After NICU · In the NICU

A guide to bottle feeding your premature baby

Your choices for bottle feeding can be divided into those that can be used alongside breast feeding, anti-colic ones and regular bottles.

1. Bottles good for combining with breast feeding

When Edward came home he was still establishing breast feeding but doing well with it. As he struggled to put on weight the neonatal team looking after him post-discharge advised that we give him a bottle to help with the weight gain, but we were concerned that this would interfere with his breast feeding. We looked for bottles that worked liked breastfeeding and came across the Haberman suckle feeder bottle

This bottle is not like others in that there is just one size teat that you fill with milk. Baby then sucks like they do on the breast to draw the milk from the teat, which is continuously filled, rather than draw from the bottle. So there’s no size 1/2/3/4 etc teats as the feed is controlled by baby’s sucking not by the flow size of the teat. It also means that baby takes in less air as the teat is always full until they are draining the last bit of milk.

We highly recommend these bottles and give them 5 Edward teddies out of 5


We did also try Medela Calma bottles which are also marketed as bottles for breast fed babies but didn’t really get on with the fiddly putting together of the various parts of the bottles and Edward seemed to really struggle to get milk from them.

2. Anti-colic bottles

Edward took the Habermann bottles quite happily for a good couple of months and was less reflux-y than when we had briefly tried a standard bottle that a friend had given us. Then one day he suddenly decided he didn’t want his bottle anymore. Surprised and worried, we turned to the internet to find that this wasn’t uncommon and babies would take a bottle quite happily and then go completely off it and only take a different one.″>Dr Browns Options bottle, also recommended by the dietitian. At this point he was now almost entirely bottle fed so we were less worried about the interference with breast feeding.

Dr Browns bottles are designed to reduce colic by eliminating the amount of air baby takes in. This is because they have an internal ‘vent system’, which is basically a thin tube and a filter that clip into the bottle before the teat goes on. This is easier to assemble than it looks! The Options part of the name comes from the fact that once baby is a bit bigger and colic/reflux is less of an issue, you can use the bottles without the vent system and they work the same as a normal bottle.
bottle and all the parts out straight after use otherwise I can see how it would be a bit fiddly to clean the vent system if milk had dried on. There is a tiny bottle brush provided in the starter kit for this purpose, but I found for the night feeds that if I just quickly rinsed everything through and dumped in a tub of warm water next to the sink they’d be fine to wash properly in the morning.

I definitely noticed that the feed was not all bubbly like it was with regular bottles, and Edward seemed to struggle much less with a feed.

Again we would definitely recommend these bottles and give them 4 teddies, only losing one teddy for the potentially fiddly cleaning of the bottles.

Our verdict


Other bottles that have come recommended by other mums of prem babies have included MAM anti-colic bottles, which we didn’t try but many swear by them.

3. Standard bottles

Now that Edward is bigger and no longer has the same issues with reflux we are using regular Avent bottles. He drinks from these quite happily now and we are happy with their straightforward design

Our verdict🐻🐻🐻🐻

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