To Preemie Nipple or Not to Preemie Nipple?

by Lindsey S. #RealMomStory

It never ceases to amaze me how much conflicting information is “out there” about how much breastmilk a baby needs when away from their mama – and the ways to provide it.

Actually, you can look at it in so many different ways:

  • How much breastmilk a baby NEEDS.
  • How much breastmilk a baby COULD HAVE.
  • How much breastmilk a baby SHOULD HAVE.
  • And let’s be honest, there’s also – How much breastmilk the mama is comfortable/able to provide for baby.

It has to be said. Every baby is different. Needs are personal and situational. This is MY experience with MY children and breastmilk. If you have any questions about your child’s needs and your specific situation, reach out to an IBCLC on staff with Spectra Baby USA.

With my first two, I always followed the “rule” that 4ish ounces of breastmilk per bottle every three hours away from me was sufficient. But my middle guy’s daycare felt he needed more milk and so that meant buying the bigger bottles and giving him 5 ounces per feeding. 5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle that can hold 8-9 ounces of breastmilk looks fairly ridiculous. Like something is missing. But hey, you have to think of it as “half full” not “half empty,” am I right?

With my newest little guy, I bought all new bottles, tried a few and ended up back with the same ones I used for the other guys. And bought all preemie nipples for the bottles, because that’s what I always knew to be true. Give 4 ounces of breastmilk every three hours and use the slowest flow nipple. His daycare thinks that because each bottle is taking around 45 minutes for him to finish and he is “looking for more milk” once the bottle is done that he a. needs a faster flow nipple and b. needs more milk per feeding. So what’s a girl to do?

Everyone always says that people who give breastfed babies bottles should pace feed. And so I always give that direction. But the truth is, I’m no bottle expert. All I do is fill them up in my nightly chemistry-like situation of pouring and preparing. And of course, I’m pretty awesome at pumping with my S1 at work all day.

The Senior IBCLC with Spectra Baby USA, Jenn Foster, shared an interesting article with me that questions whether babies should continue use of a preemie nipple and it was pretty eye-opening. From the article, it definitely sounds to me like Charlie is ready for a faster flow nipple. Oops.

So that leads to the next question – does he need more milk per feeding? Who knows? It’s all trial and error, just like so much of motherhood.

The positive in all of this is that there are so many options. And lots of days to try. And lots of variables – like teething, illness, fussiness, daycare vs. home, bottles vs. nursing, etc. I’m willing to try it and figure it out.

In this case, the conflicting information isn’t overwhelming me. It’s an awesome reminder that there isn’t always one answer when it comes to feeding our babies.

What’s your opinion? Are you slowest flow nipple until baby is done with bottles? Faster flow? More milk? I’d love to hear what you think.

About the author

Lindsey Schedler lives in New Jersey with her frat house of three boys (4 if you count her husband). By day, she’s a social and digital media strategist. For fun, and to connect with others, she shares about life as a working mama /fitness enthusiast and yummy food via @thindsey on InstagramLindsey is passionate about breastfeeding and pumps with her S1 or S2 when she’s away from her baby.


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