Navigating the early days of bottle-feeding a baby is no east feat — especially if your little one might be having symptoms like gas. “Slow flow nipples can be an excellent option in the newborn period. Although [babies] do practice sucking movements while in the womb, actually eating is a totally new experience for them,” explains Dr. Laura Purdy, MD. Scary Mommy spoke with Dr. Purdy to learn what to look for when shopping for the best slow-flow bottles — because choosing the right bottle (and formula, if you’re not breastfeeding) can make all the difference between a happy baby and a downright fussy one.
Licensed in all 50 states, Dr. Laura Purdy, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician and the Chief Medical Officer of OpenLoop Health. Dr. Purdy’s in-depth digital health expertise comes from more than a decade spent providing and directing primary care for hundreds of thousands of patients of all ages. She attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
What Bottles Are Good For Slow Flow?
Dr. Purdy explains that because slow flow bottles are designed to help control the flow of milk, they tend to make eating easier and more comfortable for babies. Purdy’s personal favorites are the Nanobébé and Tommee Tippee brands but she doesn’t recommend against any either and assures parents that “If the brands I […] list are not within your family budget, that’s OK! You will not make a bad choice for your baby.”
How Long Do You Use Slow Flow Bottles?
Slow flow bottles aren’t just for newborns. Older babies can absolutely use slow flow bottles, though Purdy recommends taking cues from your baby as the best way to know what’s the right option for them. If they are gassy using slow flow bottles, which is possible, showing other signs of discomfort, or “struggling to get more out of the bottle and are wanting to eat faster than it allows, it’s time to upgrade,” adds Purdy. That last part is especially true when using the slowest flow bottles, like those usually labeled “premie” or “0 to 3 months.”
Ready to find the best slow flow bottles for your baby? Check out our favorites below — they’re all conveniently on Amazon so you can get the right bottle for your baby ASAP.
1. Expert Pick: These Squishy Triple-Vented Bottles
These silicone Nanobébé bottles come with Slow Flow nipples, although the brand carries a range of nipple sizes from Preemie to Y-cut for finding the perfect flow as your baby grows. These squishy bottles have a natural feel (like mom’s boobs!) and are triple-vented to help babies from inhaling too much air which can lead to gas and discomfort. Parents will love the wide base designed to keep bottles upright and stable on almost any surface. Reviewers also raved about how easy these dishwasher-safe bottles are to clean.
Helpful Review: “My baby has reflux, bad colic, bad gas and spit up issues so we have been looking for a good bottle to help her with all her issues. We had [tried] a few different bottle before coming to these. We love these the 360 holes for venting air they help with the gas and colic. These are easy to clean, don’t have a lot of small parts to deal with, stand well (unlike other competitors) and are soft to touch for baby. I completely recommend these bottles!!”
2. These Sleek Bottles With Reusable Silicone Pouches Inside
Unlike many bottles on this list that rely on air vents or valves to prevent gas, the Boon NURSH line features reusable silicone pouches inside the bottles that collapse as your baby drinks, cutting down on the amount of air they swallow to help prevent gas and acid reflux. These dishwasher-safe bottles are also some of the prettiest bottles we’ve seen! Choose from several ultra-modern multipack colors available in two different sizes: 4 ounces (that come with Stage 1 Slow Flow nipples) and 8 ounces (that come with Stage 2 nipples). The brand also carries replacement nipples that range from Extra Slow Flow to Fast Flow.
Helpful Review: “This bottle is perfect for us! I breastfeed and it’s a great bottle to give her my pumped milk. Her mouth has to remain in the same position as it does for breast latching which is helpful if you have latching issues and or to avoid nipple confusion. Haven’t had any issues of spilling or leaking, the bottle feel is nice and smooth and the flexible inserts are more durable feeling than I thought it would be.”
