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When To Switch Nipple Sizes On Baby’s Bottle – A Full Guide!

by | Newborn

Most people make the mistake of choosing their baby’s bottle nipple size based on their age. Some babies use the same size throughout their feeding period. As a new parent, deciding when to switch nipple sizes on your baby’s bottle can be challenging. You must ensure that whichever newborn nipples size you end up choosing, it must be comfortable for the baby. 

The below article contains a complete guide that will help you decide when to switch nipple sizes. When choosing a nipple size, age shouldn’t be the deciding factor. On an average, the following choices are opted for:

  • 0-3 months: 

For a baby of this age range, level 1 nipple size will be perfect. Newborn nipples aren’t hard to choose at all. Babies at this point have slower flow, and a level 1 nipple mimics the flow of breasts.

During this point, the baby is adjusting to its new environment. However, if your baby is born prematurely, you can opt for a preemie nipple. 

  • 3-6 months: 

At this point, the flow becomes medium, so you must choose a nipple size accordingly. Dr. Brown’s nipple chart tells that the baby should be given a size 2 nipple bottle at this stage. 

However, switch to level 2 only when you feel it’s taking your baby a long time to feed on the level 1 bottle. Always make sure to look for your baby’s comfort no matter what. Most babies stay perfectly comfortable with their newborn nipples bottles even at this stage. 

  • 6+ months: 

Most babies are introduced to solid or semi-solid foods at this stage. They are not only having breast milk or formula milk but are also getting used to drinking water. Hence, in most cases, it is appropriate to switch to size 3 nipples. It is also because 6 plus months old babies are adjusting to edible items other than milk. 

  • 9+ months:

If your baby has reached this age group, and you’re wondering which nipple size to choose, know that newborn nipples are out of the question. At this point, your baby might be eating fruits, vegetables, eggs, and much more. Hence, its flow rate has now become faster. For 9 months plus babies, the best nipple size to go for is a level 4 one. It is designed especially for babies who are now consuming more significant amounts of milk and water. A level 4 nipple bottle meets the new demands of a 9 month old baby. 

  • 12 months:

Every manufacturer has its own size chart of nipples. Most people go for Dr. Brown’s. According to his chart, for babies of the age of 12 months, a Y-cut nipple is a perfect choice. A 12 month old baby eats three proper meals a day. Hence, of course, their flow rate will increase as well. A nipple of this level perfectly meets a 12-month-old baby’s needs.

How to Choose the Right Level:

As a parent, your primary concern is your child’s comfort. The key to that comfort lies in the decisions you make for them. Nipple sizes are often distinguished based on their flow rate. Obviously, for newborn nipples, you will opt for the slow flow nipple. However, you may be wondering when are babies ready for medium flow nipples?

The truth is, there is never a time for a baby to be ready for a certain nipple size. It is up to them and their sucking rate that will make you decide which nipple size to switch as a parent. Manufacturers produce their nipples based on the levels described above. 

To choose the right level of nipple bottle, notice the flow rate of your baby. If they are sucking the milk from the bottle at a smaller amount, then slow flow nipples sizes are just for them. If they are sucking quickly, then they need a faster flow nipple bottle.

What are Nipple Level Signs Your Baby Needs to Level Up or Level Down?

The best way to know which nipple level bottle you should give to your baby is by looking at the signs. Babies are capable of telling you what they need just by a few signs. It is up to you, as a parent, to look for them closely. 

If you notice the following signs in your baby, then it is time for you to switch your newborn nipples to a level up.

  • When your baby is sucking aggressively, it probably means that it is having a hard time sucking. 
  • Consuming more time for feeding than your baby usually does. 
  • Your baby appears to be frustrated due to the force it has to pull to suck the milk from the bottle. Pushing the bottle away or kicking it is also signs of frustration due to the bottle. 
  • The nipple appears flattened. 
  • Baby only ends up taking low amounts of milk.

Now, how to know if your baby needs a slow rate nipple size? Look for the signs below to know-how:

  • The digestive system of the baby appears disturbed. It is because the flow rate of the nipple is too fast, which has made the baby consume more milk than usual. 
  • The baby begins choking, coughing, or gagging. 
  • The baby ends up splitting large amounts of milk while feeding. 
  • Constantly turning the head away from the bottle is also a sign that you need to level down a size. 


In the end, how you choose the correct nipple size for your baby depends on how closely you look for the signs. When it comes to making decisions like this, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed. However, always look for the signs, as the answer to your queries is sometimes right in front of you! Where most parents usually follow Dr. Brown’s nipple chart, you may also opt to do the same. 

However, after making your baby switch to a different nipple size bottle, notice how well they adjust to it. If something is out of the norm, you can always change the size back up or down again!

Also interesting to read:

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