When it comes to baby bottle nipples, there are even more to choose from than bottles. How can you make sure you’re getting the best one for your little one? As with any baby product, it will be a bit of trial and error: some will work great; others not so much. In the end, you and your baby will have to decide what works best. To help you know where to start, here are some baby bottle nipples we recommend.
Why should you buy bottle nipples?
Babies can be picky about the bottles they drink from, specifically the nipples on the bottles. They come with different shapes, hole sizes, widths, and materials, so it’s essential to find one that’s comfortable for your baby and helps them eat well.
Similar to the missing sock from the dryer phenomenon, bottle nipples can sometimes disappear. Once you find the right bottle nipples, buy a couple of extras so that you always have one on hand that your baby likes.
What should you consider when purchasing bottle nipples?
- Flow: Bottle nipples have different-sized holes to control how much liquid your little one receives with each suckle. These holes or flow rates start at level 1 and go to level 4. It’s usually best to start with the slowest flow and build up as your baby grows.
- Size: If you’re starting bottle feeding with your newborn, start with one of the smallest sizes to make sure the nipple fits in your baby’s tiny mouth comfortably.
- Shape: If you plan to supplement feed, finding a nipple that resembles a natural one can help with the transitions and avoid nipple confusion.
- Compatibility: Make sure to check that the nipples you choose will fit on the bottles you plan to use.
Do bottle-fed babies have more issues with gas or colic?
Generally speaking, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding will not determine whether your baby has gas or discomfort. Extra air intake or too fast of a milk flow are more likely the culprits for tummy troubles in your baby. If you’re going to use a bottle to feed your little one, you’ll want to see how the nipples are vented to draw unwanted air out and away from going into your baby’s mouth. You’ll likely find bottles with one or two valves (or vents) to help prevent gas or discomfort.
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Level 2
These have a consistent flow to keep your baby comfortable.
Pros: This is a medium-flow nipple with an internal vent system that keeps feeding paced so that your baby stays comfortable. This system creates a consistent flow, so both you and your baby know what to expect, which can keep your baby more comfortable during and after feedings, even for babies who have colic. The nipples are made from high-grade, super-soft silicone.
Cons: This is a medium-flow nipple and is not suitable for newborns. As with any transition of flow, your baby may be surprised by the increase at first.
Bottom Line: When your baby is at least two months old and ready for a faster flow of milk, it’s best to keep it consistent to avoid gagging, gas, or discomfort. These bottle nipples, when used with Dr. Brown’s bottles, keep the milk flow consistent and decrease the discomfort that even babies with colic may feel. However, the flow is noticeably faster than a level one or slow flow, so don’t use it until your baby is ready.
Comotomo Silicone Replacement Nipple, Slow Flow
These bottle nipples have a slow flow rate to help your baby stay comfortable during feedings.
Pros: These nipples are naturally shaped to avoid nipple confusion, which can be especially helpful for moms who both breastfeed and bottlefeed. The nipple is designed for a slow-paced flow, which can help your baby avoid the choking that happens when there’s a strong flow. This is not only helpful in comparison to other bottle nipples but also for natural feeding when the flow is strong. The dual-vented system prevents unwanted air intake and reduces colic. The naturally shaped nipple is made of soft, high-grade silicone and is safe in the microwave, boiling water, dishwashers, and sterilizers. The inevitable fog that develops on bottle nipples after use, even with washing, doesn’t seem to plague these nipples.
Cons: Even though these bottle nipples are made with high-grade silicone, they’re not indestructible. As with all bottle nipples, parents must pay close attention to their babies when they have teeth, as they may be able to bite off little pieces.
Bottom Line: This bottle nipple is a favorite among parents for the dual-vented system that helps the baby stay comfortable and its ability to work with mason jar bottles. They don’t develop a fog like many other bottle nipples, and they’re made to last.
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle with Natural Response Nipple, Clear
With this bottle nipple, your baby controls the pace and initiates the feeding.
Pros: These bottle nipples have a unique opening that only releases milk when the baby actively drinks, encouraging the baby to suckle just as they would with breastfeeding. This is particularly important if a mom wants to both bottle and breastfeed to avoid nipple confusion. The high-grade silicone nipple is made to feel like a natural one, making the baby feel extra comfortable. There is also an anti-colic valve to prevent unwanted air intake to avoid gas and tummy discomfort.
Cons: Since this nipple makes a baby suckle for milk, some don’t like to put in the work and get frustrated. The anti-spill feature is great, but it does make it harder for mom to test the temperature.
Bottom Line: These bottle nipples are better suited for a baby who is used to suckling while nursing to get milk. Babies who are used to an easier feeding experience may get frustrated or even bored. The similarity of these nipples to the entire breastfeeding experience is a draw for parents who feed their babies both ways so that there is a seamless adjustment between the two.
Medela Medium Flow Nipples with Wide Base
These bottle nipples will adequately feed your baby for several months.
Pros: These bottle nipples have a medium flow, so your baby won’t get frustrated by slow feeding when they’re hungry and ready for more. Once your baby reaches the age of about 4 months old, these bottle nipples can last until they’re about 1 year old. This makes for less planning on your part, so you can focus on the other milestones. The nipple is made of high-grade silicone and can be cleaned with sanitizers, the dishwasher, or boiling water. These nipples are compatible with other Medela products, so it’s a small add-on you can purchase as your baby grows instead of a whole new system to feed your baby.
Cons: After a few months of use, these nipples may develop a fog, no matter how well you clean them. They have a medium flow, making it easier for your baby to get more milk faster, but if you’re planning to also breastfeed, some babies may not want to put in the effort to get milk, and this may lead to some nipple confusion and frustrating feedings.
Bottom Line: These medium flow nipples are great for babies at least 4 months old and then can stay with your little one for the rest of their first year. These may be better for babies exclusively using a bottle.
Medela Breast Milk Storage Bottles with Slow Flow Nipples
This set is great for pumping or preparing bottles for the whole day.
Pros: This is a bottle set with slow flow nipples, making it a useful kit for a parent looking to use a bottle to feed their baby. These bottles are compatible with Medela breast pumps, so if you’re pumping, you can pump, store, and feed all with one container. The slow flow nipples are for infants 3 months or younger. The screw-on lid is perfect for traveling and storing in the fridge or freezer. After a quick warming, you’re good to go.
Cons: Make sure that the collar is screwed on tightly with the nipple flush to avoid leaks or spills. After a few months of use, the nipples may need to be replaced because they develop a fog, no matter how well you clean them.
Bottom Line: This set is very convenient for pumping moms. The ability to pump, store, and feed with the same container makes it an easier and more enjoyable process for both the mom and baby. Additional nipples will be necessary, but when your baby progresses to a medium flow, you can use the same bottles and other parts of the system.
Finding baby products that work for you and your baby is often about trial and error. Landing on the right bottle nipple might be the most challenging of all, but hopefully, this list of bottle nipple recommendations shortens your search to find the best ones for your baby.