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Parents ask – NUK answers

You don’t actually know Tina B. from Munich, yet some time ago she asked exactly the same question as you: here you can find the answers to new mothers’ most frequently asked questions as well as practical information and useful tips.

Would you like to know more, or do you have a question that you would like to ask us yourself? Get in touch with our NUK Parent Service via email, letter, telephone or Facebook. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Choose the FAQ topics that interest you


Are NUK Latex Teats really safe to use?

Yes – and we can even guarantee that. Our NUK Latex Teats are regularly tested by several independent, prestigious institutes such as the Fresenius Institute and not only satisfy all legal requirements but even exceed them.

Can NUK Latex Teats cause allergies?

For years, NUK Latex Teats have been immunologically tested for latex allergens. The results show no measurable risk potential and confirm our positive experiences from over 50 years of soother production. However, there are actually no products made from natural rubber that cause absolutely no problems for people with a latex allergy– even if, like the NUK Latex Teats, they are thoroughly cleaned, so that they contain less than 30 mg/kg of soluble proteins. We recommend the use of silicone teats in such cases.

What is the difference between latex and silicone teats?

The main difference is that latex is a natural product whereas silicone is synthetically produced. As a result, both materials have their own special characteristics.

Latex rubber is particularly flexible, bite and tear-resistant. As latex is a natural material, edible fats and exposure to direct sunlight may make it age somewhat quicker than silicone. At the very latest you should replace a latex teat when it becomes sticky.

The material from which NUK Latex Teats are made is from the milk of the rubber tree. The extraction of this precious natural material is under our continuous scrutiny both locally and during processing. For every soother is checked individually by us!

Unlike latex teats, NUK Silicone Teats are made of a high-quality polymer synthetic material. This transparent silicone is heat and age-resistant as well as being very easy to clean. However, silicone is not as soft and flexible as latex, and is prone to cracking. A silicone teat should be replaced immediately at the first signs of cracking or other damage.

Generally speaking, all teats, whether they are made of silicone or latex, should be replaced every 1 to 2 months.

Which material you choose, depends on your individual wishes or preferences and those of your baby too. Of course, you can switch from one type of teat to the other.

Can I buy size 3 NUK Teats?

NUK Teats are only manufactured in two sizes: size 1 for infants from 0 to 6 months, size 2 for babies over 6 months. Silicone teats should only be used up to 18 months because babies’ first teeth can damage the material. In addition, at this age, children usually want to drink on their own – and this is why we recommend using NUK Cups with drinking spouts.

Of course, the ages given are only recommendations. As a rule, children tend to know themselves which teat size is best for them. Please note that a bottle is not a substitute for a soother! Constant sucking on bottles containing drinks, puree or sweet fruit and vegetable juices can cause tooth decay. (More)


Why are NUK Soothers asymmetrically shaped?

The special NUK Teat Shape is based on its natural model: the mother’s nipple as she breastfeeds. The special shape results from the nipple adapting particularly well to a child´s mouth and fitting snugly up against the roof of the mouth and against the tongue below. This teat shape lets babies satisfy their sucking reflex in a very natural way.

The NUK Shape for teats and soothers is designed so that sucking on them requires the same sucking and swallowing movements as breastfeeding. This exercises the lower jaw and facial muscles.

If you use NUK Soothers correctly – to calm your child, to prevent thumb-sucking and to exercise the jaw intensively between meals - then the NUK Shape helps towards natural and healthy jaw development. More information and a video on this topic can be found here [[DEEPLINK]].

Round soothers versus asymmetrically-shaped ones: which are better?

A lot of mothers think that symmetrically-shaped soothers are more like nipples because they can see a similarity. But: during breastfeeding, the nipple actually changes its shape and so adapts to a child’s mouth and the sucking motion. This shape has been scientifically proven to be right for the jaw, or “orthodontic”, and not the round or cherry shape.

In the 1950s, the dental experts, Dr med. dent. A. Müller und Prof. Dr Dr W. Balters searched for ways to prevent crooked teeth and jaw deformation in children. They found out that these problems were rarer in children who were breastfed. From then on, the two scientists took nature as their model. They discovered that a mother’s nipple changes its shape during breastfeeding to fit a baby’s mouth perfectly, and so they developed the first NUK Teats and Soothers which were anatomically shaped and therefore right for the jaw. The flattened shape of the baglet helps widen the lower jaw, in a way similar to breastfeeding. The domed shape of the top adapts to a baby’s palate as it develops. The neck of the teat is notably flat so that – almost like breastfeeding – a baby’s lips are able to close properly around it. The hole in the teat is not at the tip and not at the tip: this means food stays in your baby’s mouth longer so that it can mix better with the saliva – an important requirement for healthy digestion.

