Being a new mom can be tough and confusing at times. There are so many decisions to make, and it feels like making the wrong decision could lead to disaster.
For instance, have you ever looked at a baby feeding system and wondered which size nipple to use?
There are usually several sizes of nipples included in the box, and you want to choose the right one.
After you have been feeding your baby for a while, you may wonder when to change nipple flow on bottles.
Here are some tips to help you figure out whether the nipple flow you are using is right for your baby and when it may be a good time to change the flow.
Why Should I Increase the Nipple Flow During Feedings?
Feeding your baby is an opportunity to bond, and it should be an enjoyable time for both of you.
Unfortunately, baby bottle nipples wear out or your infant’s needs can change over time.
When this happens, you are likely to notice that your baby experiences frustration during their feedings that can heighten the stress levels for both of you.
Nipples that are too slow force your baby to work harder to get their milk or formula. This can lead to increased crying when they are not able to satisfy their hunger fast enough.
If the problem is severe, your baby could even stop eating or refuse the bottle completely.
Eventually, this can lead to problems such as your baby showing signs of poor weight gain or failure to thrive.
If your baby routinely does not finish their bottles yet is hungry between feedings, then this is a sign that helps you know when to change nipple flow on bottles.
In addition to the frustration, your baby may try to gulp or chew on the nipples in an effort to get the milk out.
This gulping motion can cause your baby to take in air that eventually settles in their intestines as gas.
Additionally, the strong sucking motions required to get milk out of nipples that are too small causes your baby to experience other symptoms such as soreness of the muscles around their mouth and jaw.
Since they can’t talk yet, your baby will express these symptoms through increased crying and general fussiness.
Nipple Flow Levels
While there is no standard nipple flow that works across different brands, you will likely see packaging with labels like slow, 0, 0m+, 1m+, 3m+, and 6m+.
Just watch your baby carefully to make sure that they are adjusting well to the flow of the new nipple. It may take a few feedings for them to get used to the nipple.
Going back to the nipple flow that you were using before might be necessary if your baby hasn’t adjusted to the new flow after a couple of days.
On the other hand, many moms never change the flow of their baby’s nipple. If your baby is eating well, it may not be necessary to change the flow of their nipple at all.
Some babies always use slow flow nipples, while others get frustrated if the flow of milk is too slow when they are a couple of months old.
What works for one baby may not work for another, even if the babies are from the same family.
- The general rule is that babies who are under 3 months old should use slow flow nipples.
- Babies who are between three and six months old often need medium-flow nipples on their bottles.
- Fast-flow nipples aren’t usually recommended for babies under six months, although they may be necessary if you are mixing the formula with cereal to help your baby’s reflux.
When to Change Nipple Flow On Bottles
First, watch this video of Dr. Natasha Burgert talking about when to transition to faster flow bottle nipples.
If you are an Avent bottle user and you need the right nipple flow for your baby, go and check this table, it gonna helps you understand which bottle nipple your baby needs!
When you’re choosing a nipple for your baby’s bottle, remember that a size one nipple in one brand may not be the same flow as a size one in another brand.
For example, Avent nipple flow will likely be different than the Dr. Brown nipple levels flow or any other brands.
Some moms avoid this issue by always using the same brand of nipple, while others may try several nipples until they find the right flow.
Don’t feel like you have to start with size one just because your baby is young. A nipple in size two may work better for your baby.
It’s good to remember that your baby should finish a bottle in around 15 minutes. This usually means that a nipple with a faster flow is needed when your baby starts drinking more ounces per bottle.
You may need to get a nipple with a slower flow if your baby is drinking their bottles too fast, especially if they often get fussy after eating.
Watch your baby while they are drinking their bottle to make sure that they are not sputtering, gagging, or leaking milk out of their mouth. These are signs that you should use a nipple with a slower flow of milk.
You want your baby to eat comfortably, but not drink too fast or swallow a lot of air while they are drinking.
Just as you’re likely to get frustrated if you’re having trouble getting your drink through your straw, your baby may get frustrated and upset if they are having trouble getting milk out of their bottle.
If your baby is getting bored or angry during feedings, that’s when to change nipple flow on bottles. Try a nipple with a faster flow so that it’s easier for your baby to get his or her milk out of the bottle efficiently.
It’s best to only go up one nipple flow at a time so that your baby isn’t overwhelmed by a big change in flow.
How Do I Switch Nipple Flow to a Faster Level?
