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I received three of these Breastflow bottles from my mother-in-law. Throughout my pregnancy I had several rules and standards set in my head about how our child would be brought up. I'm not a control freak or anything, they were simple things to help him as best as we possibly could. These were things like I would be exclusively breastfeeding, as at no point would formula milk be part of our child's diet. It mattered not whether my nipples were cracked, bleeding or it was so painful I cried (which it wasn't; I had no difficulties or pain in the slightest, thankfully). In my mind, formula milk is the equivalent to adult processed foods, and our child deserved only the best we could give him. I also disliked the idea of having to get up for night-time feeds and prepare or warm milk downstairs, when I have it 'on tap', at the perfect temperature and consistency with no hassle at all. My partner's family thought otherwise, deciding I was selfish to be the only one to get to feed him, which sounds a little childish...
We also argued about dummies and pacifiers; I was and remain adamant that he doesn't need one, and they said it was selfish to let other people hear him crying.. He's a baby, for pities sake. Babies cry when something's wrong...But I digress..
My mother-in-law bought me these Breastflow Bottles because I had told her that it wasn't the bottle-feeding I disagreed with, but the actual milk inside them, and I would actually be very happy to express milk and let other people feed him if that's really how strongly they felt about it. Might I add that I've been expressing milk for over a month now, and she has not once asked if she could or even offered to feed our son; she just felt that her 'advice' and input was necessary in the bringing up of a child that was not her own. (As you can tell, we don't really get on much at all, I apologise if I sound ranty).
Anyway, I currently have 3 of these bottles, each consisting of the 5oz bottle, the teat and inner teat (which I will come back to), the teat holder and a clear plastic cap to cover it when not in use. There is also a screw on lid for storage.
The idea behind these bottles is simply that they are as close to natural as possible and that the teat within a teat replicates that of a breast, so a baby can easily switch between bottle and breast. I had been rather worried for the first few months that if I began expressing, he would become confused between breast and bottle, and thus struggle with feeding from that point on. This fear came from the knowledge that milk from a bottle tends to come out much faster, and is much easier for baby to get at (he doesn't need to 'work for it', so to speak, it simply flows out). However with these Breastflow bottles, the milk first flows through the inner teat and begins to collect in the outer one, and is then released to feed baby, meaning he has to suckle for a little while before he gets milk, similar to how it works naturally. It all sounded great to me. The milk doesn't seem to come out too quickly at all, and he's never choked or been gulping it down etc, neither has it caused him to be any windier than usual.
Once I was certain he was very comfortable with breastfeeding and wouldn't struggle to go back and forth between different methods, I began to express milk into the sterilised bottles and store them in the fridge, ready for when Daddy got home from work. We would then warm them for a few seconds in the microwave and Daddy got the chance to feed and bond with his son.
The bottles are great. It took all of 5 seconds for baby to realise what was happening and begin to feed from the bottle. For the first 5 seconds, he stared straight at his daddy with the sort of look as though to say "What's this doing in my mouth?", which was pretty funny. He's never struggled with the bottle, but still prefers to be breastfed last thing at night before he sleeps, as I think it calms him more to have the skin-to-skin contact, which doesn't happen with bottle feeding.
We've been using the bottles for a month now, and they're still as good as new. We wash the dismantled parts by hand and then sterilise everything in a microwave-steriliser. They come apart very easily, though it can be awkward fitting the two teats together without touching them too much after sterilisation. The shape of the bottle also makes them easy to clean (and comfortable to hold when feeding). Even the Breastflow logo is still intact, and not even slightly faded. I find that three bottles in the pack are plenty for me, as during the day, he is exclusively breastfed, and 1-2 bottles are all he'll need once Daddy is home in the evenings. I imagine that for babies that are bottle-fed all the time, it would be handier to have more than this.
