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Hands-on Gear Review

Medela Breastmilk Review


Baby Bottle

Price:   $6.33 List | $1.67 each (in 6-pack) from Amazon - 74% Off
Pros:  Works w/ Medela breastpumps, easy to assemble
Cons:  Nipple leaks, plastic, nipple, hard to clean
Bottom line:  Leaky bottle w/ latching issues in our tests
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Medela

The Skinny

The Medela Breastmilk bottle is a BPA free plastic bottle that works with Medela breast pumps and other accessories. And while we love that this simplistic bottle means a quick and seamless transfer from pump to storage to feeding baby, we don't really like the plastic container or the tendency it has to leak around the nipple and collar. This bottle might be good as a backup plan to your regular bottle lineup if you own a Medela pump, but otherwise we don't think it is the best option given the smaller collapsing nipple, the lack of air venting, and the more difficult to clean narrow neck. If the bottle had been made of glass or the nipple larger and more baby friendly the Medela might have performed better in our tests.

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief, BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Friday
July 1, 2016
Medela Breastmilk Bottle
The Medela Breastmilk bottle is made by Medela, a familiar brand for many parents, even new ones. The manufacturer is practically synonymous with breast feeding thanks to their impressive lineup of breast pumps and accessories that make breastfeeding and collecting and storing breastmilk easier. They offer products that can be used for pumping, storage, and feeding baby, including the Breastmilk bottle. The Breastmilk is compatible with all the Medela pumps, is dishwasher safe and BPA free, made of FDA food contact grade polypropylene. It comes with minimal parts making it easy to clean and it attaches directly to the pump for easy collection and storage without transfer that can result in losing milk.

Performance Comparison


One upside to the Medela Breastmilk is the ability to go from pump to storage to bottle with ease and no extra containers.
One upside to the Medela Breastmilk is the ability to go from pump to storage to bottle with ease and no extra containers.

Likes


4 month  15.5 pound boy drinking from the Medela Breastmilk bottle with slow flow nipple. Leaking from the nipple was an issue.
4 month, 15.5 pound boy drinking from the Medela Breastmilk bottle with slow flow nipple. Leaking from the nipple was an issue.
The best thing about this Medela bottle is the compatibility with Medela breast pumps and other accessories. Being able to pump milk directly into the same bottle baby will drink out of limits waste, uses fewer containers, and reduces the number of steps necessary to make a bottle for baby.

The Bottle of the Medela only has 3 parts  the dust cap and flat cap are for transportation and storage respectively.
The Bottle of the Medela only has 3 parts, the dust cap and flat cap are for transportation and storage respectively.
The Medela is an uncomplicated bottle with a simple design and few parts. We were able to assemble the parts without the instructions and having fewer parts makes cleaning easier. This gave the Medela its highest score in the review for cleaning. The plastic bottle is BPA free and won't break like glass can, reducing the risk of possible injury (though slim) related to broken glass. The nipple compatible with the bottle is of medium firmness and gets the job done even though it is on the smaller side.

The volume indicators are clearly marked on the side of medela bottle body and are easy to read.
The volume indicators are clearly marked on the side of medela bottle body and are easy to read.
We also like the outside measurement markings on this bottle because testers found them easy to read and well defined. This bottle can be used in most bottle warmers and it is the lightest weight bottle in this review.

Dislikes


The Medela is made entirely of plastic  and while BPA free we aren't big fans of plastic in general.
The Medela is made entirely of plastic, and while BPA free we aren't big fans of plastic in general.
We found more dislikes than likes when it came to the Medela bottle compared to the competition. Testers felt the bottle failed in comparison on some pretty key factors that spelled trouble for baby and parents.

3.5 month old  14 pound boy testing the Medela Breastmilk bottle. With a narrow  small nipple  this was the least breast-like and resulted in a poor latch with milk leakage.
3.5 month old, 14 pound boy testing the Medela Breastmilk bottle. With a narrow, small nipple, this was the least breast-like and resulted in a poor latch with milk leakage.
The Medela nipple leaks regularly and despite our efforts to limit this problem. We experienced leaking around the nipple area and around the collar where the nipple portion attaches to the bottle. This is a problem when baby drinks and when the bottle is inverted for use. If leaking while in use isn't bad enough, the cap for this bottle doesn't sit on the body of the bottle securely, so the bottle might leak when carried and stowed as well. For any mother than has struggled to create enough of the liquid gold known as breast milk, this is a very frustrating thing to have happen and it makes this bottle a disappointment to many of our testers.

The nipple on the Medela is very narrow and the most un-breast like option in the review.
The nipple on the Medela is one of the smallest in the group and resulted in a poor latch with leaking around baby's mouth for some of our testers.
 
We also weren't big fans of the nipple design or feel on the Medela as it is on the smaller side and caused latching problems for our little testers. Because some babies could get the entire nipple into their mouth they had problems with the nipple collapsing. Even many Amazon reviewers experienced similar events that we did in our testing of collapsing nipples, indicating it might be a wide spread problem for this nipple design. This means you have to remove the bottle from baby's mouth and right the nipple before feeding can continue. This problem is likely exacerbated by the lack of venting on this bottle.

While the bottle has few parts making cleaning easier and less time consuming, it also has a narrow neck design that makes fitting the brush into the bottle more difficult and increases the chances of parents needing an additional smaller cleaning brush on hand to get deep inside the bottle. The bottle design is also somewhat strange because it offers no venting (something very common in most modern bottles) and the milk had a tendency of getting stuck in the wide area below the nipple when baby was drinking.

The Medela also didn't score well for eco-health thanks to its plastic body (see our article on plastics). While we understand it is BPA free FDA food contact grade polypropylene it still isn't as inert as glass or stainless steel and we think glass offers potentially more benefits to baby because the nutrients in the breastmilk doesn't cling to the inside of the bottle like it can with plastics. In addition, this bottle is made in China, and we prefer those that are made in America or Europe.

Conclusion


4 month  15.5 pound boy drinking from the Medela Breastmilk bottle with slow flow nipple. Leaking from the nipple was an issue.
4 month, 15.5 pound boy drinking from the Medela Breastmilk bottle with slow flow nipple. Leaking from the nipple was an issue.
Overall, the Medela Breastmilk isn't the best choice for most parents, though we can see the argument for moms who use a Medela breast pump keeping some on hand for quick transfers and convenience for storage or while travelling. We think it is better to invest in other options for your main go to bottle given the lower score of the Medela and the fact that it came in last place in our tests. With the potential of finding a similarly priced glass bottle that performs better and leaks less, the Medela becomes a less desirable option.

Other Versions and Accessories


Medela also offers the Medela Calma bottle, a breastfeeding exclusive bottle not intended for formula. We didn't test the Calma but the manufacturer claims that the bottle makes switching between the breast and bottle easier than ever before. The Calma is designed to use baby's natural feeding behavior by allowing milk flow only when baby is working and creates a vacuum to express the milk. This is similar to breastfeeding and Medela believes this helps in the transition and creating positive feeding habits.

This bottle would work well with our Best Value award winner for breast pumps the Medela Pump in Style Advanced and the hand held Medela Harmony Manual.
Juliet Spurrier, MD and BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: July 1, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (1.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 100%  (1)


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