Tips On How To Breastfeed A Premature Baby
Do you need to know to breastfeed a prematurely born baby? If you’re a first-time mother of a premature baby, you might be in a sort of confusion and challenge right now looking for ways on feeding him correctly. Check the article below for useful information, tips and tricks!
Why breastfeeding is important
What do you need to know about how to breastfeed a prematurely born baby? If you’re a first-time mother of a premature baby, you might be in a sort of confusion and challenge right now looking for ways on feeding him correctly.
ALSO ON OUR WEBSITE: Alcohol And Breast Feeding
First of all, breastfeeding is great for all infants, preemie or not. In fact, it is even more important for a prematurely born child. He needs the nourishment coming from your milk produced by your body automatically because it has extra protein, calories, vitamins and minerals. In addition, your milk also contains live cells, which significantly protect baby from infection and sickness – especially if his immune system is immature.
While you may find artificial supplements and formulas for preemies, you cannot expect that they have the antibodies that only your breast milk has. In the next section, let’s tackle how to breastfeed a premature baby.
IN OUR SHOP: Ligno – Natural
How to Breastfeed a Preemie
If you’re at a hospital, you might have to feed through a nasogastric tube or gavage. This is a standard practice done to ensure your baby is getting the complete nourishment his body needs if he’s immature and unready to suckle from a bottle or breast.
ALSO ON OUR WEBSITE: Baby Won’t Breastfeed. What Should I Do?
Generally, you’re going to work closely with the supervision of a medical service provider that will oversee the care plan and that will teach you how to feed pumped breast milk.
Your prematurely born baby won’t be released by the hospital until he has gained weight from bottle-feeding or breastfeeding.
IN OUR SHOP: Ligno Brick to Brick
Did you milk supply dry up? Or were you not feeling well after giving birth? You can get through it and restore your milk production! Just cuddle and encourage him to practice sucking your nipples.
If he’s from around 28 weeks, he must be ready to suck, an activity he will find soothing. You can practice sucking on your little finger’s tip, your nipple or on a dummy. Aside from being soothing, sucking also prepares him for mouth feeding.
ALSO ON OUR WEBSITE: How To Relieve Gas In Infants: Symptoms, Causes And Solutions
[Generally, many babies do not have a fully developed suck-swallow-breathe reflex important for him to get enough milk from your breast, until they’re about 32 weeks in the womb.]
Introducing The Breast
When to do this varies according to how premature your newborn is. Remember, working on a breastfeeding routine is a gradual and individual process.
IN OUR SHOP: Animal Puzzle
In most cases, knowing if you baby is ready to feed from your breast will be based on his overall health and gestational age.
A premature baby can start as early as 32 weeks, but others take a longer time. As a tip, practice attachment and positioning through frequent skin-to-skin contact. You can also seek advice from a lactation professional on tips about attaching and positioning your preemie.
How To Breastfeed When Baby Is Ready to Nurse
When your baby starts nursing at your breast even he’s not taking in much milk, you should feed him frequently.
To keep a steady milk production, you should pump after every feeding. You must also have milk for supplementary feedings, but for it, you should use different feeding holds.
Plus, don’t forget to get help from lactation professionals and hospital staff when you start breastfeeding.
Stimulating And Maintaining Milk Supply
One of the major challenges you could face is stimulating and keeping a steady milk supply. To do it, you can make use of a hospital-grade pump that has a double collection feature. A lactation expert or nurse can show you how to use it. You may also want to rent one for the first weeks to use at home until your preemie is ready to feed at your breast well.
You’ll only have small amount of milk when you start expressing or breastfeeding, but do not let it get you down. You are going to build it up with some time and patience.
- Once the baby starts feeding, you might have to give him supplements, as he will not take as much milk.
- If you cannot always be there to feed baby, don’t despair. You can succeed at combining breastfeeding with a cup, tube or bottle using your milk, formula milk or donor milk.
- Nipple shields can also help. Premature newborns don’t take as much milk because they do not have mature intra-oral sucking pressures. Use a nipple shield, which can help increase the amount of milk he gets and promote attachment. As your baby matures, you can discontinue its use.
[PS: If using a preemie formula, how long should you be using it? You can continue using it based on your doctor’s recommendation. Usually, it depends on the newborn’s unique needs. For example, you might have to keep using it special preemie formula until your original due date or up to 12 months after it.]
There you have what to know about how to breastfeed a preemie. Learn these tips and tricks and have an easier time in breastfeeding your newborn. Do you think we missed a tip or two? Tell us in the comment below.
PS: If you liked this article, share it on social media today!
Read more articles on feeding your baby here >
Buy a Twig Pillow here >