Your baby will show you which bottle and nipple she prefers

Finding the right baby bottle is more a process of elimination than a matter of personal preference — for you, anyway. Your baby will ultimately decide which is best, so be prepared to try more than one style of baby bottle and nipple.

Selecting a baby bottle shape, material, and size

You will find baby bottles in many styles. Before you try one, or several, it helps to understand all your options.

Baby bottle shapes: standard or bent

Standard baby bottles (straight; no bend) have been successfully used for years.

Bent baby bottles, and those with liners, are designed to reduce the swallowing of air and cut down on gas and fussiness.

Baby bottles with disposable liners are easy to clean, but the liner refills can be costly.

Baby bottle materials: glass or plastic

Glass baby bottles are sturdy but heavy, and can shatter when dropped. Plastic baby bottles are lightweight and shatterproof, and many are BPA-free.

Baby bottle sizes: small for now, larger for later

Smaller bottles (4 ounces or less) are nice when your baby is small. But as your baby grows, you’ll replace them with larger ones (Hint: Make sure the bigger bottles will fit into your current diaper bag).

Baby bottle nipple sizes, shapes, styles, and materials differ by design

Nipple shapes, sizes, and flow speeds need to mesh with your baby's sucking style, so it is important to experiment. The size of the hole determines how quickly or slowly the milk flows. If the hole is the wrong size, your baby may feed too quickly, too slowly, or swallow too much air.

Baby bottle nipple sizes

Size-one nipples have a small hole, for babies from birth to age 6 months.

Size-two, -three, and -four nipples have a larger hole and are ideal for older babies.

Special nipples for preemies also are available.

The ideal bottle nipple allows a few drops of milk to drip out as soon as you turn the bottle upside down, and then the dripping should stop. If you think the milk is flowing too quickly for your baby, try a nipple with a smaller hole. If you think your baby is getting frustrated by sucking too hard, try a nipple with a larger hole.

Baby bottle nipple shapes

Standard nipples are tall and dome-shaped. Other nipple types mimic the shape of your breast.

Orthodontic nipples are shaped to fit the inside of your baby's mouth — wide at the tip and base, and narrow in the middle.

Baby bottle nipple materials


  • Softer
  • Can hold the odor of milk
  • Tends to wear out more quickly


  • Sturdier
  • Easier to clean
  • Can last up to a year

When to clean and replace baby bottles and nipples

Before first use, always wash new bottles or nipples in hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher. Wash them again after every feeding, checking the nipples for wear and tear. Be sure to replace smaller nipples with larger ones as your baby grows, and always replace any bottle nipple that shows signs of wear.