Pregnancy is a mystery in that you never know when you’ll give birth, how or what you’ll give birth to, if it happens that your baby arrives early will nursing your premature baby be different? Yes and here are the things you need to know;
A premature baby needs breast milk as breast milk has everything a premature baby needs to be nourished especially since premature babies are more prone to infection due to their immature immune system.
Your breast is totally up to the task though, milks produced by moms of preemies are very rich in proteins and has slightly different fats than later breast milk.
Meanwhile your baby won’t be able to unite with your baby immediately as your baby will be placed inside the incubator that means you can’t breastfeed your baby directly but you can pump. After pumping the breast milk an hospital staff will feed the expressed breast milk to your baby through a nasogastric (NG) tube (known as gavage). This ensures your baby take enough breast milk as preemies are usually too small to suck directly from the breast.
At the hospital, the doctors might want to supplement with formula to increase your baby’s calorie intake, if you don’t have a problem with breast milk supply remind your doctor that breast milk is the best for your child and since you don’t have a problem with your flow there’s no need for supplementing feeds. You might want to be expressing and freezing to keep up your breast milk flow (pump every 2-3 hours) and ensuring there’s always milk for your baby.
When your baby finally starts nursing directly from your breast be prepared for a test. Sucking out milk from your breast won’t be easy since your baby is already used to getting milk from the bottle which is easier. You can try different breastfeeding positions or buy a nursing supplementer (attach the tiny tube to your breast) so your baby can get milk from it and your breast as well until they finally adjust to sucking from just your breast.
If you’re having trouble breastfeeding your premature baby, ask for help from the nurses and doctors in your hospital. Breast milk is the best for preemie babies but your family and friends may not understand and therefore suggest that you switch to formula to save yourself the trouble. If you have to pump round the clock, do it, it’s the best you can do for your preemie baby.