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Tips & Guides
Do you ever feel confused by the variety of bottles (and brands) available in the market? Anti-colic, anti-reflux, anti-choking ... what are they and what's their difference?
Here, we will break down some of the most asked questions. Most importantly, we will list out what are the vital criteria to look for when choosing the best baby bottle for your little one.
Features to Look At
There are many different aspects to consider when you're buying your baby's bottle. Some babies take to a particular type of nipple or bottle while others outrightly refuse a different brand.
Before you even choose a bottle, there are 4 important criteria that you should look at. Get them right and it may just make your job of finding the right one for your baby so much easier.
While different brands can have different design for their bottles, they generally do not divert too much from the following 5 types:
Standard bottles: These are your traditional baby bottles. They work well for most babies and come in a variety of materials (see next criterion).
Angled-neck bottles: These have a bent neck which is meant to prevent air from filling the nipple. They are more suitable for gassy babies and make feeding easier but the angled part may be difficult to clean.
Disposable liners bottles: Similar to angled-necks in that it is aimed to reduce gassiness but this is done via a plastic insert (that holds an individual pouch of milk) which will collapse when baby drinks. Convenient and hygienic in that you use and toss each bag but not exactly eco-friendly.
Wide-neck bottles: These are short and squat and have a wide opening, which naturally means a wider nipple too and they are to echo the breastfeeding experience. Ideal for babies transitioning from the breast to bottle and is also easy to clean due to the wide opening.
Vented bottles: Another type that is meant to help prevent gas, these ones include a built-in tube to prevent air pockets from forming in the bottle or nipple. Effective but the vents and other extra parts can be harder to clean.
Plastic may be the most common material found in baby bottles, but there are actually other materials such as glass, silicone and stainless steel which are gaining increasing traction in recent years.
The third criterion to look at will be the nipples. Choosing the correct nipple is actually more important than you think - it prevents numerous conditions and risks such as:
- Delayed speech
- Nipple confusion
Most bottles offer a variety of nipple sizes, which are actually defined by their flow (i.e. how fast or slow the milk comes out) and this is controlled by the size of the hole in the nipple.
Stage 1: Also known as slow-flow, this is meant for newborns (including preemies) up to 3 months as drinking too fast may result in choking or overeating.
Stage 2: As babies grow older, they can suck more effectively and are able to handle quicker and larger flow of milk. This is when you can switch them to Stage 2 (medium-flow), when they are around 3-6/ 6-12 months.
Stage 3: Most babies actually stay at Stage 2 indefinitely and move straight to sippy cups but if you notice your baby seems to be pulling hard on Stage 2 nipples, then it is advisable that you move to Stage 3 - the fast flow nipples.
These stages/sizes are usually marked on the rim, along with baby’s recommended size and age range for each stage. Don't worry too much about them though, use these markings as guidelines only adjust accordingly to your baby's growth and situation.
You should also know that nipples generally come in either latex or silicone varieties. The former are softer and more flexible but they don't last as long (some babies may be allergic to them) while silicone ones are firmer and are able to hold their shape better (and longer).
D. Bottle Size
Last but not least, you should look at bottle size. With this, just remember one formula: small --> big.
The reasoning behind this is very simple - newborns do not need as much milk as older babies. Most newborns drink up to 4 ounces in a single feeding, so smaller bottles are a great fit (also easier to hold).
As babies grow, you will need bigger (8 ounces or larger) bottles as they drink more now, but at less frequent feedings.
You can certainly buy smaller capacity bottles first, then purchase the bigger ones later.
Or, if you want to be more economical, you can select bottles with larger fluid capacity, then adjust the flow by changing the nipple size accordingly (see above). This way, you don't need to change the entire bottle - certainly a wiser option financially.
What Price Range Are We Looking At
For once, price isn't the deciding factor when it comes to baby bottles.
