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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best bottle for preemies is, I’d recommend Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle for Preemies.
If your baby arrives early and you’re frantically reading one hundred articles per day about how to care for them, don’t panic. We got your back.
When you’re expecting a baby, bottles are one of many items on the list or registry of necessities. If your baby comes prematurely, you’ll need to take into account some extra factors while doing your shopping.
I’ve done some research and reviewed the best bottles for preemies for you to consider.
Here are the preemie bottles I will be reviewing:
Why Do I Need a Special Bottle for My Preemie?
Premature babies need all the extra care to ensure they are getting adequate nutrients and developing at the same rate as other healthy, full-term babies.
Keep in mind that they have more specific feeding needs. For one, they can’t digest as quickly as other babies and must drink less but more frequently. Secondly, preemies tend to have extra trouble sucking and swallowing their milk.
Therefore, having a bottle specially designed for your extra early gift to this world is critical.
In addition, many new parents of premature babies end up going straight to the NICU right after giving birth. Doctors may require you to bottle feed so that they can monitor the exact amount the baby is drinking.
This may be the beautiful and complicated beginning of your bottle-feeding journey with your newborn.
What to Look for in a Preemie Bottle?
First, let’s talk about some of the specific features that preemie bottles offer and why they are important.
Go With the Flow
We are all trying to simply “go with the flow” when we become new parents or new-again parents. When looking for the right bottle, you will want to find the one with the right flow—in a literal sense.
Since preemies need to drink slowly because of their little tummies and predisposed digestive issues, the bottles are designed to have a smaller nipple opening that limits the amount of milk flow.
If milk flows too fast, it can exacerbate their digestive problems and can lead to issues like colic, which are fun for no one. Also, in general, a nipple that makes milk flow too fast can make your baby choke on their milk, and that’s never pleasant.
A well-made preemie bottle and slow flow nipple can give your baby the right amount of milk at the right pace and can leave your baby well-fed and happier.
Fewer Bubbles, Fewer Troubles
Another thing to look for is the built-in air vents in the bottle. These reduce the amount of air your baby consumes during bottle-feeding and will minimize the amount of gas and burping that follows after a feed.
Air bubbles can also exacerbate colic and cause discomfort for your precious baby. And, less air may mean less spit-up, and consequently less mess for you—hooray!
Keep in mind that some bottles have an internal vent system, while some have air vents on the nipple. The bottles with an internal vent system typically have more parts, which means more time spent cleaning these bottles. The ones with air vent holes on the nipple tend to have fewer parts, and still are rather effective. This is something you may want to consider when purchasing.
If you’re like me, having a bottle that I need to scrub clean with various tools and spend five minutes putting together and taking apart may be an unnecessary hassle. Also, if you don’t put it together right, it can leak milk all over you and your baby.
But, if your baby loves everything about the bottle, and it reduces their digestive pain, then perhaps spending some extra minutes cleaning wouldn’t be an issue for you.
Shape Might Matter
Doctors highly recommend breastfeeding or bottle-feeding breast milk, especially with preemies since they need all the nutrients to develop into a healthy toddler. If you’re alternating between breast and bottle feeding, having a wide-neck bottle that mimics (or as close as possible) the mother’s nipple is ideal.
If you are like me and have to go back to work, you may be pumping night and day. As we all know, babies get used to what they like, and when they don’t have it, there are consequences.
I used to drop my baby off at daycare and pray that she would take her bottle. She was slightly underweight, and I wanted to make sure she would get the amount she needed. At the time, she struggled with bottles we were using, and when we switched to ones that were shaped more like my natural breast, she was a happy camper and a good eater.
So, having a bottle that was the approximate shape and width of my nipple greatly improved our experience during feeding time, reducing the confusion and frustration of our baby.
Another bonus of the wide-neck design is that it’s easier to clean. You can get in there with a sponge or towel and get any residue out easier than a narrower bottle.
In addition to the shape of the nipple and mouth, the shape of the bottle itself may make a difference in comfort, especially for you. Some bottles have indentations, making it easier for you to hold. I would sometimes spend 30 minutes trying to hold the bottle in the right position so my baby wouldn’t fuss and having a convenient way to hold a tiny bottle made things a little easier.
