Congratulations! You’ve narrowed down which bottle is best for your baby. Now you can focus on diapers, formula, breast pumps, clothes (and more clothes!), and toys, right? Well, maybe not quite so fast …
Even though you’ve decided on using Avent bottles, you still need to figure out which nipple size your little one needs.
If you’re not quite familiar with how important it is to use the correct nipple size, then don’t worry – you’re in the right place. And, if you didn’t realize nipples came in different sizes—surprise, surprise!
The end goal to all of this is to have a happy, healthy baby who feeds well, feels contempt and grows properly. In turn, this also means happy, non-frustrated parents.
With a bit of know-how, you can ensure feeding times are as harmonious and safe as possible, and that’s what we’re here to help you out with – if you’re looking to learn everything there is to know about the different Avent nipple sizes out there.
But first, let’s have a quick look at the following table which sums up the different Avent nipple sizes you can choose from, depending on which age group your little one belongs to.
What Avent Nipple Sizes Can I Choose From?
- 0 Months Old: Philips Avent Natural First Flow Nipples (For preemies and newborns)
- 0+ Months Old: Philips AVENT Natural Newborn Flow Nipples (For newborns and breastfed babies)
- 1+ Months Old: Philips AVENT Natural Slow Flow Nipples (For newborns and breastfed babies)
- 3+ Months Old: Philips Avent Natural Medium Flow Nipples (For babies 3 months of age or older)
- 3+ Months Old: Philips Avent Variable Flow Natural Nipples (For babies 3 months of age or older, drinking thick liquids)
- 6+ Months Old: Philips Avent BPA Free Natural Fast Flow Nipples (For babies 6 months of age or older)
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
When Size Really Does Matter
Although your initial thoughts may be something like “oh, spare me the time waste, nipple size is a gimmicky money-grab!” – in reality, different sizes are needed depending on how old and mature your baby is.
Different sizes primarily determine flow, or how quickly the milk can come through the nipple.
If it’s too slow, your baby will end up working too hard without gaining much of a reward in return.
They’ll likely become upset and start crying, which makes it even harder for them to feed. It’s also easy for the person trying to feed the baby to become frustrated when this occurs, especially if it’s an ongoing issue and not just a one-time thing.
Also, your baby may not receive adequate nutrition if they get upset and refuse to try to eat. Babies who are medically fragile or underweight should have their bottle nipple sizes watched closely. Always consult your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns.
On the other hand, if it’s too fast, milk is probably going to spew everywhere and cause a gigantic mess. Your baby will have a hard time keeping up, and they could have increased spit up. If you’re feeding pumped breastmilk, you definitely won’t feel good about having all that liquid gold go to waste.
Babies can also gag and even choke on milk if it’s coming out faster than they can manage to swallow. (Speaking of which, taking an infant and child CPR course should be high on every parent’s “to do” list, so you know exactly what to do in case something like that were to happen).
Using the right nipple size is just as important as having the correct size clothing and diapers. You don’t want to cram your child in a tight outfit and cut off circulation, and you don’t want diapers that keep falling off. Because the effects of using the wrong size nipple are subtler, it’s important to check them periodically.
One Size Does Not Fit All—Finding The Right Avent Nipple Size
You probably chose to use Avent nipples and bottles because they help prevent colic, they’re incredibly easy to fill and clean, and they’re BPA free.
Perfect for breastfed babies who switch back and forth, these nipples are super soft and shaped more like a real breast.
When it comes to choosing the right Avent nipple size for your little one, remember this: Age dictates the basic guidelines for nipple size.
An older baby can typically handle a faster flow, but one used to primarily breastfeeding might be overwhelmed and will likely need a slower one.
The good news? You can easily tailor nipple sizes to your child’s needs because Avent offers lots of options for you to choose from.
Even though your initial instinct may be to feed your baby as much as their heart desires, keep in mind that a newborn has a tiny stomach.
On the first day of life, your baby’s tummy can only hold around one teaspoon at a time! If you’re breastfeeding initially, your milk won’t even come in for around three or four days.
If you’re planning on bottle feeding from the get-go, be cautious of overfeeding a newborn. By the end of week one, your child can probably handle an ounce or two at a time, but you’ll still need to use a newborn nipple.