Once you have identified when to change nipple flow on bottles, your next step is to choose your preferred method.
As with any new thing that you introduce to your baby, make sure to start off slowly.
For some moms, it is easier to change to a new nipple mid-feeding when their baby is not gulping so hard.
For others, it is better to use the new nipple when the baby is at their hungriest since they are more likely to accept anything to get to the milk.
You know your baby best, so feel free to offer the new nipple size when you think it is right.
Observe for Signs of Your Baby’s Comfort
Bottle nipples come with age recommendations that you can use as a guide for transitioning to each new size.
However, some babies need bigger nipples faster than others, and it all depends upon multiple factors such as your baby’s size, appetite and ability to get milk out of the bottle.
For this reason, you will want to watch carefully as your baby eats with the new nipple size to make sure that it works better than the old one.
Babies who are able to get the right nipple flow should be seen rhythmically sucking and swallowing as they work their way through the bottle.
If your baby gags, pushes the bottle away or has milk dripping out of the corner of their mouth, then these are signs that your baby is struggling with the new size.
Keep in mind that most babies will experience a few minor issues as they get used to the new nipple.
However, major problems with feeding such as choking or spitting up the majority of their bottle after finishing are signs that your baby may be stuck between the two different levels.
In this case, you will need to do some experimenting to find the ideal nipple flow for your child.
What Do I Do When My Baby Seems Stuck Between Two Levels?
Parenting is always full of new challenges, and some babies manage to get stuck somewhere between two levels of nipple flow.
Naturally, it’s frustrating to discover that size 1 nipples are too slow and cause your baby to take longer than 30 minutes to eat
yet size 2 nipples cause so much dribbling that your baby barely gets a drop.
Fortunately, there are several options that you can use to find the ideal nipple flow when our baby is stuck between the two levels.
Just remember to be patient and give your baby time to try each method before moving on to the next one.
Change to a New Nipple
The first thing you need to check is if your old nipples are showing signs of wear.
Over time, constant washing and sterilizing can cause the material that the nipple is made from to expand or even get a gummy texture.
This can cause the hole to swell up to the point that the flow slows down.
If the nipples are old, then try changing to a brand new set to see if this solves the problem.
Try a Different Type
Your baby’s needs can change as they grow.
Your baby may need a new style of nipple if they have transitioned from breast to formula milk or if they need other things added to their milk such as rice cereal to address digestive challenges.
In these types of instances, you may need to look for specialized nipples.
For instance, some have a differently shaped hole that is designed for thickened milk to flow through.
Alternatively, your baby may be responding to the shape of the nipple rather than the flow.
If it is time to move up to a bigger bottle, then this is a great time to try out a new style that comes with a slightly different nipple flow.
Widen the Hole on an Existing Nipple
Another way to figure out how to switch nipple flow is to try widening the existing hole on the ones that you already own.
Some moms have found success widening the hole by using a sterilized needle to poke at it until it becomes bigger.
Keep in mind that this must be done with caution since altering the nipple can increase the risk of pieces breaking off during a feeding.
With any of the methods that you choose, remember that the goal is to help your baby get the right amount of flow going to satisfy their appetite without causing them to guzzle their bottle too fast.
Be willing to keep trying new things until you find that perfect nipple flow that makes feeding times blissful again.
Other Tips for Bottle Feeding Your Baby
If your baby is losing interest in eating, the flow of milk from their bottle may not be to blame.
Try to limit distractions while you’re feeding the baby. Their eyesight is developing rapidly and the world is getting more exciting, so it may be best to feed your baby in a private room whenever possible.
A dark room is best for night feedings because it keeps distractions to a minimum and may help your baby fall asleep faster.
If your baby is having trouble latching and sucking from one type of nipple, it may be best to change the type of nipple, rather than the rate of milk flow.
Some are pretty flat, while others have more of an angle. There are also many types of air vents in the bottles and the nipples.
It may take several tries with different nipples and/or different bottles before you find the right combination that allows you to feed your baby efficiently, without them getting overly gassy or gagging from drinking too fast.
You know your baby best, so keep trying until it feels right.
- THE AVENT NIPPLE FLOW CHART
- These Solutions Can Help When Your Baby Won’t Take Bottle Anymore!
- How To Get Baby To Take Bottle Quickly! (The 10 Must Know Ways)
- Infant Gas: How to Prevent and Treat It
- How to bottle feed the breastfed baby
- Dr. Natasha Burgert
Video credits: KCKidsDoc Burgert.