Welcome to Dr. Brown’s Frequently Asked Questions. 

The following questions and answers have been provided to assist you with information pertaining to our Dr Brown’s products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bottles & Accessories

Benefits of Dr. Brown's Bottles


How does the Dr. Brown's baby bottle work?
Dr. Brown’s baby bottles feature an internal vent system not found in any other bottle. Our bottles are fully-vented for vacuum-free feeding. We call this positive-pressure flow, similar to breastfeeding, which allows babies to feed at their own pace. As the baby feeds, air is channeled from the nipple collar (not the silicone nipple) through the vent system, to the back of the bottle. This unique design helps reduce colic, spit-up, burping, and gas – resulting in a more comfortable feeding experience for your baby. Because air bypasses the breastmilk or formula, there is no oxidation of nutrients. A university study determined that Dr. Brown’s bottles help preserve nutrients like vitamins C, A and E. See how the Dr. Brown’s bottle works.


What is the difference between the Standard and Wide-Neck Dr. Brown's bottles?
All Dr. Brown’s bottles, regardless of shape or size, share the same benefits of the vacuum-free internal vent system. Dr. Brown’s bottles are available in two distinct shapes:
• Original: The Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® “Original” bottle is a Narrow or Standard shape found in many traditional baby bottles.
• Wide-Neck: The Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® “Wide-Neck” has a larger diameter with curved indentations on the side to make it easier to hold.
Many breastfeeding mothers prefer the Dr. Brown’s Wide-Neck bottle because the nipple has a broader base, which can help baby avoid nipple confusion. The Standard Dr. Brown’s bottle carries the standard bottle nipple, which is more narrow. This nipple shape is chosen by many hospitals and feeding specialist as being ideal for infants and newborns. Babies tend to favor different nipple types. Some simple experimentation will help identify your baby’s preference. The Standard bottles come in 2-ounce, 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes; and our Standard Wide-Neck bottles are available in 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes. The Dr. Brown’s Options Wide-Neck bottles are slightly larger, at 5-ounce and 9-ounce sizes.

Why is it good to prevent a vacuum from developing in the bottle?
There are two major problems associated with most traditional baby bottles: air and vacuum. Air ingested by babies can cause discomfort, sleepless nights, gas, spit-up, cramps, and other symptoms associated with colic. A vacuum in the bottle can transfer air to a baby’s middle ear and can encourage fluid to be drawn in. Traditional non-vented bottles tend to develop vacuums when babies feed from them because babies need to suck progressively harder to get liquid from them. Babies seal their lips to the nipple when they nurse, but as the vacuum increases, they ingest air through a weakened nipple seal. Air enters the bottle through the vent in the nipple and aerates the breastmilk and formula.


Is that a straw in the Dr. Brown's baby bottle?
The tube in the middle of the bottle is a reservoir tube, and it is an integral part of the vent system. It channels the air to the area above the liquid, keeping the air from being incorporated into the breastmilk or formula. It is that air that can create burping, spit up, and gas.


Will Dr. Brown’s bottles attach to my breast pump?
The bottle threads on our Standard bottles attach to most major breast pump brands. Our Wide-Neck bottles will also attach with the adapter included in the Dr. Brown’s Manual Breast Pump.


Can I use Dr. Brown’s bottles if my baby has health issues?
Dr. Brown’s is committed to the health of all babies, and we design products that help with the feeding of premature infants, as well as those born with issues such as tongue tie and cleft palate. If you have a preemie baby or a baby who has challenges with feeding, please contact us for more information about how we can help.

Usage & Cleaning

When should I switch to the next Dr. Brown's nipple Level?
Dr. Brown’s bottle nipples feature various flow rates designed to accommodate your baby’s age and feeding habits. There are no hard and fast rules on when to move up to the next level, but here is a general guide:

• Level 1 – 0-3 months

• Level 2 – 3-6 months

• Level 3 – 6 months and over

• Level 4 – For more aggressive eaters

• Y-Cut – Faster flow for thicker liquids

Additionally, Dr. Brown’s offers a Preemie Nipple for premature infants; and an Ultra-Preemie Nipple, primarily used by medical professionals for medically fragile infants in hospitals. A Preemie Nipple is also available for our Wide-Neck Bottles by contacting customer service. For any questions about the appropriate nipple level for your baby, contact us.
It is important to monitor the feeding habits of your little one. For instance, is your three-month-old not seeming to get enough from the bottle at feeding time? Moving her up from a Level One to a Level Two nipple may be in order. Adapt your bottle nipple selection to match your baby’s feeding style, regardless of age.

