When do you change the type of bottle nipple your baby uses? I accidentally got a medium flow nipple once and noticed it was coming out too fast for her, that was when my girl was 2-3 weeks old. She's 5 weeks now, and she's moving up to the 8 oz bottles (only 5-6 ounces max, whenever she stops) and it takes her much longer to eat. I'm plenty patient enough to wait, but I just don't know how the different types of nipples work. Is it an as they grow thing, a you can tell thing, an every baby is different thing, or a combination of these options?

asked 24 May '10, 16:20

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JustinP8
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edited 24 May '10, 20:35

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Rich Seller
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I believe this is a case where every baby is different. Consumer Reports says,

Nipples come in three standard flow variations with different-size holes appropriate for the baby's age: newborn or slow flow (for newborn to 3 months), medium flow (for newborn to 12 months), and fast flow (for babies over 3 months). A nipple should offer some resistance, but not so much that your baby has to struggle to get milk. Generally, younger babies prefer a slower flow; older babies, a faster one (although that's not always the case).

If you are bottle feeding in combination with breastfeeding, this article (pdf) says,

Use a slow-flow nipple. Regular-flow nipples flow very easily, even when the bottle is held in a horizontal position. A slow-flow nipple requires the baby to put forth effort very similar to breast-feeding to get milk from the bottle. Low-tone babies may not have the stamina necessary to finish a feeding with a slow-flow nipple. For these babies, I recommend using a medium-flow nipple (a few brands available in my area offer this option) until they have developed the strength and stamina to use the slow-flow nipple. I explain to mothers that ideally, a bottle-feeding should require about 20 minutes, which is approximately similar to the time spent breastfeeding when all is going well: 10 minutes per breast.

Some other thoughts:

  • The meaning of "slow", "medium", and "fast" vary based on which nipple brand you're using. In The Baby Book by the Sears family, it says, "The nipple hole should be large enough for formula to drip at one drop per second when you hold a full, unshaken bottle upside down.
  • With my baby we started out trying to breastfeed so initially we stuck with the slow-flow nipples. However, he never learned to suck correctly, even with a bottle, so we had to switch fairly quickly to a medium-flow nipple. We never needed to transition to the fast-flow. He was always able to drink in a reasonable time with the medium-flow and I saw no need to spend more money for yet another type of nipple :)
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answered 25 May '10, 02:03

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Kiesa ♦
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Thank you for the answer! Such great research! :) You've been very helpful.

(25 May '10, 04:13) JustinP8
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Asked: 24 May '10, 16:20

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Last updated: 25 May '10, 02:03