Bottles up! In the second part of this two part series, we’ll explore the baby bottle teats, which is the second most important part of any feeding bottle. These do come in various materials, shapes and sizes to cater to the preferences of mommies. Once you’ve decided on your bottle brand, you should go with the nipples and teats of the same brand. While different teats may fit, they may leak, deteriorate, or worse still, to detach and fall into your baby’s mouth.


Material

Teats are manufactured using two material types – silicone and latex.

Silicone

silicone teat

Compared to its latex counterpart, silicone teats tend to be firmer, but less flexible. The good thing about silicone is that it does not trigger allergic reactions. Wide-necked bottles generally use silicone teats, while standard bottles can utilize either. Given the firmer texture, which is different from the softness of mom’s nipples, not all babies will take to silicone teats easily.

Latex

Latex teat

Latex teats are softer and more flexible, very much like mom’s nipples. This makes it more appealing to babies. However, latex tends to be less durable than silicone, and wear and tear does occur after extended use. Another challenge with latex is the material itself; if your baby suffers from a latex allergy, these have to be avoided.


Teat Shape

Standard round nipple

standard round nipple

The standard, run-of-the-mill type of nipple. Widely available, these are said to feel more similar to mom’s nipples, and will be a good bet if you happen to switch between breastfeeding and bottle feeding frequently.

Orthodontic nipple

orthodontic nipple

Orthodontic nipples are designed to promote healthy oral development in children. The shape is unsymmetrical, with an angled top to fit the contours of a child’s palate and gums. These tend to cost more than the standard nipple, and are generally used for premature babies or those with oral problems.


Teat Size

Flow rate of milk is controlled by the size of the opening in the teat, and babies will typically graduate to larger sizes as they grow. Observe how your baby reacts to feeding; if she is spluttering or choking on her milk, change to a slower-flow one, and use a faster-flow teat if your baby is sucking hard and getting frustrated.

Here are some general guidelines to the teat type to use based on age, but here’s the caveat – babies come in different shapes and sizes, and prefer different flow rates, so it’s always wise to experiment a little.

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Newborn

Slow

Medium

Fast

0-3 months

3-6 months

6-9 months

9+ months

 Bottle teats tend to be misplaced easily, and wear down with use, so try to have a ready stock on hand. Many parents simply ‘upgrade’ to a larger bottle with higher flow teats as their babies grow.

We hope that you’ve managed to learn some useful tips in this two part article that will help in your purchasing decision and feeding times. Stay tuned for more – we’ll be releasing our article on the best baby bottles out there. Happy feeding!