You see, unlike other baby products, the price of baby bottles does not vary much among different brands. For example, see this starter set and this of a similar nature - the difference is less than a dollar only.
In general, we are looking at:
Traditional glass / plastic bottles
$4 - $10 per piece
$13 - $17 per piece
$13 - $20 per piece
Starter sets / gift sets
$30 - $90
So, pricing isn't something you need to consider when it comes to choosing the best baby bottle for your baby. Rather, it is the above mentioned criteria that should be given attention to when you're making your decision.
Why Choosing The Right Bottle is So Important
A straightforward answer to that is just so your little one will take the bottle, and be able to feed comfortably without any side effects.
Sounds pretty easy, isn't it? Until you've tried it yourself.
Let's take breastfeeding babies for example. Select the wrong nipple or bottle, your baby might reject the bottle altogether. Of course, there are those who will take any bottle with a smile and if this is your little one, lucky you!
The flip side of the coin, and what's worse, is that the wrong bottle or nipple may cause nipple confusion, resulting to baby rejecting both the bottle and breast, and that, is every mother's nightmare.
"Which is why when it comes to breastfed babies, you have to be extra careful when selecting your bottles. "
So much so, there are specific bottles dedicated to breastfed babies that are designed to closely mimic the feel of nursing to make it easier to transition a breastfed baby to a bottle,.
Another reason as to why it is so important that you choose the right baby bottle for your little one is to avoid gas, colic or spit-ups and that, applies to all babies regardless they are breastfed or not.
There are certainly babies who do not suffer from any of these side effects but then again, there are those whose colicky or gassy issues can only be resolved by using certain bottles.
It can be overwhelming, we admit, especially if you are a first-time mother, what's with being presented with so many choices when it comes to baby bottle selection.
Our advice? Narrow your choices down to three or four different bottles to try out before you commit to a bunch of the same type of bottle, and see what works from there.
Different babies prefer different shapes, sizes and textures, and it can be hard to know which one will work for you until you actually use it. So start with perhaps 2 different brands of newborn starter sets, check reviews online or ask friends for recommendations.
Just know this: there is no one universal 'best baby bottle' that fits every baby. In other words, there is no straight/fool-proof formula for success when it comes to babies and bottles. It will be a trial and error process.
So, the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is regarded by many to be one of the very best newborn sleeper bassinet in the market.
That is quite a big claim to make, given there are so many excellent baby bassinets available in the market. We have had a thorough review regarding that which you can head over here to read if you'd like to know what the fuss is all about.
Today instead, we are going to give you a thorough review on all the HALO BassiNest models, breaking down their differences and comparing each of them because yes, there are ... quite a few of them.
A Little Background
HALO was founded by a couple who lost their child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) back in 1991.
For those that do not know, this is the sudden, unexplained death of a seemingly healthy infant up to an age of one year.
After their tragic loss, the couple began an exhaustive review in the latest medical research and health recommendations to create a safe sleep environment for babies so that other families do not have to endure the same misfortune.
Contrary to many's belief, HALO's first creation is not the BassiNest.
Instead, it is the SleepSack Wearable Blanket which has, since its launch, became the nation's bestselling wearable blanket for babies and is to date, still widely used by hospitals nationwide. (You can read more about that here.)
Created on the understanding that suffocation is one sleep environment risks, which are primarily centered around loose bedding that can accidentally cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing, the SleepSack is designed to eliminate such risk.
But that's a story for another day.
On the same note, the BassiNests were invented.
This revolutionary bassinet is made to allow parents sleep close to their baby, while still maintaining a safe sleep environment for their child so that the risks associated with bed-sharing / co-sleeping can be thoroughly eliminated.
As you can see from the picture above, the BassiNest can be placed right next to you, with more than half of it on your bed so baby can sleep as close to you as you want.
So much so that it can even feel like you are sharing the same bed, yet baby still have his/her own separate space to sleep safely in.
But wait, there's more - the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper is the only infant bassinet that moves to bring the baby closer to you. More about that later.
