Dr Brown Bottles - Leaks, Nipple Size, Plastic/Glass, Traveling

A glass vs plastic 8oz Dr Brown Bottle.
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Even with COVID, there were many brick and mortar stores (such as Target, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon) offering free baby gift packs for creating a baby registry. The most common and useful items were the baby bottles from various brands. It was an easy way for us to try out the popular baby bottle brands to decide which one best fit our babies needs.

Pro Tips:

  1. Try a few different bottle brands to start, but ultimately choose one brand to help prevent nipple confusion with the baby.
  2. If you're planning on buying a baby sterilizer, choose one that matches the bottle brand you ultimately decide on. The design of the sterilizer will better match the bottle.
  3. Stay on the lookout for pressure in balance, which may mean a clogged venting system or it's time to upgrade the nipple size.

Why Dr Brown Bottles Work So Well?

The addition of the straw provides a clear route for air to enter the Dr Brown bottle as the baby sucks. Think the complete opposite of how you use a straw when drinking liquid as an adult. This way, it reduces the change of pressure buildup behind the bottle. The more pressure in the bottle, the more sucking power the baby needs to get to the formula. Therefore, having the straw reduces the pressure and makes feeding easier on the baby and the parents!

However, having the route for the air to enter the bottle is a double edge sword. It helps with feeding, but can cause the biggest complaint, which is Dr Brown Bottle's leaking.

Biggest Complaint: Leaking Dr Brown Bottles

The biggest compliant with Dr Brown bottles is the report of leaking bottles. Whenever this happens, there's a series of steps I take to try to figure out the problem. There are two main ways I can tell a Dr Brown bottle leaks:

  1. When the bottle is upsides down, formula or breast milk can enter thru thru the straw. Once it gets into the straw, the liquid flows thru the screws of the lid.
  2. When pouring formula into the bottle, make sure no liquid spills onto the threading of the bottle. Also, make sure the threading on the lid is clear of any liquid. Since the threading is much thinner than the straw, any liquids in the threading will jam up the air route causing liquid to potentially escape as the baby tries to equalize the pressure.
  3. Don't overflow the bottle. The increase the chance of the straw being submerged in formula/breast milk thereby causing a leak. If you can see the straw when the bottle is set on a table or flat surface, there shouldn't be liquid in the straw above the existing level of liquid. If there is, there's likely a pressure in-balance. To help, I sometimes gently squeeze the bottle (plastic only) to try and re-calibrate the pressure. The first time I tried this, I squeezed too hard and formula spilled everywhere.
  4. Some of the Dr Brown Bottle lids are clear. If you watch carefully, you may see liquid movement as the baby is feeding. If there is liquid in the threading, its likely to cause a leak. My suggestion is to carefully dry out the threading (both on the bottle and the lid) with a clean burp cloth.

Upgrading Nipple Size

I did not realize that the nipple size would need to be upgraded. Bottles start with size one and the number is engraved into the rubber nipple. I never saw the umber until we upgraded to size 2. The guidelines for when to upgrade nipple sizes are below:

Though every baby will be different, I noticed that when my baby started becomes continuously fussy over a week during feeding times (he's usually very cooperative when drinking formula/breast milk the Dr Brown bottles), it was an indication that it's time to upgrade. The flow on the current nipple was likely too slow and I assume his fussiness was due to his impatience while drinking.

Another indication that it's time to upgrade the nipple is when I set my bottle down on the table during feedings, I would hear a fizzling sound, which I realized was coming from the nipple of the bottle. I believe that was the air pressure inside the bottle normalizing with the outside pressure, and the sound was coming from formula bouncing around the tip of the nipple.

The biggest advantage here is that a large nipple size drastic increases how fast he can drink, which makes a big difference in how quickly it takes to finish a feeding.

Sterilizing Dr Brown Baby Bottle

Our biggest mistake was purchasing our sterilizer (which was also a last minute upgrade from the artsy looking Boon Countertop Drying Rack) before we finalized on one bottle brand. With all the parts for the Dr Brown, it requires a lot of space aside from the bottle and the nipple, there's also the straw and rubber straw holder. The Dr Brown Sterilizer has a much larger rack to hold these components. That being said, the highly reviewed Baby Brezza worked perfectly, aside from the minor leaks during the sterilizing/cleaning process (however, it may be due to my eye-balling the pouring in of distilled water).

That brings up an extra note that purchasing a sterilizer will recommends using distilled water instead of tap. 1 gallon of distilled water goes for about $1 each at our grocery store, Safeway.

Washing Dr Brown Bottles also takes a bit more times since there are more parts. But that's a small price to pay for a clean and effective bottle.

Plastic vs Glass Baby Bottles

It's best to have a combination of both. Like most, we started our purchase with all plastic baby bottles of the 4oz size. After watching videos regarding risk of any micro-plastics from plastic baby bottles disintegrating into the formula with the daily uses of heating, we decided to start add glass baby bottles when we needed the 8oz size bottle. We had already previously purchases 8oz plastic baby bottles, so we ended up with a combination, which worked perfectly. When we're out on the road or dropping the baby off at the grandparent's home, we always used plastic bottles to avoid the chance of glass shattering. At home, we prioritized using glass bottles whenever possible.

Other advantages to glass bottles, especially with the 8oz bottle is that the glass helps to keep the formula in the bottle warm. Be careful though, because the warmed bottle is also hotter to touch than a warmed plastic bottle. Overall, I personally find that a glass baby bottles requires less reheating than a plastic baby bottle.

Traveling with Dr Brown Bottles

One thing that took us awhile to realize is the cover that fits under the bottle lid to prevent leaks. It's a small circular piece of plastic that is easily overlooked that blocks the air vent, which also prevents formula from leaking out of the bottle. Save those pieces and use it when you pre-fill Dr Brown bottles with formula, and also want to prevent leaks.

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