Teats with the typical NUK Shape exercise the lips, tongue and even facial muscles optimally and are still being recommended by orthodontists today. You can find more information under “The NUK Shape”.

What makes a teat right for the jaw?

Essentially, a soother should be right for a child’s jaw physiologically and allow enough room for the tongue to have a natural sucking movement. A flattened baglet, i.e. with a slightly domed underside, puts the tongue into a natural position and this helps the development of both jaws. It is also important that the soother is soft and flexible. A narrow teat neck (the part that joins the baglet to the mouth plate) only puts minimal pressure on the jaw and the teeth that are waiting to come through. More information can be found under “The NUK Shape”.

Is a soother not just as bad for the teeth as thumb-sucking?

Before babies start sucking their thumbs or the corner of a blanket, they should be given a soother that is right for the jaw. A soother is much more flexible than a thumb.

Thumb-sucking over a long period of time may push the top incisors forward and the lower ones back. It can lead to an open bite or the bottom teeth being angled backwards with a receding chin, making subsequent orthodontic treatment necessary. It is also easier to wean a child off a soother – as a thumb is always available.

Lots of things are said about soothers: what are the pros and cons?

Right after the birth you can do a lot for healthy jaw development: while breastfeeding, a child learns the right sucking-swallowing movement –the basis for later learning stages.

Proper breastfeeding and sucking is needed for healthy mouth and jaw movement, which, in turn, is a requirement for eating and speaking.

A teat that is right for the jaw – shaped like a mother´s nipple – can also help babies suck and drink properly.

An asymmetrically-shaped soother helps babies and toddlers to exercise their mouth and jaw muscles. However, if a soother is just in a baby´s mouth, not being “used”, it should be removed.

Children should not be offered a soother if they do not need one and by no means should honey or other sweet foodstuffs be put on it. Soothers should not be used to keep children quiet. A soother can pacify and help cope with upsetting or stressful situations but it can never replace the care and affection of parents. If a soother falls out of a baby’s mouth while sleeping, it should not be put back as it is no longer needed.

The latest scientific research recommends the use of soothers as a way of helping babies fall asleep, as they can reduce the risk of cot death. In addition, children sleep better through the night if their parents are not present while they are falling asleep (e.g. not holding their baby’s hand).

Can soothers help guard against cot death?

According to international studies, the use of soothers can actually protect against cot death.1

Scientists from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)2 examined this hypothesis and assessed relevant international studies from the years 1966 to 2004.

The results:

children who go to sleep with a soother have a much lower risk of cot death. However, the specific reasons for this have not yet been completely researched.

A little tip: the American Academy of Pediatrics advises always giving soothers to babies until they are one year old, whenever they are going to sleep - day or night.3

For the first twelve months, the risk of cot death is not only at its highest; your baby’s natural sucking reflex is also at its strongest.

Your baby doesn’t want a soother? That’s also quite normal. Never force your child to accept a soother.

These simple rules will help you protect your child:

  • If possible, babies should be breastfed. In the first few months, breast milk is simply the best for your child. It helps protect against allergies and infections. Besides, close body contact during breastfeeding is just as important as getting enough nutrition: breastfeeding is food for both the body and soul.
  • Babies should be placed on their backs to go to sleep: this position has proven to be the safest and best one for children.
  • Babies smoke too – during pregnancy and afterwards as well. Please do not smoke. The risk of cot death increases with every cigarette smoked in your house!
  • A “healthy” sleeping environment is important: the best place is cuddled up in a baby sleeping bag, on a firm mattress, in the baby’s own bed, in the parents’ bedroom.  Babies should not be dressed too warmly – an additional blanket is normally unnecessary – and the room should be aired regularly.
  • Do you have the feeling that your baby is ill or behaving differently? Get some reassurance by taking your baby to the doctor.4

1 Source: Gemeinsame Elterninitiative Plötzlicher Säuglingstod (GEPS) Deutschland e.V. (German Joint Parent Cot Death Initiative)

2 The American Academy of Pediatrics, founded in 1930, has almost 60,000 members in the USA, Canada and Latin America, who campaign for the physical, emotional and social health of children and young people.

3 Source: American Medical Journal, Pediatrics (2005; 116: 3716-e723)

4 Recommendations from the brochure “How can I ensure that my baby sleeps well and safely?” from the Hamburgischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Gesundheitsförderung e.V. (The Hamburg Working Group for Health Promotion) in collaboraton with Hamburg’s Department for Social, Family, Health and Consumer Protection and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Is it a problem if babies put soothers in their mouths upside down?

