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What Type of Bottle Works with Bottle Snugglers?

Do Bottle Snugglers work with all bottle types and sizes?

I hear this question often. The short answer is: Most of them! Because of the growing baby product market, new bottles are always being developed. Currently, Bottle Snugglers work with nearly every bottle style and size, though there may be exceptions that we haven’t tested yet. Bottles are getting wider, and it’s important to put the Bottle Band on from the nipple end (usually the narrower end) first, then slide it down to the wider end.

A few of the bottles that we have successfully used with Bottle Snugglers are: Playtex® Drop-Ins System®, Playtex® VentAire® Advanced, Evenflo, Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow® Standard and Wide Neck, The Smart Glass Bottle by Born Free™, AVENT Natural Feeding Bottle, MAM Anti-Colic by Sassy®, Nuby® Softflex® Natural Nurser™, Nuby® Non-Drip® Standard Neck Bottles and Adiri® Natural Nurser™.

Our next batch of Bottle Snugglers will feature wrap-around bottle bands, which will be very easy to fit around the fattest or skinniest of baby bottles. Another improvement that you can expect with the new Bottle Snugglers design is that the Velcro will go further down the side of each animal base, giving you more room to move the bottle down. This is helpful for shorter bottles. This shipment of New and Improved Bottle Snugglers is expected in fall of 2012!

Whatever type of bottle you choose, be sure to enjoy those precious feeding time moments. I can tell you from experience that they are fleeting! I hope you’re loving your Bottle Snugglers. :)

Back to School with Food Allergies

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking out for Moms of allergic kids by writing an article for our local newspaper, The Florida Times Union. I had pitched a story to the Health section editor about the challenges of going back to school if you are a child with food allergies (or a parent of that child), and the editor thought it would be more effective if I wrote about my experiences in my own words.

I have said many times here and otherwise that the most important characteristic that adults or kids can have is compassion. We all have different lives and challenges, and it is impossible to accurately judge someone else’s decisions from the outside. Plus, it’s none of our business, really. :)

This goes for parenting style, breast feeding vs. bottle and the duration of each, working outside the home vs. not, home schooling vs. public/private school, and the list goes on.  This also extends to relating to people with medical needs, whether they are visible (a wheel chair, for example) or not (a child with a life threatening food allergy.)

In writing this article, my goal was to show that my 5-year-old, Max, is a healthy, vibrant, and smart Kindergartener, but he does require a little bit of special care in the “keeping dangerous foods away from him” department. My hope is, that by seeing Max as a human, rather than a statistic, parents of non-allergic kids will understand why some classrooms are peanut-free or some schools don’t allow certain foods.

The article is copied below, and this is the link to it online, if you prefer. I hope that I take every opportunity to show compassion for others, as I wish it shown to me and my family. 

Allergies: Sometimes deadly danger lurks in the most common of foods

  JON M. FLETCHER/ The Times-Union

JON M. FLETCHER/ The Times-Union

  August 24, 2011 – 12:00am

Allergies: Sometimes deadly danger lurks in the most common of foods

When most people look at my 5-year-old son, Max, they see a precocious, smart and fun-loving child who loves to explore his world. Often, it’s not until there’s a class party, play date or other food-centered event that he’s exposed as “different” from his friends.


Because Max has severe food allergies to peanuts and eggs and minor allergies to tree nuts.

As the school year begins, Max is entering kindergarten in a new school, and my husband and I have been in overdrive planning, conferencing, researching and list-making to ensure that Max’s condition is well known at the school and that he’s not singled out because of it.

After all, lunch time, snack time, class parties and field trips are some of the most fun times at school. As parents, we don’t want him to miss out on anything because of his food allergies. But like most things in life, it takes a lot of teamwork to achieve this goal, and strong partnerships with teachers, school administrators and parents of his classmates, too.

Even if your child doesn’t have a food allergy, you likely know a child, or even an adult, who does. A recent study funded by the Food Allergy Initiative and published in the journal Pediatrics, found that 1 in 13 American children under age 18 have one or more food allergies. That equals to 8 percent or nearly 6 million kids in the United States, and the most common allergens are peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts and eggs.

Food allergy reactions can be minor irritations (rash, headache, tingling in the mouth and indigestion), or they can be severe, such as anaphylaxis (throat closing, wheezing, vomiting, loss of consciousness and possible death).

Max’s allergies to peanuts and eggs are severe, meaning if he accidentally ate peanut butter or egg salad, he could die. This is a serious matter that we take great care in discussing with anyone who cares for Max. No one would hurt him on purpose, but when you learn just how many foods contain eggs or egg products, you can see the need for hyper vigilance.

