When is a bottle not a bottle? When it’s a special, colic-reducing bottle with extra orthodontic teat. Just as you have to test-drive a new car, your baby may not automatically take to the shape of the teat on his bottle. This is especially the case if you’re transferring from breast to bottle, as the typical rubber teat bears little resemblance in texture, taste and shape to a nipple.
A slow-flow teat is best for young babies or those prone to colic. As it suggests, the milk comes out slowly, reducing the likelihood of reflux or excess wind. You may want to move to a faster flow if your baby has a strong suck or when your child gets older.
Standard teats are made of silicone, are odourless and are usually a standard shape. Latex teats are available but have a bit of a smell, which a baby may not like. However, they’re usually softer and can help when transferring your baby from the breast to the bottle if others have been refused.
The teat shape can also vary, with some termed ‘orthodontic’. These are supposed to help the shape of your baby’s growing mouth, although there’s no conclusive evidence that this is the case. It may just be down to your baby’s preference, as none can really replicate the shape of the nipple inside the baby’s mouth.
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It may also be possible to reduce the recurrence of colic or reflux through the type of bottle you use. These can be angled, contain a vent to prevent a baby swallowing air or have collapsible bags inside, which have the same effect. It’s mainly a process of trial and error, but with so much choice on the market you’re sure to find one to suit.
Morag Cuddeford Jones, author and parenting expert
* You can buy Morag Cuddeford Jones’s book Mum Stuff: Because Mum Knows Best for £6.49 from www.amazon.co.uk