Which Philips Avent Nipple Sizes Should I Be Using?

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 SizeBaby AgeIdeal For
First Flow Nipple0-1 MonthPreemies & Newborns
Newborn Nipple0-3 MonthsNewborns (0-1M) & Breastfed Babies (0-3M)
Slow Flow Nipple1-3 MonthsNewborns (1-3M) & Breastfed Babies (3M+)
Medium Flow Nipple3-6 MonthsBabies (3M+)
Variable Flow Nipple3+ MonthsDifferent Flow Rates with Same Nipple
Fast Flow Nipple6+ MonthsBabies (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.

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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!

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26 Reader Comments

  1. Neeta

    My baby is 4months old. I want to start bottle along with breastfeeding. What nipple size should I use?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Neeta, thanks for dropping by! I think a good place to start would be with a medium flow nipple and see how your baby reacts.

      • Bushra

        Hi Jenny, my baby is one year old. He just started using formula milk and he uses the Avent newborn baby nipple. Should I wait before moving him to the next level nipple? He currently drinks only three ounces of milk at a time and about 10-12 ounces per day. Is that normal?

        • Team Mom Loves Best

          Hey Bushra, thanks so much for reading. If your baby is already one, he may be too old to still be using a newborn nipple. However, the main issue is how he’s coping. Is he gaining enough weight? Thriving? Does he seem well-fed and satisfied after feedings? Please let us know. Overall, it’s best to change nipples as kids grow, especially if they seem unsatisfied after feeding.

  2. Ritika agarwal

    I accidentally mixed two-hole and three-hole nipples. How can I tell which ones are which? Is there anything written on the nipples?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      I do not think there is anything written on the nipples themselves, but you should be able to look at the top of the nipple and count how many holes there are. I hope this helps!

  3. Rachel

    I too was clueless about there being nipple sizes. My baby was on the wrong one and was spitting up so much….thank goodness I read your article and the actual bottle box!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Glad we could help Rachel! Thanks for your kind words 🙂

  4. Sam Q

    Thank you for the information! We recently started bottle feeding in addition to breastfeeding and our newborn has become gassy, fussy and started spitting up. I think you answered my questions. I’ll give a slower flow nipple a try.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      You are welcome Sam! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I hope the slow flow nipple helps!

  5. Hi Jenny,

    I am wondering if the Flow Rate Nipples by Avent are interchangeable between the Natural and Classic bottles?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      That is a very good question! The Flow Rate nipples can only be used with the Natural bottles that Avent offers. Although, they can be used with the plastic or glass Natural bottle according to the website.

  6. I had to start using bottles when my son started daycare, at four months old I moved him up to the #3 Avent nipples.

    He seems to do well with the bottles, but when he nurses he is chewing my nipples, and it hurts. My lactation consultant says I should move him back to the slower nipple because he’s now expecting a faster flow from my breast. I want to make sure he doesn’t get frustrated with the bottle though. What can I do?

    • Jenny Silverstone

      I would suggest moving him down to the slower flow nipple as well; it wouldn’t hurt to see how he adjusts to it. Who knows, he might not get frustrated with the bottle. If this doesn’t solve the problem, I would suggest that you try to teach him that it’s not acceptable to bite you. Have you spoken to your pediatrician about what you can do?

  7. Kameswari

    I bought Philips Avent variable flow nipples for my 4-month-old baby. He’s not able to drink comfortably. Sometimes milk leaks from his mouth, other times he pushes the bottle away and starts getting cranky. I’m confused, should I discard these and switch to medium flow? Please help I can’t stand to see my baby cry.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      I would temporarily switch to a nipple with a slower flow. That doesn’t mean you need to throw out the nipples you have. You can save them and try them again when your son is a little older. I hope this helps.

  8. Baby Journey

    Thank You Jenny – we too notice slow flow design bottle and nipple does helps on feeding the newborn more easily.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Thank you for telling us about your experience. Do you have any more tips for newborn feedings? I’d love to hear your advice!

      Best,
      Jenny

  9. Rachel

    I just bought the medium flow size 3 natural nipple and it only has 2 holes just like the size 2 did. Shouldn’t it have 3 holes?

  10. Michelle Restum

    Every time my baby is feeding, milk leaks from his mouth. I’m using the Avent natural for 1+ with 2 holes. Should I use 1 hole instead? He is already 7 weeks old now.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi Michelle, thanks so much for reading. We’re sorry to hear about your feeding struggles. It may be best to keep using the 1 hole nipple for now. The age guidelines are only recommendations. If your child is using a certain nipple flow and seems happy with it, it makes sense to wait for a while before you move to the next flow size, especially if your baby also breastfeeds. We hope this helps. Please let us know how it goes 🙂

  11. Hi there. My little one is 4 weeks old and I noticed these past 3 days she’s been having a growth spurt and seems to be downing her formula right away with the Avent size 1 nipples with 1 hole but becomes increasingly tired and fussy after about 1.5 ounces. she will resist when we try to burp her and then want more but then cry and grunt when we try to continue to feed her, it is taking her easily 30 mins to completely drink 3oz between drinking and burping, sometimes longer, the whole while crying during. Could this be out of frustration? Should I be trying to up the nipple to the size 2 with 2 holes? Her burps are massive when we finally do get one out of her so I’m wondering if she could be taking in too much air when sucking out of that tiny hole?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Noel, you may be right! Try upping the nipple size and let us know how it goes, please 🙂

  12. My daughter seems to get frustrated with the one hole nipple; she stops sucking every now and she seems to be tired of sucking. I tried to use the 2 holes but it seems too fast where milk drips on her mouth and she feels drowning. Which nipple hole shall I stick with?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Jona, sorry to hear you’re having issues with the nipple sizing. Have you tried a variable flow nipple? And how old is your daughter?

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