Milk bottle teats usually come in different sizes and are usually labelled with either S, M, L, XL, level 1-4 or 0-3m, 3-6m, 6-9m and >9m. However, there is no fixed or “right” time to change teat sizes. Some babies are content using newborn-sized flow throughout their feeding days, while more aggressive eaters may advance sooner than expected.
What you can follow though, are signs from your baby. Typically, if the flow is not fast enough, your baby might:
- Take longer than usual to finish drinking the milk, or refusing to finish when baby is clearly hungry (displayed by needing another feed sooner than usual)
- Suck harder and/or make more noise than usual when feeding. Sometimes the teat even gets flattened.
- Become fussy or irritated while drinking the milk
- Fall asleep during feeding
After you increase the teat size, if baby begins feeding as per before displaying the above signs, then he/she is probably comfortable with the new teat size. Baby might also finish the whole bottle of milk faster than previously.
After you increase the size of the teat, if baby displays any of the signs below, it might have been too soon and you might want to downsize back to the original teat size:
- Baby splutters, gags and/or coughs
- Baby spits out the milk or allows milk to dribble out of the mouth
- Baby clamps the mouth shut, refusing to drink
- Baby finishes the milk, but vomits after
Whether you latch your baby or not while bottle-feeding, the signs displayed should be similar. Hope this short post has been helpful!