NUK 60 years logoThe NUK Story - A lot can happen in six decades!

The history of NUK is long and exciting, from inventing the original NUK Teat, inspired by Mother Nature, to today’s vast range of babycare products, each designed to make life that bit easier for parents and children.
Read on to find out how NUK has used the latest medical science to develop products that have helped over 50 million children (and their parents) for almost 60 years! Every year and every generation has left its mark on NUK’s knowledge, helping us to develop products that consistently make a difference.

The 1940’s

At the end of the 1940’s, two leading German dental health experts, Prof. Dr. Dr.Wilhelm Balters and Dr. med. dent. Adolf Müller, discovered that babies who had been breastfed developed significantly fewer crooked teeth. They researched sucking, drinking and breastfeeding further and as a result invented the first asymmetrically shaped teat, which was modelled on the form of a mother’s breast during breastfeeding. “Natural and suited to the jaw” was the name given to this innovate, new shape which can still be found on all NUK Teats and Soothers today.

The 1950’s

With the baby boom of the 1950’s, the need for better baby products grew. Breastfeeding was seen as unfashionable; children were brought up with a bottle. Many children sucked their thumbs which often led to crooked teeth, tooth decay and speech disorders. But help was at hand! At first, consumers stood helplessly in front of the new NUK Teats, without any information about this strange new shape but NUK quickly reacted by visiting clinics and midwives to explain the medical concept and the benefits of the new teat. At the same time, general interest in dental health was increasing and so it wasn’t long before NUK Soothers and Teats were being seen in an ever increasing number of happy babies’ mouths. By the end of the 1950’s, NUK was becoming a household name.

The 1960’s

NUK story 2 - Family in boat

In the 1960s, a special kind of magic was in the air. Beatles, miniskirts, the moon landing, life became colourful, fun-loving, and different. Modern technology was responsible for a lot of change in this decade and achieved significant breakthroughs which are still relevant today.


Progress also changed parenting, childcare and family planning. After being approved for use in the USA in 1960, the “pill” was soon available in other countries too: it was an innovation that not only affected family planning, but also changed the role of women significantly. Society changed: women could now plan pregnancy. Many concentrated on their education and career first and decided to have a baby later - having a baby was becoming a conscious decision and with that, the requirements and demands made on all the different types of care for babies and children changed. 

The disposable nappy was invented and the latest pram became something mums aspired to. Medical science continued to develop too: 1967 saw the first ultrasound scanner. There were also developments in terms of baby feeding; wholesome baby food could now be produced from powdered milk. This was a practical invention for mothers, but it did present NUK with new challenges as it was difficult to fill the milk powder into the narrow-necked bottles that had been used up until then. NUK reacted by launching a new bottle with a wider opening. Shortly afterwards, the screw cap followed, which finally meant that baby formula could be shaken and transported without leaking, making it much easier for mothers.

Innovation continued with the introduction of liquid latex into NUK Teats, this sped up the production process and enabled NUK to satisfy the increasing consumer demand for its teats.

NUK Story - 1960 baby bottles

The 1970’s

NUK story 3 - 1970The 1970’s were a remarkable decade. It was not only flower-power, bell-bottom trousers, disco music and a growing variety of lifestyles that made sure of that, but also social movements, which were springing up everywhere. The stories that wove themselves through this decade can be traced back, for the most part, to this change in social consciousness: people were more aware of themselves and their environment and reflected more on natural development.


NUK story 3 - 1970 teats

This was also true when it came to infants. Babies were now increasingly seen as independent personalities that had feelings and memories right from day one. Baby’s emotions helped shift the focus of attention for parents, medical practitioners and society generally. Increasingly women were now giving birth in clinics where the services for pregnant women and their babies were significantly improved. NUK visited doctors, nurses and midwives in hospitals to talk to them, to give advice and to take inspiration from them, which led to them introducing the world’s first disposable teat. Teats and screw-rings were preassembled and – particularly important in clinics – pre-disinfected and individually, hygienically packed. Other specialist products, such as teats for babies with special needs, came from working closely with medical professionals. 

The “return to nature” also led to a renaissance in breastfeeding at home. To lend support to this type of natural and “close contact” feeding of babies, NUK started to provide other breastfeeding products, such as nipple shields. But NUK’s greatest innovation in this decade had to do with air: thanks to the invention of a teat with a vent in 1979, a vacuum no longer occurred inside the bottle while drinking. This meant babies swallowed less air and had less tummy pains and a reduced risk of colic. And because successful trends catch on easily around the world, NUK products could now be purchased in over 48 countries by the end of the 1970’s.

