Slow Flow Nipple Vs. Fast Flow Nipple

Updated on January 25, 2009
S.B. asks from Menlo Park, CA
10 answers

Good Afternoon Ladies!

I have a 7 week old and would like to know when to make the transition from slow flow to the fast flow nipple? Input would be greatly appreciated.


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answers from Sacramento on

When you notice she is getting frusterated because she is not getting enough food. I kept wondering why my daughter would cry when she would eat. She wasn't getting the food fast enough. We use advent and she moved pretty quickly out of the slowest flow 1 hole, to the slow flow 2 holes quickly. At 6 months she was ready for 3 holes which is a medium flow. She is almosst 10 months and I swithched her to fast flow, which is 4 holes, and she hates it. It comes out too quick and she was crying again. We moved her back to 3 holes and she is happy. It is just a matter of trial and error. You make think she is ready for a faster flow, but she may not be. Look for her cues, frusteration, sucking then stopping to catch her breath, clenched toes and fingers. (actually in young babies that's normal) She will let you know. Good luck

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi S., the bottle manufacturers give you guidelines - normally the slow nipples are up to 3 mos, the medium are 3-6 mos, and the fast are 6+ mos. My little one was on a heavier formula so we moved her to medium flow when she was 2 mos. You'll notice you need to move if the baby seems to be sucking really hard but still taking a looooong time to drain the bottle :)

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answers from San Francisco on

We switched at about 6 months I think ... I could tell that my girls were getting bored / frustrated and pushing the bottle away before they had really eaten enough. I switched and they immediately starting eating more from their bottles. Net, if your baby is happy with the nipple and eating enough, no need to switch. The baby will tell you when she is ready for a change.

P.S. Hang in there with the fatigue, from a mom of twins ... gave birth right before I turned 41. And, yep, it doesn't last forever. ;-)

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answers from Sacramento on

It is my opinion that if a child needs a faster flow nipple, they are ready to try drinking out of something other than a bottle. Bottles are for babies and they are meant to be like breasts.

There really isn't any reason to switch at all unless you your daughter starts to get frustrated with the slow flow, and in that case why not introduce a sippy cup?

My son never switched to fast flow and easily gave his bottle up at a year (continued to nurse until almost 2) he started using a sippy cup when I introduced water at 6 months and a regular cup around 10 or 11 months.

Hope this helps,


answers from Fresno on

Hi there!
If you are breastfeeding as well as bottle feeding, I'd just stay with the slower-flow nipple for a while. I think that may be why both of my girls weaned themselves early - because they got tired of working so hard for their food when breastfeeding, when they knew they could just hold out for a bottle and it was so much easier.

If you are exclusively bottle feeding, then you can do whatever you like in terms of the bottle nipple. As long as your baby isn't choking when you feed her, then the fast flow is fine.

I hope you get some sleep soon! =) Best of luck!


answers from San Francisco on

I would recommend NOT switching to a fast flow nipple - at all. My opinionis based on one simple truth - When babies nurse whether it's for 6 months, 1 year, or 2 years...the "flow" of mom's nipple never changes - if anything it gets slower (at least the letdown happens slower). Just a thought.

If you do want to change, it was recommended by a friend to wait until they seem like they're in a hurry - like the milk isn't coming fast enough.



answers from San Francisco on

If u are breast feeding & bottle feeding, it's very important that u stick with slow, because it's more like the flow of the breast. If you're baby can get it faster w/ a bottle, then he'll quit the breast. Even if u only bottle feed, u may want to be cautious about switching to a fast, because he's so young that it may cause him to choke.



answers from San Francisco on

I think the packaging usually says every 3 moths, but you have to do what your daughter wants. My daughter would take 2 HOURS to drink a 4 oz bottle at less then a month old. We switched her to the faster flow, but that was too fast for her and she would choke on it. We ended up using a bottle brush and stretching out the slower nipples until she got the hang of the faster flow. it's all trial and error.
Best of luck,



answers from San Francisco on

The transition from slower to medium to faster flow nipples is probably different for every child. As first time parents, we didn't even know that there was a big difference until a family member pointed out that my son could finish his meal much faster if we changed the nipple. I ended up going from the slow to the fast nipple directly (skipped medium flow) because we didn't do it until he was 7 months old! If I had to do it again, I'd probably buy a medium flow and a fast flow nipple and just have my child try it at some point. You baby will let you know if it's too fast if she chokes a little or too much milk comes out of the side. Otherwise, it's probably fine and it will cut feeding times down.
Good luck!



answers from Stockton on

I have always switched at three months.

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