How To Use Dr. Brown Bottles Without The Inserts

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Vented baby bottles are often highly recommended to new parents when dealing with kids with upset stomachs or severe acid reflux. The Dr. Brown bottle with the special insert is especially popular because of its effect on bottle feeding and the comfort of the child.

However, many parents are left with questions over what to do when their baby no longer needs this vented system. Is it possible to remove the insert and keep using the bottle? Also, when is the best to do this?

The good news is that there are ways to adapt Dr. Brown bottles and create a more transitional process as your child’s digestive system develops.

The bad news is that this is easier with some Dr. Brown bottles more than others. So, let’s discuss using Dr. Brown bottles without inserts and when to do so.

How to use Dr. Brown bottles without the inserts?

If you come to a point where you feel you no longer need or no longer want to use vented bottles, you can make a switch. However, the actions taken will depend on the type of bottle you have.

There are two different types of Dr. Brown vented bottles. The first is the Original, which has an effective vented system as a permanent part of the bottle. The second is the Options+ bottle, where the vent is removable. Therefore, this is the better option for transitioning away from vented bottles.

All you need to do with the Options+ bottle is remove the vent and use the bottle as normal. Don’t try and do this with the Original bottle as it will no longer be as effective.

Original bottles with the vents removed can leak a lot. It is better to switch to the Options+ where you can switch between vented or unvented feeding, or a different bottle entirely.


How do vented baby bottles work?

Both of these Dr. Brown bottles are highly effective for reducing spit-ups and upset stomachs with the inserts in place. Why is this the case?

It all comes down to the clever vent within the bottles. This should be the same whether it is removable or not. This device sits within the bottle and creates a barrier so excess air can’t get into the formula.

The less air that comes in, the fewer the bubbles. The fewer the bubbles, the lower the risk of gas. However, you still need to be careful with the preparation of the formula.

Don’t shake the bottle to mix the liquid as this can allow liquid to enter the vent. also, don’t overfill the bottle as this can also affect the effectiveness of the vent.


Can you boil all parts of Dr.Brown bottles?

With such a clever ventilation system in place and such a delicate construction, you need to be careful cleaning and reassembling the bottle.

This, therefore, raises questions about sterilization. Thankfully, it is possible to boil all of the internal parts of the bottle for sterilization. The advice from the Dr. Brown brand itself is to fill a pot with just enough water to cover the part and to ensure that no part touches the pan.

Then boil them for 5 minutes and leave them to air dry. This should prove to be an effective natural way to keep the bottle clean and hygienic with no risk of bacteria lingering in the vent.


At what age do you stop using Dr. Brown bottles?

This 4-5 month age bracket is a good estimate for stopping using the inserts in Dr. Brown bottles. But, what about stopping using Dr. Brown bottles altogether.

Again, it depends on the bottle. You should stop using the Original bottle when it is time to move on to unvented feeding. But, you can use the adapted Options+ until you finish bottle feeding entirely.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends you do this by 12 months, with complete weaning by no later than 15 months.

An important additional note here is that your trusted Dr. Brown bottle may not last for that full 12 months. If there are problems with the vents, a faster flow of liquid, leaks, or discoloration to the bottle, it is time for a new one. The company recommends that you check every 2-3 months.


When can you stop using the inside of Dr. Brown bottles?

You may be at a point right now where your baby is doing really well in their development with no signs of gastric distress and barely any spit-ups when feeding. Does this mean that you can stop using the internal vent in your bottle?

There is no reason to use the vent in a Dr. Brown bottle if your child has outgrown the need for it. You could find that they drink from an unvented bottle with the same amount of comfort.

The good thing about the removable vent in the Options+ bottle is that you can test this theory out and then replace the vent if you removed it too early. Parents tend to agree that their children are ready to move on at around 4-5 months old.

It all depends on how well they are developing. Still, there are some good signs to watch out for. To begin with, your baby should no longer show the same symptoms of the condition that caused you to use the vent in the first place.

They may also be progressing onto solid food and can handle this fairly well. Also, you are more likely to see success with unvented bottles if the child can sit up on their own.


Using Dr. Brown bottles without inserts.

To summarize, you can remove the insert on an adaptable Options+ Dr. Brown bottle when your child is ready for unvented feeding. Test this out around 4-5 months old as symptoms subside and they sit up on their own.

That adaptable bottle then becomes a normal feeding bottle until it is time to wean your child. Don’t try this with the original bottle because of the risk of leaks.

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This post is written and edited by Sandy who is a clinical pharmacist with over 20 years of experience specializing in pre-natal and post-natal care.