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Message in a Bottle

Feeding plays a big part in bonding with your baby, and adoptive moms and dads know that the right bottle can make a difference. Here, readers review their five favorites.



Gerber GentleFlow
// gerber.com // from $3.25
Reviewed by Holly O’Brien and Cheyenne (U.S., adopted at two weeks), Portland, Oregon

Why we used it: My daughter’s speech pathologist recommended the Gerber GentleFlow after we’d tried a few other bottles without much success.

Feeding: Cheyenne was a premature baby, and her many feeding challenges included an oral aversion. Even when she was hungry, she often refused bottles, until we tried this one. The nipple is soft, and she could control the amount of formula she took in.

Traveling: I prepared Cheyenne’s bottles in advance when we went on trips, and they were sturdy and easy to travel with. We’ve had no problems with spilling.

Avent Natural Feeding
// aventamerica.com // from $5.49
Reviewed by Lisa Wilson and Maria (one, Guatemala), St. Louis, Missouri

Why we used it: I think liners are a costly hassle, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. I chose Avent, in particular, because of the company’s claim that this bottle is most similar to breastfeeding.

Feeding: My daughter was slow in developing the muscles used for sucking. The Avent system sets the mouth in a position that promotes oral development. I believe using this bottle is why Maria has had no ear infections to date.

Traveling: There are only three parts—ring, nipple and bottle—so it’s easy to clean. I appreciated the large, easy-to-read measurement indicators when I was exhausted from travel and still getting used to a baby’s sleep schedule.

Learning Curve Soothie
// learningcurve.com // from $3.99
Reviewed by Sonya Dobbins and Stephen Josiah (U.S., adopted as newborn), Indian Trail, North Carolina

Why we used it: I didn’t want the expense of liners, and I found this bottle during one of my baby shopping expeditions during “the wait.”

Feeding: The numbers on the side are easy to read and the wide top makes the bottle easy to fill and clean. The shape—wider at the top and bottom, slender in the middle—makes it comfortable to hold.

Traveling: I highly recommend the formula cups that attach to the bottom of the bottle. You can pre-measure the amount to take on a trip or to leave for the babysitter. At mealtime, you just add the cup’s contents to the water and shake.

Playtex Nurser Drop-Ins System
// playtexproductsinc.com // from $3.99
Reviewed by Shana White and Isaiah Eftalam (Ethiopia, adopted at four months), Boise, Idaho

Why we used it: A fellow adoptive mom recommended this bottle. I decided to give it a try, specifically because it uses disposable liners.

Feeding: The bottles are easy to fill, and they work well for storing dry formula mix. If the nipple is fastened correctly, it doesn’t leak. One drawback: The packaging says the liners hold eight fluid ounces, but we’ve found that they barely hold seven.

Traveling: We brought these bottles on our adoption trip because we thought it would be convenient to dispose of the liners after each use—and it was.

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow
// handi-craft.com // from $4.95
Reviewed by Teri Benson and Mary (U.S., adopted as newborn), Rensselaer, New York

Why we used it: We got “the call” with less than a week to prepare. Luckily, friends and family were full of advice, including a recommendation of Dr. Brown’s bottles.

Feeding: The bottle design allows air to escape continually, so that the baby doesn’t take in air bubbles while she feeds. I believe this bottle kept Mary from spitting up excessively or developing colic or ear infections.

Traveling: The bottle comes in seven pieces that need to be assembled, so we mixed the powder and water in a plain bottle and filled the Dr. Brown’s bottle as needed.

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