What’s It Made Of?
Another thing to keep in mind is not only the shape but the material. Some nipples that are wide-mouthed and designed to look like a natural breast are made from stiff plastic. This may be difficult for the baby to latch on and take to.
Ones that are silicone, soft, or a bit bendy tend to be more natural and might work easier for little newborn babies. When switching from breast to bottle, anything to trick them into thinking it’s your nipple is ideal, and the material may help with this transition.
Additionally, you may have some health concerns about harmful chemicals released from plastics. Fortunately, BPA in plastic baby bottles was banned in 2012 and is no longer allowed to be manufactured in any baby bottle products made or sold in the US. Have no fear! All baby bottle products being sold here are considered safe by the EPA for you to use, heat up, and feed to your baby.
My Top Preemie Bottle Reviews
Okay, now that we’ve covered all the bases, here are my preemie bottle reviews.
This Dr. Brown’s bottle has all the features that a preemie might need.
It includes a preemie-flow nipple that will give your baby the right flow of milk so as not to cause irritation to their tummy and lead to digestive issues. This also allows the baby to drink at their own pace, making feeding more pleasant for everyone involved.
The bottle is also designed to help preserve the vitamins and minerals in the milk. These are incredibly critical, especially for the health and development of a premature baby.
Fully-vented, this bottle is designed to reduce the air that the baby consumes during feeding time. That means less gas that both you and baby have to deal with, and perhaps reduce the amount of spit-up.
The wide-neck design and natural nipple make the baby feel it is not much different than mommy’s breast, which may make things go a bit smoother if your little one is used to breastfeeding.
Also, because of the wide-neck, it’s easier to get in there and clean the bottle. On the other hand, there are many parts to the bottle, which can make cleaning a bit of a hassle.
Aside from this, some people experience leakage from this bottle, perhaps because of putting the parts together the wrong way. This can be the downfall of having a bottle with many parts. There is more room for error and putting parts together carefully is not always a top priority when you’re rushing around trying to juggle everything!
Regardless, most people have found this bottle to be an excellent choice for their premature babies who have gastrointestinal issues and struggle with colic or other similar conditions.
A natural way to bottle feed, this Phillips Avent gets great reviews for creating a baby bottle that mimics the shape of a nipple.
The silicone material is soft and may be less confusing for the baby to latch on to. If you are switching from breast to bottle-feeding, this could make things a bit easier.
The First Flow nipple is perfect for a preemie in that it allows for a slow milk flow for babies with small, sensitive tummies.
There is an anti-colic valve to help reduce air bubbles, although some have mentioned that this doesn’t actually prevent colic the way that some other bottles with more sophisticated vent systems do. If your preemie baby struggles with colic, you may want to consider a bottle with a more tried and true vent system.
As far as the design goes, the bottles are ergonomic in shape, easy to hold, and very lightweight. This might be the perfect size for your preemie or small baby. The nipple has a specific spiral design with comfort petals, which makes the nipple move in a more natural way.
This bottle has very few parts, is super easy to clean, and the wide-mouth makes getting in there to clean out all the residue a piece of cake. Some mention that this bottle can be a bit leaky, which could make things a bit messier.
Another Dr. Brown’s model, this bottle is tiny sized for a preemie or newborn. Because it is so small, it allows the smallest feeding portion. This is good if your preemie can only drink so much in one feeding, and from what we have discussed, they are limited.
Another plus is that there are gradient markings that make identifying the amount they are drinking very clear. With a preemie, you have to monitor how much they are drinking closely, since they need extra nutrients to develop at a normal rate.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had plenty of tiny transparent gradient lines that I can hardly read without a magnifying glass. I’ve even had to draw over gradient lines on my baby’s bottles with a sharpie because they weren’t clear.
A preemie-friendly nipple allows for a slow flow of milk so as not to cause digestive problems for their tiny intestines. Although, because there are no vents in this bottle, your baby will take in some air while they are feeding. For babies that have gas or colic, this may exacerbate their issues, making post-feeding time a bit of a nightmare.