My only slight issue with the bottles is the measures on the side. They are clear much like the rest of the bottle (just embossed in the plastic), and difficult to see, whether the bottle is empty or full. This matters little to me other than for the sake of my curiosity (How much milk does baby actually have per feed etc), but if infant formula is prepared in the bottles, it's almost impossible to see the measures to obtain the correct ratio of powder to water. But, as I said, I don't really need this as it is purely breast milk being used.
The bottles have been a godsend, really; giving me the 'evening off' occasionally where Daddy or others can watch baby and I can have a long hot bath and spend an evening being "me" rather than just 'Mummy' and 'Milk Bar'! They've also ended my worries about baby struggling with combination feeding, as the bottle is created with the breast in mind.
They retail for £5.99 per bottle on Amazon, but I have no idea how much my mother-in-law paid for the pack of three 5oz bottles. I thought this was pretty expensive for an individual bottle, but considering the worry I had about bottle feeding, it's worth that amount just to know that your baby can continue to breastfeed when necessary, due to the science behind the specialised teats. I also have no idea what sort of price other brands of bottles sell at, as it's not really something I'll need. Had baby struggled with these bottles, I probably would not have looked around either, just continued to breastfeed exclusively. But that's just me...
I'm removing a star for the measures not being in a different colour to the bottle and thus being difficult to see and also for the price of them. However, they're still a great bottle for babies who are combination fed, as it allows them to move easily between breast and bottle.
Breast is best! Well, in my opinion it is, anyway. From the day that I found out that I was pregnant I vowed to only breastfeed my baby and was totally against the idea of using a bottle, as I hated the idea of it (i'm the same with dummies!) Unfortunately though, breastfeeding isn't always ideal - something that I never had considered while pregnant. The first 5 days or so were absolutely fine, my daughter Erin took her feeds well (the kid latches like a pro, seriously) and I felt comfortable feeding her around the house or at friends/family members houses (when appropiate), despite it been rather painful at first! Soon though, I realised at some point we would have to venture further out to places such as restraunts, town, appointments and so on, and although breast feeding is nothing to be ashamed of, I hate the idea of getting my boobs out in public despite how discreet it can be. The fact that my boyfriend was unable to feed her really bothered me too, and I decided that I would transfer her onto bottles for when Marc wanted to feed her or when we were going out (but still breastfeed when at home) when she was older.
Unfortunately, within just under a week of giving birth I developed a nipple infection, which caused my nipples to become (even more!) sore, as well as dry and cracked.. sorry if that's a bit too much too much information, haha. As a result it made breast feeding incredibly painful and I didn't like the idea of my baby suckling when I had an infection. Despite my midwife reassuring me that it was fine to carry on with breastfeeding, I decided to use my breast pump (which was a gift - it never appealed to me though until I had to use it!) and transfer my expressed breast milk into bottles.. something I wasn't keen on doing, but this, in my opinion, was the best option as it was so painful that I really didn't enjoy feeding my baby, as bad as it sounds. The breast pump was just as painful although atleast it got it all over with at once and I wasn't having my nipples pulled around every other few hours!
These bottles were actually reccomended to me by one of my friends (a fellow mummy), but I was unsure whether my baby would accept it as she was used to breastfeeding and the teat looked scarily large when my friend showed me the bottles. I decided to speak to my midwife, who also said that these were worth purchasing and despite encouraging me to continue breastfeeding was able to understand where I was coming from, and so didn't discourage me or pressure me not to use a bottle. The breastflow baby bottles are developed so that the baby uses the same amount of suction and compression as they would when breastfeeding, and is described by the manufacturers as a bottle that 'works most like a breast'.
I purchased a pack of three from Amazon for a reasonable £14.70, and the RRP is apparently £16.99. Each bottle holds 9 ounces (250ml) of milk which is a generous amount, meaning that I don't have to stop half way through feeding my daughter to top her bottle up and it holds more than enough for a couple of feeds depending on how hungry she is. There is also a smaller version available, each bottle holds 5 ounces (150ml). The two different sized bottles have the same size teat but I like that there is a smaller option available as these would be handy for journeys out, although saying that the 9 ounce ones are compact enough for me. There are teats that you can buy seperately which is handy as obviously as babies grow and devleope their intake of milk will change, the available teats are as follows: slow flow teats, first years teats, medium/fast flow teats, stage 1 teats and stage 2 teats. There is also a microwave steriliser for these bottles although I already have a steriliser and the bottles fit into it fine.
