When To Change Nipple Size? Learn About Nipple Size & Flow

Bottle nipple size comes in all shapes and sizes, just like breasts. And just like breast size, nipple size can change over time.

So when to change nipple size?

It’s hard to say when it’s the perfect time to change your baby’s nipple level. While some babies will stick to Level 1 during feeding days, others could be ready to move up faster than expected. However, observing your baby for signs of inadequate flow is a good indicator that it could be time to move up to the next level.

In this blog post, we will discuss the various factors that can affect nipple size and when it might be necessary to make a change.

When To Change Nipple Size

What Is Nipple Flow Size?

The bottle nipple has tiny holes through which your baby suckles the milk from the bottle.

The amount of holes in the nipple determines the flow size of the nipple. The more holes, the faster the flow. 

The nipple size also determines how much milk your baby will get with each sip. A smaller nipple will release less milk than a larger one.

Nipple levels are classified by age; some of the standard nipple sizes are mentioned below:

Dr Brown Nipple Levels

  • Level 0: Preemie – Designed for preterm infants and those who feed slower.
  • Level 1: 0-3 months – If your baby is feeding well and displays no indications of feeding problems, this is the best option for her.
  • Level 2: 3-6 months – If your baby is already eating solid foods or if their doctor has advised thickening the milk, it’s probably time to thicken it.
  • Level 3: 6 months and older – If your baby is sitting up, eating solid foods, or has been prescribed thickening their milk by their doctor, they may be ready to wean.
  • Level 4 & Y-Cut Nipple: 9 months and older – If they’re eating finger foods, sipping from a sippy cup, or if their doctor has advised them to thicken their milk.

Tommee Tippee Nipple Sizes

The majority of baby bottle nipple models are divided into one of the following categories:

  • Slow flow
  • Medium flow
  • Fast flow 
  • Variflow (milk flow rate can be changed)

How Many Bottles And Nipples Do I Need?

If you’ll only be using bottles once a day or just on rare occasions, it’s probably best to buy one main bottle and one additional nipple as a precaution. In the event that any of them fails, having at least two is recommended.

On the other hand, newborns can only feed 8-12 times every 24 hours. So, if you’re bottle-feeding a newborn, start with four to six bottles and nipples. Then see how things progress from there. Most of the time the baby plays with the bottle instead of drinking, this may spoil the nipple frequently. So, keep an extra pair of nipples handy at all times. 

When To Change Nipple Size?

For A Formula Fed Baby

It’s not always true that age is the most significant indicator of nipple size. All toddlers are different, so other indicators besides age may indicate when it’s time to move up a size, such as:

  • The baby is sucking too hard.
  • Flattened nipple.
  • Aggravated behavior.
  • Bottle smacking.
  • The baby takes a long time to feed.

When To Change Bottle Nipple Sizes For A Breastfed Baby?

For a breastfed kid, you rarely have to change up the nipple size. Breast milk is more difficult to obtain when breastfeeding than when bottle-feeding since breastfed babies must work for their milk at the breast and breasts generally release milk at a much slower rate. The bottle flow should correspond to that of the breasts.

What If You Are Exclusively Pumping?

Even if you’re only pumping, some experts still advocate for slow flow or “newborn” nipples, since breast milk digests faster than formula and it’s easy to feed a newborn too much when bottle-feeding.

Other Considerations

Signs To Size Up:

If you have no clue when to change nipple size, then look for the following signs. Size it up if, during feedings, your baby is sucking ferociously. If he or she appears irritated, or mealtime is taking much longer than usual then it’s an indication to move up a size. Another example would be when infants eat only a little food at each feeding but show indications of hunger.

Signs To Level Down:

If the baby’s flow is too fast, you may notice milk spraying from his or her mouth during feedings. They could also gag, spurt out, swallow rapidly, choke up on the bottle, cough violently, or turn away from it. A nipple that flows too quickly might cause digestive issues since the baby drinks too quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: When should you jump to size 2 nipple – medium flow?

Ans: If your baby is taking solid foods, or has been prescribed thickening their milk by their doctor, they may be ready to wean.

Q2: Does Dr Brown make a slow flow nipple? What is a slow flow nipple?

Ans: Dr. Brown’s bottles come with a Level 1 Nipple, which is a slow-flow nipple for newborns and older children. Slow flow nipple is a nipple with a small hole that releases milk slowly.

Q3: When can you stop using vents in Dr Brown’s bottles?

Ans: In the beginning, you might find that removing the venting system makes things simpler for you as your baby’s feeding becomes more sophisticated, at around the four-month mark! It’s critical to verify that the bottle is correctly put together so it performs properly, no matter what type of bottle it is.

Q4: What does N mean on Dr. Brown nipple?

Ans: The Newborn nipple offers a consistent and accurate flow rate, allowing newborns to safely and successfully bottle-feed at a reduced flow rate.

Q5: Does nipple size really matter? 

Ans: Yes, nipple size matters to some newborns. This is because the size and flow rate of various-sized nipples might not always be ideal for your baby’s feeding habits. However, it’s typical for a kid to be completely content with one nipple diameter throughout their bottle-feeding career, however, the flow rate will have to alter as they grow.

Q6: How do you make bottle nipples flow faster?

Ans: If you need to make your bottle nipple flow faster, all you have to do is make a small cut in the tip of the nipple. This will increase the flow rate. If you need to make it slower, simply reverse the process by covering the hole with tape.

Q7: Can a faster flow nipple make reflux worse?

Ans: If the hole in a baby bottle nipple is too big and the flow rate is too fast for your infant, excess air may flow through with the milk, raising the risk of reflux. Learn more about baby bottle nipples.

Q8: How long do nipples last?

Ans: Because of their small gums and teeth, newborns’ nipples require cleaning and replacing regularly. They should be changed every two months or sooner if they show any damage or fragility.

Q9:What size nipple for a newborn baby?

Ans: Dr. Brown’s bottles come with a Level 0 Nipple, which is a slow-flow nipple for newborns and older children.


When it comes to nipple size, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best way to determine what size and flow rate your baby needs is to experiment with different types until you find the perfect fit for your little one. Several factors, such as your baby’s age and feeding habits, can affect the type of nipple you need.

First, consider your baby’s age and stage of development. If they’re taking solid foods or have been prescribed thickening milk by their doctor, they may be ready to wean from the bottle altogether. Otherwise, you’ll want to pay attention to their feeding habits and look for any signs that they might need a different-sized nipple.

If your baby is having trouble feeding or seems to be swallowing a lot of air, it might be time to try a different size nipple. You can also consult with your pediatrician, who can help you choose the right size and flow rate for your baby’s needs.

My name is Mark Joseph, and I’m on a mission to help new parents navigate the world of parenting. With over 5 years of experience as a parenting coach, I’m here to provide you with insight into all aspects of pregnancy, childbirth, and raising your newborn baby. Instagram Linkedln Facebook

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