The nipples are not wide-mouthed, and are not made to resemble a natural nipple. If you are alternating between breast and bottle-feeding, this could make things more challenging.
This Comotomo Baby Bottle is another one designed to mimic breastfeeding. For us, having a bottle that closely resembled the shape of a natural breast and nipple helped me and my baby get through feeding time a breeze.
The wide-mouth design may make latching on easier for your little one and are highly recommended for their easy to clean quality. This is especially a big bonus for a bottle with vents; there are not too many parts and it’s hassle-free to get in there and clean thoroughly.
There are two vents to reduce the amount of air, which is great for kids who have colic or digestive issues after feeding. Less gas, less fuss!
In regard to the shape, the mouth is so wide and the bottom is so narrow that it tends to tip over easily, which could be a bit of a pain when you’re preparing a bottle.
Unfortunately, a few have mentioned that there is sometimes leakage where the vent meets the nipple. This could also be because the parts are not put together right, or there is blockage and it needs more cleaning, so you may need to take extra care.
This bottle has a slow-flow nipple, and as I mentioned, for a preemie baby who needs a limited amount at a time, this is critical.
Made of silicone, the bottle is squeezable, which may help if you need to give it a bit of a squeeze for babies that can’t latch on easily. It is easy to grip and hold, so you won’t have a bottle that slips around.
Advertised as “the anti-colic bottle” with an internal vent system, this Dr. Brown’s bottle is designed to be easy on your baby’s stomach by reducing gas.
It is specifically designed for premature babies and gives 47 percent less milk flow than a level one nipple or teat.
This has been effective in helping preemies drink at their own pace and reducing the symptoms of colic and gas after feeding.
Unlike some of the other designs, this bottle doesn’t have a wide-mouth, or mimic a natural breast the same way as some of the other bottles.
If you are switching from breast to bottle-feeding, it may be a bit of an extra challenge. Who knows. One of my babies was super picky, while the other would drink out of nearly anything that had milk in it.
At the same time, many have said this bottle works great for their preemie, so if you are convinced, why not give it a try.
It has only a couple parts, so it may not be a super pain to clean. However, because it has a narrow mouth, getting in there may be a bit of a struggle, and may be frustrating unless you have a handy tool, but even still.
This Tommee Tippee bottle is another good option if you are switching from breast to bottle or want to attempt both. The smooth silicone and natural flexibility of the nipple mimic mommy’s breast, and makes latching on easy for baby.
A valve is included to prevent air from entering, which is good for premature babies that often experience colic and digestive issues. Although, some complain that there are quite a few air bubbles unless you hold it at a certain angle, and their babies still suffer from gas.
This bottle gets all the stars for having minimal parts and a super wide-mouth to scrub clean. Don’t you hate having to use a tool to get inside a bottle to clean it? I know I do.
It has a slow flow nipple, so the baby doesn’t drink too fast. With a preemie, slow flow or extra slow flow will be the most gentle on your baby’s stomach, and will be your best shot at ensuring they eat comfortably.
The Closer to Nature bottle is wider at the top than the bottom. The name “Tippee” may or may not be related to the fact that the design means this thing will tip easily.
Easy to grip, this bottle has three different ways to hold it for comfort. I don’t know about you, but it seemed like when my boy was a tiny newborn, he needed his bottle held at a certain angle. My arm would get so tired and although having a convenient way to grip the bottle at different angles seems like an unnecessary detail, it makes a difference.
This is another bottle that is designed to mimic mommy’s breast as closely as possible. Let’s be honest, the transition from breast to bottle-feeding is never easy, so having something resemble your breast is seemingly necessary, especially with an extra picky baby. Or you may be wanting to combo feed to ensure your preemie is getting enough milk.
The wide-mouth nipple makes cleaning easy peasy. You can just stick your hand right in and clean without struggling with tools and sponges. As far as sanitizing goes, boiling this thing will definitely warp it, so be careful.
The material is thick, and not a flimsy or bendy plastic. Though they are thick, they seem to crack easily, in which case they need to be replaced.
Easy to grip with a small indention makes holding it for your baby a little easier.
