Best Bottles and Nipples for Breastfeeding Babies

Wanting to avoid nipple confusion for your breastfed baby, new moms often wonder, what is the best nipple for breastfeeding babies? This article will cover the best nipples and bottles for a breastfed baby as well as how to introduce a bottle for the first time.

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Are certain nipples better for breastfeeding?

Always meet with a lactation consultant if you are having a hard time having a good latch. Certain nipples can be harder to make a proper latch like inverted or flat nipples. If you have an improper latch it will not only cause very sore nipples but can also affect your milk supply.

Nipple cream can heal them when they are dry and sore and a nipple shield, like the Medela nipple shield can also give your a break if they are really sore and it can also help pull them out to change the shape of your nipples which can help the latch.

When your baby latches you want to make sure they have a deep latch so they aren’t just sucking on the very end of the nipple which would cause a lot of pain for you and not enough milk transfer for your baby. Also be sure their lips are flared out instead of curled in.

The best way to get a proper latch is you need to hold your breast like a sandwich. This will compress your breast but can also push the nipple out a bit. Brush it on your baby’s nose and once your baby’s mouth has opened place your breast inside their mouth. Check the lips to make sure they are flared out.

The good news is every person’s body is different. Your baby is only used to your nipple therefore your nipple is perfect for your baby. Just ensure that you are getting a lot of skin contact and you meet with a lactation consultant to answer any questions you have.

It might feel like a lot of hard work in the beginning but it is all worth it in the end.

Best bottle nipple for breastfed baby who refuses bottle

Finding the best baby bottles that your baby will accept can be a challenge. Read The Best Bottles For Breastfed Baby That Refuses A Bottle to go more in depth on the best bottle options.

As for the nipple on the bottle, you want to make sure that it has a wide base and a soft silicone feel to avoid nipple confusion.

Make sure you start out with a slow flow to mimic the flow when they are breastfeeding and you don’t overwhelm the baby with too much milk all at once.

When to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby

You can introduce a bottle once the breastfeeding relationship has been established around 3-6 weeks.

It is best to introduce a bottle (or pacifier if you want to use one) when your baby is sleepy and drowsy.

Keep in mind that the first time when you introduce the first bottle it could be frustrating for everyone involved. A breastfeeding baby could get really upset when something disrupts their feeding routine so this introduction should happen on a day when your baby is in a good mood and will be more open to trying something new.

The important thing is to try and make this as stress free as possible so you can avoid nipple confusion. Therefore you may want to introduce a bottle at one month or after that. Any earlier than that will definitely cause nipple confusion and make breastfeeding more difficult.

How to introduce a bottle for breastfed baby who doesn’t take a bottle

If you are having trouble getting your breastfed baby to accept the bottle then try the technique below to help them learn that bottles are easy and enjoyable! As mentioned above, make sure it is a sleepy time but not over tired when they can sit still for a while so they can concentrate on feeding.

Start off with the breastfed baby sitting up in your arms. Put the nipple in their mouth and pat them on the back or bounce to get them more relaxed. Reinforce positive behavior when they feed from the bottle and when they’re done. Once they have a positive experience around the bottle then you can start feeding larger amounts more often.

Paced feeding

Paced bottle feeding is when you slow the flow of milk. It’s a good idea to take breaks after your baby swallows. This will mimic a similar flow when they are breastfeeding. A breastfed baby isn’t used to a constant flow of milk and it can be too much and cause a negative experience or it can have the opposite effect where they only prefer the constant flow of milk and start to prefer the bottle over the breast.

Sit upright

To slow the flow of the breast milk from the bottle, have the baby sit upright in your arms. This way the gravity isn’t affecting the milk flow as much. This will make them work a little harder to get the breast milk out of the bottle which is similar to breastfeeding.

3 Baby Bottle Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Not warming the baby bottle – You baby is only used to their milk at one temperature so giving them cold milk might turn them away from drinking more.
  2. Waiting until they are too hungry – If they are too hungry they won’t be open to trying something new. make sure they breastfed shortly before so they aren’t full but aren’t so hungry that all they would want is to breastfeed right away.
  3. Holding them in the breastfeeding position – if you hold them in the same position they are breastfeeding in, they may be upset when they find out they are getting something else. Try having them sit up or facing away from you. Having a family member or friend feed them.

Having enough time to feed all day long new parents can benefit from the ability to step away for a moment when needed when their baby is able to take a bottle.

Things to look for in a nipple for breastfed babies

Slow Flow

A slow flow nipple is best for when you are introducing a bottle to breastfed babies so they don’t get too much milk all at once. You can always change out the bottle nipple with a faster flow once your baby has gotten used to it and you have paced bottle feeding down.

