Baby bottle guide plastic vs glass vs stainless steel vs silicone
Sadie Prise

Sadie Prise

Baby Bottle Guide: Plastic Vs. Glass Vs. Stainless Steel Vs. Silicone

Table of Contents

Baby bottles are the most frequently purchased baby feeding accessories by parents and childcarers. Bottles are used across infancy toddlerhood – newborns to toddlers. One concern that mothers and fathers face is their baby’s health and safety and the best types of bottles for their baby.  We want to help you with that!

The five types of materials for baby bottle sets include: 

  • Plastic baby bottles 
  • Stainless steel baby bottles 
  • Glass baby bottles 
  • Silicone baby bottles 

So, what is the best material for baby bottles? The best material for baby bottles is glass followed by stainless steel, as they are both the safest, hygienic, and most compatible bottle material-types. Silicone-based bottles are the next best bottle alternative. Plastic bottles, including BPA-free bottles, are the worst type of baby bottles, and parents should avoid health concerns. 

There are also different types of baby bottle nipples or bottle teats to consider, silicone, natural rubber, and latex. 

Continue reading as we look at the top baby bottle types, with an in-depth focus on the pros and cons for each of the baby bottle materials and the materials used for baby bottle nipples. You may also be interested in our article 5 Must-Have Baby Feeding Products For your Baby

Plastic Baby Feeding Bottles

Plastic baby bottles should always be avoided where possible. While many parents are tempted by plastic bottles as inexpensive, light-weight, hard to break, and readily available, they pose serious health risks to your baby and child. 

In a 2018 report published by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), the AAP released guidelines and a hard stance against plastic bottles baby bottles, including BPA-free bottles.  

The report evidenced detrimental side effects from chemical exposure directly from plastic baby bottles. The report identified the health risks of plastic baby bottles in infants, toddlers, and small children are:

  • Endocrine system development 
  • Brain development 
  • Nervous system development

Specifically, the AAP’s concerns focused on bottles containing phthalates, which are lesser-known than BPA (plasticizer bisphenol A).

BPA-Free bottles are not non-toxic

In 2012, BPA was officially banned by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in baby bottles and cups. Since emerging evidence suggests that the replacement chemical, Bisphenol S (BPS), could also be more toxic for babies, raising serious health concerns. 

It was first believed that BPS had a lower leach tendency from plastic, making it a suitable and safer replacement for BPA. However, recent detection of BPS and BPA in the bloodstreams of alarming Americans invalidates the original assumption.  

Furthermore, the chemical compound’s failure to biodegrade means that it can remain for a significant time, even indefinitely, once absorbed into the bloodstream.  As hormone disruptors, it is hazardous to attach to human cells and alter their function, potentially resulting in cancerous cells or activating chronic diseases such as diabetes. 

The biggest issue with plastic baby bottles is the lack of regulation from the government. The FDA has no regulations, certification, or testing authority for bottles in the market other than BPA. As this new data emerges it is clear that there are more serious safety concerns regarding plastic baby bottles.  

All health experts recommend avoiding plastic baby bottles, feeding accessories, including cups, sippy cups, bowls, and cutlery, to ensure your child’s safety confidently.

Baby Bottles Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Cheap baby bottles  
  • Widely available 
  • Light-weight 
  • Hard to break 

Cons

  • Made from toxic chemicals
  • Leaches toxic chemicals including BPA, BPS, and Phthalate
  • Not dishwasher-compatible 
  • Not microwave-compatible
  • Not scratch-proof 
  • Not recyclable or reusable

Plastic Baby Bottle Purchasing Recommendations:

While we recommend avoiding plastic baby bottles, we also understand that some American parents and carers cannot avoid plastic products. Please know that you are not endangering your child, and there are things that you can do to prevent any health risks.

Below is a summary of the 2018 AAP recommendations when it comes to using plastic baby products, including plastic baby bottles: 

  • Buy BPA-free baby bottles 
  • Buy Phthalate-free baby bottles 
  • Avoid any products with the following recycling codes listed on the label: 3 (phthalates), 6 (styrene), and 7 (bisphenols) 
  • Never microwave milk or formula in the bottle
  • Hand clean plastic bottles and never use them in the dishwasher
  • Immediately expose bottles that appear to be damaged with cuts or flakes to avoid contamination
  • Find alternatives such as glass and stainless steel where possible

For more information, read our article Glass vs. Plastic Baby Bottles – Which is Best?

Glass Baby Feeding Bottles

The American Academy of Paediatrics advocates glass baby bottles are the best alternative to plastic baby bottles. Overall, glass cookware is regarded as the most hygienic and safest material available. 

Glass is chemical-free or non-toxic, and non-reactant. These properties mean that there is no chance of chemical leaching into the baby’s liquid, so there is no risk of chemicals leaching into your baby’s formula or milk. 