For now, let's explore the different BassiNest models the brand offers.
(A) ESSENTIA SERIES
The Essentia Series is the brand's very first HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper. It is the entry level for a HALO BassiNest, and it forms the basis of subsequent models that follows.
We wouldn't elaborate too much on each feature as we have already done a thorough review here, but if we are to sum up the Essentia Series in just a few words, it will be basically what's listed below:
The 360-degree swivel is a must-mention, given it is a HALO BassiNest signature that propels it to the top rated bassinets category since its launch to date.
Being the first and only bassinet that allows the bed component to rotate independently from its frame (yes, the legs/base stay stationary when you swivel the bassinet about), it changes the bassinet scene forever especially for nursing mothers, with many deem it the best bassinet for c section recovering mothers.
Not just that, but it is also regarded as the solution for parents who are short of space.
You see, the base design has low profile legs so you can tuck them under the bed and the updated improved design now requires only 32" clearance from the wall, making it ideal for small spaces.
Another distinctive feature is its patented sidewall - it can be lowered so that you can tend to baby from your bed. You do not have to get out from your bed, you do not even have to sit yourself up if you'd like to continue lying comfortably on your bed.
It will return back to its upright position automatically to ensure baby always sleeps safely, so you don't need to fret out each time wondering if you have pulled it back up. If you'd prefer to keep it upright all the time, you can lock it to your desire.
Other core features include:
- Breathable mesh walls ensure optimal airflow for a safe, comfortable sleep space.
- Stable 4-point base adjust from 24"-34" tall to fit most beds.
- Storage pockets to keep baby's essentials close by.
- 100% polyester coordinated fitted sheet that wipes clean with damp cloth and is machine washable.
- Waterproof mattress contains no toxic flame retardants.
HALO has subsequently released 3 other series. They are also called "HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper" (just different series) and they look pretty much the same at a glance so it can be confusing as to what their difference is. But know this:
All of them have the same features as the Essentia Series, plus a variety of different additional features and add-ons.
(B) PREMIERE SERIES
The Premiere Series is probably the second most popular series out of all, next to the Essentia.
It is not hard to see why, given the price difference between the two is not big, but you get 2 other features that prove to be essential for some.
One of it being the inclusion of a built-in soothing center.
What this means is that you get a nightlight, 2 levels of vibration, 3 soothing sounds and 3 lullabies with volume control.
All that, with a 30-minute auto shutoff.
Plus, a Back-to-Bed Reminder that will alert you to put baby back to bed after feeding.
And these are all in addition to the features of the Essentia Series, which this top baby bassinet is equipped with as well.
Parents found that the nightlight helps navigating to baby easier at midnight, as there's no need to switch on the bedroom lights and wake your partner up.
The nursing timer, on the other hand, helps to regulate baby's feeding sessions and this in turn keeps breastfeeding mothers' supply steady.
In terms of features like vibration and soothing sounds, parents have found them to be effective in calming their fussy baby and soothe them into a deep sleep faster.
We particularly like how the slight vibration and womb sound work together to mimic the environment your newborn is familiar with for the past 9 months in your tummy.
(C) LUXE SERIES
Next up we have the Luxe Series. You guess it right, this is a luxurious upgrade from the Premiere Series, with the addition of floor light, storage caddy and for certain finishes - removable bed.
You might be most intrigued by the latter - what does it mean by "removable bed"?
You see, the bassinet - the sleeping part of it, can actually be removed completely and be used on and off its base.
This means you can also lay it completely flat on the floor, besides standing on its base.
Not convertible ones like this.
That's perhaps the biggest distinction between the Luxe and its predecessors. Other than that, it has floor lights and a removable storage caddy, both of which may be more useful than you'd think.
The light is shone directly towards the floor and away from your baby, so it helps you to see and navigate better without tripping all the while not disturbing baby.
