Best Teats for Premature Babies

Everyone imagines that their baby will be born healthy and without complication, but that’s not always the case. It is important that you are prepared for the unexpected, including early delivery. Since these little babies require a bit of special care, you need a list of the best teats for premature babies.

Let’s Talk about Premature Babies

What is Considered Premature?

(Source: The Star)

(Source: The Star)

Babies are considered premature when they are born before 37 weeks of gestation (full term is 40 weeks). These babies are tiny and often require a lot of medical attention due to their underdeveloped systems and organs.

There are certain factors that can increase your risk for preterm labor and delivery, including preeclampsia, vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy, or if you are carrying multiples (i.e. twins).

Thankfully, with modern technology, doctors can interfere to a degree and possibly stop preterm contractions for a short time to help strengthen your baby before delivery.

Hospitals are also equipped with state of the art NICU’s (neonatal intensive care units) that will monitor and feed your baby as well as help them grow until they are ready to go home.

Why do I Need Special Teats for a Premature Baby?

Due to their size and underdeveloped reflexes, premature babies often struggle with breastfeeding or drinking from regular bottles. The teats are too large to maintain a good latch and the flow is often too fast.

Bottle nipples made specifically for preemies are smaller and have a slower flow, allowing them to feed from a bottle and receive the same nutrients they would get from breastfeeding (if you are breast pumping).

Further read: 5 Best Bottles to Reduce Gas

Can I Breastfeed My Premature Baby?

(Source: Hand to Hold)

(Source: Hand to Hold)

It is not entirely impossible to breastfeed a premature baby, but it does come with several challenges.

Most premature babies will need to start on a feeding tube before they are able to take a breast or bottle.

Until a baby is 32 weeks old (gestation age), they cannot coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing, and babies born before 37 weeks (i.e. premature) aren’t strong enough to take in food by the mouth.

Oftentimes, mothers are discharged from the hospital before their preemie babies. This also creates a challenge as the mother is not always present to feed the baby, whether it’s from the breast of the bottle.

This is why most mothers who wish to breastfeed their premature babies will start by pumping.

As soon as the baby is born, these mothers will begin breastfeeding. This establishes a supply even though the baby isn’t nursing directly from the breast and it gives the mother hospital support to pump properly and often.

Once the baby reaches the age that they can coordinate their sucking, swallowing, and breathing, they can start on a bottle to get used to the motion of feeding and the taste of breastmilk.

This will help tremendously when it is time to take the baby home and switch feedings over completely to the breast.

Further reading: How to make breastmilk fattier? 8 easy method to do it.

How to Choose the Best Teat for Your Premature Baby

➡️Size

Obviously, premature babies have very small mouths, so standard bottle teats are often too wide or long.

The right preemie bottle nipple should be small enough to fit while maintaining a good latch.

➡️Softness

(Source: Blowout Medical)

(Source: Blowout Medical)

Premature babies are also not very strong. Some bottle teats are designed very well in order to simulate breastfeeding. However, these are often too rigid for little preemie mouths. Look for something that is soft and flexible.

➡️Shape

Even though preemie bottle teats are smaller and softer than the standard ones, you still want it to be as breast-like as possible. You do not want to create a bad latch or bad feeding habits that will transfer over when you start breastfeeding.

➡️Flow

(Source: Blowout Medical)

(Source: NUK)

Another problem with standard bottle teats is the milk flow.

Even slow flow nipples tend to be too fast for little preemies to keep up with. Special preemie teats often come in an extra slow flow, which is easier for them to drink from.

➡️Ventilation

Due to their underdeveloped digestive system, premature babies may be more prone to gas buildup.

A bottle nipple with the right ventilation can keep your baby from swallowing too much air and prevent excess gas and spit-up, and reduce colic.

➡️Price

As with any purchase, you need to consider the cost of your investment.

Preemie bottle nipples won’t be used for long, but you will still need quite a few due to the frequency of feeding.

Calculate how much you will be spending per teat before making a decision.

Best Teats for Premature Babies

Preview
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
Recommended
Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
Title
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
Net Weight
22.2 oz
34.9 oz
22 oz
19.8 oz
23.2 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
40
56
35
31
43
Contents
30% lactose, soy lecithin, corn maltodextrin
milk protein isolate, soy products, corn syrup
14% soy protein isolate, corn syrup
17% milk whey, corn syrup
milk protein, soy lecithin, corn syrup
Consistency
slightly foamy and clumpy
smooth
smooth
mixed opinions
foamy
Prime
Price
$6.39
$5.99
$5.99
$6.99
$5.29
Preview
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
Title
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
Net Weight
22.2 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
40
Contents
30% lactose, soy lecithin, corn maltodextrin
Consistency
slightly foamy and clumpy
Prime
Price
$6.39
Preview
Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
Title
Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
Net Weight
34.9 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
56
Contents
milk protein isolate, soy products, corn syrup
Consistency
smooth
Prime
Price
$5.99
Preview
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
Title
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
Net Weight
22 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
35
Contents
14% soy protein isolate, corn syrup
Consistency
smooth
Prime
Price
$5.99
Recommended
Preview
Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
Title
Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
Net Weight
19.8 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
31
Contents
17% milk whey, corn syrup
Consistency
mixed opinions
Prime
Price
$6.99
Preview
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
Title
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
Net Weight
23.2 oz
# of Bottles (4-oz)
43
Contents
milk protein, soy lecithin, corn syrup
Consistency
foamy
Prime
Price
$5.29

1

Dr. Brown’s Original

Sale
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
3,142 Reviews
Dr. Brown's Original Nipple, Preemie (0m+),6 count
  • Slowest-flow nipple works with internal vent system for paced feeding
  • Each Preemie Flow nipple has same consistent flow, so both you and baby know what to expect
  • Made of super-soft, high-grade silicone

The favorite bottle of pediatricians and parents alike – Dr. Brown’s Original – also sells their nipple separately, and they even have preemie and ultra preemie sizes.

