You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the perfect baby bottle for your child. There are all kinds of different bottles available, with a variety of materials and all with their own pros and cons.
When plastic bottles were introduced, they quickly gained popularity because of their durability and lighter weight.
However, a few studies revealed that these bottles contained BPA (Bisphenol-A), which is known to be toxic and harmful for long-term consumption. This caused many parents to switch back to glass bottles. More recently, many parents have discovered the benefits of silicone bottles, and have once again moved to switch to the seemingly safer alternative.
Glass baby bottles, although easy to clean, have several drawbacks. They are heavier than plastic bottles, more expensive, and are easily broken. On the other hand, glass is a popular choice among parents who refuse to settle for the issues common to any other type of bottle.
Below, we will discuss the pros and cons of all three types of baby bottles.
Background on Plastic Bottles and BPA
Many years ago, plastic bottles were the norm. Manufacturers began using BPA to line the inside of these bottles as a protective layer because it was durable and inert since we did not know how dangerous they could be at that time.
When researchers came out with reports about BPA’s hazardous toxicity, children being exposed to BPA led to heart disease, liver toxicity, increased likelihood of anxiety and depression.
These revelations about BPA eventually influenced the government to restrict its usage in bottles for infants who are younger than 3 years old due to the high risk of future harm. Most (but not ALL) plastic baby bottle manufacturers have phased out BPA in their products.
Glass Baby Bottles
Pros of Glass Baby Bottles
Here are the key features that make glass bottles so special:
- Glass is free from BPA
This is generally the main reason why parents go for glass bottles over others.
Glass baby bottles do not contain BPA, so you can be 100% sure that your baby is safe from BPA when using them.
- Glass is nonporous, so it will never leach any substances into the milk
Glass baby bottles do not absorb liquids or chemicals and are tough enough to resist scratches forming on the inside surfaces. This is why they are much more sanitary.
In other words, the milk does not collect in the minuscule scratches as it does with plastics, which provides a breeding ground for bacteria. Sanitation is key to your baby’s health, so you should consider this before making your purchase.
- Microwave and dishwasher safe
Glass is durable, so it won’t scratch, and it can withstand the heat of a microwave or a dishwasher without melting or cracking.
Glass bottles thus can be heated in a microwave or dishwasher without fear of ruining them.
- Do not absorb color or odor, and are easy to clean
Glass baby bottles do not absorb colors, but the rubber nipples they may come with could discolor over time.
Glass baby bottles do not absorb odor like a plastic or silicone bottle does. The absorbed odors could affect the taste of milk. With glass, no odor can be absorbed, so this is not an issue.
- Do not lose their shape
I have seen plastic bottles that have lost their shape due to being subjected to high temperatures. In addition, if you freeze your baby’s milk in a plastic bottle, the bottle swells and loses its shape.
Glass bottles do not lose their shape when heated. However, they may break if kept in the freezer, and the cap is tightly closed.
- Environmentally friendly
Because glass bottles never change color or scratch, they can last for years. You can reuse a glass baby bottle and just switch out the nipple for every child.
The fact that you can keep reusing the same glass bottle over the years means that it is more environmentally friendly than disposable plastic and silicone bottles, both of which cannot be reused since they do not last long.
With plastic and silicone, all the washing with detergent and brushes, sterilizing in hot water, and heating of the milk will cause their materials to deteriorate very fast. Thus, they can hardly survive past the first child before starting to look and feel questionable.
Cons of Glass Baby Bottles
- Prone to shattering
It is tough for glass bottles to break when they fall, but when they do break, they tend to shatter, creating a dangerous mess for everyone involved.
Any rogue broken piece of glass can cause serious injury to a child, so feeding children should be done with care.
If you have a glass bottle break in the dishwasher, for example, you need to be VERY sure that there isn’t glass in another bottle or cup.
Not only this but if the glass bottle is chipped or broken after dropping it in the sink – do not reuse it. It is highly recommended that you discard any bottles that have been dropped as they may continue to chip and cause health hazards; such as when bits of broken glass fall into a baby’s milk.
- Higher Priced
The difficulty with glass bottles is that they are not made from a cheap material like plastic, so they can be expensive for the manufacturer to produce. This cost is passed on to the consumer, though, and results in higher prices for glass items.
The saving grace about them is that they can last a lot longer than plastic bottles for the price. It’s a tough call – cheaper plastics may break or deform too quickly and require frequent replacements. It all depends on your needs!
Glass is heavy, or at least heavier than plastic or silicone. This makes it more difficult for your baby to hold, but also difficult to travel with.
