It’s All About the Flow

Why did no one tell me this 3 years ago?

At age 4 months, Laylee suddenly quit taking a bottle. Period. End of story.

Magoo at age 3 months. Same story. In fact, I wrote about this cold-turkey experience in my second blog post.

I love nursing but it is so frustrating to feel like you can never go anywhere for more than 2 hours because your child is completely dependant on your appendages for their nourishment.

Now Magoo has 4 small, sharp, pointy, jagged, fangoreous, razor-sharp, pincer-grasping (did I mention sharp?) teeth. He’s chewing the heck out of me right now and I’m in a ton of pain. It hurts way worse now than when I started nursing him.

I wanted to go a full year, but yesterday I was right on the edge of giving it up. The problem, folks, is that he will not take liquid by any other means, besides my tattered and extremely painful breasts. I felt that if I “weaned him,” he would shrivel up like a raisin and die.

All of a sudden I got this thought, “Hey, maybe he doesn’t like the bottle because the letdown from the breast is so much faster. Maybe I could punch a bigger hole in the nipple.” So I did. He drank it. I’ve been pumping and bottle-feeding since yesterday afternoon with great success and I’m starting to heal.

Maybe I’m the only dumb kid on this slow bus, but it didn’t occur to me until yesterday that they sell nipples with different flow rates for an actual reason and that my kids might be “out-growing” their flow level.

So I thought I’d make a public service announcement.

When the lactation consultant says, “Have you tried all the different bottles and nipples?” she also means, “Have you tried all the different flow rates of each individual nipple? Do this and you may be able to get out once every few months or so.”

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21 Responses to It’s All About the Flow

  1. mom says:

    Who knew?

  2. blackbird says:

    this is one of those areas wherein you just skipped over the information…
    you knew there were different nipples, different shapes and sizes and things, but you just didn’t consider the flow rate.

    look, at this point, I’m just happy this post wasn’t about the Diva Cup – a topic floating around other blogs just now.

  3. kate says:

    We tried every brand and every flow rate…still my child wants only moi. Or a cup, but I hate pumping. She is 9 months so I guess I’ll just hold out. Glad you found a solution!

  4. Rachelle says:

    Man, I have the opposite problem. My son is 9 months old and has been fighting me on nursing for months now. I’m ready to quit and go straight to bottles!

  5. Queen Beth says:

    I was just thinking for a split second “He needs a faster flow nipple” and then a split second later, I read that you figured it out! Good job! Doesn’t it feel great when we figure things out about our babies all on our own!? Good job to you for continuing to give him your breastmilk even in through a bottle! 🙂

  6. Goslyn says:

    Glad its working. Mr. Serious started rejecting the bottle around 2 or 3 months, but the larger flow nipple didn’t seem to help. Maybe I’ll try again. You give me hope.

  7. Theresa says:

    The faster flow nipples are wonderful, but the real issue is you need to teach the little one to stop chewing on Mommy!!! With my girls I found a quick, light flick on the chin worked very well. Every time I got bit, they got flicked. Even a 3 month old gets the message. I was able to nurse Liz until she was 15 months. Jessica and I had some health issues and I was only able to nurse her for 4 months. Good luck!

  8. jessica says:

    This post is wonderful! Maybe with number three I’ll actually have a chance at feeding times sans me. Neither of my boys would take a bottle, but then again I never tried “faster” flow rate nipples.

    I also was never too inclined to pump as it never seemed to produce much quantity for all the effort I was putting in. Now that you’ve cleared up the flow rate issue for me, could you recommend a good pump? You truly do have super powers DYM!

  9. Karen says:

    I didn’t nurse but still had to figure out from the get-go which bottle nipple style and size and pacifier style they preferred. There really are so many varieties and they both had very definite, very different preferences. Motherhood is an interesting game isn’t it?

    I know, I’m one of those evil moms who didn’t give their child breastmilk AND put them in public school. The horrors!

  10. Yikes! The biting thing scares the heck out of me! I know my sis-in-law (with the kids) was leader of the local La Leche league and breast-fed her kids till they went to high school! Just kidding! But it did go on forever! They weren’t really feeding anymore, it was more like a security blanket! She’s be walking around talking on the phone while holding onto the kid latched onto her chest- and the kid was 4 or 5 years old! That’s when I knew my sis-in-law truly was a super-mom!

