Flow influences latch

  • These two pictures show one baby using the same nipple.
  • In the first picture, the nipple is dripping when it is offered to the baby.
  • The baby is unable to latch on a dripping nipple, and uses her tongue to block the flow.

  • In the second picture, the baby has taken the same nipple and has a nice latch.
  • What was the trick?  The nipple was offered to the baby while it was not dripping.
  • This technique is explained in detail in Section 2 of Balancing Breast and Bottle.

Nipples packaged as “slow flow” have a wide range of flow rate.  We studied bottle nipples and found the fastest slow flow nipple was 11 (yes, eleven) times faster than the slowest slow flow nipple!  We have rated slow flow nipple brands in Balancing Breast and Bottle as very-slow, medium-slow, and fast-slow.  Most babies have an organized swallow pattern on a slow-flow, medium-slow rate.

Facts about nipple flow 

  • Just because a nipple drips doesn’t mean it has a faster flow than a nipple that does not drip.
  • The amount of milk coming out of the nipple at the beginning of the feed will effect how a baby accepts the nipple.  This can be controlled.
  • The bottle flow can be controlled to mimic let-downs.  This helps make bottle-feeding more like breastfeeding.
  • Learn more about bottle nipple flow rate and ways to reduce nipple preference in Balancing Breast and Bottle. and/or take the Beginning Bottle Feeding class.