Breastfeeding Is Still The Best Option For Your Preemie Baby

Welcoming your little bundle of joy into the world is an unforgettable and life-changing experience.

There are times when your baby didn’t get the memo and makes their grand entrance a tad before cue.

When this happens it feels like all your plans for your baby have gone out the window, but the most vital aspect of their infancy may still be in your control.

You may have the crib in a box still, the car seat in the trunk, and a little one that has to spend some time in the NICU, but you can still breastfeed.

Being able to give your baby the food they were designed to have is always the most beneficial for them, as Mommy Underground has previously reported, no matter their age.

Just as your milk supply is regulated by your baby’s needs, as Mommy Underground explains, the micronutrients of the milk is catered to them as well.

In a 2012 study in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America, it was found that mothers who delivered their babies prematurely produced milk that had increased levels of protein and bioactive molecules when compared to mothers who delivered babies to term.

Premature infants struggle to develop as quickly as full-term babies and are more likely to struggle with complications in the NICU.

The study explains how breast milk “improves growth and neurodevelopment”, Romper reports, as well as decreasing the “risk of necrotizing enterocolitis and late-onset sepsis.”

How amazing is the human body? Mothers are so connected with their babies that without prompting her milk changes its molecular components to save the endangered young.

In certain cases, the baby may need additional supplements, according to the study, to develop “optimally.”

Conditions vary depending on how early your precious little one decided to come into the world.

Prior to 32 weeks, babies lack the functions necessary to suck, swallow, and breathe well, according to Very Well Family. This makes eating from the bottle or breast near impossible.

You can, however, pump your milk to give to your baby, still allowing them to benefit from all the healing properties it provides until they are able to nurse straight from the breast.

An additional risk is gaining weight. Without being able to properly ingest nourishment, medical intervention is needed to compliment the breastmilk at times.

Being tired from delivery and going back and forth to the NICU to comfort your baby does make it feel like you may never get the whole pumping thing down, but with patience and support, you can see this trying time through.

Increased stress does affect milk supply, so try to incorporate techniques that ease the troubles of the day a little, like meditation, visualizing yourself home with your baby in complete happiness.

The beginning stages of breastfeeding can be tough no matter the circumstances. You are juggling the demands of your time, in addition to the discomfort many women face early on.

According to Medela:

The extra stress, discomfort, and fatigue that come with the birth of a preemie can cause a slow start with milk production, but this slow start usually gives way to an adequate milk supply by the fifth or sixth day after birth.”

Pumping often in the first couple of weeks is vital to establishing a good milk supply, giving your body the signals to keep up production.

You will most likely end up pumping more than that tiny stomach can hold, but that just gives you the opportunity to stock up a reserve in case of an emergency.

After your little one is able to nurse on their own, your milk supply will be fully in from having a regular pumping schedule.

Be patient with your preemie when they begin the feeding journey, they may not get the hang of it right away, having their nourishment provided by other sources previously.

In time you and baby will have a beautiful rhythm of nursing while growing in the special bond that comes from it.

To make things easier, there are several hacks that you can do to encourage better nursing habits, as Mommy Underground has previously reported, such as utilizing one of the many holds appropriate for a good latch.

Seeking the professional guidance of a lactation consultant for the best approach when wanting your baby to get only the best is a great route to take. This can give you more confidence in your challenging situation.

If stress and other limitations block your milk supply, like Charlotte Fraser Smith reporting to Romper, there are other ways to obtain “liquid gold”, as many colloquially refer to it as.

Smith had HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia, causing her to deliver her baby at only 28 weeks. Furthermore, her complications, accompanied with stress and fatigue, hindered her from producing breastmilk.

Determined to have her baby start off on breastmilk, she found she could obtain some from the hospital’s milk bank, helping her baby to thrive.

The mommy of a blessed preemie told Romper:

It was a massive relief. It was a weight lifted to know my baby was getting nutrition she could digest.”

This is good news to all the brave and exhausted mothers of premature infants out there. You have at your disposal a remedy to help them overcome those first few tough weeks.

It’s natural to feel helpless and a lack of control when a baby is in the NICU, but now you know there is a way you can do more, and your baby will feel the love in every drop.

Please let us know in the comments sections if you had a preemie, and how you and baby got through those early weeks.


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