The NUK Shape is taken from nature and so babies makes the same typical sucking, and swallowing movements as when they are breastfeeding. The NUK Soother enables children to satisfy their natural sucking reflex and, at the same time, exercise their jaw muscles between meals.

As the mouth plate of the soother gently presses against the baby’s mouth and chin during sucking, the baglet automatically comes into the right position in the mouth. Most babies turn the soother around themselves in their mouths or spit it out if it is upside down.

Soothers should not be given to babies to keep them quiet or just out of habit. This might lead to babies using soothers only as toys which can be put in the mouth the wrong way. Babies who have had other, symmetrically-shaped soothers before may still be used to putting them in their mouths any way they like. It’s best to take a little time and patiently show your baby which way round the NUK Soother goes, because only when the soother is the right way up can it do its job properly and promote development.

What should I do if my baby puts the whole soother right in?

Only very rarely do babies put the complete soother in their mouths. If this happens: stay calm. The mouth plate of the NUK Soother has been designed so that it cannot be completely swallowed. Additionally, there are two breathing holes in the mouth plate that let enough air through, even if the soother fills the whole mouth. Calmly and carefully remove the soother from your baby´s mouth.

Background information on sizing and the safe use of our NUK Soothers:
we offer four different soother sizes for babies from 0 to 36 months. NUK Soothers have differently sized baglets, but all the mouth plates are the same size regardless for which age. Even those for the tiniest babies have a relatively large mouth plate: thanks to its heart shape, the mouth plate does not cover much of the face or hamper breathing through the nose.

Wouldn´t a larger mouth plate stop babies putting the whole soother in their mouths?

All NUK Soothers conform to the European standard EN 1400 for soothers, which specifically describes and regulates soothers with a button, as well as soothers with a ring. For example, the design and positioning of the safety breathing holes: the soother button should protrude at least 10mm so that it can be grasped. This does not mean that this model is less safe that a soother with a ring.

What do I need to know about soother hygiene?

Before your baby uses a new NUK Soother for the first time, you should use a gentle washing-up liquid (e.g. the NUK Bottle Cleanser) [[DEEP LINK]] ) to thoroughly clean it and then boil it for approx. 5 minutes.

If there is a little liquid left in the baglet, either just squeeze it out or leave it to dry. Never put the soother in a dishwasher. One cycle is enough to damage the material.

Another absolute no-go: licking the soother! Your saliva contains bacteria which can cause tooth decay that you can pass on to your baby. This also applies to spoons and teats.

Rinse the soother with water if it is dirty. NUK Soother Chains or Ribbons are also practical, as a soother can then be attached to your child’s clothes. Now the soother definitely won´t fall on the floor again or get lost.

N.B: All NUK Soothers have an AIR SYSTEM. A vent allows air to escape from the baglet when it is pressed together by the palate. This means that the teat always fits a child´s mouth perfectly. During boiling, water can get into the baglet through the vent.

A little tip: after boiling simply press the rest of the water out.

Boiling has made our NUK Soother really flat!

Then a vacuum has built up in the soother. This simple trick will help: pull hard once on the teat part. Don’t worry, the teat and mouth plate have been designed to withstand pulling.

Such a vacuum can occur if, after boiling, the AIR SYSTEM is blocked: a vent allows air to escape from the teat part when it is pressed together by the palate. This little device means that the teat always fits a child’s mouth perfectly. If the vacuum doesn’t disappear using our trick, then just send us the soother – we will replace it for free.

When is it time for a new soother?

Rule of thumb: a latex soother should be replaced every 1 to 2 months, exactly like a toothbrush. At the very latest, once it becomes sticky, it’s time for a new one.

The toothbrush rule also applies to silicone soothers: you should use a new one every 1 to 2 months. Silicone soothers should be immediately replaced at the first signs of bite marks or other damage. Babies should always be given new soothers after they have had an infectious illness (such as a cold or throat infection) to prevent re-infection.

From which age can I give my baby a soother?

Theoretically right from birth. Babies have a natural sucking reflex that also needs to be satisfied. If you are breastfeeding, then this reflex is satisfied naturally – in the true sense of the word. For some babies, this is enough, while for others a soother may be a great help in calming them down.

When is it a good idea to use a soother?

First and foremost a soother is something to be sucked and so it can make your baby stronger, give comfort and most of all have a calming effect. If a soother is just in a baby´s mouth, not being “used”, it should be removed.

When is it time to say goodbye to the soother?

It is time to give up soothers towards the end of your child’s second year. Once children turn three they should be going without a soother.

