You need special care and precaution when feeding premature babies. And to do this, you can’t just pick out regular baby bottles.
If you are one of those parents who has one, you’ve come to the right place!
I hope you’ll find this article helpful in choosing the best bottles for preemies!
What is a Preemie Baby Bottle and Why Use One?
Premature babies are often admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) right after their delivery.
They receive the nutrition they need before sending them home with their new parents.
Breastfeeding may not be enough to supply premature babies with the nutrition that they need.
They can have a hard time latching onto the breast as well as trouble sucking and swallowing. This is where the importance of preemie bottles comes in.
The best bottles for preemies are designed specifically to assist them with getting the nourishment they need.
Feeding using a preemie bottle allows you to monitor how much milk premature babies drink.
Top 8 Bottles for Premature Babies
Aside from breastfeeding, bottle feeding is the only other way to feed preemie babies.
The following are the 8 best preemie baby bottles I recommend that I have tested to give my preemie baby the nutrition he needs.
1. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle
My best overall pick is the best starter bundle for preemies.
Whether transitioning from breastfeeding to bottle feeding or simply starting with bottle feeding, you can start with this bottle set.
Both its nipple and shape mimic a mom’s breast. Its silicone nipple is soft and flexible.
The bottle itself has a wider top and a narrow bottom. Because of this, you can hold this product in three different ways.
It is EASY to grip, which makes it easy for mommies to hold on to and for babies to latch onto. This bottle ensures safety for preemies as it is made of BPA-free, safe materials.
On top of this, its slower-flow nipple has a valve that prevents air from entering as your baby drinks.
Capacity: 5 ounces or 9 ounces
ALSO TRY: Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Feed Bottle
This Tommee Tippee product is designed specifically for preemies. It has the same bottle design but features an extra slow-flow nipple.
However, if you only want replacement nipples for the extra slow-flow nipple, you must buy the entire product set.
- A wide mouth makes it easy to clean
- Comes with an anti-colic nipple valve
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Specifically designed to mimic mom’s breast
- Bottle design makes it tip easily
- Air bubbles may still enter unless held at a certain angle
2. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Preemie Baby Bottle
Dr. Brown’s brand has been known to manufacture many of the best bottles for feeding newborns.
Their Natural Flow Preemie Baby Bottle is my choice for the best value. I’m sure many preemie mommies agree with me, as it is the most popular in the market.
It is specifically designed to preserve the nutrients found in milk. It is also fully vented, so my little one never experienced much spit-up while using this product.
It comes with a preemie-flow nipple that gives premature babies a consistent flow of milk at the right amount. This prevents indigestion from happening.
In terms of cleaning this bottle, its wide-neck design makes it easy to clean thoroughly.
The downside to this is that the bottle comes in many parts. This means that there are also many pieces to wash and clean.
Capacity: 2 ounces
- Wide neck and natural nipple to mimic mommy’s breast
- The traditional shape fits in most pumps
- Includes a 2-piece internal vent system
- PVC, lead, and BPA-free
- Tubing is difficult to clean
- Error in putting parts together causes leakage
3. Playtex Baby Ventaire Anti-Colic Bottle
My best budget pick is the Playtex Baby Ventaire Anti-Colic Bottle.
It comes in a set of five bottles. Three bottles have a 6-ounce capacity, while two bottles have a 9-ounce capacity.
It also comes with two nipples of different flow rates. I could use the bigger bottles and the medium-flow nipples as my little one grew.
Aside from the extra nipples, the set comes with other spare items, such as discs and caps. I find the Playtex bottles very easy to assemble!
The Playtex Anti-Colic Bottles feature Ventaire technology. The bottom of every bottle has a cap with small air holes.
The holes redirect air away from the milk and through them. If your preemie gulps as they eat, this should prevent reflux and colic.
Another reflux prevention that this product has is its angled design. It promotes upright feeding so that the bottle itself is naturally angled toward the head of the baby.
This provided me with so much comfort when I fed my baby. I did not have to tilt the bottle as I did with the other bottles.
Capacity: 6 ounces and 9 ounces
- An order comes with 5 bottles of two different volumes
- Includes medium flow and slow flow nipples
- Made of BPA-free plastic
- Nipples included may tear easily
- Bottles cannot be purchased separately
4. Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle
Philips Avent is another brand that manufactures the best bottles for newborns. In my opinion, their Natural Baby Bottle has the best nipple size.
Its First Flow nipple is carefully designed to provide you with a natural way to bottle feed. It has a flexible spiral design with comfort petals for the nipple to move more naturally.
Aside from its slow milk flow, it is also made with soft silicone material, which makes it great for transitioning premature babies.
The Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle itself is made of BPA-free polypropylene. It is lightweight with an easy-to-hold design.
This is one of the best bottles that feature an anti-colic valve. It helped reduce bubbles in my baby’s milk intake.
But if your little one struggles with more extreme colic, the best bottle for your baby might be the one with a more sophisticated vent system.
Capacity: 4 ounces
- Comes with a natural and wide-mouth nipple
- The nipple is flexible but does not collapse mid-feed
- Only has a few parts for easy cleaning
- Good and comfortable grip
- Does not completely block out air bubbles
- Misalignment causes leakage
5. Dr. Brown’s 15 CC First Feeder Bottle System with a Preemie Level Nipple
Another one of Dr. Brown’s best bottles is its 15 CC First Feeder Bottle System.
It has the smallest feeding volume out of everything I’ve tested, but it is the best BPA-free product for me.
It is REUSABLE until how many times you wish! You won’t even have to worry about your bottle releasing toxic chemicals into the milk you bottle-feed your little one later on.
If your preemie baby doesn’t drink much milk, I suggest you get this product. It has clear gradient markings to measure the milk in your baby bottle.
The bottle may be small, but you won’t need a magnifying glass to read the markings on your bottle.
I consider this bottle the most basic bottle for preemies. Aside from its small volume, this bottle does not feature vents to prevent gas or colic.
Its nipple is also not especially shaped to resemble a natural nipple. Transitioning from breast to bottle feeding would be difficult with this bottle.
It is best to use this for premature newborn babies instead.
Capacity: 0.5 ounce
- Features smaller portions that prevent spoilage of excess milk
- Has clear gradient markings from 1 cc to 15 cc
- Comes with a slow-flow nipple
- BPA-free, not from natural rubber latex
- The nipple is not wide-mouthed
- No air bubble vent
6. Comotomo Baby Bottle
For me, this is the best for breastfed babies transitioning to bottles. It is designed to mimic breastfeeding and prevent nipple confusion up to the feel of the bottle itself.
Comotomo Baby Bottles are squeezable and made of medical-grade silicone, unlike the other usual glass or plastic bottles.
A squeezable bottle is best for babies who cannot latch on easily. It is also lightweight and easy to grip.
It features two vents that allow less gas to prevent colic and digestive issues. The dual vents promote air circulation and consistent flow as your baby drinks.
Capacity: 5 ounces
- Silicone bottle does not slip easily
- Easy to clean even without a brush
- Comes with a slow-flow nipple
- BPA-free and microwave safe
- A wide mouth and narrow bottom make the product tip over easily
- Leakage and blockage can occur
7. Dr. Brown’s 60ml Feeding Bottle With Preemie Teat
Referred to as “the anti-colic bottle,” Dr. Brown’s 60ml Feeding Bottle with Preemie Teat has an internal vent system.
It facilitates an extra slow flow of milk for feeding preemies.
Specifically, it gives 47 percent less milk flow than level-one nipples or teats, which is how the bottle is specifically designed to prevent colic and gas after feeding.
In terms of ergonomic design, it has a narrow mouth that offers a comfortable grip.
However, I had to use a bottle cleaner brush to thoroughly clean the bottom of this product. It’s good that this bottle does not have many parts to clean.
Capacity: 2 ounces
- Has a patented internal vent system
- The effective slow-flow nipple that reduces air intake
- Does not have many parts to clean
- Has a universal bottle threading that fits most pumps
- A narrow mouth is difficult to clean
- Not for transitioning preemies
8. Boon Nursh Silicone Pouch Bottle
The best lightweight bottle for me is the one from Boon Nursh. It has a 4-ounce capacity and weighs less than 100 grams.
Another amazing thing about this product is how it collapses as your preemie sucks, which is how it reduces the air intake in every feed.
It is HIGHLY effective in preventing colic and painful gas for your preemie!
It is PVC- and BPA-free as it is made of 100 percent baby-safe silicone.
As such, it is easy to clean! It is also dishwasher-safe and can be boiled, microwaved, frozen, and sterilized.
This product has a naturally-shaped nipple with just the right length for tongue positioning. It is easy to latch onto, making it great for transitioning preemies.
As a bonus, it comes in cute bright colors that babies and parents love.
Capacity: 4 ounces
- Innovative anti-colic design that is also easy to grip
- Set of 3 bright colors bottles
- Mimic mommy’s breasts
- Easy to keep and easy to wash
- Its nipple is a bit hard
- No vents or valves
What is a Preemie?
A preemie is a premature or preterm baby. Their birth occurs between the 20th – 37th weeks of gestation.
