What makes a good nipple?

My husband and I enrolled in a Lamaze class at NYU Hospital. The class covered everything from natural child birth to infant care including breast feeding. A lactation consultant explained that proper latching requires the baby to open his mouth wide and take most of the areola into his mouth. Mother’s nipple extends up to three times in length and goes to the back of baby’s mouth. She also explained that bottles usually dispense milk faster and easier than the mother’s nipple and make the baby “lazy” since they don’t have to work as hard to get food. The problem is that baby eventually prefers bottle over breast.

Another reason for breast feeding moms to avoid using bottles is “nipple confusion”. With proper latch-on, baby gets plenty of milk and mom's nipples don't get sore. Bottle feeding with a typical silicone nipple allows baby to develop incorrect feeding techniques with negative consequences for mom. For example, if baby bites a silicone nipple there is no negative reaction of any kind, therefore a bottle-fed baby may lose his ability to latch properly and start biting the mother’s nipple. This can lead to sore, cracked and sometimes bleeding nipples.

Obviously, part of my challenge in developing a better bottle is to design a new kind of nipple that works more like the mother’s breast.