The storage caddy that hangs at the back provides extra storage for baby's essentials because for some, just the pockets at the side may not be enough. It is an item sold separately otherwise so if you really add everything up, the Luxe Series is actually pretty reasonably priced.
(D) LUXE PLUS SERIES
The Luxe Plus Series is probably the most confusing one out of all.
In fact, the one question that we were often asked is: halo bassinest luxe vs luxe plus, what are their differences? It doesn't help that its name is so similar to the Luxe Series.
It's actually not that complex, just remember this - the Luxe Plus is everything its predecessors have, PLUS the inclusion of a newborn insert.
Yup, that's it, that's the difference between the Luxe and Luxe Plus. It isn't that complicated when put that way, is it?
So, what is this newborn insert and does it make the Luxe Plus worth its money?
It is basically a basket-like compartment which you can 'insert' into the bassinet. Made of breathable and soft padded mesh fabric, this is how it looks like:
The purpose of it is to create a snug sleeping surface to help your baby feel more secure.
You see, for newborns who are adjusting to the world, a snug sleeping space is more comforting for them because they get the same sense of security as they get in the mother's womb.
Do we think it is worth the extra money paid? Absolutely, when you have a preemie, or if your baby is smaller in size.
The normal-size bassinet may otherwise feel a bit too big and baby may get anxious in it so considering it is so much more cheaper than buying the newborn insert separately, we think the Luxe Plus is worth the money paid.
Which HALO BassiNest is The Best
Now comes the question: which among the different series is the best HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper?
In particular, and we always get asked this a lot, halo bassinests essentia vs premiere - what's the verdict?
The answer - it really depends.
The Essentia Series has all the basic features a HALO BassiNest is well-known for so if you are not fussed about fancy accessories and add-ons, this shall suffice in doing the magic.
If it helps to know, the Essentia is also the brand's bestselling model and it is the cheapest model out of all.
On the other hand, if you have a particularly fussy baby, then perhaps a soothing center will be helpful in which the Premiere, Luxe or Luxe Plus Series will then be a better choice for you.
To some, floor light or storage caddy may be a necessity, while for others, they may prefer the flexibility of a detachable bassinet bed. It all depends on what you need, and perhaps also on your budget.
Just an observation though, with the small price difference between the Essentia and Premiere, we do find parents lean more towards the latter in most cases.
If you are still unsure, perhaps the following comparison chart may help you decide.
360 degree swivel & lowering sidewall
4-point adjustable base
Coordinating Polyester Fitted Sheet included
Dove Grey Tweed Only
Ivory Linen Only
Ivory Linen Only
Go through each criterion and ask yourself: is that necessary? Do I need this feature?
Move down the list one by one. By the time you get till the end, you will already know which HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is the best co sleeper bassinet for you. Go on, try it!
What Makes the HALO BassiNests So Special
There are many reasons as to why the HALO BassiNests are regarded some of the best baby bedside sleepers in the market.
If we are to round it up though, it has to be, hands down, its innovative design.
For one, it creates this safe co-sleeping arrangement that otherwise may not be available for parents.
Safe Co-Sleeping Arrangement
You see, the issue of "Co-Sleeping" — parents and infants sharing beds has long been a polarizing topic in the U.S., laced with strongly held views about family bonds, psychological development and, of course, safety.
Parents are NOT recommended to share the same bed with baby without appropriate measures, because that may pose hazardous SIDS risks.
Yet experts have found that co-sleeping provides so many benefits to a baby's development. It's safe to say that this is a controversial subject.
The HALO BassiNests bring the safety of a bassinet into an adult bed in a way that is comfortable for both babies and parents. To put it simply, it allows baby to share the same bed as parents (hence achieving the goal of co-sleeping) but s/he has his own confined sleeping space.
Again, this picture will explain better than words:
Different from bedside sleepers like this or this that just sit right next to your bed, the HALO BassiNest has its upper portion (the bassinet basket holding baby) reach over and lay on top of your bed.