For example, eggs or egg derivatives are contained in many types of pasta, ice cream, bread, cookies, cakes, mayonnaise and salad dressing, and that’s not even counting peanut- or tree-nut containing foods.

Forget eating out in restaurants; even the most well-meaning employee could accidentally slice a tomato with the same knife that touched mayonnaise, and we would be on the way to the ER.

We found Max’s allergies the hard way. When he was a year old, I gave him a bite of egg white, and 30 minutes later (a delayed reaction), he was turning blue and not breathing, and we called 9-1-1.

Thankfully, Max vomited, which got most of the egg out of his system, because we didn’t have a drop of Benadryl in the house, nor did we know what it was used for. Subsequently, we see an allergist every year. And, in the four years since his reaction, we’ve learned how to prevent a life-threatening situation from reoccurring, even though there have been some accidents over the years.

Thankfully, none of these incidents required using the EpiPen, an auto-injector shot of epinephrine that helps to reverse allergic reaction symptoms, but still, they were serious enough to remind us how careful we must be on his behalf.

It’s all about Max

When it comes to birthday parties, I call the mom before and find out what kind of decorations she will put on the cake and what she will serve for lunch. Most of the time, it’s pizza, and if your local pizzeria makes calzones, they likely use an egg wash on the top. So I make pizza at home, along with a cupcake decorated as closely like the birthday cake as possible, and Max takes his own lunch and snacks to the party. There are many alternatives in the grocery store now – both for home baking and prepackaged – for people with food allergies, so this is getting easier each year.

For vacations, I buy enough groceries for Max for the duration of the trip and, we must have a hotel room with a mini-fridge and a microwave. For example, when we go to a theme park, we eat breakfast at the hotel, and carry a backpack with Max’s lunch and snacks for the day. It’s not fun, but it’s better than trying to find suitable foods for him on the go.

What does it look like?

According to physician Sunil Joshi, vice president of Family Allergy Asthma Consultants, after someone gets stung by a bee, wasp or fire ant, some swelling can be expected, but if there’s extreme swelling, hives, coughing and/or wheezing, that could be a telltale sign of a severe allergic reaction, and rapid medical attention is needed.

The signs of a food allergic reaction can be similar.

“Most of the time, a serious reaction will be noticeable in the skin,” Joshi said. “Symptoms can include eczema [dry, itchy red skin], rash, hives or lip, tongue or eyelid swelling. In severe cases, the reaction can include respiratory symptoms, such as throat tightness, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, vomiting, disorientation and even becoming unresponsive.”

Keep in mind, some allergic reactions could be delayed, therefore, tracking the last half hour or so of food exposure to insects, etc., becomes crucial to getting the right care.

Preparing for school

A new school year brings with it plenty of food-centered events. All are fun, but not without anxiety-producing for a mom of a food-allergic child.

Some children can have a reaction if they simply breathe peanut dust or if something slightly touches their skin. For parents of those kids, try requesting for the classroom to be peanut-free. It is important to make your child’s teachers aware, as well as the principal, school nurse, and any other caregiver who may interact with him during the day.

Always have an EpiPen and Benadryl in your child’s backpack and another set that stays in the classroom, and be sure that all know how to properly use it.

Be proactive with your child’s school’s policy on medical needs: Do teachers know how to use an EpiPen? Do they know how to spot an allergic reaction? Is there a nurse on campus? What is the teacher or school plan to ensure that food-allergic kids are protected without being isolated? One day when I visited Max at his preschool during snack time, he was sitting at a desk away from the group. That was a sad sight for a mom. After discussing with the teacher, he was able to sit with the group, while his teacher sat next to him to ensure his safety. Not only is planning ahead vital, but communicating with your child’s teachers is equally important.

When Max’s class had a party, I offered to make the cupcakes. Doing this assured me he would have a safe treat with his friends.


It’s easy at times to focus on how someone else’s issue affects you, but food-allergic kids, and their parents, should be treated with the same respect you expect from others.

Food-allergic children are hard to spot. They look healthy and are not considered “sick,” as a child with a more visible health issue would be. Some parents are quick to complain about why their child cannot bring their favorite peanut butter sandwich to school.

Please remember two things: peanut butter, boiled egg or whatever the allergen, is off limits only for one meal for your child. Unlike a food-allergic child, he can eat it for breakfast, afternoon snack, dinner and all day on weekends. Also, this is a little person with feelings and a life-threatening health issue. It’s more than a tummy ache; it’s a trip to the ER. Plus, food-allergic children already feel different from their friends because of it.

I expect there will be bumps on the road to Max’s school years, but I feel confident as he enters elementary school that he will continue to be cared for, safely and part of the group.

Jennifer Marko is President of Bottle Snugglers, a baby product company based in Jacksonville.

