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When to Change Teat Size: Is Your Baby Ready?

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Wondering when to change teat size? Not sure if your baby is ready? There are a few key signs baby needs a faster flow teat. Find out more about our experience in changing Dexter’s teat size and the signs that showed us he was ready.

Changing the teat size

Dexter was around six months old when I changed the teats in his bottle from size 2 to size 3. I had previously attempted to change him to the bigger teats around a month before, but had failed spectacularly. Milk had spilled everywhere, he had choked, gagged, spat out the milk and finally started clamping his mouth shut.

After this experience, I decided after reading online that many babies don’t need to increase the teat size that he must be ones of those babies, but then, not long later, Dexter started displaying a few key signs that he was indeed ready to move up to a faster flowing teat.

At first, I put many of these signs down to him having a growth spurt, going through a leap or general baby -grumpiness, but after an epiphany one evening, I suddenly discovered that actually he would benefit from moving up to a bigger teat size! So, what are the signs baby needs a faster flow teat?

Signs baby needs a faster flow teat

The key signs baby needs a faster flow teats are:

  • Reduction in the amount baby is feeding at each feed
  • Wanting more bottles during the day
  • Going less time between feeds
  • Waking in the night
  • Making lots of noise during feeds

Let’s look at each in turn:

Reduction in the amount baby is feeding at each feed

Dexter reduced the amount he was feeding per session by 2-3oz. This started happening around the time I started weaning him and I presumed his little belly was full from the fruit purees he was eating. Now I realise he was probably getting sick of sucking on a teat that was too small for him.

Wanting more bottles during the day

Dexter started wanting six bottles instead of five per day. This is related to the first sign. He wasn’t getting enough milk during the day so he needed an extra bottle in the evening. We recently had a clock change and I thought it was down to the early nights as he had started to want to go to sleep earlier.

Going less time between feeds

Dexter started going less time between feeds. Again, all fits in the above. He went from having a bottle four hourly to wanting it three hourly.

Waking in the night

He started waking in the night. The poor kid was probably starving. I was trying to hold off on giving him the sixth bottle if I could help it so he started waking at 3am for the food he needed. I thought he was teething!

Making lots of noise during feeds

He began grunting during bottles I thought it was because he was windy, so I’d stop and burp him, but now I realise it’s because he was getting frustrated that his milk wasn’t coming fast enough.

When to change teat size

If you think your baby is ready for the next sized teat there’s no harm in trying it. Below I have listed some of the things to look out for:

teat size

What it should look like

  • Most of the milk is being swallowed perhaps with a little escaping here and there.
  • No choking or spluttering on the milk.
  • Baby finishes the whole bottle and in record time.

Signs teat flow is too fast

  • Coughs and chokes on the milk.
  • More milk ends up spilling out of the mouth than is swallowed.
  • Clamps mouth shut or pushes bottle away and refuses to feed.
  • Manages to finish the bottle but then projectile vomits everywhere.
Felix at Caerlaverock castle during leap 10

As soon as we replaced Dexter’s teats, we saw a huge change in him. He became generally more content, probably because he was not always on the edge of hunger and he started sleeping a lot better during the day as well. He began finishing all of his bottles, went back to drinking 8-9oz during each feed and was also back to feeding every four hours.

If you think I’ve missed any other obvious signs of when to change teat size, please comment below to help other Mums! I hope you found this useful.

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Becca

Thursday 30th of June 2022

Need some help My baby is showing all of the signs she needs to move up a teat she is still on a size one and is 15 weeks old but she chokes on a size 2 teat, spits it out, pushes her lips tightly closed. What do I do?

Amanda

Sunday 10th of April 2022

I have been so stuck on what to do as my 5month old was showing signs of her size2 teat being too slow for her as she was only taking a couple of oz of her bottles & looking exhausted after it & not finishing her bottles which she usually always would. (All the correct signs for needing to up the teat size) Although I have now bought the Mam size3 teats & she is just constantly chocking/coughing/ending up soaking. I also stupidly threw out the size2 teats. I don't know whither I should buy more 2s (Although they are too slow) or try her a little longer to see is she gets used to the size 3.

Kelly Windress

Saturday 13th of November 2021

Thank you so much this has been happening to us for the past 3 nights and I couldn't work out why.

My baby is 7 weeks old and he took an unusual 8 bottles yesterday and only went 30 min between feeds waking up all the time and seeming really restless.

Like you said I put it down to a growth spurt been grumpy or maybe a bit under the weather.

I have changed this flow this morning and he is already seeming more content after 2 bottles.

Thank you so much. This article is so well written and for a new mum like me so valuable

Xx

S. Houston

Tuesday 26th of October 2021

Mummy to Dex! Where have you and this article been for the past few weeks - this has been a life saver!!! Our 8 month old who, up until now - has been a champ when it comes to bottle feeding suddenly had 1/3 of his usual bottles, wanted more of them in short successions, seemed to refuse some bottles. I thought it was maybe cause I'd let the formula cool in between feeds so I'd make a new bottle every time (and wasted so much :( ). I tried using pre-made formula, changing feeding position, trying a different room. He was hungry, I was exhausted and my poor bottle steriliser was working in overdrive! I finally changed over to size 4 teats and we have a winner!!! He's back to having his full bottles and spaced out as before. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Nicola | Mummy to Dex

Wednesday 27th of October 2021

Aw amazing! I am so glad you have seen a change in your baby! Here's to no more wasted formula and more rest for you!