Furthermore, glass is non-porous, meaning it does not absorb or obtain previous liquids, odors, or flavors. The non-porous nature means it is stain-free and prevents bacteria development, and makes it easier to clean.

Glass is also the most accessible material to clean; it is dishwasher-friendly with no need for pre-rinsing or follows specific care instructions. If you don’t have a dishwasher, warm soapy water will easily clean the glass bottles – no need to buy unique cleaning products. 

Baby glass bottles are tempered. Therefore they resist high temperatures. As heat-resistant and heat absorbent, glass bottles are microwave-friendly. The baby bottles made from glass are also efficiently heated via boiling water on stoves. 

The one downside to glass baby bottles is their fragility. Whether the glass is tempered or not, it is still fragile. While glass is scratch-resistant and is durable, you drop it from a height, such as a kitchen benchtop or high chair, and it will undoubtedly break. When glass breaks, it tends to shatter, which is the underlying concern for parents. 

While shatter-proof baby bottles are not standard, shatter-resistant glass bottles are a great way to minimize the glass outwards shatters. Shatter-resistant glass baby bottles break inwards instead of outwards, ensuring that small and large glass pieces do not shatter across the flaw endangering your baby and other young children in the vicinity. 

Despite shattering, glass baby bottles are the safest choice and the best alternative to plastic baby bottles.

Glass Baby Bottles Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Affordable options available 
  • Non-toxic 
  • Non-porous
  • Non-leaching
  • Heat resistant 
  • Recyclable and reusable 
  • Scratch-proof 
  • Durable 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Dishwasher-friendly 
  • Microwave-friendly

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Not shatter-proof  (shatter-resistant glass is available)

For more information, read our article Glass vs. Plastic Baby Bottles – Which is Best?

Stainless Steel Baby Feeding Bottles

Stainless steel baby bottles are the second recommendation by the AAP for an alternative to plastic baby bottles. Stainless steel material recognizably one of the best and safest materials for cookware and baby feeding accessories. 

The AAP promotes stainless steel non-leaching, non-toxic, non-reactant properties as perfect for baby bottles. As stainless steel is non-toxic, the material will not leach chemicals into any baby formula, milk, or breast milk. The material is high-quality and highly hygienic.   

Stainless steel is durable and unbreakable and resists general wear and tear for much longer than many other materials. Many parents love to use stainless steel feeding accessories as a durable training tool. Stainless steel baby bottles have a long lifespan and can be recycled and repurposed as child bottles for water or other liquids.   

Another unique feature of stainless steel bottles is their ability to biodegrade. As stainless steel is biodegradable, it is an excellent option for parents to be more environmentally-friendly and minimize waste – great for the eco-conscious. 

The one downside to stainless steel baby bottles is that as stainless steel is metal, it cannot be safely used in the microwave. Stainless steel bottles are heat-resistant, so they can be heated via hot water on the stove and retain the heat in the liquid.  

It is worth mentioning that there is some speculation amongst health care experts and scientists that lower-quality stainless steel products may leach compounds into babies’ food –  nickel, iron, and chromium. 

While some scientists are concerned by this news, Health Canada suggests that this information indicates that the quantity of these compounds is so minor that they can’t cause harm to any person’s health, including babies. Additionally, they add that as these compounds naturally occur in the body, the leaching may benefit our health. 

Despite only a few concerns, glass baby bottles are an excellent choice and a better alternative to plastic baby bottles.

Stainless Steel Baby Bottles Pros And Cons

Pros: 

  • Affordable options available 
  • Non-toxic 
  • Non-porous
  • Non-leaching
  • Recyclable and reusable 
  • Biodegradable
  • Durable 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Dishwasher-friendly 
  • Hard to break 

Con

  • It is generally more expensive
  • Not microwaveable as is metal

Silicone baby bottles

Silicone is a popular choice for parents for many feeding accessories, such as bibs, baby feeding bowls, and feeder spoons. It is less popular as a bottle, but some parents stand by the indestructible, long-lasting material as a good option for baby bottles. 

Experts believe that Silicone baby bottles are non-reactant, heat-resistant, and non-leaching, meaning that they are safe to use as baby bottles and with any liquid. As heat-resistant, it is safe to use in dishwashers and microwaves, which pressure parents. It is also stain-resistant, meaning that it is straightforward to clean. 

It indeed outperforms plastic and synthetic latex baby products as it is odorless and hypoallergenic for babies. Although the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) recommends glass and stainless steel before silicone baby bottles, there is still rising popularity for silicone baby products amongst parents.  

There are some pitfalls to silicone; while it has a long lifespan and can be easily reused and repurposed as your baby grows, the material is not biodegradable. 

Another concern is that Silicone baby products under FDA-approved guidelines are not as scrutinized and regulated as many other materials used in baby product manufacturing. Lower-grade silicone products have been found to toxic leach chemicals such as D4, D5, and D6 in baby formula from some silicone bottle nipples. 

