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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Glass vs. Plastic Baby Bottles

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Are glass or plastic baby bottles better for your baby? What about silicone baby bottles or stainless steel bottles? This glass vs. plastic baby bottles comparison guide will help you learn the differences between these two types of bottles, the pros and cons of each, and will help you choose the best baby bottle for your child!

Baby bottles with milk for baby on a straw basket.

If you’re a new parent, or newly bottle feeding, you’ve probably wondered what type of bottle to buy. It can be hard deciding which kind of bottle is right for your growing family, especially with so many options on the baby bottle market!

While plastic bottles are lightweight and unbreakable, glass bottles are environmentally friendly and free from toxic chemicals. So, which one should you choose? Wondering why glass baby bottles might be better? Or whether you should invest in plastic infant bottles? Or is glass better for your new baby? Are there any non-toxic baby bottles that are also easy to use? 

Don’t worry, as this comparison guide will answer all those questions and more. Keep reading to compare glass vs. plastic baby bottles and find out which choice works best for your family.

What To Know About Glass Baby Bottles

Are glass baby bottles better than plastic or other options? To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of glass baby bottles.

Pros

  • Environmentally friendly: Glass products are easier to recycle. They also last longer than their plastic counterparts, so you don’t need to replace them as often. 
  • No chemicals: Although plastic bottles have gotten much higher in quality in recent years, you won’t have to worry about the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in manufacturing glass sippy cups. 
  • Easy cleaning: Glass bottles are much easier to clean and maintain because they don’t stain and any residue is easily spotted. Additionally, glass doesn’t scratch, so germs and bacteria have no place to grow over time. 
  • Durable: Glass products will last a while because they don’t break down as quickly as plastic products.
  • Sanitary & Dishwasher safe: Glass can be heated to incredibly high temperatures without melting. Therefore, you can sanitize your glass bottles with ease. They can also be tossed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.

Given all of these pros above, are glass milk bottles better than plastic? Before you automatically decide that glass is the safest option for your infant formula, here are some drawbacks to be aware of.

Cons

  • Heavy: As you probably already know, glass is heavier than plastic. If your baby is self-feeding, glass bottles might be difficult for them to hold.
  • More expensive (initially): It’s true that glass bottles cost more upfront. However, they last longer than plastic containers, so they are more affordable long-term. 
  • They could break: Let’s be honest, glass bottles are breakable bottles. Silicone sleeves can help prevent that, but regular glass will always be more fragile than plastic.
  • Fewer options: There are significantly more plastic bottle brands than there are glass brands. Most of the time, you’ll have to purchase glass baby bottles online instead of in-store. 

Glass Baby Bottles FAQs

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about glass baby bottles.

What materials are used in glass baby bottles?

Wondering how glass bottles are made? Most use borosilicate glass, which is made from boron trioxide and silica. This kind of glass is thermal-shock resistant, meaning it won’t crack under extreme temperatures or pressure. 

Additionally, most glass bottles use reinforced glass, which disintegrates into rounded pebbles if broken. This prevents your little one from getting hurt when they inevitably drop their bottle. 

How to sterilize and clean glass baby bottles?

I recommend sterilizing glass baby bottles and nipples by placing them in boiling water for five minutes. Afterward, you can wash them either by placing them in the dishwasher (for optimal results) or hand-washing them with soapy, hot water.

Do glass baby bottles break easily?

Yes. Unlike plastic, glass bottles will break when dropped, and can chip even with careful treatment. However, many parents opt for a rubberized glass bottle cover or silicone sleeve to minimize and prevent any potential breakage from happening.

Can I store formula in glass bottles?

The answer is, it depends! Most formulas can be made 24 hours in advance and stored, so if your formula falls into that category then you can prepare it 24 hours in advance of feeding, and store it in your glass bottles in the refrigerator.

Check the package instructions to find out if your formula can be made in advance and stored in the fridge.

You can’t store baby formula in glass bottles at room temperature for more than 1 hour until you’re ready to feed your baby.

When it comes to baby formula, it can be hard to find the right one for your child! See this guide for the best organic formula for your baby (my top pick being HiPP with Lebenswert and Holle as close runners up!)

Do glass bottles reduce colic?

Certain brands (like Dr. Brown’s glass bottles) integrate a vent system into their bottles that stop the formulation of air bubbles and reduce colic. 

While such a system can help reduce symptoms of colic, there is no evidence to suggest that glass keeps air out of a baby’s stomach any better than other materials. 

Are glass baby bottles safe?

Yes, for the most part, glass bottles are safe. Not only are they BPA-free, but glass bottles don’t contain any polycarbonate plastics. Therefore, the biggest safety concern is simply the glass breaking, which can be prevented with silicone sleeves or other protective materials.

Are glass bottles better for babies?

Whether you choose glass or plastic bottles depends on your personal preferences. However, I will say that glass bottles are better for the environment, are easily cleaned, and don’t contain any harmful substances that could leak into your baby’s formula. Additionally, pure glass bottles that use natural rubber nipples or silicone nipples are truly not using any toxic ingredients in their bottles!

What To Know About Plastic Baby Bottles

Now that you know everything about glass baby bottles, let’s talk about their plastic counterparts. Below are the advantages, disadvantages, and frequently asked questions about plastic bottles.

Pros

Deciding between glass vs. plastic bottles? Here are some benefits of choosing the latter.

  • Wide variety: Plastic bottles are incredibly widespread, which means that if your baby doesn’t respond well to one type of plastic, there are plenty of different brands to choose from. 
  • Readily available: Plastic bottles are the most popular kind of bottle, so they’re easy to find. You can purchase them at grocery stores, online, and at many chain retailers. 
  • Lightweight and unbreakable: Plastic is significantly lighter than glass, which allows babies to get a better grip. Additionally, if your baby drops their bottle, you won’t have to worry about shattered glass. 
  • Less expensive: Plastic bottles are easier to manufacture than their glass counterparts, which makes them more affordable. 

