What exactly is the nipple flow? Well, it’s the way the bottle’s nipple has been designed. Much like a mother’s nipple, the silicone nipple can be designed to either give your baby a fast flow or a slow flow, which can help them a lot if they are still developing. But what exactly are the reasons why you should always consider choosing the right nipple flow for your baby? Here are some of them:
1. A nipple flow that is too slow will strain your baby. They will most likely have to work too hard just to get the milk that they want, which can be strenuous to their young age. The slow flow is only intended for the babies who are still too young and if your baby is old enough, they might think that they are not getting enough milk if they still stick to a slow flow nipple.
2. A nipple flow that is too fast will overwhelm your baby. Many cases of babies getting spit-up problems often stem from the fact that their nipple flow is too fast for their age. Therefore, they should get something that has a slower flow to feed on their bottle just right.
3. Not picking the right nipple flow can have some serious dietary changes in your baby. For instance, they may have weight problems because they are either drinking too many or too little in time.
Signs it’s Time to Change the Nipple Flow
So when is the right time to change the nipple flow for your baby? Remember that it’s not always the age that tells you when to change nipple flow, but do look into the non-verbal cues that your baby may do when they are being fed in the bottle. Here are some pointers, signs, and symptoms as to when your baby might need a new nipple flow level:
1. Your baby is sucking too hard. If they keep doing this then there must be a reason – such a reason could be that they are not getting enough milk. Their suction may not be enough to get the amount of milk that they want for their age.
2. It takes more than half an hour to feed your baby. Because your baby may not be getting the right amount of milk in a given time, then they might take too long to feed on their bottle. Ideally, 30 minutes should be enough for single feeding time.
3. Your baby pushes the bottle away for some reason. They may have some issues with the bottle and this may include the fact that they can’t suck the bottle as much as they can to get the amount of milk that they want.
4. They may try flattening the nipple. In the same way, they may try flattening the nipple in the attempt to squeeze out milk faster.
5. Your baby hits the bottle at some point. This is the point where your baby must be really mad at the baby bottle’s nipple for not flowing appropriately.
6. They get hungry too soon and too often without finishing their last bottle. If they don’t finish their first bottle and then get hungry soon enough, it’s time to replace it with a faster flow nipple.
7. They start experiencing gas and colic problems. With this, you should go for a slower nipple flow because they may not be ready for such a fast flow yet.
8. They may start choking or coughing with spit-up. This is a sign that you should switch to a slower nipple flow for the same reasons above.
9. If you are breastfeeding and bottle feeding at the same time, look for the slowest flow in your bottle brand. This is because most breastfed babies are already used to working their way into suction as compared to the flow of a regular bottle.
10. If you are breast pumping, also consider a slow flow nipple as much as possible. Breast milk is usually richer in nutrients so it makes your baby feel fuller quicker than they would with regular baby formulas.
Different Nipple Flows for Baby Bottles
Here are the different nipple flows per age and per baby bottle nipple flow size that
|Nipple flow level||Age of baby|
|First flow or preemie flow (the lowest flow possible of any brand)||Newborn or preemies|
|Level 1||0 months +|
|Level 2||3 months +|
|Level 3||6 months +|
|Level 4||9 months +|
|Standard, y-cut||9 months +|
As you can see, many of the young babies should start with the slow flow nipple first so that they won’t easily get overwhelmed with gas and spit-up problems. On the other hand, standardly shaped nipples that have a y-cut design are more intended for older babies who are nearly 1 year old.
To wrap it up, nipple flows on bottles is important to avoid colic and gas spit-ups, as well as the strain on your baby’s sucking reflex and their diet. If you feed them with the right nipple flow for their baby bottles, there’s a lesser chance of being underfed and your baby will feel comfortable all the time.