NUK story 6 - 1980

The 1980’s

The 1980’s not only saw the career of Madonna really take off, it also saw the first home computer, bright colour combinations, new television channels, shoulder pads and the fall of the Berlin Wall. A real mixed bag: the 1980’s were characterised by numerous changes, many of which took place all at the same time. So it was no wonder that the world looked very different at the end of this decade – politically, aesthetically, and for babies too.

Four years after the birth of the world´s first “test tube” baby in the UK in the late 1970’s, people who previously couldn’t have children now had a second chance. Birth rates were rising for the first time since the 1960’s and governments were trying to make it easier for parents; with extended maternity leave new mothers could now return to their previous jobs after giving birth. 
There were also great innovations for babies: even more than in the decades before, the aim was now to simplify the daily routines of babies and mothers. The first baby monitors came onto the market and, together with better child car seats, children’s safety improved greatly.

Using the slogan, “Some Motherly Love”, NUK, too, worked even harder for babies and parents: as the pioneer of natural baby products, NUK utilised its expertise in other areas of parenting. Breastfeeding was recommended then as it still is today and NUK supported it with breast pads and electric milk pumps making natural feeding easier for both mothers and babies. NUK also developed other products that were urgently needed including baby tooth brushes and teething rings to ease teething pains. After being developed with experts, the NUK Steam Steriliser was introduced in 1985 for practical steam disinfection of bottles and accessories. NUK also entered into a brand new product sector: “Silicone Valley” in the USA was booming and the new super material, silicone, found its way into NUK products. It started a soother revolution: now there were silicone soothers, a more durable alternative to latex soothers.

NUK story 7 - 1980Not only was fashion loud, cars vividly coloured and accessories trendy and bright, even NUK dipped its products into new colours. Thanks to new printing technologies, many products could now be manufactured with colourful designs. NUK was – once again – at the forefront of current trends.

The 1990’s

NUK story 8 - 1980 packagingIn the 1990’s progress moved even faster: The World Wide Web or Internet, electronic “techno” music and mobile telephones were invented. Higher, further, faster could be the three words that best describe this decade.

NUK story 9 - 1990At the same time, scientists were concentrating even more on babies and children. Long-term studies and new research findings showed that babies react to their environment at a very early age and that this interaction also has an effect on their development. It was the start of countless ante and postnatal support programmes. Classical music was said to increase foetal well-being and intelligence, while toys were said to advance early learning.

The latest research studies revealed that for both teats and soothers it is important for the shape to not only suit the jaw but also to be the optimal size. NUK reacted immediately to this news by developing the world´s first “growing” size concept for teats and soothers, this corresponded to the most important stages of development: infants between 0-6 months, babies over 6 months and children over 18 months.

NUK had even more good ideas in the 1990s: in 1998, the leak-proof drinking cup came onto the market to help children learn to drink on their own from an early age and NUK won a place in children´s hearts with the launch of decorated bottles, soothers and accessories.

The 2000’s

NUK story 10 - 2000With the Millennium came new words: information is now googled, friends are added, products are ordered, personal information is shared and people are “online” almost all the time. Google, Facebook, Amazon and the iPhone have changed our daily lives.

One of the catch phrases of the new century was “demographic change“.  Everyone was talking about the question of “children or career?”, as birth rates decreased drastically. New mothers wanted children AND a career! Young families wanted to enjoy their happiness but without having to cut back on anything.

NUK story 14 - 2000 Understanding lifeNUK took its slogan “Understanding Life” even more literally and, once again, became a pioneer. In the course of the first decade of 2000, numerous products were developed that helped to make the lives of children and their parents healthier and better organised. Clever ideas were just as important as medical findings.

2003 saw NUK’s combined bottle and teat system, “FIRST CHOICE” launched into an expectant market and in 2006, the NUK Oral Care programme began for healthy and hygienic oral development. In 2007, the NUK Genius Soother arrived on the baby shelves; its optimised baglet shape based on the latest scientific findings and in 2010 NUK entered a completely new territory with the launch of the Baby Bottle Cleanser, which is designed to make the cleaning of baby bottles and accessories easier and more effective.

So, at the end of the first decade there were lots of new products that perfectly suited the dynamic and flexible lifestyles of parent and child in the new millennium. 

The 2010's

The 2010’s began exactly like the last six decades: with new children. The demands made on natural products that are suitable for babies are constantly changing – with every generation having different needs.

In 2011 First Choice+, the next generation NUK Bottle and Teat range was launched. Designed for relaxed feeding that closely mimics natural breastfeeding, First Choice+ was developed with input from medical professionals, midwives and most importantly, the people who know more than anyone else what a baby bottle needs to offer, mothers!

With great products for learning to eat, a brand new soother and new household and care products, NUK has once again come up with product solutions that make life easier for parents and children.

NUK story 12 - 2010

A lot has happened in the last 60 years but here at NUK we’re already looking forward to seeing what great ideas the next 60 years will bring!

NUK Perfect Start Set