Feeding time can be the most stressful part of the day for any home with young children. Everything seems to be peaceful, you're just thinking about getting a bottle ready.
Then the crying starts. Suddenly, emotions seem to be running very high indeed. If your baby is suffering from colic, feeding time can be a nightmare.
Colic is a somewhat mysterious condition, characterized by intense crying with no clear cause. It’s generally thought that colic is related to feeding and digestion.
If your baby is struggling with colic, you want to do all you can to make them happy. For many of us, this means experimenting with different formulas and feeding methods.
Dr Brown’s bottles were created specifically to target colic by limiting the amount of air swallowed during feeding, and are a popular choice with parents. In this review, we’ll see if Dr Brown’s bottles really can make a difference.
If you want to find out which is the Best Formula for Colic, be sure to read our review.
Dr Brown’s isn’t just a brand name — these bottles were designed by an actual doctor, with the purpose of reducing colic, spit-up, and gas in babies.
The Dr Brown’s bottle uses a unique internal vent system to reduce the amount of excess air that’s swallowed in each gulp. Swallowed air sits in the stomach, and can lead to burping, spit-up, and gas.
This excess air is thought to be a potential cause of colic. For babies, the experience is strange, painful, and uncomfortable, and leads to lots of crying.
But by directing air away from the milk or formula, less is swallowed, making for a happier feeding time. At least, that’s the premise behind Dr Brown’s bottles.
Dr Brown’s bottles have received numerous awards, and can be found everywhere from hospitals to kitchen counters. The bottles are so popular that the range has expanded to meet more of your children’s needs. But in this review, we’ll take a look at two of the most popular designs - Natural Flow and Options - and see how they stack up.
Dr Brown’s The Original Natural Flow Review
First released in 1996, Dr Brown’s Original Natural Flow bottle is an award-winning anti-colic design. The final bottle was created after lots of trial and error, and uses a unique internal vent system to remove excess air during feeding.
Using Dr Brown’s Natural Flow Bottles
Our initial impression of the Dr Brown’s Natural Flow bottle was that it seemed simple. It didn’t catch the eye in the same way other vented bottles do, and we wondered if such a basic design could live up to its promise. However, we quickly learned the benefits of simplicity when the bottle was put together in seconds.
The slim profile made the bottle easy to hold and adjust. It also meant the bottle could slip into diaper bags. The slightly narrow neck made filling with formula a little tricky, but not problematic enough to cause real issues.
Of course, the real test of the Natural Flow bottle is in the using. The bottles were easy to hold, although we had to double-check the cap was tight to prevent leaking. With multiple nipples available in different levels of flow, feeding can be adapted to suit different ages and appetites.
Scores of parents have reported that using Dr Brown’s bottles really did reduce gas, colic, and spit-up. It seems the venting system does work, and works very well. By funneling the air completely away from the food, your baby can feed comfortably, and at their own pace.
What We Like
First, the venting system is fantastic, and there’s nothing else on the market like it. Parents that have found other vented bottles make no difference, love the Natural Flow design from Dr Brown’s.
This is what the bottle is designed to do, and it does it well. There are no complaints when it comes to the venting system, which is really what the whole thing is about.
Second, the bottle is dishwasher and sterilizer safe. Cleaning can still be a little complex, particularly when dealing with the venting system, but not noticeably so.
The nipple was really easy to clean, and we loved being able to put the bottles in the dishwasher after a busy day.
The Natural Flow bottles are plastic, but they are all BPA-free. You can feel comfortable using this bottle, knowing you aren’t exposing your child to chemicals.
The bottle is also designed to preserve the nutrients in milk. Although we can’t say this was a benefit we really noticed, it isn’t a feature we’d complain about!
What We Didn’t Like
The Natural Flow bottles have a tendency to leak, particularly if you put them on their side. These aren’t great travel bottles, which is a shame as the rest of the design is so good.
The price is good, if not exceptional. Honestly, if they didn’t leak so much, they’d be more than worth the cost. However, the leaking problem does reduce some usability. You might find it necessary to buy other bottles for use on the go, upping the overall spend.
However, the leaking is a minor concern, and if you’ve found feeding time has become a colic nightmare, then you might find leaked milk is a small price to pay.
Dr Brown’s Options Anti-Colic Bottle Review
The Options bottle by Dr Brown’s is the Natural Flow bottle with some added benefits. It features the same fantastic venting system as the Natural Flow, but this time, it’s removable. This makes the bottle more adaptable to your little one's changing needs.
Using Dr Brown’s Options Anti-Colic Bottles
The first thing you’ll notice when purchasing the Options bottle is that there are a couple of choices. Choose between plastic or glass, and wide neck or narrow.
The wide neck bottle is particularly useful if you’re using formula, as you can minimize spills. All Dr Brown’s bottles come with clearly marked measurements, so you can fill accurately.
The venting system was just as good as it ever was, removing gas from the milk to make for a fuss-free feeding (or as fuss-free as feeding can get). But the brilliance of the Options bottle is that the venting system can be removed.
This means as your baby grows, and colic becomes less of a problem, you can keep using the Dr Brown’s bottle. Without the venting system, the flow is faster, adapting to the growing needs of your child!
What We Like
The Options Anti-Colic bottle from Dr Brown’s performs just as well as the Natural Flow bottle, but with added versatility. Being able to remove the internal venting means that this is a bottle you can use as your child grows.
The bottle is good value for money, particularly as you can keep on using it as your baby develops. The glass option is more expensive, but not badly priced. You can definitely find bottles that perform worse and cost more.
You have plenty of choices when it comes to both the Natural Flow and the Options bottle, but Options certainly offers more variety. As well as plastic bottles in different sizes, Options is also available in glass bottles. As we’re trying to cut down on plastic, we really appreciated the choice.
What We Didn’t Like
The Options Anti-Colic bottle leaks even more than the Natural Flow bottle. Some parents have reported that this leakage has even led to them abandoning the bottle, and using other options. We think the leaking is only a minor concern compared to the colic prevention, but not everyone will agree.
With a few more parts, the Options bottle is harder to clean. It is dishwasher safe, but the fiddly venting system can be frustrating when you can’t get all the milk out.
Again, we feel the benefits of the Options Anti-Colic design make up for the shortcomings. But if you do plan on using the bottle on the go, be prepared for some spilled milk.
Where To Buy Dr Brown’s Bottles
Dr Brown’s bottles are the number one baby bottle in America, so you can find them in most baby stores.
Dr Brown’s Bottles are also available from the Dr Brown’s website, where you can find testimonials from parents who have had success with the system.
The venting system of Dr Brown’s bottles is remarkable, and the fantastic colic reduction makes up for some small issues with leakage.
Colic can be a serious problem, and for parents of suffering babies, it might feel like an issue with no solution. If this is you, we highly recommend giving Dr Brown’s bottle system a go.
The rigorous testing process has resulted in a bottle you can trust, sold at a fair price, and widely available.