Avent has put in lots of hard work to create a bottle system that works well for breastfed babies and pumping moms, but that doesn't mean the system doesn't have merit for formula-fed babies. The best feature of Avent bottles is the wide, silicone nipple. Shaped to mimic a mother's breast, the nipples are a smart choice for those who switch beteen breast and bottle. Avent does not make a BPA-free version of their popular bottles, though, so if you're concerned about BPA, this is not the bottle for you.
Less Air and More Flow Options Makes Happier Babies
Avent's patented anti-vacuum skirt valve prevents the baby from swallowing air during feeding and developing painful gas. The nipples are available in slow flow, medium flow, fast flow and variable flow, meaning there is a speed that will work for almost any baby. Slow drinkers don't have to gulp down their meal, and babies that prefer a faster flow won't have to expend as much energy and frustration at meal time.
Wide Mouth Bottle Is Easy to Clean and Fill
Avent's bottles are dishwasher safe. In my experience they hold up well through many dishwasher cycles without cracking or even becoming discolored. There are times, though, when you may want to hand-wash a bottle, and in those cases, the wider mouth on the Avent bottles is very handy. You don't need a special bottle brush to clean these bottles, just a regular long-handled dish scrubber will work. There are no grooves or pockets on the inside of the bottle to trap germs. The wide mouth is also easier to fill, whether you're using breast milk or powdered formula. When your baby is old enough to hold a bottle, the wide shape is much easier for little hands to grasp.
Don't Over-Tighten Lids!
Like many Avent bottle users, I found that milk sometimes leaked out from around the ring lids when I tilted the bottle to feed my daughter. When I tried to put the lid on even tighter, it didn't help. In fact, it's over-tightening that causes the leaks, which is another difference between Avent's wider bottles and traditional varieties. I found that the leaking stopped if I put the lid on to where it felt tight and then backed it off just a little bit to the looser side. It may take some practice to find the right level of tightness.
Silicone Nipples Are Sturdy and Safe
Avent's silicone nipples may look different than traditional bottle nipples, but they present some advantages over older nipples types. Silicone nipples, unlike their latex counterparts, will not break down and crack or crumble, and therefore do not pose a choking hazard for baby when used properly. Silicone also does not take up odors and resists discoloration, which is great when a bottle is accidentally kicked under the couch to rest for a few months. The tip of the silicone nipple will not collapse when baby is sucking, either, which reduces frustration during feedings.
The only downside I found with this nipple is that many sources list it as not being dishwasher safe. However, many bottle nipples are listed as hand wash only, so this isn't a downfall that is unique to Avent's system. When I used these nipples for my daughter, I did run the nipples through the dishwasher and never had trouble with the nipples breaking down or warping. It's best to follow the directions on the package to properly clean the Avent nipples, though.
Interchangeable Bottle System is Convenient
All of Avents bottles and nipples are interchangeable, which means you never have to hunt for a matching nipple or cap. If you are planning to pump breast milk, Avent's Isis manual breast pump attaches directly to these bottles for added convenience. The bottles come with sealing discs that fit in the ring in place of a nipple if you need to refrigerate or freeze formula or breast milk. When your baby is ready for a sippy cup, Avent also makes sippy spouts and handles that work with these bottles, so they can be used much longer than some other bottles.
Babies Have Strong Preferences, Too
Although I highly recommend these bottle to any parent, whether they breastfeed or bottle-feed, it is important to remember that no one bottle will meet the needs and preferences of all babies. My suggestion, no matter which bottle system you think you might like, is to buy only a few bottles to begin with, and see if your baby will use them before buying any more. Too many parents buy a whole set of bottles and nipples that go to waste when their newborn refuses the shape of the nipple or any other feature.