  11. Shannon says:

    What’s really sad is that I was totally with you on this, riveted actually, and then I realized, we’re discussing nipple flow. Didn’t we used to be interesting people?

  12. HLH says:

    My 12mo. dd has recently started to be a biter and dang does it hurt, I don’t remember ds doing it much…
    I very quickly use my finger to unlatch her, tell her “no” and then slowly put her back on. It seems to be effective. I am just too lazy to pump…I hopeing she will be ready to wean here in a few months.

  13. owlhaven says:

    Just say no or ouch loudly, and set them on the floor whenever they bite. They get the idea quick that biting means the meal is over. Sometimes you can also tell when they are getting ready to bite, because they stop sucking seriously and kind of play around. Usually the biting phase only lasts a few days if you make it obvious that biting is not ok


  14. RGLHM says:

    YAHOO!! SO happy he took it and is allowing you to heal. YEah for the many sizes of store nipples.

  15. Elena says:

    A good healing trick is to get an antibacterial ointment with a pain reliever in it for your nipples. That will help ease the pain and promote healing.

    I would only pump exclusively for a few days though because you don’t want to minimze your milk production. That’s really the best food for the little guy until he is at least 1.

    I wouldn’t let him get away with biting though!! When my kids did that (and all of 5 them did at least once and I’m getting ready for #6 to try it!) I made sure I made a very loud yell (which wasn’t that hard to do) and said “NO NO” in a very loud voice. I did the flick Theresa suggested too!! Then I put the kid down and walked away. That scares them a little bit and they come to realize that if they do this, then mom will do that! They learned there was a consequence!!

    The other thing though is to nurse him when you’re sure he’s hungry and stop when he quits nursing vigorously. Watch carefuly and if it even looks like he is thinking of biting take him off the breast get eyeball to eyeball with him and say “No No.”

    My kids all figured it out and all of them nursed for at least a year, one of them up until age 3 and most up to age 2.

    Your little guy is a smart kid – he’ll figure it out!!

  16. Moonface says:

    Hate the pumping. And the sterilising of bottles. It’s just too much hassle for me. But also hate not being able to go away for more than 3 to 4 hours at a time.

  17. SO, I tried several of your techniques with Laylee and they worked great. She never really bit after I made it clear that it was unacceptable.

    With Magoo, it’s a whole new ballgame. He doesn’t bite down anymore. He just sort of gnaws as part of his sucking motion so I don’t even realize he’s doing it, except that I get really raw after the feeding.

    It hurts a ton now because he did bite down a few times when he first got his teeth and the wounds won’t heal because he’s scraping away at them.

    I know…TMI

    ANYway, that’s the deal.

  18. emlouisa says:

    Ah, yes. The flow problem. The first nipples I bought were medium flow and I about choked my baby to death trying to get him to take it. I soon figured it out and did the slow flow thing. Only problem is that slow flow means SLOOOOOWWWWWW FLOOOOOWWWW. It would take 2.5 billion hours for the kid to finish a bottle. (this is according to my husband and I am just SURE it is so accurate)

    My little one is just getting his first razor sharp tooth. I am not looking forward to that first bite, either.

    Ah, the joys of motherhood.

  19. hlh says:

    DYM- try Lansinoh- or whatever its called. Comes in a purple tube at the grocery store with all the baby stuff, its about $8 a tube. Works GREAT for healing…safe for baby to nurse too. I bought it with my first and the tube is still 3/4 full and I have 2 kids now, well worth the investment.

  20. SAS says:


    I came across this blog because I’m an idiot! My poor baby has been trying to tell me a long time now! She rejected the breast @3 months and is a solely formula fed baby now. (Poor milk supply) She wasn’t finishing her bottles, I thought she wasn’t hungry. She was starving! I final had my Einstien momment lastnight when going over her journal that I started to keep a week and a half ago. I am surprized her cheeks arn’t permantly caved in from sucking so hard! Usually it takes a long time after feeding her that I can leave her. Last night…within 5 minutes…maybe even two!

    I think the sleep deprivation got the better of us! You are not alone on tthe bottle/nipple flow issues!

  21. Dina says:

    I came across your blog because I was looking up the nipple flow issue…My 2 month old baby boy has been taking ages to finish his bottle and it has only dawned on me a few minutes ago that the flow might be the problem! Glad I’m not the only one..I was starting to feel like a terrible mom! Thanks for sharing!

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