Although conventional baby bottles are designed to mimic a mother's breast, if they could talk, most babies - like the World Health Organization - would probably tell you they are a pretty poor substitute for the real thing. Now a New York mom has designed a new type of baby bottle dubbed BARE that is claimed to better emulate a mother's breast in terms of shape, texture and movement, as well as providing the air-free storage and delivery of milk for your bundle of joy.

Frustrated with the performance of conventional feeding bottles when an inadequate milk supply forced her to supplement her breast feeding with a bottle after the birth of her first child, Priska Diaz set about designing a better baby bottle. Unlike conventional bottles that rely on air vents, gravity and nipples that are generally slimmer and more flexible than a mother's nipple, Diaz designed an air-free bottle to mimic a nursing mother's breast.

Air-plug

The keys to the BARE baby bottle are two patented technologies developed by Diaz. The first is a syringe-like air-plug piston inserted into the bottom of the bottle - which is actually more like an open-ended shaft - that allows mom (or dad) to expel extra air from the bottle before feeding. This air-plug is powered by suction and moves towards the top of the milk chamber as baby sucks down the milk. This results in a milk chamber that is kept 100 percent air-free to reduce air ingestion that causes gas and colic. Diaz says the air-free chamber also helps reduce the chance of milk oxidation and helps maintain milk nutrients that are normally lost when milk comes into contact with air.

Perfe-latch nipple

The second patented technology is the "perfe-latch" nipple that is made from silicone and is designed to mimic the softness and shape of a mother's areola. To promote a proper latching technique, the nipple tip is able to extend up to twice its length upon suction, while five angled orifices are designed to dispense milk only upon suction. This allows the baby the baby's sucking strength to control the flow of the milk in the same way as a mother's breast and negates the need for different nipple stages as the baby grows. It also also minimizes the baby's backwash from entering the bottle, to help keep the milk fresh and slow bacteria growth.

And unlike gravity-fed baby bottles, the BARE bottle allows infants to feed in any position and hold the bottle at any angle. Diaz says this better supports the development of self-feeding, proper posture and faster and more successful weaning. This is because the infant doesn't need to turn the bottle upside down, which can result in laying down when they move onto self-feeding and showering themselves with liquid when they eventually move onto drinking from cups.

Diaz has started a company, Bittylab, and plans to have BARE in major retailers in January 2012. She has also put the bottle on Kickstarter, where pre-orders can be placed for the first production batch at US$15 each to be delivered by December 2011, following lab and clinical trials and consumer testing.

UPDATE 27/12/2011: A pre-production prototype (which you can see in the video below) has now been produced, but the release of BARE air-free baby bottles has been delayed until summer 2012.