When my daughter was born, I started out with Born Free and really loved them. Born Free has 6 parts; bottle, nipple, collar, 2-piece vent, and cap. My partner thought we should try something with more nipple options and came home with Avent bottles. My God did I hate them! The venting system is built into the nipple and it was impossible to get the damn thing back onto the bottle. Then when I thought I had it on and went to shake up the bottle, I had a mess of milk all over. I couldn't get the collar/nipple back on the right way and it just leaked all the time. Avent only has 4 parts; bottle, nipple, collar, cap. Needless to say...I still LOVE LOVE LOVE my Born Free! They're comfortable to hold (love the wide mouth design), relatively easy to clean (considering more bottles have a bunch of parts to clean) and my daughter never had a problem using them. I started out with glass bottles because they seemed easier to keep sterilized, then switched to plastic once she was old enough to make it dangerous to use glass. She will be one this week and she we still love them.
My sister, who gave birth to her son 5 days after me, started out with Playtex Ventair bottles and didn't really have a problem with them. They are great for the cost. She decided to try something different because my nephew was having a reflux problem, and went with Dr. Brown's . What a pain those bottles were! They came with a special brush to clean out the tube inside! She chose the skinny bottle, so not sure what they're wide mouth bottle is like. I think she only used them for a week and went back to her original bottles.
All in all I would have to say it's really up to you. What is most comfortable? What is better in cost...don't forget to look at all replacement parts like nipples, collars, and vent? My sister and I had about 12 bottles each in rotation. Sounds like a lot, but when you're whole life revolves around bottles...you better make sure they're ready to go! That way you really only have to wash once a day. You're not going to know how well your baby does until you try them, so start out with something you like and go from there. If they're plastic, make sure they're BPA free .
Now on to bottle accessories.
I've tried at least 4 different bottle brushes including Nuby and Dr. Brown's but have found my all time FAV with First Year's. My pick was the strongest. It has a hard plastic reinforced arm that really held up well. The Dr. Brown's and others just bend easily. Plus the built in nipple brush was easy to use and get to, unlike Dr. Brown's that wasn't a brush at all but a rubber tip or Nuby which you have to use separately (the tiny thing is impossible to hold on to!). They both have a sponge at the tip which is great, but the First Year's sponge it softer making it easy to get in and out of the bottle.
Next is a bottle warmer . I really thought this would come in handy for my daughter who was born in January...just think of a hungry newborn in the middle of winter! When I opened the box I thought I was looking at a NASA machine. I didn't even know where to begin. I chose this warmer because I thought I could warm 3 bottles at once, or heat one and keep the other two warm. That's not what this warmer does at all. It warms ONE bottle and chills TWO! What the hell! I thought I was buying a bottle WARMER. Ugh! After thinking it over and realizing the last thing I want it another gadget on the counter, I decided that I really didn't need this thing as all. I was using glass bottles at that point and warming the bottle under hot water worked great (plastic bottles take longer that way). I wonder who uses warmers and how it works out.
Once we started going out more with Brianlily, I knew I needed something to keep formula in. The selection is pretty big for these little containers, but my goal was not to spend too much and came up with these . I love them! We still use them for snacks! They're not bulky like Sassy brand (there are 4 compartments so the container is taller) and the least in cost. Honestly I really like the Munchkin brand products. The colors are fun too and you can mix them up.
As for a bottle drying rack I tried two. This super cheap Especially for Baby rack, and my pick . The first one was terrible! The pegs didn't stay in place and the rack just didn't hold enough bottles and parts. The First Year's rack was and still is my favorite. It's roomy, gets the water down into the catch tray great, and I love that it spins! If you check out some others like this one from Skip Hop (personally I think this brand is SO expensive for rather crappy quality) you can see that there is no way a bunch of wide neck bottles are going to fit on that thing (check out the old school skinny bottles in the additional photos). It's a great idea to have the brush nice and handy there, but it takes away from the much needed bottle space. My pick is also pretty compact...it's on my counter and I don't feel like I have a nuisance on the counter.
The last thing that I used/use is a delicate laundry bag for my bottles and accessories in the dishwasher. When we moved from NYC to Portland, OR I was most excited about having a dishwasher (never had one). "You mean I don't have to wash bottles anymore!? The best feeling ever, until I realized I needed to keep them in place. There is something at Babiesrus just for this purpose, but they're just too small and pricey. So I thought "why can't I use a delicate laundry bag?" I picked one up at Walmart for less than the above product and it works perfectly! Lots of room for lots of parts and accessories. Here is one at The Container Store (super pricey place- Bed Bath & Beyond is better) but you get the idea.
I really hope something here can help new parents or someone just having trouble with a product. I'm very happy to say Brianlily has been a very happy baby and I hope mommy's neurotic perfectionism had something to do with it!