Today’s is World Prematurity Day which is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the impact it can have on families.
One in 16 women will have a preterm birth. Over 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year.
Breastfeeding a baby who has been born a little early can bring with it a new host of challenges.
Here are my top tips for breastfeeding the premature infant.
1. Be patient, the time it takes for a premature baby to the learn the skills of coordinating such swallow and breath sequence at the breast takes a lot longer than a term baby.
2. Watch those sugars, those babies who have not had the benefit of full term gestation won't have had the chance to lay down all of that lovely brown fat to rely on, take regular breaks, ensure adequate calories are being met.
3. Skin to skin. Check out Dr Nils Bergmans work on kangaroo care for premature infants. So many benefits.
4. They tire easily. While evidence tells us that breastfeeding a premature infant is tiring work and may require regular breaks and plenty of support. The research also tells us that less energy is actually required to feed at the breast directly than from a bottle.
5. Celebrate the small victories. Nuzzling the breast and rooting are huge steps to be recognized and celebrated for premature infant’s these efforts at the breast may seem small to some but for premature babies are a huge milestone and absolutely a move in the right direction.
6. Expect one step forward and one step back. Breastfeeding and indeed parenting a premature infant is not always plain sailing. Often their size or weight can make us forget their prematurity. Take each day as it comes.
6.Come back to the golden rules.
Protect your supply and simply feed the baby.
Share your stories below to celebrate your babies ❤️