Can I use Dr. Brown's nipples on other brands of bottles?
Dr. Brown’s nipples are of the highest quality. However, they are specifically designed for the Dr. Brown’s bottles and should not be used on other brands of bottles. If a Dr. Brown’s nipple is used on a non-vented bottle, the bottle may not function properly.

What can I do if I have lost a part of the vent?
Replacement parts are available in stores, and located in the same area where you purchased your bottle. They are also available through many online retailers. If you have difficulty finding the replacement parts you need, contact us for a store location nearest you.

Can I use my Dr. Brown's bottles without the vent system?
Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® Bottles should be used with the vent system, as it is essential to the bottle working properly and preventing the vacuum found in other bottles. Dr. Brown’s Options Bottles can be used with or without the vent system. Some parents elect to remove the venting system as their baby’s feeding becomes more developed.

When can I remove the Options vent system from my bottle?
There is no “right” time to remove the vent system. Many parents begin by using the vent system, and then experiment as their baby’s feeding habits develop. You might begin experimenting around 6-7 months. If baby shows any signs of discomfort during or after the feeding, we recommend using the vent system another month or so, then trying again.
Your baby will give you cues that you can try removing the vent system, including a reduction in colic, reflux and gas; consuming more milk, more quickly; and drinking from a faster flow nipple, such as the Level 3 nipple.

Can the bottle be used to heat formula in the microwave?
We do not recommend using a microwave oven to heat the bottle because microwave ovens can create hot spots (pockets of liquid that is too hot) in milk or formula, which can be dangerous for baby. To warm your bottle evenly, we recommend warming the bottle in a pan of water on the stove, or using the Dr. Brown’s Deluxe Bottle Warmer, which heats liquids evenly and safely.

Are Dr. Brown's bottles and components dishwasher safe?
Yes, you can wash all Dr. Brown’s bottle parts on the top rack of your dishwasher. To help keep parts secure while washing, you might consider the Dr. Brown’s Dishwasher Basket.

Can I sterilize the Dr. Brown's bottles?
Yes, it is safe to sterilize your Dr. Brown’s bottles. There are multiple ways you can do this.

• Boil the parts in water for 3-5 minutes, maximum. We recommend bringing the water to a rolling boil, then turning the heat off and leaving the bottle parts in the water for 3-5 minutes.

• Use our Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer, an electric steam sterilizer that fits all Dr. Brown’s bottles, and most other bottle brands.

• Use a Microwave Steam Sterilizer, which features a custom tray for all the bottle components.

• Use Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bags, which quickly sterilize bottles and parts – as well as pacifiers and training cups. Each steam sterilizer bag can be used up to 20 times.

The inside of the bottle will remain sterile until it comes in contact with any object, including fingers. After the bottle has dried, we recommend placing the nipple/collar/cap on the bottle to prevent contact during storage.

How can I clean my bottle if it is cloudy or stained?
There could be many different reasons why the bottle components may become cloudy, stained or have a film of residue. Plastic bottles and components may become stained or cloudy from contact with ingredients in formula like iron or from juices, foods, cleaning products that contain natural or artificial coloring, water deposits, over boiling and daily use in a dishwasher. It is unlikely that staining or cloudiness will affect performance as long as the bottle and parts are in good condition.
Some of the advice we get from Moms on this topic include:

• WHITE VINEGAR – Soak bottle in a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water, and then rinse with cold water. Many stains will disappear following this procedure, which can also eliminate odors.

• BAKING SODA – Juice stains may be removed by putting baking soda and warm water in the bottle and cleaning with a bottle brush. To get rid of sour-milk smell, fill the bottle with warm water, add a teaspoon of baking soda, shake well, and let stand overnight.

