Luckily for our babies and the environment, the world of non-toxic baby bottles and nipples is ever-expanding to include more choices that are not only safe for baby, but will also help ensure a greener future for her long after she’s moved on to sippy- and big-kid cups.
Table of Contents
Today’s science proves what parents have always known instinctively – babies are vulnerable creatures, exponentially more sensitive to their environments than their adult caregivers, or even children a few years their senior. At any given moment, crucial developments are happening just below the surface of their pudding-soft skin – developments that can be disrupted by exposure to toxins. The duty to shield them from these harms can drive any parent to agonize over even seemingly simple choices for them – like what baby bottles and nipples to buy.
Our top eco-friendly non-toxic baby bottle pick
What to Look for in a Non-Toxic Baby Bottle:
Non-toxic and earth-friendly baby bottles come in two basic varieties:
- glass, and;
- stainless steel
These materials make for the safest and most eco-friendly baby bottles for two reasons.
First, they don’t release toxic chemicals into the bottle contents – a.k.a., your precious baby’s food. Plastic bottles – even non-BPA plastics – can leach contaminants, especially when heated, which is a must with baby bottles due to pumping and storing milk, as well as using formula.
Second, glass and stainless steel are the most sustainable options available. Since they don’t permanently absorb odors and can easily be sanitized, both can be reused and even safely passed on to another child. Both materials are also readily recyclable and can be recycled infinite times without a degradation in the quality of the materials (although you’ll likely have to find a specialized facility for stainless steel recycling).
When evaluating eco-friendly and non-toxic baby bottles, I gave bonus points for products that could be repurposed or up-cycled once the baby has graduated from the bottle-feeding stage as some of these products can be transitioned into cups at the next stage of development.
What to Look for in a Non-Toxic, Baby Bottle Nipple
Non-toxic baby bottle nipples are composed of either pure natural rubber or food-grade silicone (note, we don’t recommend silicone for bottles, just for nipples).
Because they’re plant-based, biodegradable and compostable, natural rubber nipples are by far the most eco-friendly option. The down-sides of rubber nipples are that they’re relatively hard to find, expensive and may need to be replaced more frequently than other options.
While stable and safe for little ones, silicone nipples are not biodegradable and are almost impossible to recycle. On the other hand, they’re much more affordable than rubber, and because they are the most common type of nipple, they come in the widest variety of shapes and sizes.
If you opt for a latex nipple, be aware of these common signs of latex allergy in infants.
The best non-toxic baby bottles & nipples: our top picks
Here are my top picks for non-toxic and eco-friendly baby bottles and nipples.
Highlights: This fun, functional, sustainably-designed, and giftable baby bottle is composed of parts that can be reused, upcycled, recycled and composted.
Hevea was founded in Denmark in 2009 by then new mother Terese Hoffeldt. Feeling dissatisfied with the volume of plastic products with which she and her newborn daughter were inundated, Hoffeldt sought to create more natural and sustainable alternatives. She named the company for the Hevea brasiliensis – or more commonly, the rubber tree – a plant that’s at the core of many of the company’s products.
The 2-in-1 Baby Glass Bottle with Star Ball Cover is a lovely amalgamation of clever, developmentally appropriate design, sustainable materials and safety. Its easy-to-grasp upcycled rubber cover makes it a natural pick for babies showing an interest in holding their own bottles, which may happen around six months. The ball-shaped cover also prevents the recyclable, reusable glass bottle from breaking if dropped. As a bonus, the cover can be removed and used as a developmental play ball, which baby can bounce, stretch and safely gnaw on.
As with all Hevea’s bottles, the 2-in-1 comes equipped with a 100% natural rubber nipple, molded in one piece to facilitate good hygiene. One of rubber’s biggest pros – its biodegradability – is also a point of caution here: it’s important to switch out rubber nipples every two months or as soon as they show signs of wear to prevent cracks in which bacteria can hide.
Highlights: A carbon-neutral company is behind this daycare-ready stainless steel bottle, which can be reborn as a big-kid cup with the purchase of an alternative cap.
If you’re looking for non-toxic, eco-friendly baby bottles to accompany a new daycare routine, stainless steel may be your top choice. Many facilities don’t allow parents to send glass bottles because of their perceived fragility. A family trip and the accompanying possibility of rough-handled luggage is another reason eco-conscious families like to keep a few stainless-steel baby bottles in supply.
Klean Kanteen is a B Corp company, certified 100% carbon neutral in the manufacture and delivery of its products by Climate Neutral and has contributed over $1.5 million to environmental organizations through its 1% For the Planet membership.
The company’s take on the stainless-steel baby bottle is an exercise in restraint. Its simple design pairs a 100% stainless steel bottle (believe it or not, some “stainless steel” cups are actually plastic-lined) with a medical-grade silicone nipple, held on by a plastic screw cap designed to have zero contact with baby’s drink.
