Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Must Have Bottles for your Preemie

When my twin girls left the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) the nurse gave us a huge bag of goodies, which included a dozen hospital bottles that the girls were using during their stay. The first week home, I began using the hospital bottles only because they were so use to them and so was I. However, I realized that I could not use the hospital bottles forever. I received a plethora of baby bottles as gifts from my baby shower and I knew that I had to start using them, I was afraid of how the girls would receive them. As I noticed their sucking getting better during each feeding, I decided that I wanted to ween them off the hospital bottles. During the week, I began feeding my girls from the different bottles I received and decided that it might be a good idea to share with mothers of preemies what are the best bottles for their little ones.

Some of the factors that I considered when I reviewed each bottle were:
  • Nipple size and firmness: In the NICU, the hospital bottles used standard and slow flow nipples. My girls did okay with the standard nipples but they did even better with the slow flow. Because they have to learn how to suck, swallow and breath simultaneously, my twins drank the milk very fast on the standard nipples to the point where they would forget to take a breather (they are much better at this now). The bottles that I were going to use had to have a slow flow nipple and as they got older, made faster flow nipples, which could be bought at the store. What I liked about the hospital bottles were the firmness of the nipples. If you have babies who like to hold their tongue at the roof of their mouth, like mine, you need a nipple bottle that is firm enough to bring their tongue down. A nipple that is too soft might make it difficult. 
  • Bottle Size: Right now, my girls are taken little over two ounces and just two ounces. An eight ounce bottle is too big. A four ounce bottle is a great size. 
  • Easy to clean: Because your baby is getting up every two to three hours, you need bottles that are easy to clean or do not have to do much cleaning at all. If you have multiples, this is an important factor. 
Bottles that are great for preemies

1. Playtex Nurser and Drop ins 
My mother told me that she used Playtex Drop ins when I was a baby, however they are much simpler to use than back in 1986. What I love about the bottles is the use of the plastic drop in containers that are disposable after each use. This makes clean up a breeze. Playtex also provides slow flow silicone nipples and sell different level nipples as the babies progress in age. To replicate a mothers nipple, Playtex also sells the latex naturals. However,  I find the latex naturals are extremely soft and prefer the silicone, even though the silicone nipple is soft as well. The Playtex nursers reduces hiccups during feeding, leak free and the drop ins are pre-sterilized. What is great about drop in's is that it minimize air leakage. When there is air in the bottle, it causes painful gas and colic in babies. The Playtex nurser mimics breast feeding and if you are mother that goes back and forth from latching on to the bottle, this would be a great substitute.

2. Gerber First Essentials
My sorority sister purchased the Gerber First Essentials four ounce bottles and I had to do my research because I never heard of them. Then again, I am a first time mother so I had to do my research on plenty of products. These bottles are affordable costing $10.00 at Target. Similar to the Playtex nursers, the First Essentials reduces colic and provides a silicone nipple that prevents air leakage. The silicone nipples are much firmer than the Playtex nurser and the plastic bottle is light and easy to hold. However, the bottle is not made for drop in containers and therefore requires cleaning after each use. I find that my girls latch on well on the nipple and do not spit out the milk while drinking as much. In comparison to the Playtex, the First Essentials also provides a slow flow nipple and a middle flow nipple. Where as the Playtex bottles cost around $12.00 and the drop ins cost around $10.00, the Gerber First Essentials is the next best thing.

3. Similac Hospital Bottles 
The disposable bottles and nipples that the hospital uses are great starters since your baby is already accustomed to them. The bottles have measurements in Ml's, which helps see how much your baby has taken. The bottles come with slow flow or the standard nipples. The bottles and the nipples are suppose be thrown away after each use. Hopefully before you and your baby left the NICU and kind nurse gave you a hefty supply. If not, it is okay to use the bottles at least twice but must be sterilized before each use.

After researching what other mother of preemies use. They suggested:
  • Dr. Browns
  • Avent
If you have any stories about bottles that you use for your preemie, let me know. Happy sharing!
*Next Blog, Preemies dribbling while feeding, is it the nipple or the baby's development?*


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