When it comes to bottle feeding your baby, it can be tricky to figure out which teat type and size to choose for your little one, or when it might be time to move up to the next teat level.
We’ve put together this handy ‘asked and answered’ guide for parents to help you understand the different sizes, styles, and flow rates of baby bottle teats so you can cater to your baby’s unique feeding style.
How many bottles and teats you get depends on how often you plan to use bottles to feed your baby. If you’re only going to be using bottles once a day or just on occasion, then you might decide to just buy one main bottle and teat and maybe one extra as a backup. It’s probably best to have at least two so that if lost, damaged or unclean you have a backup
However, newborns can feed anywhere between 8-12 times over a 24-hour period. So, if you’re bottle feeding a newborn, then it’s a good bet to opt for 4-6 bottles and teats to get started with, then see how you go from there.
Most baby bottles offer varying teat levels for different age ranges (usually slow flow for 0+ months, medium flow for 3+ months, and fast flow for 6+ months), meaning you can approximately judge which teat size might be the best based on your baby’s age. All of Tommee Tippee bottles come with a size 1 slow flow teat, designed to suit a newborn baby. Having said that, every baby is different, so it’s a good idea to base your decision on a mix of the above, and your baby’s own unique eating habits.
Baby bottle teat categories tend to fall into one of the following categories:
Variflow (flow rate can be changed)
Flow rates of each teat refers to the size or number of holes in the teat, affecting how quickly milk flows into your baby’s mouth. For newborn babies, a slow flow rate is recommended while your baby gets used to drinking milk from a bottle.
You can use the age brackets of each teat size to gauge when it’s time to move up a size and/or flow rate, but your baby will also let you know when it’s time to change, or even if you’ve moved up too quickly.
Baby signs that it’s time to move up a teat size:
Becoming impatient or aggravated when eating
Taking longer than 20 mins to finish a feed or they fall asleep on the bottle
Sucking hard and/or the teat collapsing in on itself
Baby signs that the teat you’re using is too big:
Gulping or hard swallowing
Excess milk dripping out of the mouth
Refusing to eat
Sterilising your baby’s bottles is vital, particularly for babies under 1 year because during this time they are even more vulnerable to harmful bacteria.
Be sure to clean all baby bottles and teats thoroughly in hot soapy water after each use before you sterilise them.
See what else other parents have asked.
Does teat size really matter?
To some babies, yes teat size matters. This is because the size and flow rate of different sized teats might not always suit your baby’s feeding habits. But it’s pretty common for a baby to be perfectly content with one teat size the whole time they’re bottle feeding, but the flow rate will need to change over time as they develop. All Tommee Tippee teats are the same size, but with different flow options.
Can a faster flow teat make reflux worse?
If the hole in a baby bottle teat is too large and the flow rate is too fast for your baby, then it is possible for excess air to flow through with the milk and increase the likelihood of reflux.
How long do teats last?
Teats take quite a lot of hammering from little gums and teeth, so they need to be changed regularly. We recommend replacing teats every 2 months or at the first sign of any damage or weakness.
Can I buy bottles with faster flowing teats?
All of our bottles except the 340ml version come with slow flow teats as standard, as they’re best for newborns and most parents generally stock up on bottles before baby arrives. Our 340ml bottle comes with a medium flow teat.
As your baby grows and can feed more quickly, you can buy faster flowing replacement teats.
We have medium flow teats, which most babies are ready for at around 3 months, and a fast flow teat which is best from around 6 months. The ages are only guides though - you know your baby better than anyone and will be able to tell when they’re ready for a faster flow.