Cons

Now, let’s talk about some potential risks of using plastic baby products.

  • More chemicals: While most modern bottles are BPA-free, older plastic bottles might still contain BPA – a potentially harmful chemical. Additionally, a recent study has shown that ingesting BPA has been linked to problems with brain development and behavior in babies and children. You can avoid this by opting for BPA-free plastics, however, they might still contain estrogenic chemicals. Just in case, I recommend purchasing bottles that come with disposable liners to prevent chemicals from leeching into the bottle’s contents.
  • Harder to clean: Plastic bottles are prone to scratches, which become convenient homes for bacteria to grow in. Oftentimes, these scratches are invisible, which makes them super hard to thoroughly clean. 
  • Can’t sanitize: When plastic encounters higher temperatures, it releases potentially harmful chemicals. For that reason, you cannot truly sanitize plastic bottles as you would glass. Also, instead of throwing them in the dishwasher, you’ll need to wash your baby’s bottles by hand.
  • Less durable: Because plastic bottles tend to get scratched up over time, they require replacement more often than glass. 

Plastic Baby Bottles FAQs

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about bottles with plastic containers:

What materials are used in plastic baby bottles?

Older bottle manufacturers (pre-2014) made plastic bottles containing BPA (an industrial chemical). However, recent reports revealed that BPA can seep into the contents of BPA-manufactured containers. Since 2014, most plastic bottles are BPA free (but it’s always important to check the labeling on the container to make sure that’s the case!)

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said BPA is safe in small doses, it’s important to be aware that it’s linked to possible health defects in infants and children. I recommend always buying BPA free plastic when you’re buying plastic containers or bottles for your child.

How do I know if a plastic bottle is BPA-free?

Thankfully, it’s easy to tell if a bottle was made with or without the use of BPA. All you have to do is turn the bottle upside down and see if it contains a plastic resin identification code (aka the recycling code). If you see numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, you can safely assume the bottle is BPA-free.

How do you sterilize and clean plastic bottles for babies?

One of the disadvantages of plastic bottles is their inability to be fully sterilized. When plastic overheats, it leeches toxic chemicals that are harmful to human health. Therefore, you shouldn’t place your plastic bottles in the dishwasher or in boiling water. 

Instead, wash your plastic containers by hand using warm, soapy water. A bottle brush can help you clean any tough-to-reach corners.

Can I store formula in plastic bottles?

I don’t recommend refrigerating your formula in plastic bottles, as it increases the likelihood that particles of microplastics will leech into the liquid.

Do plastic bottles reduce colic?

Whether a bottle can reduce colic depends entirely on its venting system, which controls the amount of air your baby swallows. Therefore, if a plastic bottle has the proper venting system, it might be able to reduce colic. Dr. Brown’s bottles (they make both plastic and glass versions) are the best bottles for reducing colic, in my experience!

Are plastic baby bottles safe?

Modern plastic bottles that don’t contain BPA are generally considered safe. That being said, you should still avoid feeding your baby liquids from plastic containers that have sat out in the sun or experienced high temperatures. 

Are plastic bottles better for babies?

Whether you opt for glass vs plastic baby bottles will depend on your personal preferences. However, plastic bottles are a great option if you need a more affordable, more portable option that’s indestructible, and if you’re willing to wash your baby’s bottles by hand. Plastic bottles are also a great option for self feeding babies since they are lightweight and if baby drops them, they won’t break.

Glass vs. Plastic Baby Bottles

So, are you team glass or plastic baby bottles? If you still need help deciding, here’s a brief overview: 

Glass vs. Plastic Baby Bottles Infographic (Pros & Cons).

Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Baby Bottles

Wondering how stainless steel baby bottles compare to plastic? Here are the pros and cons to help you decide: 

Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Baby Bottles Infographic (Pros & Cons).

Silicone vs. Plastic Baby Bottles

Silicone baby bottles are a happy medium between glass and plastic. Let’s see how they compare to plastic bottles: 

Silicone vs. Plastic Baby Bottles Infographic (Pros & Cons).

Are silicone bottles better than plastic? Well, that’s really up to you. However, if you’re looking for a toxin-free, lightweight, and affordable baby bottle, one made from food-grade silicone would be a great option. 

Glass vs. Silicone Baby Bottles vs. Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Bottles

Which is better: glass vs stainless steel baby bottles? How about silicone vs glass baby bottles? This chart compares the disadvantages and advantages of glass bottles with silicone bottles, stainless steel feeding bottles, and plastic bottles. Overall, the best non-toxic baby bottles can be glass, stainless steel or silicone.

Glass vs. Silicone vs. Stainless Steel vs. Plastic Baby Bottles Infographic (Pros & Cons).

Other Helpful Baby Product Guides!

Are you a new mom or dad looking for some parenting tips? The Healthy Kids section of my blog has all the hacks, reviews, and how-to guides you’ll need: 

Final Thoughts

I hope that today’s post gave you a better idea of how to choose different materials for your bottle-fed infants. Remember that the best baby bottles for your child are the ones best suited to your family and lifestyle. 

I have used just about every type of bottle during one feeding time or another, so I understand the pros and cons of each. Ultimately different types of bottles have different strengths – so it’s really up to your personal preferences to decide which to choose.

For me, when it came to glass versus plastic baby bottles, I actually ended up using both for different reasons! We used glass at home, plastic when traveling or on the go. If you have questions about these different types of bottles, or you want to share your experience, I’d love to hear from you! Drop your bottle of choice in the comments and keep checking back for more healthy baby tips and tricks.

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