Newborn Natural nipples are marked “0m+”, meaning zero months plus. They are soft and feature a flexible spiral design combined with comfort petals, to keep the nipple from collapsing during feedings. These nipples are appropriate for preemies, too.
Avent also offers an Anti-colic teat for newborns. Designed to keep air away from your little one’s stomach to reduce discomfort, these can help reduce nighttime fussiness. They have a slightly different design compared to the Newborn Natural nipples, though.
Babies Older Than One Month—1 Month+
If your infant becomes unhappy with the newborn nipples, or they’re at an age where you need to switch the nipple flow and size, there’s an in-between size at one month and older.
These nipples are marked “1m+” or “Slow Flow”.
Slow Flow nipples have two holes, as opposed to just one in the newborn size discussed above.
Three Months And Up—3 Month+
There are several options for you to choose from once baby hits the three months of age mark, including Medium Flow and Variable Flow.
Avent also makes Anti-colic teats featuring both flow rates, so you can customize your bottles to exactly what your baby needs.
3m+ Natural Nipple with Medium Flow: The flexible, spiral design is intended to mimic a natural breast, making it easier for babies to switch back and forth. These nipples have three holes, allowing milk to flow at a moderate pace.
3m+ Natural Nipple with Variable Flow: These nipples will enable you to adjust the flow rate by turning the bottle to suit your baby’s feeding rhythm. These nipples are perfect for thicker foods such as soup or milk mixed with tiny rice.
3m+ Anti-colic teat in Medium or Variable Flow: These are quite similar to the Natural Nipples, but feature an anti-colic valve. These teats are perfect for babies who experience discomfort from sucking in excessive amounts of air.
Six Months And Up—6 Month+
These Fast Flow nipples are most appropriate for older babies who are ready to eat right now!
Available as Natural Nipples and Anti-colic teats, this size has a flow rate that could easily overwhelm younger babies, so should only be used when your little one is old enough and ready for them.
Fast Flow nipples are designed not to collapse when a baby is sucking on them. However, babies who are mostly breastfed may have difficulty with such a fast flow, so you might consider waiting a bit and gradually working your way up to switching to this size.
But What About Switching Sizes?
Your baby’s clothing size probably doesn’t directly correspond with their age, at least that’s not how it always works. If you have a chunky little one, you might be having them wear several sizes up for their age!
Nipple sizes may not match your kid’s age at every step either, but you’ll likely see signs if you’re using the wrong size.
Each feeding should take around 15 minutes or so. If your baby is sucking down her bottle at a much faster rate, the flow might be a tad high. On the other hand, if feedings are taking considerably longer, the flow rate might be too slow.
Other things to look at are:
If your baby is gassy, fussy, and just plain unhappy, you may be using a fast or medium flow nipple well before they’re ready for it.
If you see lots of spit up, and your baby cries and seems to be uncomfortable, consider bumping down to a slower rate.
If your baby is impatient and screaming for more milk, you might want to size up. A screaming little one won’t be able to suck from a nipple, so try to avoid the upset by providing a fast flow nipple.
If your baby seems just right (for the moment at least), then don’t worry about having to change anything (for now, at least). However, keep an eye out for any warning signs that show you need to go up or down in flow rate.
Using The Right Avent Nipple Size Keeps Everyone Happy
Your baby can’t communicate in many ways as of yet, but they can most certainly make it clear to you if they’re frustrated, tired, or uncomfortable. A fussy, unhappy baby can be quite challenging to handle, and can quickly lead to a stressful home.
Avoid problems during bottle feeding by choosing the correct Avent nipple size (if you’re going with this brand of baby bottles, of course). If you decide on going with any other brand of bottles, that’s perfectly fine – just be sure to choose the correct nipple sizes they offer as well.
It isn’t a gimmick or a fad, but rather a real necessity. Your baby deserves a nipple that isn’t too slow or too fast for them, but one that’s just right.
Knowing when to switch sizes is essential to ensure less spit up, less wastage, and a content little one. Always keep in mind that feedings should take around 15 minutes, so if the timing is off, chances are the nipple size might be wrong.
Even though nipple sizes seem far down the list of important things we think about as parents, they really do play a significant role in how happy and comfortable a baby is.
These first months pass so quickly, and before you know it, your precious bundle of joy will be tossing over bottles for big-kid sippy cups!