CHOOSING THE RIGHT FLOW SPEED

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Newborns and infants born preterm need nipples with small holes that slow down the flow of milk. Older babies need larger holes so that milk flows faster as baby sucks harder.

The nipple’s flow speed is too slow if the nipple squeezes shut as the baby sucks. When the baby takes a breather, you can hear the sound of the nipple regaining its shape. It’s time to buy medium-flow nipples.

The nipple’s flow speed is too fast if the baby struggles, pops out the nipple, and spits up so as not to choke. Too much milk is pouring into the infant’s mouth. It’s time to buy slower-flow nipples.

Note

It is best not to pierce the nipple to increase flow speed. Infants have to learn how to suck and pace themselves. If the hole is too big, milk flows into the mouth readily as from a glass. Instead of sucking, the infant learns to swallow or spit up.

If flow is too fast:

  • Baby coughs
  • Baby spits up or lets the milk drool out the corners of the mouth
  • Baby fusses

If flow is too slow:

  • The nipple squeezes shut as baby sucks
  • You can hear a sound as the nipple regains its shape
  • The baby gets tired and out of breath

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