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As a new mom, I was positively puzzled by all of the different brands that existed for the same products. People would ask me which brand of diapers I would prefer to receive at my baby shower – how was I supposed to know? I’d never done this before!
The same concepts applied to baby bottles, too. With so many brands out there – Nuk, Gerber, Tommee Tippee, Philips Avent, Medela, Comotomo, Playtex – how do you know which brand to buy? Which brand is best, and why? Don’t they all pretty much do the same thing? Ask me about bottle brands two years ago, and I would have probably said “Gerber?” (complete with the question mark).
Thankfully, I didn’t have to buy any bottles because I received plenty of samples from shopping at maternity clothing stores, or they came packaged with my breast pump, or I received them as gifts at my shower. Insofar as the samples were concerned, I kept receiving 5 oz. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Anti-Colic bottles. My first thought was “oh, cool – free stuff! I’m really going to like this pregnancy thing!” My second thought was “what the heck is a Tommee Tippee?”
I had never heard of the brand before and, to be honest, it wasn’t love at first sight. When I first opened the samples they felt significantly top-heavy, which was off-putting. Plus, their squatty-body design looked like they would make for an awkward grip when you were trying to get your adult-sized hand around it. How were you supposed to feed your baby without dropping the bottle right on his face?
Before I launch into my review insofar as my experience of actually using a Tommee Tippee bottle, let’s take a look at the selling points Tommee Tippee uses to try to sell their bottles, and then see how true-to-life those selling points proved to be:
What Tommee Tippee Says They Do
Here are the features that Tommee Tippee says you can enjoy by opting to buy their Closer to Nature Anti-Colic bottle:
- Optimum Venting: Parents of babies with colic want to do everything possible to give their little ones (and themselves) some relief from the nights of seemingly endless crying. This particular bottle is billed as having “optimum venting,” which allows for baby to take in more milk and less air while he eats. What parent wouldn’t want to try out a product that bills itself as the prevention or cure for colic? Less spit-up, fussiness, and gas, and more sleep? Sign me up!
- Smooth Transition: Nursing moms may worry that their baby won’t take to the bottle as well as they took to the breast, or that they won’t be able to take a bottle at all. This bottle claims to provide baby with an easy latch so that it’s practically effortless to go from the natural nipple to the plastic one.
- Slow Flow: Moms with fast letdowns know their babies can choke on milk that squirts out faster than they can drink it. Some bottles are guilty of this phenomenon, too. This bottle, however, claims to have a slower flow so that baby can eat without being gagged by too fast of a stream.
- Just Like the Real Thing: This bottle is supposedly designed to mimic the feel of a real breast. This makes it easier for Dad or someone else who isn’t Mom to feed the baby while giving baby the same comfort he feels when he’s nursing with Mom. This is also another feature that supposedly makes the transition from the breast to the bottle an easier one for baby.
- BPA-Free: Honestly, I didn’t really stop to consider whether or not certain plastics contained BPA before I became pregnant. Similarly, as soon as I was in the market for this stuff and adding products by the pound to my baby registry, I noticed how seemingly millions of products touted themselves to be BPA-free. I thought: what even is BPA anyway? BPA (or bisphenol A) is a chemical that is used in making certain plastics and resins. While the FDA says that BPA is safe in the lower levels it appears in some foods, the FDA is still researching BPA’s true effects; so, in the meantime, I figured I might as well be overly cautious, just in case.
Putting Tommee Tippee to the Test
I nursed my son when he was first born, and I still do now, 21 months later. However, I belonged to that very unfortunate and always-growing group of mothers who are ripped away from their children at the six-week mark by their jobs.
They say it is best for babies to be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of their lives, so what is a working mom to do when she still wants her baby to eat the finest that nature has to offer? She begins pumping at the four-week mark and freezes that “liquid gold” so that whoever is watching the baby while she is working has enough of a stash to feed baby on even the hungriest of days. For these purposes, I used Tommee Tippee bottles.
I can’t say why I opted for Tommee Tippee bottles over the other bottles I was given. Maybe I was subconsciously drawn to their small size and different shape. Maybe I was attracted to the idea of using a brand I had never used before. Of course, everyone expects a brand like Gerber or Nuk to be good, so what about this new (to me, anyway) brand? If it didn’t work out, then I wouldn’t have been as disappointed as I would have been had I discovered a faulty Gerber or Nuk bottle, so I had nothing to lose here and everything to gain.
- Colic Prevention/Cure: This right here is my main criticism of these bottles. I can see why a company would want to be known as the company that helped parents fight that evil colic…and win! Unfortunately, the only thing that helped my son finally conquer colic was time. We used these supposedly anti-colic bottles, we looked up “cures” for colic online, and nothing worked. He simply had to grow out of it, which meant three very long, sleepless months for Mom and Dad.
- Slow Flow: This is my runner-up criticism of these bottles. I have found it to be incredibly difficult to find a bottle that actually has a slow flow, mainly because either the nipple doesn’t work as well as it should, or because if the baby has teeth and bites holes into the nipple, then, of course the liquid is going to come out faster. I would say that I have a 50/50 relationship with slow flow nipples. Half the time, they work as they should, and half the time, they don’t. However, the size of these bottles (5 oz.) provided my son with the perfect amount of food to meet his appetite at the time, so that was a plus.
- Smooth Transition: My son is what they call a Velcro baby, meaning he will rarely detach himself from my hip. Look up “mama’s boy” in the dictionary, and there is probably a picture of him next to the definition. That being said, he was wonderful with using the bottle while I was at work. These bottles must have mimicked my nipple perfectly, because I had absolutely no trouble whatsoever in getting him to use these bottles, starting right at the four-week mark. This also allowed for some much-appreciated bonding time for Daddy when he was able to feed the baby with these bottles with no trouble whatsoever.
- Ease of Cleaning: This was not actually a feature mentioned in the description of these bottles, and it really should be. I never needed a pipe cleaner with these bottles because they were incredibly easy to clean. Their design, which I had thought at first was “weird,” actually made cleaning these bottles so much easier than cleaning the standard-shaped bottles. I was able to get every inch of the bottle and nipple clean because there were no hard-to-reach corners. They were smooth to wipe out with soap on a sponge, and then I just boiled them once a month or so to get them even cleaner – easy-peasy.
Summary: Pros and Cons
So here’s a sum-up of the “Pros” and “Cons” I encountered in using these particular Tommee Tippee bottles:
- Incredibly easy to clean
- Provided a super-smooth transition from the breast to the bottle
- Were the perfect size insofar as the amount of food my son needed in one sitting
- They did not provide my son with any relief whatsoever from his colic.
- I found the “slow flow” to be effective in about half of the bottles I used.
Final Call — a Good Value for the Money?
Overall, I would definitely recommend Tommee Tippee bottles over the other leading brands.
Despite being initially put off by their seemingly top-heavy design, these were the bottles I would reach for again and again to feed my still-nursing-but-bottle-fed-while-I-was-working infant.
They were actually comfortable to grip, they held the perfect amount of milk for each feeding session, they were insanely easy to clean, and my son was able to transition from the breast to the bottle with no hiccups whatsoever.