While the silicone nipple, like all silicone products, is almost impossible to recycle, the bottle’s screw cap can be recycled with number five plastics and the stainless steel bottle can be passed on to another baby, reused for later stages of your child’s life by fitting it with Klean Kanteen’s Wide Loop Cap (View on Amazon), or recycled at a dedicated stainless steel recycling center.
Highlights: This nature-first, back-to-basics bottle and nipple set may be the only truly plastic-free option on the market.
Composed of just two materials – borosilicate glass and pure natural rubber – these vintage-looking baby bottles and nipples are deceivingly forward-thinking.
The Australia-based mother behind the Baby Quoddle line designed the bottles and nipples with two inter-related aims in mind. The first was to combat negative views on bottle-feeding. To this end, she sourced sustainable, natural materials from which to create her products, the crown jewel of which is a rubber nipple customers praise for its skin-like softness. The second was to encourage parents to make bottle feeding a quiet, interactive ritual with their babies – a relaxed and cuddly “nursing time” that doesn’t require a shatter-proof bottle.
One of the bottle’s most unique features is the pull-on rubber nipple that precludes the need for a separate screw cap. As all harried new parents can attest, having fewer bottle parts to clean and keep track of is an advantage that can hardly be overstated. Each bottle also comes with a rubber cover for storing milk or formula in the refrigerator.
The glass bottles are recyclable and infinitely reusable, since glass does not absorb odors or leach components into its contents. The rubber covers and nipples are biodegradable and compostable.
Highlights: This stainless steel baby bottle can be reincarnated as a sippy or a straw cup with the purchase of Thinkbaby’s conversion kits.
This non-toxic, eco-friendly, and budget-friendly stainless-steel baby bottle is double-wall insulated to keep liquids warm or cold and comes with a slow-flow, medical-grade silicone nipple designed for ages 0 to 6 months. (The company also offers faster-flow replacement nipples for older babies.)
The 9-oz bottle has the capacity to grow with baby into the toddler and preschool years, thanks to Thinkbaby’s, well, thoughtful addition of sippy cup, and straw cup conversion kits to its product line.
Thinkbaby’s products are USA-made, scientifically designed to be toxin-free, and are packed in plastic-free, recyclable packaging.
Highlights: Rather than buy new baby bottles, use this kit to repurpose the Mason jars hanging around in your kitchen cabinets.
The Mason Bottle company launched on Kickstarter in 2015 with the genius idea of offering parents a way to use the Mason jars they likely already had in their cabinets as the foundation of non-toxic, budget- and eco-friendly baby bottles. With the Mason Bottle DIY Kit, you’re not actually buying a bottle at all, but rather the add-on components to convert your own 4- or 8-oz. Mason jars into baby bottles: two silicone nipples, one silicone sleeve and a cap for storage and travel.
What I like about these not-bottles (beyond their earth-friendly ingenuity) is the attention to baby-friendly detail. The silicone nipples are wide and breast-like – a necessity for fitting over the mouth of a Mason jar, yes, but also an enticing feature for hybrid breast- and bottle-fed babies.
As any parent can attest, infants are notoriously mysterious about their feeding preferences. Mason Bottle touts a mere 3% return rate despite an any-product, any-time return policy, indicating most little ones are pleased.
While not recyclable, the insulating, grip-enabling and breakage-resistant silicone sleeve seems an easy item to reuse for a sibling-to-be or to pass on to another expectant parent.
The company also makes a 16-oz stainless steel Mason jar (View on Amazon) that’s compatible with the Mason Bottle DIY Kit components and other Mason Bottle accessories.
Highlights: This budget-friendly three-pack of non-toxic glass baby bottles includes innovative nipples with multiple holes to mimic mom’s breast milk flow.
It’s hard to beat the combination of value and functional design offered by this eco-friendly, non-toxic glass bottle set from NUK.
The three-bottle pack includes silicone nipples designed with multiple tiny holes to allow milk-flow that closely mimics mom’s, plus a scooped nipple cavity to enable ease of baby’s tongue and jaw movement during feedings. They’ve also got a built-in anti-colic vent. All of these features make the Simply Natural Glass Bottle a go-to introductory bottle for babies transitioning from breastfeeding.
The German company, which has been in the baby-feeding industry for more than 70 years, credits the unique nipple design for a 96% acceptance rate from its infant customers, based on independent market research.
The bottle itself has a wide neck – a big plus for easy filling and cleaning. Plastic screw caps and covers are also included for each bottle. The bottles, screw caps and covers can be reused or recycled; the silicone nipples must be tossed after a few months or at the first sign of wear.
The bottom line
When searching for non-toxic baby bottles and nipples, sticking with glass and stainless steel for the bottles, and rubber or silicone for the nipples, are the two primary rules to remember.
Happy feeding, new parents!