The bottles thankfully arrived quickly as I paid for next day delivery and I tried them out the same day as I recieved them. They come in a compact cardboard box which is quite colourful and unisex (meaning it's not aimed at one gender of baby) and it has all the information on it that you need, a small leaflet is also included with brief information on how to wash the bottles etc. The bottle has two teats - an inner teat and an outer teat. The inner teat simulates the breastfeeding motions of compression and suction while the outer teat mimics the feel of the breast while encouraging the baby's tongue to stay in the same position as it would if breastfeeding. Before using the bottles I made sure to thoroughly clean and steralise them (in boiling water for 2 to 5 minutes as reccomended by the manufacturers) which was very easy. The two teats screw off without any effort and screw back on securely and easily too. The bottles all have quite a wide neck and so the opening of the bottle is wide enough to fit my bottle brush into and it didn't take long at all to clean them. Drying them is a little fiddly with a tea towel but the wide neck is handy and makes it a little easier.
They're dishwasher safe too which is a huge time saver. The bottles have measurements marked on them meaning that measuring out milk is easy and if you feed your baby on formula milk then this little factor will be a plus side too as it saves extra pots (the measuring jug etc). Transferring the milk into the bottle was just as easy. I added a little formula to it for extra calories as my little girl is a small baby despite having a good appetite, and heating the bottle in the microwave was simple, the bottle didn't get boiling hot and it didn't smell like the plastic was melting or anything awful like that. I did have to put it on a dish to avoid the bottom heating up but this took no time at all. Fitting the two teats back together was easy and they just kind of slotted together - no effort at all, despite how clumsy I currently am due to lack of sleep!! The manufacturers mention on their website not to leave the bottles in sterilising solution for more than the time reccomended (2 to 5 minutes) as this may weaken the teat. They also state not to leave a feeding teat in direct sunlight or heat, and to inspect the teat and bottle before each use - throw away upon any signs of damage.
Checking the temperature was a simple process and the milk didn't pour out rapidly, instead the flow of milk was smooth and steady - it was clear that the teat was controlling the flow of milk. I kept the lid on and gave it a good shake and the milk was soon ready for my baby to enjoy. I like that the bottles are transparent as that way I am easily able to tell how much my daughter has had or stop feeding her when I think that my daughter has had enough - she's a real little piggie most days, and would happily guzzle all day, non stop if she could! The shape of the bottles is quite wide and they are curved - they slightly go in around the middle of them meaning the bottle is easy to grasp with my palm and fingers rather than just my fingers which I like as I am able to rest my elbow on my nusing pillow with my arm straight and hand downwards so my baby is in almost the exact position she would be if breasfeeding. Although the bottle is made of smooth plastic it isn't slippery - I am able to get a good grip so don't feel that the bottle is going to fall out of my hand. When my daughter is older I am sure she will be able to grasp onto the bottle easily with little help from me.
I was a little warey at first about giving Erin the bottle as I was concerned that she may not like it, or accept it, as obviously a rubber teat is alot different to the 'real thing', however she took to it like a duck to water and there was no tears or rejection at all. The teat looks quite large compared to an average bottle and it does have to be pushed quite far into the babies mouth rather than just the tip of it, but there was no issues or struggling at all (God that sounds awful lol but I was concerned she may choke on it) and she accepted it straight away. She adapted really well, which was a real relief. Saying that though, she is only 3 weeks and 6 days old, so when she gets older and more aware of change maybe she won't be as keen to switch from breastfeeding to bottle - I plan on varying between the two until she's been completely weaned of breast milk. I always give my baby her bottle when we've got eye to eye contact and she's in my arms. I didn't have to adjust her usual feeding position at all and instead placed her where I would if I was breast feeding. I like that with a bottle though I am able to switch positions easily rather than having to stay in one position and it gets her used to change when I feed her in a different position or when my boyfriend feeds her. I didn't have to move her head or move her about at all while feeding as the milk flows smoothly, even to the very last drop.
