You’ve finally selected your bottle brand after more deliberation than you’d care to admit. The hard part is over now, right? You’ll just feed your baby with the Philips Avent bottle you selected.
Whoa, not so fast! You must also make sure you have the right Avent nipple sizes for your baby.
When I was a new parent, I was naïve about the world of bottle nipples. I didn’t know they came in different flow sizes, and just figured they were all the same. But bottle nipples (unlike real nipples!) don’t adapt much, and so you need to get one that matches your babies stage of development.
When I first weaned my baby off of breastfeeding, he didn’t seem to be adjusting to bottle feeding all that well. It took months before I finally realized something was wrong: I had chosen the wrong nipple size!
Avent Nipple Sizes by Age
These are the Avent nipple sizes we recommend by each age group:
|Nipple Size||Baby Age||Ideal For|
|First Flow Nipple||0-1 Month||Preemies & Newborns|
|Newborn Nipple||0-3 Months||Newborns (0-1M) & Breastfed Babies (0-3M)|
|Slow Flow Nipple||1-3 Months||Newborns (1-3M) & Breastfed Babies (3M+)|
|Medium Flow Nipple||3-6 Months||Babies (3M+)|
|Variable Flow Nipple||3+ Months||Different Flow Rates with Same Nipple|
|Fast Flow Nipple||6+ Months||Babies (6M+)|
All age indications are as approximate. “M” Refers to months. (source)
Can’t I Just Use One Size Nipple?
My son would get upset during his bottle time, and I couldn’t figure out why. I knew he had to be hungry and I could see him sucking furiously on his bottle. But instead of being content, he just seemed mad.
It was only when I told my problem to another mom that I learned about nipple sizes. I felt like an idiot for not knowing, and I’d like to spare others from the embarrassment I felt that day.
What I learned was that companies aren’t selling different nipple sizes just to earn more money – size does matter.
If the flow from the nipple is too slow, your baby will be cranky and frustrated because it won’t be getting its milk fast enough.
If the flow from the nipple is too fast, it will feel like Niagara Falls to your baby, and you’ll be able to tell when you see milk spilling out of her mouth. Plus, if your baby is feeding too quickly, she may begin spitting up more than before (source).
The Philips Avent bottle offers a nipple size to meet every baby’s needs. Avent also has several other great features – it’s BPA free, has a wide neck which makes it easier to clean, and an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable for both babies and parents to hold.
I wish I had an ergonomically-designed bottle when my son was a baby. After his prolonged feedings, my hands would feel locked into that bottle-holding shape and looked like they belonged to a Lego figurine.
What Size Nipple Should I Use?
Here are the general guidelines (source):
- If your baby is both breastfed and bottle fed, you should use the Newborn nipple, which has one hole, for the first month.
- Babies who are 1 to 3 months old and are both breastfed and bottle fed should use the Slow Flow nipple, which has two holes.
- If your baby is 3 to 6 months, you should use the Medium Flow nipple that has three holes.
- The Fast Flow nipple is best for when your baby is 6 months or older.
When Do I Change Nipple Sizes?
Figuring out when your baby needs to upgrade to the next nipple size is easy.
If your baby seems frustrated and impatient during feedings, you might want to experiment with a faster nipple flow. Does your baby seem comfortable? Then leave them be.
If your baby is gassy and fussy, experiment with a slower nipple size. Also consider a slower nipple flow if your baby starts spitting up more than before, especially if it’s right after moving up to the next nipple size.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many mothers have questions about nipple sizes. Here are some common ones:
Q. My baby is doing fine with her feeding, but because of her age I feel I should move her up to the next flow size. Should I?
A. The age guidelines are only recommendations. If your child is using a certain nipple flow and seems happy with it, wait for a while before you move to the next flow size, especially if your baby also breastfeeds. You don’t want to make bottle feeding so easy for her that she loses interest in breastfeeding.
Q. How can I tell if my baby is having problems with the bigger nipple size he recently moved up to?
A. Do you notice any milk leaking out of his mouth when he feeds? If not, track how long his next feeding time takes. If his feeding time is taking much longer than 15 minutes or is way shorter than 15 minutes, you might want to reevaluate the nipple size (source).
Q. What size nipple should I use when I start mixing a little cereal into the bottle?
A. Avent offers variable flow nipples that provide an extra fast flow and can accommodate thicker liquids.
The Bottom Line
By paying attention to your baby’s feeding times and using a quality bottle that controls milk flow, you will easily be able to spot any issues your baby is having with nipple sizes.
I know nipple sizes can seem like one more thing to worry about, but enjoy your precious snuggling and feeding time with your baby. It won’t be long before they’re drinking out of sippy cups and you’ll miss these bottle days!
Do you have any helpful bottle feeding hints for other moms out there? If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you!