Latex vs Silicone Teat – Differences Do Matter!?

Balint Horvath, PhD

Writer, parent, and veteran of baby feeding battles.


Wondering what the latex vs silicone teats comparison is? When it comes to baby feeding items you want to make sure that the product you choose is safe and comfortable for your child. So, I’ve explained the differences between these two bottle teats so you can see which one is better. 

Main Differences

  • Latex teats are yellow and silicone is see-through. 
  • Silicone teats aren’t as flexible as latex ones. 
  • Babies can be allergic to latex but not silicone. 
  • Silicone teats don’t retain odors and flavors like latex ones do. 
  • Latex teats can get damaged when exposed to high temperatures but silicone teats don’t. 
  • Silicone is a synthetic material while latex is a natural material. 

Latex Teats 

Type of material 

Latex teats are made from a natural substance called rubber milk that’s extracted from a rubber tree or the hevea brasiliensis tree. These teats are then created and molded into the shape of a nipple and punctured with a hole so babies can drink out of them easily.  

Take a look at this short YouTube video to see how latex is extracted from trees: 


The downside to latex teats is that they’re prone to degrading fast because it has a natural aging process. This happens when the teats are exposed to too much UV light or heat and saliva. They also tend to get a sticky film over the rubber when exposed to sunlight or fats. 


Latex nipples have amber, dark yellowish, or brown colors which help parents distinguish this type of teat from others. It also closely resembles a mother’s nipple. 

Feeling (e.g. soft or malleable)

The great thing about latex teats is that they’re softer compared to other types of nipple materials. They’re also flexible and malleable and feel closer to what a mother’s nipple would feel like. It may help with nipple confusion. 


Latex nipples come in various sizes but it will also depend on the brand you’re using. For example, NUK has size 1 teats for babies between the ages of 0 to 6 months. They also have size 2 teats for babies aged 6 to 18 months. 


There’s one problem with latex teats and that is some babies may be allergic to the material. You’ll know your baby is allergic to latex if they break out into hives. Additionally, there’s a more serious reaction called anaphylactic shock which causes swelling of the throat and mouth.  


  • Natural feel 
  • Made from natural material 
  • Flexible and soft 
  • Easy to identify 
  • Affordable


  • Retains odors 
  • Some babies are allergic to latex 
  • Not as durable 

Silicone Teats 

Type of material

Silicone is man-made therefore it’s a synthetic material. Although the material isn’t made from natural products, you do get food-grade silicone that’s also easy to clean. 

Watch this YouTube video to find out how silicone teats are manufactured: 


One of the best characteristics of silicone teats is that they’re durable and can withstand high temperatures. They also hold their shape well and aren’t prone to aging. Silicone can also be steam sterilized. Some brands like Phillip’s silicone teats are also microwave-resistant


Some parents prefer silicone teats because they are see-through or clear. This makes it easier to see if there is any food or formula stuck inside the teats. It makes it much easier to wash the teats and keep them clean. 

Feeling (eg soft or malleable)

The only downside to silicone is that they’re a lot stiffer and harder compared to latex teats. Silicone may be uncomfortable for smaller babies to use. Because of the stiffness of silicone, it’s an ideal material to make pacifiers. 


Much like latex teats, silicone ones also come in a variety of sizes such as 1 and 2. They also come in various flow rates like slow, medium, and fast flow.  


Quality silicone teats are made with food-grade ingredients that are free from harmful chemicals. They should be BPA-free and also free from phthalates and PVC material. 


  • Highly durable 
  • Easy to clean 
  • Doesn’t retain odors 
  • Tasteless material 
  • Comes in a variety of flow rates
  • Microwave resistant
  • Doesn’t cause allergic reactions 


  • Not as flexible as latex

Which teat should you choose? 

Looking at the comparison between latex and silicone teats, the best choice is the silicone option. The clear silicone material doesn’t retain odors and is flavorless so it won’t be unappealing to your baby. Additionally, silicone is also highly durable and can withstand high temperatures. 


Both latex and silicone teats can be a good choice. However, it depends on the quality of the products you buy. It’s always best to check the specifications of the teats you’re using to ensure they’re safe for your baby. 

Always make sure you have more than one teat in case the other one breaks. You should also get ones with different flow rates if you want to feed your baby thicker formulas. A higher flow rate will prevent nipple clogging. Use this guide to help you decide which nipple is best for your baby.

Photo of author


I’m Balint, founder of this site and a father (and dad) to a baby-turned toddler. I found the world of babies so fascinating that I started a blog dedicated only to that topic. By the way, I studied physics, engineering (PhD, MSc), and therefore I do a thorough research when I write about something. Since it’s a blog, of course I also write about my personal experiences.

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