“ Brand: Boots / Type: Bottles & Accessories - Wide Necked „
Okay, so I'm heavily pregnant with baby number three and my nesting instinct settles in. This stage can be very expensive, as aside from trying to get the entire house spick and span (even the parts baby won't be seeing for at least a few years) you also feel the urge to start stocking up on all the essentials needed for a new offspring, for example, nappies, wet wipes, cotton wool, enough blankets to get a family of twenty through the worst winter since time began (that may just be me) - and the very important baby bottles.
In a perfect world, baby bottles would last for ever - or at least all your children, but as soon as they scratch, they are a germs idea of a penthouse suite. So, for each new baby, I've purchased new bottles. For my first son, it was Avent bottles, due to the enticing deal offered when I bought the steriliser - it came with four free bottles, bottle brush and dummies. Then when our second son came along, I bought the same bottles so they would fit the surviving steriliser, although sadly the steriliser only lasted a couple more months. This time however, although we had bought another Avent steriliser, I decided to try another make of bottle as I was not that impressed with their brand of bottle, which I found very often leaked and scratched very easily.
The Boots Wide Neck bottles appealed to me straight away, probably because of the price. They cost £9.99 for four 250ml bottles (9 oz - the larger size) which includes the teats and is quite a bargain, about half the price of Avent. The bottles also looked nice, same kind of shape as the Avent and as stated on the box - they fit most sterilisers. I trust the Boots brand and was very happy with my bargain.
I didn't open the box until it was time to actually use the bottles and when I opened the box, I was a little surprised at the shape of the bottles. The picture on the front of the box shows a chunky bottle, a little bit hour glass shaped. Turn the bottles to the side and they are actually curved. This doesn't affect their usefulness at all, I just wasn't expecting it! They have a flat base, so stand perfectly fine. Also, the plastic is softer than Avent and slightly opaque rather than completely clear. The plastic can be squeezed very slightly, so not as hard as the Avent. In my opinion, the plastic wouldn't scratch so easily. The bottles also fit my steriliser with no problems. My first impression was a good one.
However, when it came to filling the bottles with water, the major flaw soon became very clear. The Avent bottles have the measurement gauge printed on one side of their bottle, clearly in navy type. Although this does get scratched and fades slightly with use, I never experienced any problems. The Boots bottles measurements are split either side of the bottle. Even numbers on one side, odd on the other. They only start from two ounces and the odd side starts and ends at three ounces. So what if your baby wants five, seven or nine ounces? Complete guess work, or a lot of faffing about with two bottles, which is the stage we are at at the moment - measure two ounces in one bottle, three in another, then pour together into one. Complete pain in the neck.
The other frustating flaw is that the measurements are embossed and not printed. This means the bottles are completely clear which makes them look really clean, the problem being you have to get at an angle to clearly see the gauge, which can be amazingly frustrating. Note that formula is recommended to be made fresh on demand. Add to that equation that measurements must be spot on, freshly boiled water shouldn't be left more than forty minutes - I'm sure you get the idea and please, no comments about breastfeeding - considering the cost aswell as the health benefits - if I could, I definitely would!
On the plus side, these bottles do not leak as much as the Avent. I very often had problems with the Avent bottles, they would be tightened up as much as possible, lids sealed, teat pulled through properly and still, shake the bottle - get covered in milk. I've only had a couple of leaky Boots bottles and both times I think the water was too hot. Definitely, when the bottles are cooled, there is no leakage at all.
So, to conclude:
Pros: Price, very little leakage, BPA* free - athough most baby feeding utensils are these days.
Cons: Measurements are difficult to see and odd numbered measurements just consists of three ounces.
I can't recommend these bottles. The measuring is the most important part of making a bottle and these make it far too difficult.
While I was pregnant with Freddy I stocked up on a few different brands of bottle, including some Wide Neck Feeding Bottles from Boots. Although I had originally intended to bottle feed from birth, somehow I managed to breastfeed until Freddy was 9 weeks, so we didn't use the bottles for the first two months. After trying out all the different brands, it turned out that the Boots bottles were Freddy's favourites, so we went out and bought some more. Unfortunately, Boots had changed their formulation during this short time, the old style bottles were no longer available, and the new style are simply not as good.
