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Feeding Your Pre-Term Baby

Feeding Your Pre-Term Baby

Premature or Preterm babies are babies born before 37 weeks of gestation and they are generally small, lighter and weigh around 2500g or less at birth.

Importance of Breast feeding a pre-term

Preterm babies need more nutrition as they grow faster compared to full term babies. You will need to express your milk right after the baby's birth as breast milk is an excellent source of nutrition for these babies. Breast milk contains proteins that fight against infections and promotes growth and development. Breast milk is high on the carbohydrate content which would give instant energy to your preterm.

Challenges in feeding a pre-term baby:

• Feeding a pre-term baby can be a challenge as some of them have poor sucking and swallowing reflexes up to 32-34 weeks gestational age.
• Quantity of breast milk to be consumed by a pre-term baby is critical as they have a high calorie requirement and a small stomach capacity.

• Preterm babies are easily susceptible to intestinal infection.

Tips to feed a pre-term baby:

• Breast milk can be pumped by the mother with the help of a nurse or a lactating counselor and fed to the premature baby through a tube that goes from the baby's nose or mouth into the stomach.

• The method of hand pressing can be preferred if you notice any inability in your baby to swallow or suck the milk.

• Preterm babies may be given additional calcium and phosphorus. A fortifier can also be added to the breast milk after consulting a pediatrician.

• Premature infants have to be fed slowly to avoid the risk of developing any kind of infections.

• When in doubt, seek the right guidance by contacting your doctor and ensure that you gain holistic knowledge about the right methods of preterm breast feeding.

Preterm babies get normal after 36 weeks, so do not worry!


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