Having a premature baby is a scary time in any parent’s life. While it can be hard, it is important to remember that caring for a premature baby is different than caring for a baby born at a healthy weight. From the diapers you have to purchase to the specially made formula you have to use; everything changes. This means that you should also purchase baby bottles that are best for your little one. Bottles that are specially designed for a premature baby often are fitted with more appropriate sized nipples for smaller mouths as well as easy flow nipples because many premature babies have a hard time sucking.
How to Properly Feed a Premature Baby
Premature babies require a special amount of attention in order to help with their development. This is especially important when it comes to feeding time. Here are some tips to keep your baby happy and healthy during feeding time
- Make sure that the bottles are properly cleaned and sanitized and also that your hands are clean before feeding. Premature baby’s immune systems may not be fully developed so be sure to keep all things germ free.
- Keep your baby comfortable. Sucking and swallowing may be a little more difficult for a preemie, so keep them in a comfortable upright position to help the flow of milk.
- Always use fresh milk. Once your baby develops a little more it is perfectly fine to start storing and warming up milk but for the time being try to use only fresh breastmilk or formula. By doing this you are making sure that no bacteria has grown.
- Follow feeding instructions given to you by your child’s pediatrician. Make sure to follow these steps from how to prepare your child’s formula to the position you should feed them in.
Here are some of the best bottles for premature babies that will not only help ease the feeding process but will help ease your already worried mind.
Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature First Feed Bottle
These lightweight bottles are perfect for newborns because they were specially designed for even the smallest of babies. The nipples of the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Feed Bottle feature a slow drip opening which allows milk to flow at a slower rate than traditional bottles. This helps to control the amount of milk that your premature baby will be swallowing so they don’t get overwhelmed with too much milk too quickly. This also keeps them from swallowing too much air because preemies are more prone to colic and acid reflux which can be uncomfortable and often times painful.
This bottle is insulated with a milk chamber that keeps the milk at the perfect room temperature. The special chamber is also designed to allow you to pump directly into the bottle which reduces the need for any additional storage supplies which lessens the chance of cross-contamination. The curved texture of the Tommee Tippee bottle also promotes healthy habits. The texture and grip allows your child to easily start to grasp and grip at the bottle which can help them reaching their milestones a little faster. All of the features found in the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle that make it one of the best baby bottles for premature babies are:
- Slowest flow nipple
- Storage pot for easy transition from pump to bottle
- Curved natural feel design
- Large base nipple that mimics mother’s breast
- Easy-vent valve for proper air flow
- Quick latch to help your child build their feeding confidence
- BPA free plastic
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature First Feed Bottle is a 5 oz bottle which is the perfect amount of milk for a smaller infant feeding. Overall this is a great option as a starter bottle for any newborn due to their development promoting features.
Brown’s Polypropylene Bottles with Replacement Preemie Nipples
The Dr. Brown line of bottles is an amazing bottle set for any newborn, especially preemies. They are also great when it comes to a budget friendly option because once your baby grows out of the premature nipple size, you can easily replace them with a larger size. This means you can reuse these bottles all the way up to your child’s first birthday and beyond. The Dr. Brown bottles feature an innovative straw design running through the center of the bottle which controls the flow of air and milk. This straw prevents the milk from mixing with the air which causes air bubbles. Swallowing air bubbles leads to colic and extreme digestion discomfort which is the last thing any preemie needs.
These BPA free bottles are a breeze to clean because they are dishwasher safe which makes sanitizing extremely easy as well. The preemie sized nipples allow for the perfect amount of milk to be dispensed. Premature babies have extra small stomachs that can only handle a little bit of milk at a time because their digestive system has a hard time breaking down the proteins. That’s why these 2 ounce bottles are the perfect size for them! All of the features that come along with the Dr. Brown’s Polypropylene Bottles are:
- Anti-vacuum straw
- Premature sized nipples
- 2 ounce size
- BPA and toxic free polypropylene plastic
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Prevents colic and acid reflux
Dr. Brown bottles were designed by a licensed doctor so you can be sure you are doing your best for your premature baby. The safe and effective anti-vacuum system is what truly sets this bottle system apart from the rest making it some of the best bottles for premature babies available today.
Baby King Preemie 2oz Bottle
The Baby King Preemie 2oz Bottles are adorable well constructed bottles that were made with preemies in mind. These little 2 ounce bottles are made out of BPA free plastic and are tiny enough for growing little hands. They feature a small straw underneath the nipple with helps with milk and air flow.
The best part about these little bottles is the adorable patterns you get them in. You either can choose from the precious little ballerina design or the light blue sport pattern meaning that you can customize it to your child’s style. All the features found in the Baby King Preemie 2oz Bottle are:
- Miniature straw system
- Easy latch nipples
- Adorable choice of pattern
- Easy hold
- Pediatrician trusted
Phillips AVENT Natural BPA Free Polypropylene Bottle for Newborn, 2 oz
Last on the list are the Phillip AVENT 2oz bottles. AVENT bottles have been highly trusted and recommended among parents and pediatricians for years. These bottles claim to have the most natural feel and shape making it easier for even the tiniest of mouths to latch on and stay latched. The effective anti-colic system in these bottles works to keep air out of your little one’s tummy. This not only helps keep gas low but also will lessen the chance of spit up so you can be sure your child is receiving enough nutrients to grow and develop.
The wide neck opening to the top of the Phillips AVENT 2 oz bottles makes them easy to clean and sanitize. The soft texture nipples are easy on the mouth while the slow flow opening offers a slower and more controlled flow of milk. Many of the features and add-ons that you can find in these wonderful little bottles are:
- Polypropylene BPA free plastic
- 2 oz bottle size
- Slow flow nipples
- Three piece system that is easy to clean
- Dishwasher safe
- Anti- colic design
- Natural feel wide base nipples
Overall the AVENT Natural BPA Free Bottles are an excellent choice for preemie baby feeding. Backed by the Phillips trusted brand and years of high praise and reviews, you are guaranteed to be satisfied.
What to Do If Your Child Won’t Feed
If you’re still having a hard time feeding your child it might not only be the type of bottle you are using. Many times it has to do with your child not staying latched. If this is the case, look for a bottle with a wide mouth comfort nipple because those are the best for promoting proper latching. Sometimes the problem is as simple as your child not being in a comfortable position. Feeding a child and finding the right position for them is full of trial and error, so keep trying! If you still feel that your premature baby isn’t getting enough to eat, you should always check with their pediatrician.
As long as you stay the course and stay vigilant and aware, caring for a premature baby does not have to be such a scary thing. At the end of the day, feeding your child is still an amazing time to bond and get to know one another. You might be surprised to learn that the comfort a baby feels from their parent may sometimes be the best medicine. Good luck.