The bottle is a real hit with my daughter and the concept is very impressive. The teat definetly is much more real teat like than a usual bottle as it hasn't got an overlly rubbery or hard feel to it, it's more soft and smooth. I do definetly think that my daughter suckles on it as she would do if been breastfed and at no point has she shown any discomfort or anxiety towards it. I really like the shape of the bottle too as it's so comfortable to hold and even my boyfriend finds it simple to use, too! One thing that I am not so sure about is the claim that due to the compression of the teats it can help reduce wind and colic. My little girl is an absolute farty bum, and I have not noticed a noticeable reduction of her wind since introducing these bottles. I do get where they are coming from with this claim though and it might work for some babies as every baby is different.
Taking the bottles out with me is easy, they're quite short and wide rather than long and thin so they're more compact, they fit in my baby bag fine and I can fit two into my thermal pocket thingie which isn't very big. I don't worry about leakages as they have a secure plastic cap to go over the teat while not in use and the lid fits on securely. The lid can also be put onto the base of the bottle when the bottle is in use - this helps keep it one place/not loose it. Another thing that I like is that because of the double teat, the milk isn't quite as easily available as it would be with breastfeeding, so it encourages my daughter to suckle and it makes her feed last longer, which I think is brilliant. Erin is a little piggie and would drink a bottle as fast as possible if she could, which obviously isn't good and she did make herself sick from drinking too much on a number of occasions whilst I was primarily breastfeeding, where as with these bottles it slows her down considerably while still giving her acess to plenty of milk at a time - maybe this is why the company claim that the bottles help reduce wind?
I do still think that breast is best, however bottles give me more freedom to take my daughter out and about without worrying that she'll get hungry and i'll have to whip my boob out in front of total strangers, lol. The bottles also enable family members such as my Mum and boyfriend to bond with my daughter and help her get used to been fed and held with people other than me. They're also handy for when i'm sleeping and Erin wakes up - Marc can then either wake me up to feed her or he can feed her himself which I think he likes as it gives him a bit of independance with her if that makes sense. I overall would reccomend these bottles as I have had no issues with them. They're easy to clean, practically sized and my daughter took to them fine. None of them have leaked and they're also very affordable.
After giving birth five weeks premature and my Daughter having to go into ICU for five days, I had no choice but to express my feeds for her initially. On the fifth day I was allowed to attempt breastfeeding, which she took to with ease, despite having been fed via a tube until then.
The Breastfeeding counsellor at the Hospital was the person that recommended the Breastflow bottles for combined feeding as my Husband was very keen to be able to feed our Daughter too! He was advised that Mothercare were the main stockists and he purchased 3 of the 5oz (150ml) and 3 of the 9oz (250ml) bottles before we were even discharged from the Hospital.
I have since discovered that Amazon also stock these bottles and you can also purchase via the company direct on www.breastflow.co.uk and they do a lovely starter set with a drying rack, bottles and brush. I have to mention that the bottle brush is the best I have used to date!
What are these bottles?
They are Bisphenol A Free bottles that have a double teat system with a soft outer teat and a hard inner teat. The bottle itself has a curved shape to enable you or baby to hold onto comfortably.
The aim of the outer teat is to make it more comfortable for the baby to suck on. The inner teat is harder and the purpose of this teat is to act like mum's milk ducts allowing baby to control the milk flow.
The teats safely compresses to allow less air flow, which is turn reduces wind and colic in baby. The bottles have a wide neck which enables you to clean them easier and the lid of the bottle fits onto the bottom of the bottle to prevent you losing them!
