Feeding Your Premature Infant - Topic Overview
Regular pumping keeps up your milk production for when your infant is ready to breast-feed. You may also need to pump your breast milk so that your baby has it for tube-feedings. If your infant can't digest milk yet and needs intravenous feedings, your milk will be frozen for future use.
While you are still in the hospital, talk to a
lactation consultant and become familiar with the double electric breast pump.
Like most new things, pumping for your infant will get easier
with practice. Pump as often as your infant feeds, about every 2 to 3 hours,
and at least once at night. Bring your labeled bottles or bags of milk with you
to feed your infant or to freeze for later use.
Benefits of breast milk
Breast milk has proven benefits,
especially for the fragile
premature infant. Benefits of breast milk over formula
immunity to dangerous infections, nutrient absorption,
digestive function, and nervous system development. So your hospital is likely
to strongly encourage you to provide breast milk for your infant during the
first weeks of life, at a minimum. A
lactation consultant can be very helpful with pumping
breast-feeding questions and problems, both before and
after the birth.
There are formulas made just for
premature infants. They provide most of the nutrients your baby needs. Soy
protein-based formulas aren't recommended for premature infants.1
infant has higher-than-usual energy demands on his or her system after birth.
No matter how your baby is fed, he or she may need a high-calorie supplement to get the best growth and