Breastflow Baby Bottles: Bad Buy

When I was looking into getting baby bottles for my breast-fed son I wanted one that was designed to mimic breastfeeding with a vacuum-suction so he wouldn’t get used to the faster flow of a traditional bottle and a natural nipple shape to avoid nipple confusion. I found the Breastflow bottles by The First Years and they seemed to be exactly what I was looking for.

Turns out, these were the worst baby bottles I have ever tried (and I’ve tried several different ones including Dr. Brown’s, Avent, Tommy Tippee, Playtex Nursers, and a few various store brands). The bottles are made so that your baby must use suction and compression as they do while nursing. The inner valve is supposed to allow baby to control the flow of the milk, however from my experience that was not the case.

Problems I had with these bottles

  • Baby takes in air during the initial sucking until the milk starts coming out which, unlike they claim, definitely does NOT prevent gas and spit-up.
  • Once the milk started flowing from the inner valve, the outer nipple would fill up with milk faster than the amount my baby would consume thus leading to leaks.
  • The milk comes out too fast once it reaches the outer nipple even with the level 1.
  • More parts to clean. (Ok, so they’re not as a pain to clean as the Dr. Brown’s bottles but you do have an extra part you have to clean which is not worth it for the trouble I had with these)
  • The markings are off by nearly a whole oz!

I was so disappointed by how these baby bottles didn’t work out, but used them for storing expressed milk in the fridge so at least my money wasn’t completely wasted. That’s when I noticed the readings were off. I pumped what measured out to 5oz of milk from my Medela collection bottles and when I transferred it to the Breastflow bottle it only measured out to approximately 4.25oz. So I took some water and several different bottles to check to see if it was the Breastflow bottle that was off or my collection bottles and it turns out it was the Breastflow bottle. So if you’re going by what your baby is taking in a bottle with these, the amount of consumption is actually inaccurate. This could also pose a problem for those using them with formula as the water to formula ratio won’t be accurate either. If you use the bottle to measure the water prior to mixing the formula will actually be diluted. I think the curvature of the bottle could have something to do with this.

The Alternatives

These were my favorite bottles to use for feeding expressed milk when I wasn’t around to nurse or while away from home (and to let someone else feed the baby so I could get a break from time to time.) These I found were good if you were switching back and forth from breast to bottle, and most likely work great with formula-fed babies as well.

     

The closest bottle I have tried to being perfect were the Avent. Although I really like the Dr. Brown’s bottles for their vent system which prevents spit-up and gas, the wide neck nipples don’t resemble the natural shape of mom’s like the Avent bottles. They are just wider so baby has to open their mouth wider as they would while nursing for a proper latch. In my opinion, the perfect bottle would be one with a natural nipple shape like Avent and the ventilation system of Dr. Brown’s. The Avent does have a vent system built into the nipple but air bubbles still get in the milk while baby is eating. I also liked the Playtex nursers. The only problem I had with them is that it really isn’t worth trying to squeeze the air out of the bags because 1.) sometimes the bag comes loose if you squeeze too much 2.) If you set the bottle down it fills back up with air. The pre-sterilized drop-in liners are convenient though making them the easiest to clean.

I’ve seen the Medela Calma bottles which supposedly work to mimic baby’s suckling while nursing but these run about $17 per bottle. After reading mixed reviews about them I wasn’t willing to dish out the extra money on yet another bottle that may or may not work (especially after my disappointment with the Breastflow). You can see what other moms who’ve tried the Calma bottle had to say about them here.

Comments

  1. All babies are different and no one type of bottle works for all of them.
    My first daughter wouldn’t take any other type of bottle but the Breastflow. Fortunately, I was blessed to be a stay at home mom at the time and she rarely needed a bottle so it wasn’t a frequent issue. I liked the insert idea and I never had any leakage issues.
    When I found out I was expecting daughter #2, I wanted a set of the Breastflow bottles to try again (as it was 5yrs later and I didn’t keep the prior ones) and she also only takes to the Breastflow bottles. I have, again, had no issues at all with leaks with them and the lady that keeps her while I attend classes (my first real experience with pumping for her to be fed by someone outside of our immediate family) adores them too.
    I haven’t noticed the gas/spit-up from either girl being any worse with the bottles than with nursing directly from the breast. And, as i’m fairly sure my nipples aren’t producing air, I can only guess that we simply have had different experiences with babies 🙂

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