3. Another Expert-Recommended Set With Rave Reviews
These doctor-recommended Tommee Tippee bottles are ideal for preventing latch issues and nipple confusion thanks to their breast-like nipple. The included Extra Slow Flow, vented nipples are also “anti-colic” so babies can ingest more milk and less air. The wide neck of the bottles also make them easy to hold and clean. The set is dishwasher-, microwave-, and sterilizer-safe. Is your baby ready to go up a nipple size? From Slow Flow to Added Cereal Flow, Tommee Tippee replacement nipples are a clear parent favorite, with a 4.8-star rating after more than 22,000 reviews on Amazon.
Helpful Review: “I absolutely love feeding my baby with these bottles. He is 10 weeks old (almost 3 months) and we are still using these. I’ve tried other bottles and these are by far the best for his AR. Other bottles he was just gulping, [choking] and spitting up all the time. These ultra slow flow nipples are perfect for him. He is not gulping down his milk or [choking] therefore resulting in less spit ups and less air. If you baby has acid reflux or is a spitter I recommend you give these a try.”
4. Some Extra Tiny Slow-Flow Bottles For Newborns
These POTATO newborn baby bottles comes in the smallest capacity — just 2.5 ounces per bottle — for the littlest of feeders. They come with Slow Flow nipples that are designed to mimic a mother’s breasts with anti-colic vents that control milk flow so that babies can drink comfortably. And the high-performance, dishwasher-safe polymer bottle has all the perks of glass — like stain and temperature resistance — without the worry of breakage. In addition to a range of replacement nipple sizes, POTATO also offers a convertible straw sippy cup for toddlers that shoppers love.
Helpful Review: “Bought these for my grand and I bought many different brands the potato is my fav hands down. Perfect size for new borns and we used formula. The anti cholic is great you can hear the air being removed through the escape. Best bottle on the planet if you ask this Nana.”
5. A Cult-Favorite Set Of Dr. Brown Bottles
With 27,000 five-star reviews (and counting), this set of Dr. Brown anti-colic bottles has earned something of a cult following. The polypropylene bottles feature an internal venting system that has been clinically proven to reduce colic, gas, burping, and spit-up. And because they attach directly to most breast pumps and are top-rack dishwasher safe, that means less clean-up for parents. This set comes with a Level 1 nipple (newborn) but the brand also carries an even slower Preemie Flow nipple, as well as their wildly popular line of nipples that go all the way up to the Y-cut nipples.
Helpful Review: “These bottles really do perform exactly the way they are advertised. I went to Dr. Brown’s bottle website before purchasing to see “what all the hype” was about. The technology behind this feeding system seemed logical and sound. I decided to purchase a few bottles to try the out and I am SO glad I purchased these! They live up to every bit of “the hype” and more. The design really does help with tummy issues. They also clean easily. A tiny cleaning brush is sent with your order, that makes it fast and convenient for washing the vent holes. If you follow directions, the bottles transport securely with no spills or leaks. […]”
6. These Innovative Bottles That Mimic The Boob
Babies love drinking from these innovative Comotomo silicone bottles that have a soft, squishy feel — just like mom’s breast. And Comotomo’s 5-ounce bottles have a slow flow, dual-vented, and realistic nipple so that babies can drink at a comfortable pace with minimal air ingestion. The wide opening makes hand-washing them a breeze, but they’re also dishwasher-safe. When it comes time to upgrade to a faster nipple size, know that the 8-ounce Comotomo bottles come with a medium flow nipple designed for babies 3 to 6 months. You can also buy replacement Comotomo nipples in sizes from newborn to Y-cut here.
One note: Comotomo bottles have a unique wide shape, so you’ll want to make sure you use a compatible bottle warmer.
Helpful Review: “Excellent bottles – the slow flow and shallow nipple means our little one has been comfortable going back and forth from breastfeeding and bottlefeeding without confusion or flow preference. The wide opening makes cleaning very easy, we don’t have or need a bottle brush.”
Dr. Laura Purdy, MD, board-certified family medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer of OpenLoop Health