Wide and soft nipple

You want something that is flexible but also durable and not flimsy. A soft nipple made out of soft silicone will remind your baby of mom’s nipple and will feel like the real thing to them. The only thing I would say is it needs to be sturdy so it doesn’t collapse on itself when your baby puts it in their mouth. You want a wide nipple and a wide neck to keep a good latch. This will remind them of a breastfeeding experience which will help them be more open to taking the bottle.

Wide base

A wide base is important for keeping a good latch for when they are breastfeeding. Typically breasts aren’t long and narrow so you don’t want your baby to be used to feeding with that. A wide base is more similar to an actual breast and this will keep your baby’s mouth wide open when they are feeding which will help with breastfeeding.

Venting system

A venting system stops any amount of air going through the bottle while the baby feeds, causing an air bubble going into their tummy. Having an anti-colic valve will help ensure your baby will have a full belly without the gas.

Best bottle nipples by age

Your baby grows a lot in the first year and the best nipple for your baby will depend on their age. Whether you have a premature baby that needs a preemie nipple or a 9 month old, this will vary greatly on the flow rate and what’s appropriate for their age.


Philips Avent Natural newborn flow nipples

Philips Avent Natural Newborn Nipple uniquely mimics the feel of the breast, featuring a newborn slow flow rate. The nipples are made from soft, durable silicone and are safe for your baby’s health thanks to its odorless, flavorless and BPA-free plastic. Its spiral design combined with safety petals allow for a natural movement when baby sucks.The Airflex valve is integrated in the nipple and designed to reduce colic, gas, and discomfort by venting air from baby’s tummy.

This is great for newborns and on. It fits perfectly in your baby’s mouth and can be used for older babies as well that are just starting to use bottles. They fit the Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles and come in first flow for preemies, slow flow, medium flow, fast flow, and even a variable flow.

Buy it on Amazon

Dr Brown’s Original level 1

Dr. Brown’s Wide-Neck Nipple was designed to have an internal vent system to help babies feed at a pace that is slow and perfect for them especially for a newborn or a baby newly transitioning to a bottle.

This nipple fits all Dr. Brown bottles which have great anti-colic features. They are amazing at not letting a single bubble of air into your baby’s tummy while they eat. I used these bottles for a long time and they are a bit harder to wash but it is worth it for a fussy baby.

Buy it on Amazon

Babies 3-6 months

Playtex Natural Latch medium flow

Playtex Natural Latch closely mimics the natural breast, allowing the baby to latch on more easily and help reduce nipple confusion. They are made of silicone and have a raised texture to feel more like the real deal.

These fit all Playtex bottles but I love these Playtex Baby Nurser Bottles that have drop in liners. It will be easier to pace bottle feed and the drop in liners prevent any air bubbles getting in to help prevent colic.

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Nuk Simply Natural medium flow

Nuk Simply Natural comes at an affordable price and is very durable. The medium flow is great for babies 3-6 months old. My baby loved this bottle and we were able to easily keep a strong breastfeeding relationship. It has a wide base and is extra soft to feel like mom.

I loved that it was easy to clean and they held up for as long as he was taking a bottle. The Air ventilation system is great as well for preventing air bubbles in their tummy.

Buy it on Amazon

Babies over 6 months

You might have a hard time introducing a bottle to older babies. They have been so used to only breastfeeding. So it might take a few tries for them to be open to accepting the bottle. Try different brands to see which one they like best.

Tommee Tippee closer to nature fast flow nipples

These nipples have a wide opening to remind them of their mother’s nipple. Since their bottle nipple is shaped like the real deal for an easy latch, they have an acceptance guaranteed. So if you are having a hard time getting your baby to accept a bottle, this might be the one for you.

These are compatible with the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles. The bottles come in different sizes, 5 ounces and 9 ounces. Get the 9 ounces so they will last you the entire time your baby is taking a bottle.

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Comotomo Bottle fast flow

This is the best choice for breastfeeding babies. I have also used these with all of my babies. I love that they are made of a flexible silicone to feel like a real nipple. Another great thing is the dual anti-colic vents that reduce colic. I’ve had a really great experience with these bottles. The bottles themselves are also made of a soft silicone. And are wide so it’s easy for your baby to hold. This will make it harder to tip over. They last and are very durable. This is the best option if you want to buy 1 bottle and change out the nipple with a slow flow, medium flow, and a fast flow depending on what is working for them.

Buy it on Amazon

The perfect nipple is totally up to you and the baby and what works for your little one. If they start doing well on a certain bottle then stick with it! Pick out what type of nipples in relation to flow, shape, material what feels most like mom. Then go with it. I have had success with the Nuk and the Comotomo which are easier to pace out a bottle feed and help prevent any air bubbles getting into their tummy. I hope this helps you find the right fit for your baby! 

Here is some information on the best bottle warmers to help your baby be more open to trying the bottle and to ensure the perfect temperature every time.

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About the author

Lacy Reason is a highly experienced and compassionate lactation counselor, who has dedicated her career to educating and supporting new mothers on their breastfeeding journey.

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