Do you have any tips to help to give up soothers?

Talk to your child: explain why it is time to give up using a soother – for example, because your child is getting too big or because the soother is old and tired.

But not overnight:

children should be given time to say goodbye to this trusted friend.

Make a “deal” with your child: the soother can only be used at home, until your child is ready to say goodbye. Another tactic: motivate your child into giving the soother to someone else as a “present” – e.g. to a newborn you both know, as this baby “needs” the soother urgently. Very important: give your child lots of praise when the beloved soother is given away.

Another lovely idea is a figure such as the Soother Fairy or her friends: if the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Soother Fairy visits, then this can make saying goodbye easier. Your child can hand over the soother and receive a small present in exchange. In some towns, there are already “soother trees”. You can take part in the next NUK Soother Tree Charity Campaign and help someone else while breaking the soother habit.

Baby Bottles

Why can’t I buy bottles without teats anywhere?

Basically, we only offer bottles with teats (in sizes 1 or 2) so that you always have everything that you need.

Apart from that, there is hardly any demand for bottles without teats: most bottles are bought either just before or just after a birth – with size 1 teats.

Furthermore, we can guarantee optimal functionality if all the teats, bottles and accessories match and come from the “House of NUK”.

Do NUK FIRST CHOICE Bottles fit into the NUK Baby Food Heater and Steriliser?

NUK FIRST CHOICE bottles fit perfectly in all NUK Baby Food Heaters. We have improved the NUK Sterilizer for 6 bottles, so that they can be heated with the food steamer function: all types of NUK Bottles fit in here now.

Can I put NUK Bottles in the dishwasher?

Never put our NUK PP Bottles (NUK Plastic Bottles made of polypropylene) into the dishwasher. Boil them instead. They can easily withstand temperatures of up to 97°C. Dishwashers do not reach this temperature but dishwasher detergent is very abrasive and can damage the printed decoration and the material – which can lead to the material wearing prematurely away and bottles breaking.

Where can I buy replacement covering caps for bottles?

The demand for NUK Covers was so low that they are no longer available in shops. Send us an email or letter and we will happily help you. Dust caps only protect against dust/Covering caps are only there to protect and do not help to unscrew the ring. Never put the caps in the dishwasher – dishwasher detergents are too abrasive.

What is the right way to hold the NUK Spout?

It sounds much more complicated than it actually is: your child is drinking correctly when the round part of the spout is pointing upwards towards the nose and the angular side is pointing towards the chin. The word NUK is then upside down.

Can I combine bottle and breastfeeding?

We developed the NUK FIRST CHOICE Bottle and Teat System using the latest medical findings on breastfeeding. Combining bottle and breastfeeding is not only uncomplicated, it is also not a problem because all our teats take their shape and function from a mother’s nipple. Would you like to learn more about this subject? Simply click on “The NUK Shape” or watch the video session with our NUK Expert.

How can I prevent colic when bottle feeding?

When preparing your baby’s formula, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and make sure that you use the right amounts of water and milk powder. If, after shaking the bottle, froth appears, then let the bottle stand for a while until the froth has dispersed.

The right teat and hole size are very important!

The teat should always be completely full of milk while feeding. Burping is also important after bottle or breastfeeding.

From time to time, babies should be picked up and burped during feeding, because any air that has been swallowed can then come up and escape.

A vent in our NUK Anti-Colic AIR SYSTEM helps prevent a vacuum building up in the bottle: your baby can drink continuously without swallowing air.

While bottle feeding with the special NUK Teat Shape that suits the jaw, the same lip, jaw and tongue muscles as breastfeeding are helped to develop. The natural, inborn drinking movements remain unchanged. In order to make digestion easier during sucking, the milk is mixed with saliva. NUK FIRST CHOICE Teats have the same effect: this comes from having the hole on the upper side of the teat and not at the tip of the teat. You can also find more information on this subject under “The NUK Shape”.

There are different drinking holes in the NUK Teats with a vent – how can I tell them apart?

Here is a rundown of how you can easily distinguish between the NUK Teats!

The hole size marking on NUK Teats:

the hole sizes (S, M or L) are easy to see on the rim of the teat under the NUK Air System Vent.

S = extra-fine hole - for thin liquids such as breast milk, infant formula, tea or water
M = medium hole - for formula
L = large hole (silicone) - for thicker liquids
L = cross hole/x-cut hole (latex) - for thicker liquids


Which is better: a silicone soother or a latex one?

This is purely a matter of “taste”. Both materials have their advantages. You can, of course, switch between teat materials. However, once children have their first teeth, we recommend the use of soothers made from latex as it is more bite-resistant than silicone.

