help to keep air out of the milk.
The Bad: Since this is the smallest bottle on the list, they might not be able to hold enough milk for one feeding. This would create extra work for you, since you would have to either prepare two at the same time, or make another right after the first one. In the meantime, your baby could become a bit fussy.
Summary: The Comotomo Natural, which you can check into here, is designed to mimic a mother's breast closely and has air removal vents to reduce reflux and colic. You can also purchase a wide array of nipples with varying flow speeds to remove air from your baby's milk better.
The Good: While this MAM bottle, which is available for purchase here, features a vent much like many of the other bottles listed here, it has one cool design feature on the nipple that, while not specifically for reflux, will help to reduce it anyways.
The nipples have a texture built into them that is supposed to simulate a real nipples mouthfeel. Now, the reason that this has been put into place is to help you transition to bottles from exclusive breastfeeding since the baby should not be able to tell the difference. The added benefit of this textured top, however, is that since the baby will be less likely to reject it, they will be less likely to swallow excess air while fussing, which will reduce the risk of reflux.
These bottles are also designed to be easy to clean. This is achieved through their extra-wide base, which will allow you to get a brush in easily. They can also be quickly and effectively sterilized in the microwave in mere minutes.
The Bad: While these bottles will effectively remove air from your baby’s milk, they can be a bit tricky to put back together. If you don’t have it just right, you will actually allow a lot more air in, which would obviously make your baby’s reflux that much worse.
Summary: A simple vented bottle with an ingenious nipple design, these MAM bottles can be cleaned quickly and should help to alleviate some of your child’s reflux symptoms.
The Good: Another solid option for reducing the amount of air in your baby’s milk, these bottles again feature a vent in the nipple itself, which allows your baby to get all milk and no air.
The nipples can be purchased with varying flow rates. As your baby grows, they will generally need a faster flow of milk to keep them satisfied, while a younger baby needs a slower milk flow to keep them from gagging. Be sure to pay close attention to your baby when they feed to be sure that you have the right nipple for their age and drinking style.
The Bad: Out of all of the bottles reviewed, these Avent bottles were the hardest to get the nipple flow/size just right. Make sure that you test out several different nipple flows with your baby to make sure that you have the right fit for whatever developmental stage they are in currently.
Summary: The Philips Avent is another solid option for a baby with reflux. The vented nipple and flow speed control will help to reduce the amount of air your baby ingests. If you want more information on these bottles, please click here.
And The Winner Is...
While there can be lots of causes for your baby’s reflux, one of the first and best steps you can take to solving this big problem is to change your bottle type. If you take the time and switch to a bottle with some kind of air removal system, most babies with moderate reflux should show signs of improvement almost immediately.
You should also make sure that you are using a nipple with the proper flow speed for your infant, as this can also help to reduce the amount of air that they are ingesting during feedings.
That is why I would highly recommend Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Bottles! They have the best air removal system, which left virtually no air in the milk during testing. This will not only help your baby to combat their reflux, but will also allow them to absorb as many nutrients as possible during their feedings.
What A Relief!
I truly hope that this is the case for you! If you have any questions, comments, or recommendations of your own, please let us know in the comments section below. Good luck!