To do so, HALO underwent immense amount of research to achieve the right balance in creating a base that is wide enough to provide balance so that the upper portion does not tip, yet at the same time maintain a low profile so that it can fit under beds and reduce the risk of tripping.
The end result is phenomenal though. The HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is probably the only bassinet in the market that is able to give parents the co-sleeping method that it did (on the same bed).
360-degree Swivel & Rotation
Of course, when it comes to the specialty of HALO BassiNests, how can we not mention its 360-degree swivel-bility? (yes, we just made up that word but you get the drift).
So what it does is pretty self-explanatory - the bassinet basket can be rotated and swivelled 360 degrees independently of the frame. This means the base stays stationary while the upper portion rotates.
This is such an iconic and revolutionary innovation, safe to say, it changes the scene forever for baby bassinets.
Many know of the ease it brings for parents, that is they can get out of their bed normally without being blocked by a bedside sleeper because the Swivel Sleeper can be rotated sideways to 'get it out of the way'.
In fact, that is probably the very first thing you'd read in many HALO Bassinest reviews.
What many may not know though, is that the purpose the bassinet is made to rotate is to make it easier and safer for parents to lift their baby from the bassinet.
You see, the safest position to lift a baby is actually when his/her feet are pointing towards you. By being able to rotate the bassinet, parents can easily and safely do so even when they are lying down on their bed.
C-Section & Childbirth Recovery
The HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is widely known to be the best bassinet for c section recovering mothers in the industry.
In fact, for all mother recovering from childbirth. Your body has just went through a lot so you need to get all the rest you can. For c-section mothers, we're talking about at least 6 weeks of maximum rest.
During this time, baby will still need to be taken care of and that is where the BassiNest plays its role.
The patented lowering bed sidewalls allows you to scoop baby up for cuddles or nursing without the need to get out of bed and the mesh material lets you keep an eye on him constantly.
Having baby on the same eye level as such also calms and soothes him/her as s/he can feel your presence. So even though you're just lying down getting your own rest, baby gets to feel the closeness and bond.
Thanks to the 360-degree swivel feature, when you need to get out of bed, you do not have to scoot over to the other side or bend yourself in a weird angle, risk hurting your wounds in the process to get out of the bed because you can just rotate the BassiNest to get it out of the way.
Small Space Solution
It may not look like it, but the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper is actually the best co sleeper bassinet for small spaces.
Even though it has a wide base (to provide balance for the upper portion), the improved base design now includes low profile legs that can be tucked under the bed to reduce its footprint.
And with the updated design now requiring only 32" clearance from the wall, it makes the Swivel Sleeper ideal for small spaces.
It is height adjustable too so it can fit most beds from 24" to 34" tall.
Recommended as one of the safest alternatives to bed sharing by the CJ foundation for SIDS, it is truly the best bassinet you can get for your little one.
Detachable Bed Feature
Last but not least, it is that the bed component can be detached from its base frame that sets the HALO BassiNest apart from its competitors.
Mind you though, not every series have this feature, in fact, only the Luxe and Luxe Plus Series have them in Dove Grey Tweed and Ivory Linen finishes respectively only.
Nevertheless, this means that the bed is removable and can be used on and off the base so your baby can nap safely and comfortably throughout your home.
If you think about it, there really isn't many (if any) bassinets that is able to do so. At the very most, they allow you to adjust their height to level with your bed but none actually lets you detach the bed completely from the base to form something like this.
So there you have it - our halo bassinest swivel sleeper reviews, examining the very top reasons that make the HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper the best newborn sleeper bassinet in the market, one that so many parents swear by throughout the years.
When Should You Stop Using The HALO BassiNest
The recommended age of usage is up to five months, however, as you should with any other bassinet, once baby shows signs of pulling up, rolling over or pushing up to kneeling position, it's time to make the switch to - a baby crib.