How Long Can I Keep Baby Bottles and Teats?

baby feeding bottles

On this page

– When to change bottle nipple size & teat size
– Teat size for a formula fed baby
– Teat size for a breast-fed baby
– Signs to change teat size
– How long can I keep baby bottles?
– A word of caution

Are you a new mum, and new to bottle feeding? And are you wondering “how long can I keep baby bottles and teats?” Changing your baby feeding bottles and teats can be a confusing issue, and the hygiene side of things may cause some concern. In this article we will give advice about what to look for and how often to change bottle teats and your baby bottles.

When to change bottle nipple size & teat size:

How do you know when to change bottle nipple size or teat size of your baby’s bottle? Did you even know there are different bottle teats with different flows available?

Generally teats will come in 3 different flows. The slower nipples are used for newborns, and the faster nipples are meant for older babies because they eat more at each feeding and can handle the faster flow of milk better.

Most manufacturers follow this guideline for baby bottle nipple sizes:

  • Slow Flow teats for age 0-3 months;
  • Medium flow teats age 3-6 months;
  • Fast Flow teats age 6-12 months.

So for example, if you are wondering when to change to size 2 teats, or medium flow teats, you would generally wait until your baby is 3-6 months of age.

baby feeding bottles

However, you can’t always rely on age to determine the best nipple size, as all babies are different. There are other signs besides age to indicate when to change bottle teat flow. These signs include:

  • Your baby seems to be sucking hard.
  • The nipple becomes flat and doesn’t hold its shape.
  • Baby being irritated (squirming, kicking, pushing the bottle away, etc.).
  • Smacking at the bottle.
  • Taking a long time to feed (30 minutes to 1 hour).
  • Eating less at feedings, but getting hungry again soon after.

So when should I change bottle teat size?

If your baby isn’t showing any signs of frustration or isn’t taking forever to eat, there is no need to move up a size. But if your baby is showing some of these signs, give the next size up a try and see how your baby reacts. It’s all about trial and error and what keeps your baby happy and well fed.

Straw cup

Teat size for a formula fed baby:

For formula fed babies, an age guide for nipple sizes (flow) usually comes with the bottles. The manufacturer should have this guide posted on their website if it didn’t come with the bottles or you no longer have the package insert.

Teat size for a breast-fed baby:

Experts recommend using slow flow or ‘newborn’ teats when bottle feeding a breast-fed baby and normally, you should never have to move up a nipple size. This is because breast-fed babies have to work for their milk when breast-feeding, and breasts usually release milk much slower than a bottle nipple. If you give your breast-fed baby a nipple where the milk just flows right out, they may start to get lazy or even refuse the boob. Essentially, the bottle flow should reflect the same flow as breastfeeding.


Signs to change teat size:

Checking and changing teats on baby bottles is actually more important than changing baby feeding bottles.

However, you may still be wondering how often to change bottle nipples? On average, you should be changing your bottle teat size every 2-3 months. But check your teats regularly and change them if they show any signs of the following:

  • Breast milk or formula pours out in a stream – the milk should drip steadily out of the nipple. If it comes out too fast, the hole is too big and the nipple should be replaced.
  • Discoloration — this could be a sign that the nipple is deteriorating.
  • Thinning — this an early sign that the nipple is weakening. To test a nipple’s strength, pull hard on the bulb. The nipple should rebound into its original shape. If it doesn’t, throw away the nipple.
  • Stickiness or swelling — this could be a sign that the nipple is deteriorating.
  • Cracks, tears, or breaks — pieces of the nipple could break off and become a choking hazard.

How long can I keep baby bottles?

Some brands provide glass baby bottles that tend to be more durable than plastic as well as more hygienic. On average you should replace your baby’s plastic feeding bottle every 4 months, glass lasts much longer. But if you notice any of the following you should replace them immediately:

  • Cracks, chips, or breaks – your baby could cut, pinch, or otherwise injure himself. This is especially dangerous if you use glass bottles.
  • If the baby bottle gets discoloured it’s another warning sign that it’s time to change it.
  • And remember, if you use bottles with disposable liners, you should throw away the liner after each use.

baby feeding bottles

A word of caution:

It is better to help your child limit the bottle once you start weaning and help him or her take sips from a feeding cup or spoon. Never make feeding bottles a habit, as it can become hard to change this in future. If your baby is not comfortable taking a feed from a baby bottle (which can happen due to nipple confusion) don’t force your child. Instead, offer from a cup, spoon or nurse directly. Try giving the bottle once in a while to help them get used to it if needed.

Hopefully this has helped shed some light on how how often you should replace baby feeding bottles and teats.

Read more about our Ultimate Guide For Bottle Feeding & Baby Feeding Bottles. 🙂

Need some more info about introducing solids to bub? Check out our guide here!

Any questions or comments, sound off below 🙂

Glass Baby Bottle


Mom Loves Best

Mom Loves Best 2019, Switching Baby Bottle Nipple Sizes: Knowing When The Time Is Right, Mom Loves Best
, viewed at 20 Oct 2019, URL

Baby Center

Baby Center, 2018Bottle-feeding: When to replace nipples and bottles, PRegnancy Birth & Baby, viewed at 20 Oct 2019, URL

The Health Site

Arora, D 2018, How often should you replace your baby’s feeding bottle?, The Health Site, viewed at 28 Sep 2019, URL

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