Motherhood isn’t peach-lit rooms and soft nuzzles, it is quite messy. Especially when you have a premature baby, you might not have time to think about and prepare on whether you want to breastfeed or not. You might also wonder if breastfeeding is still a possibility or different for preemies.
It is totally up to you as a mother to decide whether you’ll use a pump or feed your baby. There is a sense of satisfaction when you know that you are giving your baby the best possible nutrition to help them grow, thrive, and strive.
Breastfeeding might take its own time for the preemies until the baby is back from Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Here are some facts you need to know when your breastfeed your preemie.
5 Facts About Breastfeeding A Preemie
1. Baby In Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
The frustration and disappointment of not being able to be with your baby would only get aggravated by the inability to nurse. When you are in such a situation, it is good to express milk. Be very clear about your plans with the doctors and nurses that you would like to pump milk and it can be given to the baby. The expressed breast milk could also be frozen for later use. The milk supply also would get regularized in the absence of baby.
2. Breast Milk Adjusts To The Circumstances
A mom who delivers a premature baby produces breast milk rich in protein. Studies show that breastfed preemies get a different fat from breast milk which helps them through the rough first few weeks after birth.
3. Doctors Suggest Supplement With Preemie Formula
Sometimes, doctors suggest a supplement to increase the weight of the premature baby. They also need extra vitamins and minerals for growth. There are formula milk specially designed for preemies to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. Tell the doctor clearly that your ultimate goal is to exclusively breastfeed the baby. Use a breast pump to express milk every two to three hours to help keep the milk supply.
3. Breastfeeding Needs Patience And Time
The transition from formula to breastfeeding requires a lot of patience and time. Especially, when you get back home from the hospital. Take help from lactation expert to make the transition easier. Switching from a bottle may not be easier, hold your baby often to make them feel secure, safe, and replace bottle feeds to breastfeeds.
5. Support From Family
When you are frustrated and disappointed about not able to feed your baby, your relatives and friends may suggest you switch to formula. Tell them clearly that you are expressing milk and feel good about it. Ask them to give you time to express milk and also explain the health benefits of breast milk.