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I chose to breast feed so I don't have as much experience with bottles as many people but I would still like to share my thoughts on the Nuk First Choice Bottle. We were given one of these bottles as a gift when my son was born. I had already bought a few Avent bottles to use for feeding my son expressed milk so I wasn't sure I would have much use for it. However, when my son was around five months old I decided to get him to sleep through the night by stopping breast feeding at night and giving him water instead (I knew he wasn't really hungry because he was getting enough calories from food at this point). During the day he was water in a beaker but I didn't think this would be practical at night so the Nuk First Choice became our night time water bottle.
- Nuk -
As Nuk is not a brand I had heard of before receiving this bottle I will briefly explain a bit about them. Nuk bottle teats were originally developed in Germany by dentists and their teats today are all orthodontic teats and have an air system within the teat that 'allows air to flow into the bottle though a vent'. The teat will 'naturally adapt to the jaw, train oral muscles and prevent your baby from swallowing air'. The teat is also inspired by 'a mother's nipple when breastfeeding'. You can find Nuk bottles in over 100 countries.
- The Bottle -
The bottle we have holds 300mls but you can also get one that holds 150ml. The bottle itself is BPA Free, transparent plastic, tall and slim. It displays the Nuk brand name, it is made in Germany, it has an anti-colic air system and it is dishwasher safe. Near the base of the bottle there is a simple floral design in red, yellow, green and blue. There is a volume scale with millilitres and fluid ounces. There is a screw on blue plastic top (also available in cream, red, green or yellow) which holds the stage one silicone teat (different stage teats and latex versions are also available). There is also a blue plastic cap which sits at the neck of the bottle which stops leaking when it is being transported. Then there is a thin plastic lid which stops the teat getting contaminated and prevents leaking. I think it is quite an attractive bottle and appears functional and easy to use.
- Glug Glug Glug -
My son took to this bottle straight away which I was pleased about as he hadn't had much experience of bottles. He found it easy to drink from and soon learnt how to hold the bottle himself, very handy when I had brought him into bed with us as we didn't have to do anything! I think the teat is nicer and more nipple like than the Avent teats. My son certainly liked it and could easily glug his way through as much water as he required. My plan eventually worked and he started sleeping through the night as he realised there was no point waking up as there would be no milk. If he did wake up he was usually content with a drink of water from the Nuk bottle. He didn't experience any wind, although I'm not sure how much wind you could expect with a five month old drinking water from a bottle. Wind and colic would certainly be more of an issue with a younger baby drinking milk so I can't really comment on whether the Nuk Air System works in this case. The only issue I had with this bottle is that as my son was drinking it seemed to leak a little around the screw on top (perhaps faulty?), not a huge amount but enough to dampen my sons babygrow a little. This wasn't a huge concern with water but would be more of an issue with milk.
- Filling and Cleaning -
The bottle has a reasonable size neck so it isn't fiddly to fill it. I found I was able to take it apart easily and had no problems cleaning it with a bottle brush. It is also dishwasher and steriliser safe. Ours looks almost good as new but you find it would get more use if it was used for bottle feeding milk.
- Price and Availability -
On Amazon the 300ml size sells for around £7.50 per bottle while the 150ml sells for around £6 per bottle. Versions of the bottle with a Mickey Mouse print are also available and a 300ml one of these is currently £6.25 in Boots. A four pack for the 300ml bottles is £19.99 in Boots but only in the cream colour. A training cup is also available. These prices seem competitive compared to other brands.
- Would I Recommend? -
I would recommend these bottles as we had a good experience using our one for water during the night. It looks nice, is easy to use/take apart/clean, is dishwasher and steriliser safe, BPA free and the teat is fairly similar to a nipple. Obviously when selecting bottles for bottle feeding milk you may have different factors to consider and issues like the small amount of leaking might be more of a concern.
When my daughter was born she spent her first few days in special care as she needed oxygen as well as being put of a feeding tube for being so little. She was born two weeks early by emergency caesarean which resulted with me being given a general anaesthetic. After coming around at about 3.30am I was then woken up at 7am by a midwife asking if I was ready to express yet. My clear and firm answer was no. I was still incredibly drowsy, in a lot of pain and not really with it. However, as the day went on it was clear I couldn't express as my milk hadn't even come through so after two days of tube feeding it was decided to try her with a bottle and do combination tube and bottle feeding.
When she moved up to the ward with me my other half brought in the bottles we had bought just in case I didn't breast feed. They were the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature and we bought them on recommendation from my cousins. However, after trying to feed her with them we came to the conclusion after what seemed like hours trying to feed her that the teat was too big for her mouth as it was too round. The midwife gave us a NUK teat to try for the next feed and hey presto my gorgeous daughter managed to feed.
My other half went out to locate a NUK stockist as they are not stocked everywhere but fortunately both Boots and Mothercare do stock NUK and he came back to the hospital with four NUK First Choice Wide Neck bottles. Over the week we were in hospital we had made great progress with the NUK bottles and teats and as she was taking over 50% of her feeds by bottle she was allowed home but still with the feeding tube.
NUK are a company founded in 1956 in Germany. They have over 50 years experience in offering products to those women who either can't or choose not to breastfeed. NUK took a breast as their model when they designed the NUK orthodontic shaped teat. This shape was developed by two orthodontists who managed to the develop the teat based on the shape of a nipple which helps the oral development of the baby. NUK teats are used in a large number of neonatal and maternity wards including Cambridge Rosie Hospital (Addenbrookes), Birmingham Children's Hospital and Great Ormond Street to name a few.