How do I use the Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush to clean my bottles?
The Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush has several features that make it ideal for cleaning our bottles. Here is a quick overview of how to use the brush.

1. Disassemble the bottle and soak all parts in hot soapy water.

2. Insert the brush into the bottle, twisting the brush, and moving it in and out of the bottle. The combination of bristles and sponge will clean your bottles thoroughly.

3. Use the small wire cleaning brush to clean small crevices in the insert and reservoir.

4. Use the base of the brush, featuring chevron channels, to gently scrub the interior of the silicone nipple.

5. Rinse all bottle components, and let dry thoroughly.

Is that a leak?
Dr. Brown’s bottles are fully vented, which means baby feeds without having to suck against a vacuum. Under some conditions, liquid can exit through the vent. Here are some tips to prevent this.

Bottle preparation:

• Double check that the vent and reservoir are assembled tightly.

• Remove the vent during heating.

• Avoid overheating. Overheating can expand the air in the bottle, pushing liquid through the vent system, causing leaks.

• Avoid shaking the bottle to mix formula. Instead, stir the formula gently with a spoon, or use the Dr. Brown’s Formula Mixing Pitcher.


• Avoid overfilling your bottle. The vent system may not function properly if the liquid is over the fill line marked on the bottle.

• Hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle when feeding. This helps ensure the tube hole is not covered by liquid.


• Keep bottles upright during transport.

• Use travel caps and storage disks. They can help prevent any leaks while you are traveling.

One other suggestion is to consider whether it is time for your baby to move up to the next nipple level. If you are unsure what is causing a leak, or want to troubleshoot an issue, please contact Customer Service.

About Our Materials

What are your bottles made of?
Dr. Brown’s bottles are made of BPA-free polypropylene plastic or BPA-free borosilicate glass. All components of the Dr. Brown’s bottle, including the vent insert, vent reservoir, travel disk, nipple collar, and cap are also BPA-free. Our nipples are made of medical-grade silicone.

Where are your bottles made?
Most Dr. Brown’s bottles are produced and packaged in the United States. Some of our products are made in China. Our silicone nipples are made in Germany, the United States and China. Each Dr. Brown’s package clearly notes where that product was produced. Dr. Brown’s takes its commitment to quality seriously, and we rigorously test and quality control our products – beyond government regulations – in the United States.

About our Baby Care Ingredients

What ingredients are in your baby care products?
Learn more about our baby care ingredients.

Breastfeeding Accessories

Breast Pumps

Why don't I feel much suction or vacuum?
The Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump products work differently than traditional pumps. Dr. Brown’s utilizes a breakthrough compression technology that relies more on light compression around the nipple and areola and less on vacuum. The result is a comfortable expressing experience.

How do you know this technology works?
Dr. Brown’s Breast Pumps are the result of years of clinical research and study. We studied neonatal sucking behavior, patterns of suck and swallow, and ultrasound of milk ejection. We also validated information found in research literature. We then combined that with rethinking the design to move away from plastic cone-shaped breastcups to the soft, flexible, flat breastcup that is designed to emulate baby’s suckling pressure. In addition, we have conducted extensive real-life testing with moms to perfect the technology and design.

How do I get replacement parts?
For replacement part needs, contact Customer Service.

Do you have more than one size of breastcup?
The Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump utilizes a 18 millimeter opening for the nipple. Based on the study of 200 women, the average nipple size is 14 millimeters, so our nipple opening should fit the vast majority of women. As opposed to other technologies that can elongate the nipple and can cause it to increase in size, our technology leaves the nipple looking the same before and after an expressing session, so a larger nipple opening is not needed. We are evaluating the need for developing a larger opening for the small percentage of women who may require a larger breastcup opening.

How do I clean my Breast Pump?
We recommend hand washing, top-shelf dishwasher cleaning, or microwave steam sterilization.

Are the pump parts BPA Free?
Yes – all Dr. Brown’s Breast Pump parts are BPA Free, including our milk collection bottles and breastmilk storage bags.

Other Questions?

If you have any other questions or would like more help, please contact Customer Service.