Unfortunately, under current guidelines, the use of harmful additives like phthalates is considered safe despite health experts and researchers indicating that it isn’t. As conscious consumers of baby bottle products, you should always check the labels to ensure that your silicone is phthalate-free and is high-grade, high-quality silicone.  

However, Health Canada remains adamant that with no conclusive evidence, silicone is a safe product to use in baby feeding accessories, such as baby bottles. It is undoubtedly recognized as a safer alternative to plastic baby bottles. 

We suggest that silicone baby bottles are an excellent choice when glass and stainless steel baby bottles are not an option. 
Read our article Are Silicone baby feeder spoons a safe choice?

Silicone Baby Bottles Pros And Cons

Pros

  • Inexpensive 
  • Non-toxic 
  • Non-porous
  • Non-leaching
  • Recyclable and reusable 
  • Durable 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Dishwasher-friendly
  • Microwave-friendly 
  • Hard to break 

Cons

  • It is a highly processed material 
  • Little research has been done into the health side effects
  • Silicone products are less regulated than other

Silicone Baby Bottle Teats and Bottle Nipples

Health experts and pediatric carers recommend the best material for baby bottle teats and bottle nipples as medical-grade silicone. Medical grade silicone, sometimes referred to as food-grade silicone, ensures that the silicone is FDA approved and tested. The certification indicates that the silicone material for the baby bottle nipples reacts safely inside the baby’s mouth. 

All food contact substances, including baby bottle nipples, must follow FDA guidelines. If your baby bottle nipples are not listed as medical-grade, avoid buying or throw them away. 

Health experts recommend medical-grade silicone baby bottle nipples as the material is considered hypoallergenic, non-toxic, latex-free, and non-porous, therefore resisting bacterial growth. 

There is some speculation amongst pediatric experts and health professionals about whether silicone leaches chemicals into a baby bottle of milk or formula. However, Health Canada suggests that medical grade silicone is the best and safest material for baby bottle nipples as there is no conclusive evidence.  

Alternatives to silicone nipples include natural rubber, which is non-toxic and hypoallergenic. We recommend avoiding synthetic latex nipples, as they can contain chemical additives and are under strict government regulations as medical grade silicone.

Baby Bottle Materials Properties Summary

When purchasing baby bottles for your infant or toddler, consider what options are important to you and fit your baby’s needs—the table below highlights each of these baby bottle types’ properties, not including the baby nipples.

 PlasticGlassStainless SteelSilicone

Non-toxic

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Non-Leaching

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heat-resistant

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Dishwasher- compatible

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Microwave- compatible

No

Yes

No

Yes

Recyclable /Reusable

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bio-degradable

No

No

Yes

No

Scratch-Resistant

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Hard to break

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Easy to clean

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

This table summarizes the properties of baby bottles and their types. 

As evidenced by the table shown, glass and stainless steel are the safest, most hygienic, and versatile options for baby bottles. The AAP recommendation further endorses the use of the materials in baby bottles.

Wawita Premium Glass Feeding Bottles

At Wawita, we consider glass to be the best alternative to plastic baby bottles, and we have developed a range of baby bottles that prioritize safety and affordability.  

At Wawita, we love our Premium Baby Glass Bottles as they are one of the best baby bottles on the market. Like other glass baby bottles, they are chemical-free and non-leaching, but unlike other glass bottles on the market, they are shatter-resistant, light-weight, and fitted with easy-grip texturing. 

Our bottles also have the unique additions of a temperature detection system – the bottle changes color when the liquid reaches optimal temperature for the baby and an anti-colic venting system, made possible by our peristaltic vacuum-free nipple. Our bottles come in various sizes, and flows are purchased individually or in sets.  

A full list of our Premium Baby Glass Bottles features:

  • Does not leak harmful chemicals
  • Chemical-free
  • Light-weight
  • BPA-Free
  • Heat-resistant
  • Dishwasher compatible 
  • Microwave compatible 
  • Recyclable and reusable 
  • Durable
  • Scratch-resistant 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Shatter-resistant 
  • anti-colic venting feature 
  • peristaltic vacuum-free nipple

At Wawita, we have are a genuine appreciation for quality products and materials. Safety and hygiene are at the forefront of everything we do, and we aim to deliver products with this in mind. We trust that this product will make the lives of parents and babies easier and safer.

Baby bottles are the most frequently purchased baby feeding accessories by parents and child careers. Bottles are used across infancy toddlerhood – newborns to toddlers. One concern that mothers and fathers face is their baby’s health and safety and the best types of bottles for their baby.  We want to help you with that!  You can purchase our Wawita Shatter-Resistant Premium Glass Baby Glasses and our other baby feeding accessories at our Wawita Shop.

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“A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years, and in your heart until the day you die.”

–Mary Mason

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