Different babies like different bottle nipples, so try a few versions to see which works best for you. To protect your breastfeeding relationship (and keep your own nipples intact), opt for a nipple that simulates the breast. Ideally, baby should have to open wide and massage the bottle nipple with his tongue, just like he does when he’s breastfeeding.
Look for a slow flow and short, wide, round nipples. If the nipple shape (as with standard bottle nipples or even “orthodontic” nipples) makes baby chomp down with his gums and lips, he’s likely to try the same when he’s on the breast (ouch), leading to super-sore nipples, ineffective eating and — sometimes — a preference for the bottle.
Here are a few bottle nipples engineered to cut down on the negative effects of using an artificial nipple (some will only work with a bottle by the same manufacturer, so be sure to read the packaging):
New bottles and nipples arrive on the shelves every year, so scan the aisles for versions that fit the bill. (Again: slow flow, short and wide, with round tips.) Steer clear of orthodontic nipples and long, protruding nipples (even if the packaging claims they’re great for breastfeeding babes) — both of these can contribute to a shallow latch.
No bottle nipple will be just like your breast, and many experts recommend holding off on introducing a bottle until baby is at least four to six weeks old to help avoid nipple confusion/preference. And, if you won’t be returning to work outside the home, you might never need a bottle at all.
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