Premature babies and breastmilk
Many premature or sick babies cannot feed from the breast right away. They’re not strong enough or mature enough to grasp the suck, swallow, breathe process. However, the benefits of breast milk, including protection from many diseases, may be especially crucial for these babies. A recent study found that very premature babies who received breastmilk soon after birth had higher mental development scores at 30 months and were less likely to be rehospitalized than premature babies who did not receive breastmilk. Breastmilk, however, may need to be supplemented to meet the nutritional needs of small premature babies.
For babies unable to suckle for the first week or two, moms can use a breast pump to express their milk so that the milk can be fed to their babies through a tube or with a dropper. By pumping her breasts, a mother keeps up her milk supply so that her baby can breastfeed when he is stronger.
Don’t be discouraged if it’s time to go back to work and you still want to breastfeed. You can pump at the office and continue to provide your little one the best food possible.