Baby Bottle Comparison – Philips Avent, Playtex, and Dr. Brown’s

Having recently had a baby, I’ve been doing my share of comparison shopping on all kinds of products. Even before having my daughter, I was trying to find out everything I could about bottles so I could get the best ones whether she was drinking pumped milk), formula, or both.

I read reviews on several websites,including Babies R Us, Target, and Amazon. Overall, the two bottle brands that seemed to get the highest ratings were Dr. Brown’s and Playtex. Closely behind was Tommee Tippee. Based on the reviews, I first chose to purchase the Playtex bottles with the plastic Drop Ins. I had received a coupon for Avent products, and while Target had a sale, I decided to take advantage. I purchased one Avent bottle. After a few weeks, I decided it was worth testing out another brand, so I picked up two of the Dr. Brown’s bottles.

Here’s what I found.

Philips Avent BPA Free
I purchased one Philips Avent BPA Free bottle and used it immediately when feeding pumped breastmilk or Enfamil formula to my daughter. The bottle has an anti-colic valve and a wide bottle shape. I first noticed that the bottle leaked a bit if the adapter ring was not put in correctly. Once I realized how I was supposed to put it together, it stopped leaking. However, if you read product reviews of the Avent bottles, this is a big complaint. I don’t know whether people just aren’t reading the directions or if there are some faulty bottles out there.

Since this was the first bottle I tried to use, I didn’t have much to compare its effectiveness against. However, it seemed like my baby was able to suck out the liquid too fast, causing her to spill it all over herself and get hiccups more easily. I didn’t yet know whether I cared for the wider shape of the bottle or if I’d prefer the thinner shape on the Dr. Brown’s bottles. Since it seemed like it was tricky for her to use, I kind of wrote off the Avent bottle and switched to the Playtex Drop Ins system (more about that below).

However, after trying Playtex and Dr. Brown’s, and doing well with them, I tried out the Avent bottle again with my daughter at about seven weeks. Something interesting happened. She held the bottle by herself! She no longer sucked out the liquid too quickly and she seemed to really like using this bottle. So, when she started to eat five ounces or more formula in one sitting, I purchased the nine ounce Avent bottles.

Overall, the Avent bottles are my favorite sets. There aren’t many pieces to assemble, disassemble, or clean. My daughter doesn’t seem to spit up much after eating from them, and an added bonus is that the bottles themselves can be used with older children by snapping on a sippy cup lid.

Typical prices for the Avent bottles are $17 to $20 for a 3-pack.

Playtex Drop Ins
Reviewers like the Playtex Drop Ins system because of the convenient disposable liners and the latex nipples. I purchased the four ounce and eight ounce sizes, but only used the four ounce liners to start.

My daughter seemed to do well with the slow flow nipples. She didn’t get too much liquid out at a time and didn’t seem to fuss or spit up much. However, after a month, several of the nipples had worn out. They started to collapse when she was trying to eat, which frustrated her and often covered her in spilled formula. And while I think these bottles are convenient and work pretty well, having to purchase the disposable plastic liners seemed expensive and wasteful. I decided to move on to something else and I had been curious about the Dr. Brown’s bottles.

Typical prices for the Playtex bottles are $12-$15 for a 3-pack and $4 per pack of four ounce liners.

Dr. Brown’s Polypropylene
The Dr. Brown’s bottle has a two-piece internal vent system to mimic breastfeeding and keep the nipple from collapsing. The bottle is designed to reduce colic, gas, and spit up while it preserves the nutrients in the food.

When my daughter was really little and had a tiny mouth, this bottle was my favorite. The nipple kept the liquid from flowing too fast and it was fairly lightweight to hold. The biggest frustration for me became assembling and disassembling all the parts. It was tedious for a bottle that didn’t seem to work that much better than the others I had used. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I don’t believe in taking extra steps unless I see extra benefits.

Typical prices for the Dr. Brown’s bottles are $13-$18 for a 3-pack.

Final Thoughts
Every bottle manufacturer claims to be the best at reducing colic, gas, spit up, and to be the closest to breastfeeding. My experiences seem to differ from a lot of other people’s, which leads me to believe nothing is a guarantee to work for any child. Unfortunately, that may make for some wasted money on purchases that don’t work well, but I can say none of the three brands I tried was “bad.” What I recommend is to avoid stocking up on any one brand. Just buy one bottle for a few selected brands until you find the best for your child/children. Check out the photos to see how each bottle brand compares to others visually.

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