Premature babies are born more underdeveloped than full-term babies.
They put up with a higher risk of disability and death, meaning they need EXTRA care, specific feeding, and, thus, a special preemie bottle.
EXTRA TIP: Most babies prefer to consume warm milk, so choosing a baby bottle warmer could be a huge help!
How to Choose a Preemie Bottle
You can’t just pick any baby bottle to feed your preemie with. You must look into the following features to ensure that you’re feeding your preemie correctly.
Know the Flow
Check the flow rate of the product you’re getting.
Slow flow is better for preemies as they can’t digest breast milk or formula at the same flow rate as full-term babies.
Less Air, More Care
Make sure that you choose a product that prevents air intake. Either its nipple, bottom, or both should have built-in air vents.
It should have another mechanism to reduce colic and gas in every feed if it doesn’t.
Think Big… Or Small
Premature babies should drink less but more frequently. Because of this, the size of your bottle MATTERS.
A bigger capacity product is unnecessary if your baby doesn’t drink much. Filling it with extra milk may only lead to spoilage.
The Material Matters
Choose a product that is made of safe, organic materials. Look for products made of medical-grade silicone, BPA-free plastic, and other dishwasher-safe materials.
Remember that your baby may take in the toxic materials of the product you’re choosing as they feed.
Friendly-reminder to sanitize all your baby containers with a quality dish soap and water!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Preemie Bottle Nipples?
Yes! Preemie bottles have their corresponding slow-flow nipples.
Preemie babies are still learning to coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing. Slow-flow nipples facilitate a consistent flow, so your little one does not choke.
They are made of soft materials for gentleness and food-grade silicone for non-toxicity.
How Much Milk Should a Premature Baby Drink?
Preemie babies usually need 150 to 160 ml of milk per kilogram of their weight every day. This often totals 350 to 450 ml of formula or milk at the end of the day.
However, the nutritional needs of your preemie change as they grow. It is best to seek the advice of a lactation consultant or pediatrician.
Do Preemie Nipples Flow Slower?
Yes, they are generally designed that way. Preemies often eat slowly.
The slower flow rate of preemie baby bottles should mimic breastfeeding and ensure that your baby feeds comfortably. It also avoids choking hazards.
How Do I Know Which Flow Rate to Choose for My Preemie’s Bottle?
Your baby’s age and where they currently are in their development stage determines the best flow rate of the preemie bottle’s nipple.
I understand this may be difficult to gauge, so the best advice I can give is to consult your pediatrician.
Can Preemie Bottles Be Used for Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding?
Yes, some preemie bottles can be used for breastfeeding as they are designed to mimic the feel of their mother’s breast.
Consult your pediatrician on when to best switch from breastfeeding to preemie bottle-feeding and vice versa.
How Do Venting Systems in Preemie Bottles Help Reduce Colic and Gas?
When babies suck on bottles, air gets trapped in the nipple, which causes the baby to suck it along with the milk, causing gas problems.
These vents help reroute the air from coming out so that the baby sucks milk only.
My Favorite Picks
I’ve tried using many of the best baby bottles on the market. Many share similarities, but each product has its pros and cons.
Out of everything that I’ve tested, the following are my top picks:
The most economical set for me is the Playtex Baby Ventaire Anti-Colic Bottle. It comes in five bottles with different capacities and nipple flow rates.
All the bottles are designed to reduce colic, but I was able to use the bigger capacity bottles and the faster flow nipples as my little one grew.
On top of this, the set came with extra discs and caps because, I admit, taking care of a preemie with special needs involves many items for different purposes.
It is easy to lose some items in the process.
In terms of value, the best product for me is Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Preemie Baby Bottle. It is reasonably priced while offering the essential features that a preemie needs.
It has a wide-neck bottle and a slow-flow nipple that make it easy to supplement breastfeeding with bottle feeding to ensure that your preemie gets enough nutrition.
My personal favorite is the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Baby Bottle. Aside from being affordable, its anti-colic design decreases spit-up, burping, and gas.
It also has a multi-way grip and is dishwasher-safe. These features made feeding and cleaning so much easier for me.
I hope this list of the best baby bottles helped you decide which ones you should try out for your baby!
I’m sure new parents will agree with me when I say that choosing the right bottle for your newborn, more so for preemies requires a lot of consideration.
Babies, in general, need special attention, and each has specific needs.
Don’t be afraid to test different bottles until you find the right bottle for your preemie.
FINAL TIP: After choosing a baby bottle, you will need to pair it with formula. I put together this buying guide on healthy, organic baby formulas just for your convenience!