The Old Style
The old style of bottle is made of crystal clear, shatterproof plastic, with clear markings on the side for both ounces and millilitres. Although the first volume marking is for 2 ounces, after that they graduate in one ounce markings. The crystal clear plastic makes it very easy to check if bottles are clean and it's easy to ensure that the correct amount of boiled is added to the bottle. I've never had a problem with this type of bottle leaking even when they've been thrown into the changing bag. Even after three months of use, these older style bottles are still as easy to clean and show little sign of wear and tear. During this time they've been sterilised using steam and cold water methods and all the markings are as clear as the day they were bought.
The New Style
A few months back there was a furore about the very chemical that makes plastic crystal clear and shatterproof. I don't pretend to understand how exactly BPA is now considered so dangerous, (from what I've read there is a possibility it can increase the risk of certain cancers), but many manufacturers, including Boots, have reformulated the material they make their bottles from to eliminate BPA. And so onto the new style Boots bottle.
The new style of bottle is made of an opaque/cloudy plastic that rather than being shatterproof is squidgy. Rather than clear printed markings, the measurements are now simply raised lines and numbers, and the ounce measurements now increment by two rather than one. This leads to several problems, firstly it's almost impossible to check that the bottle is scrupulously clean, as the bottles themselves are an off-white colour, just like milk. Secondly the measurements are extremely hard to read, especially if the bottle has just come out of a steam steriliser, and then they can only be used to make up an even number of ounces of milk. In fact it's so difficult to judge the correct amount of boiled water that I have to use the older style bottle to measure the water and then decant it into these bottles. I also find that this style of bottle will occasionally leak, not a massive leak but enough that I always unsure that I put them in a plastic bag before putting them in the changing bag. Even worse, is that these bottles do get cloudier the more often they are used, I can definitely see the difference from when we bought them three months ago.
The wide-neck means that it's easy to get a bottle brush into the bottles for cleaning, as with all bottles they do need to be sterilised when used for babies under a year. All methods of sterilisation are suitable, I've personally used the steam steriliser, cold water and even the very old fashioned boiled in a saucepan methods. The wide-neck also makes filling the bottles easier, with less risk of splashing hot water, or spilling formula than narrow necked bottles. The bottles come with a slow flow silicone teat, that is suitable for newborns, but the really good thing is that these can be replaced with generic supermarket brand teats (unlike some other brands of bottle).
The bottles are comfortable to hold, rather than being perfectly cylindrical, there's an indent that fits nicely into the crook between my thumb and index finger. Freddy also has no problems holding onto the bottles, although he can't quite manage to feed himself. Although these bottles are supposed to be anti-colic, I can't really say that I've seen any evidence of that. Ok, so very occasionally I manage to line the teats up just right and I can hear the air finding it's way into the bottle, but normally I need to use the taking the bottle out of the mouth method of stopping the teat collapsing.
Price And Availability
As these are Boots own brand they are only available from Boots, either online or in-store. The bottles themselves are available in two sizes, 90ml and 250ml. With the 90ml costing £4.99 for two (I wouldn't bother buying this size though they are only useful for a matter of weeks) and the 250ml costing £5.99 for two, £9.99 for four or £12.99 for six. Boots own replacement teats cost £2.99 for two, but I buy Tesco or Asda own for 99p for two and they fit perfectly.
Even if you're planning to breastfeed it's a good idea to buy a few baby bottles before your new arrival makes an appearance and up until a few months ago I would have said that these wide neck bottles from Boots were a brilliant buy. Unfortunately, since Boots changed their formulation to BPA free, I really can't recommend them, there's simply far too many potentially serious problems. I know that there are potential risks with BPA, although I don't really know if anyone (even the scientists) fully understands the risks, but there are literally millions of babies that have used bottles with BPA in them over the last several decades and the vast majority of them have shown no ill effects. Personally, I would rather take that extremely small risk, than the much greater risk of being unable to be one hundred percent sure that my baby's bottles are clean and his formula correctly made up. Therefore, while I do like (and use) the older style bottle, there is no way I can recommend the new style. You may be lucky and find some of the old style in sterilisers (I got two in my Boots steam steriliser), but other than that I would steer well clear of Boots Wide-necked feeding bottles.