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baby bottle teats: what's the difference between latex and silicone?

Baby Bottle Teats: What's the Difference Between Latex & Silicone?

Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, working out which bottle teats work best for your baby can make feeding time easier for everyone.

When it comes to baby bottle nipple types, you’ve got a choice of two materials: latex and silicone.

Latex Teats

Latex baby bottle teats are made from natural rubber latex. It comes the sap of the hevea brasiliensis tree, making it a good choice for parents who try to choose natural products where possible. Latex teats are elastic, resilient and tear resistant. These bottle nipples are durable and feel soft in the mouth, which some babies prefer. Latex also retains scents, and this can be very comforting to babies. 

Although latex is very resilient and durable, it can break down easily when exposed to fats and direct sunlight. It’s a good idea to store latex teats in a cool, dark place. Latex bottle nipples can have a strong rubbery smell when they are used for the first time. To remove the smell before the first use, just boil it in milk for five minutes.

Always check the teat thoroughly before each use for any sign of damage, and replace it immediately if you spot any. It's also a good idea to replace them when they become sticky, as this is a sign that the latex in the teat is beginning to break down.

A small percentage of the population has a latex allergy. Reputable brands use latex that is processed to remove the allergens, but if there is a latex allergy in your family, it may be worth avoiding latex for your baby.

Silicone Teats

Silicone is a man-made material. It is a clear, durable substance that doesn't age as easily as latex. It doesn’t retain flavours like latex, and it’s tasteless. A silicone teat is also slightly harder in the mouth.

However, silicone can also be damaged if babies bite at it with their sharp little teeth. As with latex, it's important to check the teat before each use, and replace it immediately if any damage is apparent.

When to Change Baby Bottle Teats

It's recommended that you replace the baby bottle teat every 6 to 8 weeks, regardless of the material that the teat is made of.

Choosing teats for baby bottles doesn’t have to be complicated. You may find that your baby prefers one type of teat over the other. If you are having problems getting your baby to take one type of teat, it may be worth trying another to see whether it’s the material that your baby doesn’t like.

Baby Bottle Teats Sizes

It’s also worth paying attention to the bottle teat sizes. Slow flow teats, or newborn teats, can be better for younger babies who aren’t taking in a lot of milk yet. As baby gets older and they can drink more milk at a feeding, you can think about moving up to a medium or fast flow teat. 

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