Breastflow is the only feeding system that requires both suction and compression, just like breast feeding. The teat is designed to mimic the breast so baby can latch on and to encourage the same mouth and tongue position as breast feeding.
The double teat system requires both suction and compression, just like breast feeding and baby controls the flow of milk. It's the bottle most like breastfeeding.
These bottles come in two sizes, 5oz bottles is ideal for newborns and young infants as it includes a stage 1, slow flow teat. The 9oz bottle is ideal for older infants as it includes a stage 2, medium flow teat. My Daughter accepted the stage 2 teat from approx 6 months of age and it reduced feeding time from 45 minutes to 15 minutes.
I have used these bottles for just over 8 months now and what I really liked about them is that it made my Daughter work for her milk. If I had introduced a normal bottle, she probably would have preferred the bottle to the breast due to the ease of feeding from a one teat bottle. I had tried a normal bottle and she drank a full feed within 5 minutes and still felt hungry as she had drunk it too quickly. At first, my Daughter found it challenging to adapt to feeding from a bottle but quickly adapted.
I found with the breastflow bottles, it took as long for her to feed from them and she was more satisfied with a slower feeding process. There also must be something in the design of the two teats as my Daughter has never suffered with colic.
She has been able to go from bottle to breast with ease and it is reassuring to know that other people are able to feed her in my absence. I have to say that despite my Husband's initial enthusiasm for feeding our Daughter, this quickly vanished and has only fed her on a handful of occasions.
A few points that I have to note to people wanting to try this product. The teat has to be pushed further in to the baby's mouth in order for the milk to flow through - I think it is so that the inner teat starts to work.
When fitting the two teats together, you really have to make sure that they are inserted correctly otherwise it will cause leakages as the top will not screw on straight.
Breastflow changed the outside design of their bottles and I had a mixture of old and new designs at one point. These got mixed up and I ended up getting lots of leakage due to having an old bottle and new top (and vice versa) so there may have been a slight change in the screw part of the top. I am not 100% sure but know that it caused leaks so I ended up getting rid of all the old style bottles.
The bottles really do enable you to switch between breast and bottle and vice versa. They seem most like the breast in function.
Cannot just buy from anywhere and you are limited to purchasing from Mothercare (if they have what you want - which my local store did not always) or Amazon or Breastflow themselves.
These bottles can leak if not put together properly and are a little pricey if you are on a budget.
I remember the research I did whilst pregnant with my first child. I read every baby magazine on the market; joined every on line baby group and one of the biggest issues is how to feed your baby with of course the breast is best attitude.
I finally decided I would feed my daughter myself but I also wanted the odd night out ( how stupid!) and I also wanted to be able to sleep at night and let my husband help out ( very stupid!)
I then started the research on bottles which is a mind boggling task if ever there was one!
I finally decided that I would opt for breast flow bottles to try and ensure that it was a close to her normal feeds as possible.
What are breast flow bottles?
Breast flow bottles have been designed to work in partnership with breast feeding so the bottles have a teat which makes the baby use their mouth in the same way and also allows the baby to control the flow exactly the same as when breast feeding.
Where can you get the bottles?
These bottles are available from Mother Care and boots and I have also seen these available in Tesco I purchased three bottles at £14.99 which I would consider expensive.
I was recommended these bottles by a friend who successfully combined feeding herself with the occasional trip out or getting somebody else to help feed her son. My daughter on the other hand took one look at the bottle and with a who are you trying to kid? Started to scream and scream and totally refused to even try and take a bottle from anyone only stopping when I started to feed her myself. So bang went the idea of occasion evenings out or a little more sleep what a silly idea!
I didn't even try and combine feeding when I had my second child and if I am honest I am glad it didn't work it is nice knowing only you can feed your child and when discussing feeding over half of my baby group had all failed to get combined feeding sorted successfully.
In Summary spend your £15.00 on a good book or a film and settle down for feed time.