Many moms who start off breastfeeding ponder bottle issues, as they have to return to work or need to spend several hours away from the baby.
Breastfeeding expert Donna Dowling, associate professor of nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, could sympathize with the new mom next to her in a large baby store as she was also overwhelmed by the variety of bottle choices in the 12 x 8 foot display.
The expectant mom's questions inspired Dowling to explore the research evidence behind the claims of manufacturers for their baby products.
Dowling said the bottles came in a variety of sizes and shapes. All are designed to mimic breastfeeding, according to Dowling and Laura Tycon, a nursing student at the university, from bottles shaped and pliable like a mother's breast to complicated feeding systems designed to prevent the baby's intake of excess air. In their reseach, it became evident that the designs of the bottles were based on research done during the 1960's and 70's that demonstrated differences in how infants obtain milk during breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
After reviewing research papers provided by the manufacturers about their baby products, Dowling and Tycon came up with some tips and report them in the Nursing for Women's Health article, "Bottle/Nipple Systems, Helping Parents Make Informed Choices."
The final choice eventually comes down to the mother's and baby's preference.
"Babies are different and have different styles of sucking, from the slow to the fast eaters," Dowling said.
The researchers offer this advice:
Dowling also cautions about the complicated bottle and nipple systems: "The more parts and tiny areas in the components, the harder it will be to clean."
She generally suggests the simpler systems. When choosing the different flow rates, first try a slow or medium flow and stay with that if the baby is comfortable.
The researchers have provided a list of seven brands of bottles with details about nipple shapes, bottle materials, venting systems, flow rates and benefits found.
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