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We have all heard about the problems of using plastic baby bottles. Yup, BPA made quite a splash when the news was finally made public about its health risks. Unfortunately, there are a host of other chemicals in plastic containers that continue to pose risks to our little ones.
If you read any health-conscious blogs you will hear about how glass bottles are the best option. And that is true from the chemical perspective. There are no known chemicals that leech into liquids from glass containers. However, there is still the risk of the bottle falling and shattering, which is a huge risk unto itself.
With that in mind, stainless steel has become quite the fad among health-conscious individuals, including moms. But is steel really a better option? That is not a quick answer because it depends on your situation. Consider this information.
Benefits of Stainless Steel
Stainless steel has a lot of benefits to it. Of course, it does not have any of the “BP” chemicals you find in plastic containers. Compared to glass it is exceptionally light. That means you are not adding a lot of extra weight when you are on the go. It also means that it is easier for your little one to handle, allowing her to more quickly start holding her own bottle.
Stainless steel is easier to clean. It does not allow smells and stains to seep into it the way plastic does. Stainless steel is designed to resist, well, stains. You also do not need to be concerned that the type of cleaner you use is causing damage. Whether you use standard dish soap, a baby-friendly formula, vinegar, or something with essential oils, it will not break down the stainless steel.
It does not shatter, which is a huge improvement over both glass and plastic. Even if your little is practicing for their MLB draft, it will not break.
Steel is also very durable over time or with use. One of the big challenges of plastic is the weakening of the material over time. Rapid changes in temperature weaken the plastic as you warm a chilled bottle and then wash it to only repeat the process. Stainless steel handles temperature variations with less wear.
As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why stainless steel might be a great option for you.
Challenges of Stainless Steel
So now that we know why it could be a good option, surely there are reasons why it may not be so great. There are a few:
First, it is not a great insulator. Unless you are using a double-walled vacuum bottle, stainless steel has a high thermal transfer. This means it will not keep warm liquid hot, or cold liquid cool for very long. You will need to use some other form of insulation for this purpose. This also means that the container will be cold or hot to the touch, depending on what it contains. If you find a vacuum insulated bottle, these are not a concern.
You cannot microwave stainless steel without causing a fire. You should also exercise caution with steaming a stainless steel bottle due to the risk of overheating the exterior of the bottle. The thermal transfer means the metal will heat quickly, but it will not heat the liquid as well. This could pose a burn hazard to your little one.
The last two issues are a bit more cosmetic in nature. First, it dents easily when it hits the floor. This will not usually affect its usefulness, though significant dents could affect its ability to stand properly. Stainless steel is also not transparent, so it is very difficult to measure liquid without some other container.
Health Risks of Stainless Steel
Like all other bottles, stainless steel bottles are not perfect, and they do have a downside. There is a chemical risk when using stainless steel. There is a possibility for leeching nickel and chromium into milk or water in the bottle. Whether you are putting cold or hot liquid into the bottle, the risk is there. Like plastic, the warmer the bottle the more the leeching affect.
In order to reduce this risk, the recommendation is to boil the bottle in vinegar several times. This will help remove the loose surface nickel, reducing the risk of heavy metal poisoning. This may not stop the leeching entirely. However, it does bring it back down to a level that is naturally found in food.
Stainless Steel Baby Bottles I Have Tried
When you are ready to try a stainless steel baby bottle, you should consider one of these.
The Ultimate Stainless Steel baby bottle is a good option because it is double-wall insulated. This means you do not need to worry about taking an icepack with you or trying to find an insulated holder that will fit the bottle.
LA Baby also has a system of lids that allows you to continue to use the bottle even as your little one grows. This helps extend the value of your investment.
- Rated for 10+ hours insulation
- Anti-colic nipple
- Internal volume markings
- Up to 9oz capacity
- Grow with me system compatible
- Plastic ring tends to break with use
- 316 Stainless steel tends to leech more than 304
Pacific Baby is another company focused on offering safer baby feeding products rather than being just another company capitalizing on a current fad. Their entire product line focuses on healthier options for both the baby and the environment.
This particular bottle is a 7oz vacuum insulated bottle. It does claim dishwasher and steamer safe. I have have not tried it in the steamer, though, because of concerns about the metal becoming too hot.
- Made of 304 steel
- Inner volume markings
- Dishwasher Safe
- Does offer conversion to a sippy cup or water bottle
- Least expensive option, especially for insulated steel bottle
- 7oz bottle is too small for older kids who take 8oz+ at a sitting
- The travel lid does tend to come off too easily
Bammax is a great insulated option for stainless steel bottles. This one has a few unique features that make it perfect for little ones. First is, of course, the fact it is vacuum insulated so it will keep your liquid the right temperature.
It is also a multi-function bottle, so it serves as a baby bottle, a sippy cup with a straw, and also a water bottle. What makes this particular bottle even more unique is the weighted gravity straw. This ensures your little one gets liquid, not air.
- Vacuum insulated
- Weighted gravity straw
- 6oz bottle
- The lid tends to pop off when slightly overtightened
- Lid and nipple leaks a lot
This is a good stainless steel bottle. It not only comes with a silicone nipple, but also a formed silicone sleeve This sleeve helps reduce heat transfer and condensation, and also provides some extra grip while holding the bottle. Did I mention there are some color options too?
The included nipple is an anti-colic design, helping to reduce the amount of air your little one ingests while taking the bottle. The other unique thing about this bottle is the integrated nature with other Pura lids. Every lid Pura makes will fit this bottle, so it will grow with your little one as he moves on to a sippy cup or water bottle with straw.
- Silicone sleeve to help reduce heat transfer and aid grip.
- Anti-colic nipple
- Internal volume markings
- Up to 11oz capacity
- Does not hold up well in the dishwasher
- Tends to leak if it tips over
- Higher price for non-insulated steel bottle
Thinkbaby is a trusted brand for healthier baby products. Their stainless steel bottles are a great extension of their product line. They are made of the 304 stainless steel, which tends to have less leeching than the 316 steel.
These are not insulated bottles, nor do they come with any form of silicone or foam sleeve. It also does convert into a sippy cup with a conversion kit.
- 304 Stainless Steel
- A great option for those with high lipase breastmilk
- Convertible into a sippy cup
- 10oz capacity
- Lower price for steel bottles
- Not insulated
- Nipple tends to collapse
- The plastic ring for the nipple tends to break easily
My Favorite Stainless Steel Option
If you have read any of my other reviews, you know that price is one consideration for my top choice. However, more than price is the function of the product. I need to know that it is going to do the job I need it to do. I am willing to pay a little more if I find something that helps me do my better job as a mom. Leaking is a common issue I saw with all the stainless steel bottles I tried. These tend to be a little more sensitive to how tight the nipple ring is, and will leak if not just right for that bootle. So keep that in mind as you try these for yourself.
That said, my top choice for stainless steel baby bottles is the Ultimate Stainless Steel bottle by LA Baby. There were several reasons why I chose this one. First, it is insulated, which is a must-have for this busy mommy. I also like it is a higher capacity bottle. Having had several babies, I know they only continue to take more, not less. So if I am investing in a bottle that is going to last, I want something that will give a full bottle at one time.
Finally, I love that it converts up, and my little will be able to use it well into preschool as a sippy cup and water bottle. Less consumption now, less down the road. That means long-term it is a much cheaper investment and has a lower impact on the environment.