Whether you’re transitioning from breast to bottle or you’re looking into combination feeding, it can be pretty frustrating when baby isn’t interested. Understanding why baby isn’t taking the bottle can be difficult however can often be demystified when you know what to look for. As they say ‘The teat is for baby, the bottle is for mum!’ Remember, every baby is different and most of the time, baby makes the choice!
1. Choose the right size
There are several sizes and ‘flow rates’ available with many brands using different measuring methods. First, select the teat size to suit your baby’s age. Easy! Next you may need to choose the ‘flow rate.’ This refers to the size of the feed hole OR the quantity of holes on the teat. A small hole (or fewer holes) will let the liquid down slowly. A medium or large hole will let the liquid down faster still. There are two things to consider;
- What are you feeding baby?
Breast milk is thinner than formula milk and therefore will come out faster. Generally, a small hole is preferred. A medium flow is recommended for milk formula and a large hole for reflux formula or thicker feeds.
- How fast or slow does your baby feed?
Now that you have decided what baby will be drinking, ask yourself if your baby drinks slowly (more than 25 minutes per feed) or guzzles their feed. With this in mind, a baby who drinks breast milk ‘quickly’ may prefer the medium hole over the small flow – to keep up with their appetite!
2. Choose the right material
Most teats available are made with clear silicone. Silicone is a high-quality synthetic material, is easily cleaned and highly heat-resistant. If your baby rejects the silicone teat, and you have tried alternating teat flows, try a teat made from latex. Latex teats are made from the milk of the rubber tree and have a honey-yellow colour. As latex has a ‘skin-like’ feel, many breastfed babies prefer the texture of latex over silicone. With its natural origins, latex has a slight taste all of its own. Tip: to neutralise the latex taste, boil in regular milk for no longer than 5 minutes before first use. Voila!
3. Choose a bottle shape
Should you choose a narrow neck or wide neck? Or something else altogether? All bottles have their own advantages, and ultimately, it’s a personal choice. A narrow neck style may be easier to hold whereby a wide neck bottle is easier to fill & clean. Make sure you choose a bottle with a venting system to reduce the risk of baby swallowing air during feeding AKA: colic.
4. Choose a teat shape
It’s all about the nipple. Just like nature, the NUK First Choice+ Teat is shaped like the mothers nipple during breastfeeding. It is not round, but asymmetrical. The NUK Teat is round on the top, to comfortably fit the roof of baby’s mouth, and flat on the bottom, so baby’s tongue has maximum room to move while sucking. And because the hole is at the top of the teat instead of at the tip, milk mixes with your baby’s saliva and digestion starts right away. By choosing a teat shape that mimics nature, you reduce the risk of nipple-confusion and increase the chance of acceptance.
If you are having issues feeding your baby, seek medical advice.