Finding the Right Breast Pump

It’s easy to get  caught up in the breast vs. bottle feeding debate. There is such strong emotion on both sides. Personally, I try very hard to stay out of the debate altogether!

I breast fed my son for several months, pumping after the first couple of weeks so that my husband could participate and so that we didn’t lose any of the liquid gold that I was actually over-producing. So I can see both sides: knowing that breast milk is super nutritious and having to make a personal decision (or having it made for you by your body) to formula feed. I trust every Mom to make the right decision for her and to make sure that her baby is fed. Bottle Snugglers are perfect for breast milk and formula! In fact, it was during that time that I actually discovered them.

That said, because I remember going through a myriad of breast pumps to find the perfect one for me, I wanted to give a resource for a few that are on the market now. I found a great list on grouped together by price. That site also has lots of articles on breast feeding and in depth features and info on each of these styles. You first have to choose whether you want an electronic one or a manual. I used electronic, but the manual models are somewhat cheaper. To each her own!

Personal Electric Pumps, $150 and up

  • Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump
  • Medela Pump In Style Original Breast Pump
  • Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump
  • Avent Isis IQ Duo Breast Pump
  • Playtex Embrace Breast Pump 

Electronic, $75 and up

  • Medela Double Select Breast Pump
  • Medela Swing (new in 2006) Breast Pump
  • Bailey/Ameda Nurture III Breast Pump
  • Avent Isis IQ Uno Breast Pump

Manual Breast Pumps, under $75

  • Medela Harmony Breast Pump
  • Ameda One-Hand Breast Pump
  • Avent Isis (manual) Breast Pump
  • Medela PedalPump Breast Pump

Are your bottles BPA-free?

As parents, we do our best to keep our babies’ environments safe and clear of the things that we know can hurt them. We use non-toxic chemicals to clean our house (our tile floors now get mopped with vinegar and water, and our counters get wiped with alcohol and water!), and we buy organic food when possible.

It seems like we learn every day of some new danger that’s lurking around the corner. Today, I saw a mention of Bisphenol A, or BPA, so it’s on my mind. (As a seller of a baby bottle holder, bottles are on my mind a lot, actually.) BPA is a chemical that is used to make hard plastic products, like cups, food storage containers and baby bottles. In the past couple of years, we have been notified that BPA is very toxic to humans, and babies seem to be especially susceptible to harm. In my research, even low doses of exposure to BPA can contribute to several different cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes and hyperactivity, to name only a few.

Now to find out that this toxic chemical is in our babies’ bottles is horrifying. My son is now 4, and we didn’t know of BPA then, so I am pretty positive his bottles were affected. That is unsettling, to say the least. Many of the more established  bottle companies have started lines of BPA-Free bottles, and several newer bottle companies have popped up lately offering BPA-free bottles and accessories.

A few notable bottles that do not contain BPA are: Green to Grow, Adiri, Born Free, Thinkbaby, Medela and MAM by Sassy. If I buy bottles for baby shower gifts from now on, I will likely select from one of these new alternatives. Of course, glass bottles are naturally BPA-free, and they are a great choice. And remember to never microwave a plastic bottle, even if it is BPA-Free.

Just walk into a big box baby store now, and there are HUGE WALLS FULL of nothing but bottles! It’s overwhelming to a newbie, I know. So if you have a little experience, pass on the knowledge to a friend who is newly pregnant. She has many other things to stress about! 

Thanks for supporting the Bottle Snugglers blog. Let me know how we can help you!

When Do You Start Solid Foods?

Babies have so many milestones, and all the “firsts” are so special to parents. The first bath, the first smile, and the first steps are all times of wonder and excitement.

Some milestones, like when to start giving baby pureed food in addition to their breast milk or formula, can be stressful. We don’t want to disrupt their digestion by starting too early, but we definitely don’t want them to be extra hungry because they need more than a liquid diet. Advice from doctors, friends, and grandmothers may all differ, adding to the issue.

My grandmother, for example, suggested that we put some rice cereal in my son’s bottle when he was about 4 months old. She said she felt sorry for him because she “knew” he was hungry. Our pediatrician suggested waiting until closer to 6 months to introduce foods, so we decided that 5 months would be as good a time as any. Luckily, Max took to eating fruits and veggies easily, and we didn’t have any digestive issues. If only he was as easy to feed now as he was then!

I think a lot about baby feeding, even though my son is now almost 4 years old.  I found a very helpful chart from Earth’s Best Organics, and the link is below. It suggests the best timing for feedings, food suggestions, and when to introduce different foods for baby’s first year. 

Of course, opinions will vary, and I am not a doctor! I hope that this guide will help ease the stress of at least one milestone for you.

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