Premature Babies

Some parents know they are going to have a premature baby. However, most times it is unexpected

Preterm Birth

Premature babies can be a cause of great concern, and this can be a difficult period for new parents. When babies are small, cuddling can be restricted. Depending on how early the baby is, skin to skin cuddling on the parents’ chest is encouraged. Small babies love being close to both Mum and Dad, and it helps them grow. Some premature babies can feed on the breast, and others are too early and cannot feed immediately.  However, they will learn to as they grow.

What do I need to know about breastfeeding my premature baby?

A qualified Lactation Consultant can answer the following breastfeeding issues:

Will I still make milk if my baby is born early

Will my milk be ok if my baby is born early

How do I feed my premature baby

What I need to know about feeding my premature baby

As soon as possible after birth hand expressing should be started, your midwife will show you how to hand express. Also, your midwife will show you how to collect the milk and store the milk correctly.

It's important to focus on milk supply in the early days if baby can't feed on the breast. The breasts make very small amounts of colostrum in the first few days after birth. Furthermore, every drop of colostrum is good for your baby. Breast milk volume increases daily until full volume is made by the end of the first month after birth.

Electric breast pumps can be used 3 days after birth but continuing to hand express as well will help to increase milk supply

Premature babies are often fed breast milk through a tube until they are big enough to breastfeed. When premature babies can breastfeed, they sometimes tire easily and need to be fed expressed milk after the breastfeed until they are bigger.

Understanding a preterm is key

The most important thing to understand when feeding a premature baby is that Mums milk supply needs to be established by the end of the first 2 weeks and maintained until the baby is ready to breastfeed fully.