Research studies indicate that the nipple should not alter the baby’s behaviour. He or she should still do the same thing as if being fed at the breast when drinking milk from the bottle. When breastfeeding, the baby takes control of the flow of milk. The baby uses a tongue and jaw movement to draw out milk from the breast. He uses his tongue to create a vacuum for breastmilk to flow and when he stops sucking, milk stops as well.
So how do you choose the best nipple for bottle-feeding? What are the features you need to look for in a teat that will help you achieve this purpose? Among those available in the market today, what bottle-feeding nipples are the best to use?
What an artificial teat should have…
Image source: iStock
An artificial teat which resembles a mother’s breast should have a broad, wide base, and a short round nipple which allows a slow flow of milk and is made up of a soft thin material such as silicone or latex. However, latex nipples are not recommended because they have allergens. More importantly, the nipple should be free from Bisphenol A (BPA).
1. To lessen or eliminate nipple confusion, the base of the artificial teat should be wide, like a mother’s breast and slopes gently towards the nipple.
2. The nipple should be short and round like that of most women.
3. It should not elongate. Instead, it should enable the baby’s tongue to cup around the nipple and extend to the base. The tongue should be pressed towards the roof of the mouth as the baby sucks.
4. The hole of the nipple should be large enough for a slow flow whenever the baby makes a sucking motion and stop flowing when the baby doesn’t move his tongue. Ideally, there should be no leaking of milk from the hole when the baby pauses to breathe.
There are many brands of bottle nipples in the market. We did our research and found the following brands most closely observed the features mentioned above:
Bottle nipples from Philips Avent have a broad base and a round nipple with different sizes and flow rate. There is a 1-hole nipple for newborns, 2-hole slow flow for 1 month-old babies, a 3-hole medium flow and a variflo variable flow for babies 3 months and up, and a 4-hole fast flow for babies 6-months and above.
Slow Flow Nipple- Wide from Playtex Ventaire features a raised, textured area which encourages proper latch-on. The slow-flow nipple –wide is designed for newborns. A fast flow nipple is also available for older babies. An added feature to this is that it reduces the baby’s penchant for gas and colic.
Pigeon Peristaltic Nipple is super stretchable, so it responds to every movement of the baby’s tongue which encourages the baby’s natural sucking behaviour. It is made up of thick ultra-soft silicone to simulate the same feel as a mother’s breast. It comes in four sizes – S-size gives a slow flow for newborns to 3 month old babies; M-size provides a variable flow for 2 to 3 month-old babies; Y size is also for 2 to 3 months old but it is for babies who may not find an M or an L-size appropriate and the L-size for older babies.
Medela Calma teat was designed specifically for mothers to easily switch back and forth from breast to bottle. Its form enables babies to suck, swallow, breathe and maintain their natural breastfeeding behaviour while being bottle-fed. Milk will only flow when a vacuum is created by the baby’s tongue just like when baby is feeding at the breast. It includes 2 multi-lids and a protective cap.
Each baby is different and therefore may have different preferences. So, try them and find a good fit for your baby.
For more related articles on feeding your baby, see:
Best Baby Bottles in Singapore for Every Need and Budget
When your baby refuses to be bottle-fed
10 smart ways to wean your baby from breast milk
Demand-fed babies could have higher IQ scores