The differences:
Latex is obtained from rubber milk and is a high quality natural material.  Once it has been processed, latex is very flexible and durable and this makes it suitable for babies who already have their first teeth. Direct sunlight makes latex age more quickly and it can discolour. This discolouration is also a sign for the mother to get another soother – as a general rule soothers should be replaced every 1-2 months. As latex is a natural product it can be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly way.

NUK Silicone Teats are made of a high-quality synthetic material. Silicone is transparent and particularly heat resistant, even direct sunlight or edible fats (e.g. in milk) do not make it age. However, silicone is prone to small bite marks or other damage. If you notice this, then it is time to replace the silicone soother.

What are Bisphenol A (BPA) und polycarbonate (PC)?

The abbreviation, BPA stands for Bisphenol A and it is a raw material used in the manufacture of the synthetic material, polycarbonate (PC). BPA is “embedded” in the material and is firmly bound in it.

PC is a very versatile type of material: it is durable, heat-resistant, nearly unshatterable and transparent. This is why PC is used for countless items in everyday use.

BPA is a starting material for polycarbonate, which is found in many products which we use daily: for example, in plastic bags or milk cartons, food packaging, but also in mobile phones, CDs as well as sunglasses, adhesives or nail polish.

Are all the NUK Baby Bottles I can buy today, BPA-free?

Yes. Since 1st June, 2011, the sale of baby bottles containing BPA has been prohibited in all countries of the European Union. This means that bottles containing BPA are not allowed to be sold.

At NUK, we switched our complete baby bottle production to BPA-free materials, before the EU legal ban on BPA came into force.

What alternatives to products containing BPA does NUK offer?

Every material has its own characteristics. That is why NUK offers you numerous alternatives to PC. For example:

baby bottles made of glass, polypropylene (PP), polyamide (PA) and polyphenylsulfone (PPSU). All the materials used by NUK are continuously subject to safety checks as a matter of course.

Why did BPA come under criticism and how is the EU ban to be viewed?

There are numerous studies worldwide in which the danger to health caused by the intake of Bisphenol A (BPA) is explored. The results of these studies are not conclusive and over the past months and years have been very inconsistently assessed by different institutes in various countries. The scientific controversy over a possible danger to health through the effect of BPA on the human organism led to critical public debate and made parents feel extremely unsure.

As a precaution and in the light of the confusing information, the European Commission took the decision to ban the use of BPA in the production of baby bottles from 1st March, 2011. Since 1st June, 2011 the sale of baby bottles containing BPA is no longer allowed in the countries of the European Union.

How do the authorities assess the risks from BPA?

To find out what the appropriate authorities such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) or the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment  (BfR) have to say on the topic of BPA, you can go to their websites:

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA):

German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR):

Do soothers also contain BPA?

A NUK Soother consists of different parts. The teat (baglet) is always made of latex or silicone and is therefore 100 % BPA-free.  The mouth plate and ring used to be made from polycarbonate (PC).

However, at NUK, we reacted early on to the apprehension of parents and switched the complete production of soothers to BPA-free materials, for example, polypropylene (PP).

All NUK Soothers are therefore BPA-free and clearly marked as such.

Are all the NUK Soothers I can buy today BPA-free?

Some time ago, NUK switched its complete production of soothers to BPA-free materials. Unfortunately, it cannot be ruled out that polycarbonate NUK Soothers can still be found in shops here and there. In order to make identification as easy as possible when shopping, BPA -free soothers from NUK can be found clearly marked as “BPA-free”.

Can I continue using a polycarbonate soother?

Basically, yes. However, it is generally recommended that all NUK products are washed thoroughly before each use and checked for damage. Damaged soothers should always be replaced.


I have lost the operating instructions - what can I do?

No problem: under the heading “Operating Instructions” you can download new ones any time - for free, of course.

I have just had a baby. Can you send me some free samples, please?

We are pleased that you are interested in NUK Products and will be happy to send you detailed information about our range. You will be able to find out everything about our products in it.

However, we only provide infant care courses and midwives with free samples for demonstration purposes (except in the case of multiple births).

Among the places where more detailed information on NUK Products can be found are specialist baby shops, specialist baby mail order companies or in the baby departments of large stores, as well as at chemists’ and supermarkets.

I have just had twins – we would love some help!

A multiple birth is always something very special – for NUK too. That is why we have a tradition of welcoming every multiple birth by sending out a small gift set. We only offer our Welcome Packages for babies up to 6 months, as the products are only suitable for children up to this age. To enter, just send us a copy of the birth certificates to the below e-mail address and a few days later you will receive your gift.

Good to know