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  • Writer's pictureBrianne Stark

Nipple Shape on Bottles

Last week we worked with a mom whose baby had a tongue tie which had not yet been revised but would be soon. Mom was exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. She stated that baby was having a hard time taking the bottle, milk was coming out of the sides of her mouth and she was making clicking sounds while she tried to suck the bottle. She was using a bottle similar to the bottles shown at the bottom of the attached image. These bottles with a narrow nipple that abruptly turns into a wide base are very trendy right now, most of the families we have seen recently had these bottles for their babies.

The marketing for these bottles states that they "look the most like the breast." Its true that these bottles look the most like the breast "at rest." The problem is that they do not look like the breast "at work," or how the breast looks in the baby's mouth when the baby has a good, deep latch. When a baby at the breast has a good deep latch, the nipple and part of the aerola are inside the baby's mouth and compressed to form a teat. The bottles shown at the top of the image are more like what a breast looks like "at work." They are easier for many babies to latch onto, especially babies with ties who can't open their mouths as wide and have restricted tongue and/or lip movement.

Once the baby we were working with tried a bottle with a nipple shape similar to the ones on the top of the image, she was able to better keep her tongue around the nipple and make a seal around the base of the nipple with her lips because there is a gradual change in the shape and she had more of something to grab. She stopped clicking and leaking and maintained a much better latch on the bottle nipple.

If your baby is struggling with a latch on a bottle nipple shaped like the bottles at the bottom of the image, try a bottle with a more gradual change to a wider base like those shown at the top. Remember, we are trying to mimic the shape of the breast at work, not the breast at rest.

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