How to Make a Hole in a Baby Bottle's Nipple

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The younger the baby, the smaller the hole the nipple needs.
The younger the baby, the smaller the hole the nipple needs. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

It's frustrating to bring home a new package of baby bottle nipples to find they are not working. This revelation usually comes at the most inopportune moments, such as when your baby is waking up for a feeding. If you can't get to the store to return them, you can solve the problem by making a hole in the nipple yourself. Making a nipple hole for a baby bottle must be done carefully to ensure it is safe to use.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle of milk or formula
  • Pin
  • Toothpick
  • Pot of boiling water

Fill the bottle and check to see if liquid is passing through a hole. Even if you don’t see a hole, consider it might be very small. Before you make additional holes, test the nipple first.

Hold the bottle upside down above a sink. See if any liquid passes through the nipple. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk or formula should come out in a quick, steady flow of drips. If milk is dripping out very slowly, there is probably a hole and you’ll need to widen it. If nothing is coming out, you’ll need to make a hole.

Make a pinhole at the tip of the bottle if there is no hole at all. Push the pin through from the inside of the nipple going out of the tip. If there is a hole that needs to be widened, push the tip of a toothpick into it from the inside going out.

Put the nipple back on the bottle and turn it upside down over the sink to check the flow. If nothing is coming out, remove the nipple again and push the toothpick through it.

Check the flow once more over the sink. If drips are coming out, sterilize the nipple by boiling it for 5 minutes. Let it cool, put it on a bottle and feed your baby. If your baby is satisfied with the flow, leave the nipple as is.

Push the toothpick deeper through the nipple if your child is not satisfied with the flow. You can tell the flow is too low if the child is sucking very hard and getting frustrated. Make a second or third pinhole, if necessary, until the drip flow is satisfying to your child. Sterilize the nipple again before using it on a bottle.

Dispose of the nipple if you make the hole too large. If the milk is flowing out in a stream, or if the child seems to be rushing to keep up with it, choking on it or spitting out a lot as she sucks, the flow is too fast. You cannot make a hole smaller, so throw it away and start with a new nipple.

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