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Hands-on Gear Review
Playtex Nurser Review
Price: $4.83 List | $2.80 each (in 3-pack) at Amazon
Pros: Cleaning, collapsible liners, nipples
Cons: Liner purchases, assembly, not recyclable, angle moves
Bottom line: Wasteful & require multiple containers to use
The Playtex Nurser is lightweight and a little bulky to hold. Babies seemed to take to the bottle quickly, and we experienced no leaking during feeding. The nipples are nicely shaped and easy to latch on to with no feeding problems. We also liked that the bottle is easy to clean with few parts thanks to the liners you throw away. However, it is the plastic liners that break up the love affair of this bottle. They are plastic and in our minds wasteful. These liners are not as useful as others and still require the transfer of milk from one container to another to use them. Overall, we think there are better bottles that offer more and do not contain as much plastic.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Playtex Nurser bottle system included disposable plastic liners that collapse as baby feeds for an air free feed that prevents air bubbles from mixing with the milk. This system is clinically proven to help reduce gas, colic and spitting up. The system claims to stimulate the same suck and swallow breathing patterns that make a more natural breast to bottle switching. The Playtex Drop-Ins features holders and disposable liners that are BPA Free. The NaturaLatch Nipple that combines with this bottle has a natural full shape and a raised texture similar to real breasts that help baby latch.
This chart is a comparison of the overall scores for the bottles tested in this review. The Nurser is shown in blue for comparison.
The information provided below includes our likes and dislikes for the Nurser compared to the competition.
We liked the Playtex "Twist and Click" seal that prevented leaking during preparation and feeding. This seal helped keep the mess to a minimum and didn't disrupt baby while feeding. The design of the bottle itself also meant that baby could eat in more of an upright position, which could be a real benefit once your baby is a little older and able to hold the bottle themselves.
Both baby and parents alike seem to like the nipple options for this bottle. Babies were very comfortable with the nipple and were able to latch even on the medium flow nipples that were firmer and heavier than the low flow options. Playtex also offers a variety of nipple types for use with this system, which means if baby doesn't like one they might like another and it won't render the entire bottle useless like other bottle and nipple combinations that lack variety. Nipple options include the NaturaLatch, Breastlike, Angled Nipple, Full sized Nipple, and a Petite Nipple, in both slow and medium flows. The liners do collapse as described when a baby is feeding and appeared to limit the amount of air baby was able to ingest, thereby decreasing the chance for colic, gas, and spit ups.
This bottle is one of the easiest to clean in this review with a liner that you throw away and other parts that do not require any special brushes or nooks and crannies that are hard to reach. After disposing of the liner, the bottle vessel can be rinsed or simply left alone since it shouldn't come in contact with milk, leaving just the nipple and collar to clean.
The Playtex bottle is very lightweight, but the design of the vessel that houses the liner is on the bulky side and awkward for little hands to hold. We did like that the measurements are easy to read on the outside of the vessel, but because they are printed on there is a chance they will wear off over time and repeated cleaning.
There is a concern with this bottle that the liner could leak while in transport. The plastic liners that make up the bottom portion of the bottle seem rather thin and prone to puncturing. We think it might be a hassle for parents to double check their diaper bag contents or to find a secluded place for the bottle to go to avoid the potential for leaking. Should the liner be punctured in the bag, it would not only create a giant mess, but it could leave you stranded with a hungry baby and nothing to feed them.
The ease of use metric is where this Playtex bottle starts to have some difficulties. There are a lot of parts to put together, and while you will get used to it over time, it is difficult in the beginning and potentially problematic in the middle of the night while sleep deprived. Other bottles like the Tommee Tippee Feeding plastic bottle only have three parts and are very easy to assemble.
The next problem is the disposable liners that you will need to keep on hand. If you run out, you won't be able to use the bottle at all so it would be best to keep a backup supply of ordinary bottles just in case. The liners don't have to be cleaned, which is nice, but they don't attach to the pump like those on the Kiinde Squeeze so you will still need to pump milk or mix formula into a different container to pour into this one. That means you haven't saved time or energy because the additional container will still need cleaning. The liners also feel relatively thin and prone to punctures that will lead to leaking as previously mentioned. This potential for leaking made us reluctant them in a crowded diaper bag. You also can't put the bottle in a bottle warmer because the liner is exposed and not durable enough to be used with higher heat steam and water.
The design of the bottle itself is also a dislike in our opinion. The bottle body has a flex portion that is intended to help baby achieve the right angle for feeding, but it seemed to move too easily and sort of left baby "chasing" the curve. The neck of the bottle is also not very wide, and this made transferring milk and formula more complicated than the wide necks.
This bottle earned the lowest score in the group for eco-health. Not only are all the components made of plastic, but they are made in China where production standards are not as strict as other countries. The plastic liner is made of polyethylene, and is disposable and not recyclable like the one found in the Kiinde Squeeze bottle. So while the bottle and liners are BPA and phthalate free, it isn't enough to make up for the general wastefulness and plastic concerns this bottle brings to the table. The nipples are silicone, which is common in today's bottle market.
Other Versions and Accessories
Playtex also makes a bottle called the Playtex Baby VentAire. This bottle is plastic, and instead of a collapsible liner to control air consumption, it has an anti-colic valve in the bottom of the bottle body not unlike the Munchkin Latch, which we thought was over designed and sort of a hassle.
Playtex also offers a wide variety of nipple options, both in style and flow rate. The nipples were one of the features of this bottle that we did like and baby seemed to find easy to use.
The concept of a disposable liner bottle that collapses as baby drinks to reduce air consumption is not new nor innovative, and Playtex does not do it as well as some other brands even if they have been doing it longer. The design of this particular system has some significant flaws starting with thin liners that can't be used with a pump and can potentially be punctured fairly easily. While they did collapse as described and babies seemed to like the different nipple options, this "on the go" bottle wasn't that good at working on the go. We worried about putting the liners in a diaper bag thanks to the potential for leaking, the liners themselves can't store milk, so you will still need another container that will need to be cleaned and potentially carried, and the liners are not recyclable. We think parents are better off with a nice glass bottle than a strangely angled bottle body and continued purchases of liners, or potentially an easier to use and assemble plastic bottle like the Tommee Tippee.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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