Parents’ guide to baby bottle nipples

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Contributed by Tommee Tippee

When it comes to bottle-feeding your baby, it can be tricky to figure out which nipple type and size to choose for your little one, or when it might be time to move up to the next nipple level.

Tommee Tippee put together this handy “asked and answered” guide for parents to help you understand the different sizes, styles, and flow rates of baby bottle nipples so you can cater to your baby’s unique feeding style.

How many bottles and nipples should I have?

How many bottles and nipples you get depends on how often you plan to use bottles to feed your baby. If you’re only going to be using bottles once a day or just on occasion, then you might decide to just buy one main bottle and nipple and maybe one extra as a backup. It’s probably best to have at least two so that if lost, damaged, or unclean you have a backup.

However, newborns can feed anywhere between 8-12 times over a 24-hour period. So, if you’re bottle-feeding a newborn, then it’s a good bet to opt for 4-6 bottles and nipples to get started with, then see how you go from there.

What nipples size should I be using for my baby?

Most baby bottles offer varying nipple levels for different age ranges (usually slow flow for 0+ months, medium flow for 3+ months, and fast flow for 6+ months), meaning you can approximately judge which nipple size might be the best based on your baby’s age. All Tommee Tippee bottles come with a size 1 slow flow nipple, designed to suit a newborn baby. Having said that, every baby is different, so it’s a good idea to base your decision on a mix of the above, and your baby’s own unique eating habits.

Different types of nipples for different circumstances

Baby bottle nipple categories tend to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Slow flow
  • Medium flow
  • Fast flow
  • Variflow (flow rate can be changed)

Flow rates of each nipple refers to the size or number of holes in the nipple, affecting how quickly milk flows into your baby’s mouth. For newborn babies, a slow flow rate is recommended while your baby gets used to drinking milk from a bottle.

Discover Tommee Tippee’s range of baby bottle nipples.

How do I know when to change bottle nipple size?

You can use the age brackets of each nipple size to gauge when it’s time to move up a size and/or flow rate, but your baby will also let you know when it’s time to change, or even if you’ve moved up too quickly.

Baby signs that it’s time to move up a nipple size:

  • Becoming impatient or aggravated when eating
  • Taking longer than 20 mins to finish a feed or they fall asleep on the bottle
  • Sucking hard and/or the nipple collapsing in on itself

Baby signs that the teat you’re using is too big:

  • Gulping or hard swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Choking
  • Excess milk dripping out of the mouth
  • Refusing to eat

Why it’s important to sterilize both bottles and nipples

Sterilizing your baby’s bottles is vital, particularly for babies under one year because during this time they are even more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.

Be sure to clean all baby bottles and teats thoroughly in hot soapy water after each use before you sterilize them.

Browse Tommee Tippee’s range of sterilizing products.

Learn more

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