Even though my initial thought was that I wanted to breast feed my 27 weeker, it didn't really turn out that way. I ended up "pumping and dumping" into bottles for her to eat. As most parents figure out, your planned bottles may or may not work out.
When searching for bottles for my then unborn child, I went with Playtex VentAire seen here below.
I was all set up when she came home for her to eat out of these bottles, but I soon realized that night it wouldn't work out. The nipples were too hard to suck for my little 5lb baby and she couldn't get anything out of them. At that point she was only drinking up to maybe 120ml a feed, but the poor thing was so tuckered out trying to get it! I went out to the local Zellers that next day in search of what could be a good bottle. I quickly discovered that the Playtex Drop-Ins were perfect.
These nipples came in three different flows but collapsed enough for her to be able to eat wonderfully. The only two problems I had with these bottles was the constant cost for the drop ins (which can easily be found in 'no name' brands in supermarkets) and the nipples over time will deform from sterilizing. Eventually the cost became too much for us and after about four months, we were on the hunt again for new bottles.
At our local Toys'r'us I found a trial size of Dr. Brown's bottles, a coupon for free Born Free bottles, and the popular Tommee Tippee bottles were on sale. I purchased all three.
Tommee Tippee will be my first review because they were a bust. The product is highly rated, but for my preemie they just weren't soft enough or easy enough for her to suck. I did purchase the above bottles with the filter inside as opposed to the regular bottles at first. Then I tried the normal non-filtered bottles with the same result. I had high hopes for them but couldn't use them. The Dr. Brown and Born Free bottles however, were a success!
I used the Dr. Brown's and Born Free for quite some time and only switched after having to replace each bottle twice. Since my daughter eats more than normal and eats formula, these filters can become really hard to clean and even have some left overs inside that you cannot get to. Obviously this is gross so I would have to replace either the filters or the bottles (saves more you just replace them). Each of the speeds of these nipples and the softness of them was perfect for Abigayle and her sensitivities. I did not notice much throw up or gas after using them either - which was a change from the Drop-Ins. Once I "gave up" on the filters and the constant replacing them I went on the hunt again for more bottles. I tried Avent and Nuk (Gerber).
The Avent bottles were wonderful but I just could pay the price they wanted when she ate from the Nuk bottles just the same. The Nuk bottles were not expensive at all - just the replacement nipples were ($6). These bottles have lasted for about 6 months and the nipples have been replaced only once. They are so easy to clean - like Avent - because there are no filters and no added "merchandise". The Nuk nipples are a little odd because there is a hole for air that has to be pointed upwards so that the orthodontic nipple is in proper position. Now that she is older, the Avent and Nuk nipples have that more stable feeling (like Tommee Tippee and VentAire) that allows her to suck at her own speed.
We tried these Nuby bottles just for a little experimenting and unfortunately they did nothing for her. After reading a review I tried cutting the nipples open more to allow more milk through - but no dice. They are a nice design and easy to clean but the nipples are too hard and do not allow milk to pass through.
Now that Abigayle is over a year old I have been under "public pressure" to change her to a sippy cup. I will review sippy cups at a later date but I have found a great go between. It is shaped exactly like the Nuk bottles she loves so much just with a modified nipple.
The advice that I will give to every parent whether a preemie parent or not - never just assume the child will eat from the bottle you want them to. It doesn't matter what it is rated online or who thinks it's a better bottle. The baby is going to tell you what they want to drink from and what they do not like.
Keep Calm and Carry On :)