When traveling with a baby, two bottles are typically needed; one with milk and another for water/juice.
Your diaper bag will be heavier (and possible louder) when carrying glass bottles compared to plastic or silicone.
- Harder to grip
These bottles are not as easy for your baby to grip. This is due to their smoother surfaces.
Fortunately, some manufacturers have noticed the need to help babies hold their glass bottles and have introduced silicone sleeves to give them something to hold onto.
While you can find glass baby bottles with sleeves on them, there aren’t as common as plastic ones so often you will have to purchase one separately.
- Not readily available
Glass bottles are just not as popular these days.
Some stores do sell them. However, you may be limited in your selection because not all stores will carry glass bottles.
You may also find some online retailers but again, you won’t have as many choices as with silicone or plastic bottles.
While there are hundreds of plastic bottle manufacturers, only a handful of companies still manufacture high-quality glass baby bottles.
Plastic Baby Bottles
Pros of Plastic Baby Bottles
Here are the key features that make plastic bottles worth considering:
Plastic baby bottles are generally cheaper than glass bottles. You can get a set of 10 plastic baby bottles for the same price as a single glass bottle.
Depending on the size of your family, you may need to buy more or less than 10. However, that is a very small investment compared to buying one glass bottle which can cost as much as $70 just for one bottle.
- Variety of options
There are different sizes, shapes, and colors of plastic baby bottles. You can find something that suits your preferences.
Models exist specific to everything from colic to breastfed babies. They are affordable and available.
Cons of Plastic Baby Bottles
- Leaching effect
Plastic bottles are known to leach chemicals called phthalates into baby’s milk and other drinks.
Although it is a small amount, the leaching can start when the plastic bottles are exposed to heat such as dishwashers or sterilizers. In fact, there have been cases where medical problems and illnesses in babies were found to have been caused by leaching from plastic baby bottles.
- Harder to clean
There is also the concern for safety when it comes to cleaning plastic baby bottles. The dishwasher can leave behind a residue which may be harmful and then there are germs hiding in every nook and cranny of the inside of those bottles waiting for something tasty like your baby’s saliva… yuck!
If you inspect a plastic baby bottle from the inside, it will be covered with visible impurities and scratches… yuck again! These scratches are formed after each washing no matter how well you scrub, so you may wonder if there’s an invisible layer of mold growing around all those little nooks and crannies in your plastic baby bottles.
- Deform from heat and wear
Plastics are known to deform when exposed to high-temperature heat like of microwaves. Some plastic baby bottles have warning labels about this, but others don’t.
The same applies for putting bottles through the dishwasher, or when using a bottle warmer.
- BPA Concerns
Most manufacturers have removed BPA from their plastic bottles, but do you really want to leave it to chance?
Always check with the packaging, ensure that any plastic bottle you buy for your baby is advertised as BPA-FREE. It’s not worth leaving it to chance!
See also: How To Sterilize Mam Bottles
Silicone Baby Bottles
Pros of Silicone Baby Bottles
Here are the key features that make Silicone bottles great:
- Does not Leach, and Dishwasher safe!
The material is easy to clean because it doesn’t absorb stains or odors. It’s even dishwasher-safe! This material has a great safety record, and it is also hypoallergenic.
- Soft and flexible
Has a soft and natural feel to it. It is flexible and can be squeezed if needed.
Durable material that does not crack or break easily. Silicone bottles can also handle hot liquids without a problem.
- BPA Free
Silicone is not ever made with any BPA. Problem avoided!
Cons of Silicone Baby Bottles
- Harder to find in stores
Since these bottles are made of newer material, they aren’t as easily available as plastic or glass bottles. Many places still don’t have them, and there won’t be as many variations and color options.
That said, they most likely can be purchased online.
- Slightly more expensive
Unfortunately, silicone doesn’t come cheap. It is more costly than plastic but cheaper than glass.
It may be worth it if you are concerned about the chemical leaching in plastic baby bottles.
After reading this article, you should know the advantages and disadvantages of glass, plastic, and silicone baby bottles.
We consider silicone to be the best middle-ground between plastic and glass bottles, with the best of both worlds while retaining an affordable price tag.
However, the final decision comes down to what you and your baby are most comfortable with.
We’ve also heard that some moms prefer stainless steel bottles! Maybe we’ll include those in a future write-up.
Now that you’ve decided on your baby bottles, maybe you should think about a breast pump diaper bag?
See also: Affordable Breast Pump Bags
What type of bottle did you prefer for your little one?
Let us know your story in the comments!