When To Change Bottle Nipple Size – What You Need To Know

When To Change Bottle Nipple Size – What You Need To Know

You may notice that there are differing opinions on when to change nipple size on a bottle. Here is everything you need to know, so the decision does not have to be a confusing one.     

When to switch nipple sizes

There are two different thought processes on when to change nipple size on a bottle. Some believe that the flow rate of the nipple you use is dependent upon the age of the infant. You may see that some nipples have an age like 0-3 months or 6-9 months listed with their flow rates, as a general recommendation. Others, especially breastfeeding experts, feel that the flow rate should not change until your little one is showing signs they have outgrown the current flow. You can see why "When to switch nipples on bottles?" is a little bit of a tricky question. Ultimately, it is going to vary for every baby and feeding situation. Some infants may stick with a slow flow nipple the entire time they are bottle-fed, others may be ready to switch nipple size at least once.  

How will I know when to change nipple sizes?

We recommend that you use the slowest flow nipple that your baby will tolerate. For breastfed babies, it is important to remember that the flow at the breast does not change all that much, thought-out the breastfeeding journey. Keeping your baby on the slowest flow nipple they will tolerate can help to prevent any flow confusion, and keep the transition from breast to bottle smooth.   Regardless if you are feeding breastmilk or formula, bottle feeding should always be paced. This method of feeding will give your baby more control of the flow and allow them to take breaks as they are eating. Paced feeding will prevent overfeeding, which can lead to discomfort for your baby.  

Signs it is time to change bottle nipple sizes:

As there are many variations of normal, you may find that your baby does need to change nipple size as they grow. Here are some signs your baby may be ready to move up a size in nipple flow:   

  • Baby frequently collapses the nipple during feeding
  • Baby tugs, pulls, or bites at the nipple
  • Increased fussiness or frustration with the bottle
  • Takes an extremely long time to finish bottle feeds (longer than feeds previously)
  • Frequent latching and un-latching during the feed   

If your baby is doing any of the above, it may be time to think about changing the nipple size. These signs can be indicators that the flow is not quick enough for them, and these feeding frustrations may be corrected with a change in nipple size.   

If your baby is not displaying any of the above behaviors, there is no need to change the nipple flow. Many babies will stick with one flow, the entire time that they are bottle-fed. Like with most parenting questions, we encourage you to trust your instincts and to have a discussion with your Lactation professional if you are unsure if your baby is ready to change nipple size.   

How to change nipple sizes

When you are ready to make the change to a new nipple flow, start with the next size up. Making a big jump, say from slow to fast or preemie to medium, may be overwhelming. Be sure to observe your baby with the new nipple flow to make sure it is not too fast. Signs that it may be too fast include: 

  • Gulping
  • Struggling to swallow between sucks
  • Losing milk out the sides of their mouth
  • Coughing or sputtering
  • Eating very quickly (less than 5-10 minutes)  

The new flow may be too quick, and your baby may not be ready for the switch in nipple size. You can always go back down to the previous size, should this be the case. A review of paced feeding guidelines may also be helpful in the transition between nipple flows. Feeding your baby with the nipple parallel to the ground and helping them take short breaks between sucks and swallows, can prevent overwhelm with a new nipple flow.  

If you try a faster flow, and your infant is still struggling with bottle feeds, for the previously listed reasons, it may be helpful to visit a Lactation consultant or infant feeding professional. They will be able to assess a feed with your baby, and can confirm if it was flow related or if the struggles have a different underlying issue. Their support can be invaluable in your feeding journey, even just for reassurance and reminders that you are doing all the right things.        

What makes the Kiinde Active Latch nipples different?

Our active latch nipples have a very innovative and unique design that encourages a deep, natural latch. Requiring both massage and suction of the nipple, they require your baby to do the work of latching, similar to being at the breast. This discourages nipple feeding or "lazy" latching and helps keep the transition between the breast and bottle smooth. These nipples were designed with you in mind, to help you reach whatever breastfeeding goals you may have.    

When to change nipple size - Active latch nipples

Because of the unique design of Active Latch nipples, there are no recommended age ranges - the optimal flow rate is largely controlled by your baby. The choice of slow, medium or fast is more baby-specific than age-specific. Active Latch nipples are among the very slowest flow nipples available (slower than most preemie nipples on the market!) as they don't free flow - they require a significant amount of work for your little one to get flow. This makes them great for breastfed babies or babies who may experience feeding challenges.     

Frequently asked questions about Kiinde's Twist Squeeze Bottles and Active Latch nipples.

How do I know which nipple size I have? The flow rates are stamped on the bottom of the cork (the part that pops inside the Twist pouch) on all of the Active Latch nipples. For a quick refrence: Slow flow has a Green cap Medium flow has a Blue cap Fast flow has a Clear cap    

Are Kiinde bottles "Anti-Colic?" Twist Pouches collapse as your little one drinks and no air enters the pouch. This gives the "anti-colic" benefits without complicated venting mechanisms.  

Do your nipples prevent "Nipple Confusion"? Active Latch nipples are uniquely designed to reward a natural latch and keep baby in control of the flow. This helps to mimic the experience of latching at the breast, and when combined with paced bottle feeding, helps prevent any flow confusion when going between the two.   -

What nipple flow is best for my newborn? We all suggest starting with our Slow Flow nipple, and to stick with it until your baby shows signs that it is time to change nipple flow or size.  

Are Twist pouches only for breastmilk? Absolutely not! Twist pouches can be used for formula feeding, or any other liquid your little one may need. Once your baby is ready for solids, Kiinde Foodii pouches can be used for mess-free self-feeding of purees.   -

Can I use another brand nipple with Twist pouches? Yes, you can! Twist is compatible with most nipples on the market. You will use the same adapters you use to connect the twist pouches to your pump. You can find a list of compatible nipples here.    

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