Trouble Breastfeeding a Preemie

Sara - posted on 01/21/2010 ( 6 moms have responded )

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When and before I got pregnant, I already decided that I was going to breastfeed, but since my son was born premature, he had trouble latching on to my breast. We worked on it for a quite some time, but since he was so little, it was difficult for him to latch. So I pumped and pumped and pumped, and got as much milk as I could and I still continued to try to breastfeed him in between the bottle feedings (with my breast milk in the bottle of course), and he started to be able to latch on better and we continued to work on it and we finally accomplished it. I'm just wondering if any other mothers had the same difficulties that I had when trying to breastfeed their preemie.

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Emilie - posted on 01/22/2010

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Yes! I knew I wanted to breastfeed my son. He was born at 26 weeks. I worked with my doctor and the lactation consultant, pumped almost every hour most days, and even took medication to get my milk to come in. It was all worth it when my little guy finally latched on at 5 months! And even more worth it when the doctors credited at least some of his good health on my stubborn persistence in this area.
Congratulations on a great accomplishment!

Anna - posted on 01/22/2010

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I had also decided when I was pregnant to breastfeed my baby but he was born at 26 weeks only weighing 1lb 13ozs and on a ventilator. I started expressing the day after he was born and because he was so tiny he only needed 1ml every hour I soon had breast milk stored in every available freezer of friends and relatives! When he became stronger and could come out of his incubator I tried breast feeding him but I couldn't get him to latch on (he was being fed through a nasal drip). I persevered for 3 weeks getting myself more and more upset over it, until my husband said enough was enough, Harry was still getting the benefits of my milk even if it was through a tube/bottle. It was only after I agreed to let Harry be bottle fed my milk that one of the nurses in NICU said it was unlikely that Harry would have been able to breast feed at all as he had a very high roof of the mouth, common in preemies. But because the hospital had a policy of promoting breat feeding they couldn't recommend me to bottle feed! However I expressed enough milk for Harry to be fed on my milk for 5 months. And when I had my daughter (full term) I was able to breast fed her fine so I became milk donor for the NICU. This involved expressing extra milk which can then be screened and treated and used for other preemies who's mums are too ill to provide for their babies.

Stephanie - posted on 01/22/2010

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I tried to breast feed but I had to make sure that my son was getting a certain amount of food every day and I couldn't tell when I breast fed him so I pumped for a while but then I went on birthcontrol and my milk dried up.

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TONYA - posted on 01/24/2010

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I was determined to breast feed my premie twins. It was very challenging. I had to hold my breast back so they could breath. They also had trouble latching on. I ended up pumping and giving them milk in a bottle. What really counts is that they're getting the benefits of breast milk. Doesn't matter what type of nipple it comes out of.

Lauren - posted on 01/23/2010

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OMG I'm going through that stage right now I knew off the bat that breast feeding was the best thing for my lil man, but when he was born at 29 weeks i was told that it was going to be harder for me to breast feed. So I just pumped, and kept trying to do the latching on but he just didn't even want to try, and then one day he finally got it, but got so frustrated and stopped again. so i decided to pump because my lil man just doesn't want to work hard. lol

Emily - posted on 01/22/2010

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Breastfeeding a preemie is definitely more challenging than a full-term baby. You just have to keep trying every day. If you are determined, you can do it. I started out using a nipple shield to help my daughter latch. Eventually, she was able to latch without it.

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