There may be times when you need breast milk in a bottle. When it happens, shopping for one can be stressful. You want to make sure your baby will have an easy and natural transition from your breast and the feeding bottle, and the key lies in the bottle nipple (or teat). Here are five things to consider when choosing a bottle for your child.
Baby bottles are categorized by age, but you will notice there is range of nipples available that talk about slow or fast milk flow. What to choose depends on your baby’s appetite. Older babies can use nipples with a fast flow because they drink more during feeding. Newborns will need the slow flow, but it is also advisable if you notice milk is spilling on the sides of your baby’s mouth. If you're not sure about what your baby wants, try a nipple with slow or medium flow and move up if you sense that baby wants a faster flow.
Nipples are available in silicone and latex. Silicone are firmer and tend to hold their shape longer than latex ones. The choice of material is up to you (there are rare cases of babies who are allergic to latex).
Nipple shapes have become quite sophisticated over the years. There are many choices, from the traditional cone-shaped one to orthodontic ones designed to accommodate baby's palate and gums; flat-topped ones; and even grooved ones that mimic the shape of a natural nipple. This can be a case of trial and error to see what your baby will like.
To choose one where your baby can easily and naturally go from mom's breast to bottle, you can try Chicco NaturalFeeling bottles. In 2016 Independent home use study of 0-3 month babies, 96% of the babies immediately accepted the bottle. It bio-mimics breastfeeding with the help of a unique angled nipple that has skin-like texture and a wide, breast-like latch.
Wear and Tear
Be sensitive to the nipples' wear and tear. Regularly check for worn surfaces and holes that are too big, as well as signs of thinning and discoloration. Replace the nipple as soon as you notice any of these signs.