How silicone is being used in cutting-edge baby bottles

Heavy glass baby bottles were once handed down from generation to generation. You couldn’t feel the temperature of the milk through the glass, and the means to safely sterilise them was often lacking.

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There have been a few improvements in the last 50 years, but a higher incidence of baby infections still correlates with bottle feeding.

Formula-fed infants are statistically more likely to develop respiratory issues like flu and asthma, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea, otitis (ear infection), yeast infections and dermatitis.

There are also concerns about the BPA (bisphenol A) often found in the plastic used to make baby bottles. There are suspicions this chemical can have effects on the brain and behaviour.

Silicone baby bottles

Although silicone is an artificial product resembling rubber, it is chemically unrelated to plastic and appears to be far safer. In fact, it is so safe that it has long been approved for kitchen utensils, including bakeware that can be used in the oven to cook pies, cakes and casseroles. Because it has a far higher tolerance for temperature, it is much less likely than plastic to leech anything even if you bake, microwave or boil it.

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Therefore, it is not surprising that leading product designers like the London-based “Blond” studio are promoting a new style of baby bottle made by silicone moulding. Called the “Borrn” bottle, it is manufactured using a twin-shot moulding technology that produces a robust sandwich structure. The bottle comes with a set of teats for the growing infant that are also made from silicone. It is billed as the most hygienic bottle on the market and a spokesperson said that “the product can grow with the child and even be passed down to future children.”

Design advantages of silicone moulding

Silicone is a very flexible material for designers (see https://www.meadex.co.uk/materials/silicone/#moulding), and the new bottle takes full advantage of this. The Borrn has a bulbous but flattened and tapered shape that is considerably easier for babies to grip, and it will not roll away from them when they let go.

Plastic and glass bottles are both prone to cracking when dropped, but the sandwich structure of the new bottle easily absorbs impact. The wider shape helps prevent the teat contacting the floor or bed linen, reducing the risk of contamination.

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