When paired with Dr. Brown’s bottle, the internal vent system prevents colic, spit-up, burping, and gas.


It is recommended that you only use these teats with Dr. Brown’s bottle since they don’t work well without the ventilation system and are known to leak.

The teats are made with 100% silicone that is soft and flexible, and the flow of the preemie and ultra preemie sizes is just right for a premature baby (ultra preemie is 35% slower).

These nipples are also affordable at roughly $1.00 per preemie nipple and $1.80 per ultra preemie.

PROS

  • Come in preemie and ultra preemie size
  • check
    Ultra preemie is 35% slower flow
  • Cost efficient

CONS:

  • Only works well with Dr. Brown’s bottles
  • Known to leak

2

Playtex Baby Petite

Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
4 Reviews
Playtex Baby Petite Slow Flow Nipple for Newborns and Premature Babies, 2 Count
  • Perfect for little mouths, newborns, and premature babies
  • Available in Slow Flow Only
  • Silicone, BPA-free

Playtex is a well-known distributor of baby bottles and nipples.


Their teats, such as the Playtex Baby Petite (specially designed for preemies) are especially effective against colic and spit-up when paired with Playtex drop-in liners.


The wide base and nipple shape make these nipples easy to clean and there is no collapse when feeding.


However, even though they are advertised as slow flow nipples, they are known to leak due to variable flow rates.

PROS

  • Petite size for preemies
  • check
    Easy to clean
  • Reduce colic and spit-up

CONS:

  • Flow rate varies
  • Known to leak

3

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
415 Reviews
Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Nipple, 2 Count
  • Unique, breast-like shaped nipple for easy-latch on
  • Super-sensitive easi-vent valve eliminates excessive air flow
  • Soft, natural-feel silicone nipple mimics breastfeeding action

Tommee Tippee’s Closer to Nature nipples are revolutionary in their design.


They are by far one of the most breast-like bottle teats on the market, and thanks to their extra slow flow option, they are suitable for premature babies as well.

The Easi-Vent valve on the nipple base helps to eliminate extra airflow and reduce gas buildup and discomfort.


The wide base and breast-shaped nipple create a great latch and promote proper breastfeeding when the times comes to transition.

Made with super soft silicone, these teats are so soft and flexible, perfect for little mouths.


However, this also means that the nipples can be easily damaged by sharp objects and teeth and they collapse easily while feeding.

PROS

  • Extra slow flow for preemies
  • check
    Most breast-like nipple
  • Soft and flexible

CONS:

  • Easily damaged by sharp objects
  • Collapse while feeding

4

Joovy Boob Naturally Nood

Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
75 Reviews
Joovy Boob Naturally Nood Nipple, Stage 0
  • The nipple stretches, positioning it for a proper latch
  • The nipple's softness feels similar to the mother's skin
  • Unique outer wrinkles and inner bumps that mimic the breast

A slightly less well known (but not lacking in quality) nipple and bottle combo is the Joovy Boob Naturally Nood.


They are a little more expensive, running about $3.50 per teat, but they do have a special size 0, extra slow flow for preemies.

The softness of the silicone feels like a mother’s skin and the nipple stretches to position for a proper latch and simulate real breastfeeding.


There are also inner bumps and outer wrinkles that mimic a mother’s breast.

Unfortunately, some have said that the length and amount of stretch of these nipples make them difficult to use with little mouths, even though they are specially designed for premature babies.

In addition, if you are using formula rather than breast milk, these bottle teats have been known to clog and cause frustration for both baby and parent.

PROS

  • Comes in size 0
  • check
    Extra slow flow for preemies
  • Soft and stretchy
  • check
    Feels like the real thing

CONS:

  • A bit more expensive
  • Clogs with formula
  • May be too long for little mouths

5

Philips AVENT Natural

Sale
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
138 Reviews
Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle Nipple, First Flow Nipple, 2pk, SCF657/23
  • Wide breast-shape nipple with a flexible spiral tip and unique comfort petals make the nipple softer and more flexible to promote natural latch-on
  • Soft nipple design mimics the feel of the breast. Nipple's shape encourages the same tongue movements suckling babies use when breastfeeding.
  • Made of soft, durable silicone, which is odorless and flavorless. Dishwasher safe

Another great bottle company is Philips, known for their AVENT bottles.


The AVENT Natural nipples are available in First Flow size, which is ideal for preemies and newborns.

However, some say that the flow is still too fast for some babies, particularly preemies.

The wide base with comfort petals and the breast-like spiral tip, which makes the nipple softer and more flexible for an easier latch, help to simulate breastfeeding and make the transition to breast easier.


There is also anti-colic vent technology built into the nipple to reduce gas buildup and spit-up.

These nipples are easy to clean due to their wide base and the fact that they are dishwasher-safe.

The biggest downside to these teats is their lack of versatility.


They can only be used with Philips AVENT Natural bottles (not even regular AVENT bottles) due to their unique design and wide shape.

PROS

  • Come in First Flow size for preemies
  • check
    Soft and flexible silicone
  • Built-in anti-colic vent

CONS:

  • Still flows too fast for some babies
  • Can only be used with Philips AVENT Natural bottles

Conclusion

In my opinion, I would have to say that Dr. Brown’s Originals are the best teats for a premature baby.

They are cost-efficient even if you include the bottles, which is the best way to use them to prevent gas buildup and leaks.

They also come in two preemie sizes which have a significantly slower flow and smaller size to fit little mouths.

What do you think? Do you have another recommendation for bottle teats? Let us know!

Last update on 2018-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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