NUK claim "The NUK orthodontic teat is recommended by 93% of paediatricians and 87% of midwives and is the only teat approved by the British Dental Health Foundation."
** NUK First Choice Wide Neck Bottle **
You can get a glass version of the bottle but I will be reviewing the plastic version.
The Wide Neck bottle contains 5oz (150ml) of milk, water or juice and comes in either red, yellow, blue and green and a variety of patterns. The measuring guide is on the side of the bottles in a colour which matches the pattern, it shoes ounces and mls and is bold and clear making it easy to read. All bottles come with a sealing disc and screw ring (again colour co-ordinated with the colour and pattern you choose), these ensure a leak-proof bottle which is great if you are travelling.
The bottles are bisphenol A free and are made from polypropylene plastic. They are durable and tough and won't bend or crack easily. NUK to advise that the polypropylene plastic can have a milky appearance and some of my bottles after they have been used quite a few times have gone a slightly white, milky colour but it is perfectly safe.
What gives the bottle its name is the extra wide neck it has which makes it easier to fill the bottle up and to clean. Some of the narrower bottles can be a pain to clean properly but these are great to clean as any bottle brush will work. Also because the wider shape of the bottles they are ever so slightly curved which makes them easy to hold and I'm now finding that my daughter likes to hold the part of the bottle where the screw ring is and can easily grasp her tiny little hands around the wider part of the bottle.
The Wide Neck bottles can come with a silicone teat which has the orthodontic shape with an extra wide lip support which resembles breast feeding as closely as possible. The silicone teat is a size 1 which is suitable for babies 0-6 months of age. NUK recommend that for hygiene and safety purposes that the teat is replaced after 1-2 months use. One thing I have noticed is that after about 2 months and after constant sterilising the teats go a cloudy colour rather than the see through appearance. When this happens I just throw them away and buy new ones.
** What makes the orthodontic shape so special **
Babies are all born with under developed jaws and therefore the jaw, tongue and mouth are all developed by the natural sucking action used when breast or bottle feeding. The NUK teat helps mimic the natural sucking action (as if the child was breast feeding) and will therefore help the oral development develop correctly. Also if the child is being breastfeed the nipple shaped teat will help the transition when moving onto bottles a bit easier.
** The Teat **
As I said above the teat has a certain shape but is meant to resemble a nipple to encourage the natural sucking action. There is a flat underside of the teat which ensures the correct positioning of the tongue this helps encourage the milking action to widen the jaw. The feed hole is position upwards on the teat which helps the milk mix with saliva which aids digestion. Below the feed hole there is a slightly angled surface which supports the upper lip and it is this was helps widen the lower jaw through the milking action. The teat has a slender neck which allows for an air tight sucking action so the child doesn't suck in air. The teat (as with all NUK teats) have an air vent which helps prevent colic. The air vent compensates for the difference in air pressure in the bottle, this helps prevent the teat collapsing and therefore the baby doesn't swallow air.
** Using the bottles **
The wide neck bottles are incredibly easy to use. If you are travelling or just putting a bottle in your nappy bag the sealing lid really does work! You simply fill the bottle up with whatever you need and then you just pop the sealing lid on top of the bottle and then screw on the screw ring tight and it is leak proof! When putting the teats through the screw ring you just need to ensure they are through fully as they create a seal around the screw ring which ensures that when you tip the bottle up it doesn't leak.
When feeding the baby you need to ensure the air vent which is a little dip in the teat (it is on the same side as the feed hole) is facing upwards when it is in the child's mouth as it needs to be in the correct position for them to feed. Only problem I have encountered with this little dip in the teat is some of mine have actually split straight down the middle in this area. Fortunately I managed to return them to the stockist who replaced them. Apparently this can happen once your child gets teeth but as my daughter was only 2 months old at the time this wasn't the case!
I have been using the bottles for around three months now and my daughter really gets a long with the silicone teat (medium flow). Albeit the teat's shape to me doesn't particularly look like a nipple but because of it's shape (flat on one side) my daughter responds well to it and has certainly mastered that natural sucking action!
** Sterilising the bottles **
Well this is an easy job! Simply wash and clean the bottles thoroughly and place in the steriliser! I have the NUK steriliser (see separate review) and I can fit 6 wide neck bottles in this. NUK recommend that to sterilise these bottles then steam or cold water sterilisation is the best method. But they don't recommend you to use a dishwasher or microwave sterilisation as it can cause material damage.
So far all of my bottles have lasted well through constant sterilising but I have found the bottles and teats can have a milky type appearance which is the only downside.
** Price and Availability **
NUK First Choice Wide Neck bottles are only available at NUK stockists which are quite limited compared to Tommee Tippee etc. Boots and Mothercare stock the bottles as does Olivers Babycare (online) and a few other websites. But you can purchase the bottles direct from NUK who are currently selling them at £3.91 (usually £4.79) for one bottle.
** Overall **
A great colourful bottle which my daughter seems to have taken to. Although not widely available they are easy enough to get hold of. They come with clear instructions should you need them. The bottles come up well from being sterilised and best of all, the teat suits my daughter.