There are little airway holes that help to reduce the amount of air. A slow flow helps to reduce the pace of the feeding, which could minimize colic suffering.
With tight lids, this bottle stays on securely without leaking. However, the nipples don’t spin and are challenging to pop on and off. This can be a bit tricky and could leave you breaking a nail or two, or the bottle!
This Dr. Brown’s Options+ is different than many of the other bottles for preemies in that it has a narrow nipple.
The bottle is fully-vented to help preserve the nutrients while at the same time reducing air intake and issues leading to colic.
The nipples are slow flow and great for preemies to make sure they don’t drink too fast for their little bellies. It’s easy for them to latch on and drink at their own pace.
Storage caps are included, which make travel and storing in your bag much easier and keeps the nipple clean. It is always nice to have a cap to throw on it before putting in the fridge.
A bonus, these bottles come with a Dr. Brown’s soft silicone pacifier for after or before feeding.
Everything is dishwasher and sterilizer safe, so you don’t need to worry about it warping in hot water. There are quite a few parts, though, which doesn’t make cleaning the most straightforward task. One nice perk is that it comes with a little cleaning brush to get into those tiny crevices.
One downside is that these bottles are known to leak, in the bag and even during feeding, so you may have everything smelling like old milk after a while—yikes, not a great smell.
Founded by breastfeeding moms, Lansinoh makes a bottle that also is designed to be like a natural nipple. It reduces nipple confusion and will maybe trick your baby into bottle-feeding without noticing they’re not attached to you.
The venting system reduces the amount of air, so your preemie won’t suffer so much from digestive issues and gas. That’s a relief, because a baby with colic is no fun for anyone.
It doesn’t have many parts and is super easy to clean, which can cut down your time doing dishes and ensure that it’s thoroughly sanitized.
The slow flow is designed for a newborn but might be too fast for some preemies. Keep this in mind if your baby suffers already from digestive issues. Their little stomach might not be able to handle it right away.
The cap is flat, so you can even set it down on its side without it rolling away. It doesn’t spill and is pretty durable, although the purple ring around the nipple may crack easily, especially if it gets thrown onto a hard floor. However, I think you risk that with almost any bottle.
Another Tommee Tippee bottle design, this one is designed specifically for preemies. There is an extra slow flow nipple that regulates the flow of milk.
Some parents had complained that the other version of the bottle and nipple design flowed a bit too fast. They came out with this design for preemies. Some people consider this a lifesaver because, as you know, making sure your baby is well-fed and happy becomes your life.
As a mother, I have been through the struggle of transitioning to bottle-feeding, especially with my little girl. She would often choke on the milk if it flowed too fast, and she used to get really gassy and cranky after feeding.
With this bottle, the valve is vented to reduce air, and once again, reduce colic and digestive issues that preemies typically experience. And, hopefully, no choking on their milk!
Unlike some bottles that have five different parts to clean and take apart, this one has just a few and is easy to clean. It’s dishwasher and sanitizer safe, so cleaning can be made even easier.
A wide-mouth nipple resembles a natural nipple and helps with the transition of breast to bottle-feeding. However, the material is a bit hard and does not have the same feel as a natural nipple like some silicone and bendy materials.
As far as the shape of the bottle, it is the exact same as the other Tommee Tippee above in that it has three easy to hold positions.
This product comes with a Closer to Nature Milk Storage pot for mothers to pump directly into before filling up the bottle.
One pitfall is that, in order to get this extra flow nipple, you have to buy the whole bottle. So if you only need replacement nipples, you’ll end up with a bunch more models.
And We Have A Winner!
For me, the winner is Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle for Preemies. A design based on the research of Dr. Brown, a renowned pediatrician, this bottle is excellent for feeding a tiny little tummy.
The special slow-flow nipple and fully vented bottle will reduce any digestive issues like colic that preemies are prone to. The wide-mouth option is designed to look and feel more like a natural breast and may help you in your transition from breast to bottle-feeding.
For a preemie, their digestion is super important, and to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. I think the Dr. Brown’s bottle makes a great choice.
I hope that these reviews can help you decide what the best bottle is for your preemie!