Posts Tagged ‘late preterm’

Is breastfeeding a preemie different than a full term baby?

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

preemieThe answer is yes.

You’ve probably spent the last few months anxiously getting ready for your baby’s arrival. You’ve probably also thought about and decided how you are going to feed your baby after birth. Unfortunately, your breastfeeding plans may need to change in order to accommodate your baby, if you gave birth prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

Breastfeeding in the NICU

If your baby is in the NICU, you may need to start pumping to establish your milk supply. Although you won’t have your warm baby at your breast, give your baby any expressed colostrum or milk you produce. Breast milk provides many health benefits for all newborns, but especially for premature or sick babies in the NICU.

Read our tips and tricks to breastfeeding your baby in the NICU.

Late preterm babies

If your baby was born late preterm, between 34 weeks and 0 days and 36 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy,  the good news is that she may not need to spend any time in the NICU. The bad news is that breastfeeding a near-term baby can be very difficult. Late preemies are often very sleepy and lack the energy they need to latch, suck and swallow. Also, late preterm babies are vulnerable to hypothermia (low body temperature), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), weight loss, slow weight gain and jaundice among other conditions, which may interrupt your breastfeeding progress.

Full term babies

Breastfeeding a full term baby has its challenges, too. But, compared to a preterm or late preterm baby, there are more opportunities to be successful with breastfeeding from the start, due to fewer health obstacles.

Stay positive

If your baby is spending time in the NICU or having trouble breastfeeding, the breast milk you provide your baby through expression or pumping is very beneficial to his growth and protection from illness and infection. Seek help when you need it through a Lactation Consultant, a nurse or your health care provider. If you are in the hospital, ask your nurse if they have a support group where you can connect and share with other moms going through the same situation.

Learn more in Breastfeeding 101.

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The last weeks of pregnancy count

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

pregnancy-sunIt isn’t easy being pregnant during the dog days of summer! My sister-in-law and I are both pregnant during this heat wave. But while I’ve still got a ways to go with my pregnancy, she’s coming down the home stretch and is due in a couple of weeks. But as uncomfortable as she may be, she knows just how important these last weeks of pregnancy are for her baby.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics highlights this very issue. A healthy pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. But  researchers found that children born even just a couple of weeks early (weeks 37 and 38) ended up having lower reading and math scores 8 years later than children who were born closer to 40 weeks.

Even though your provider may say you’re full term at week 37, those last few weeks leading up to week 40 are still very important. For example, your baby’s brain, lungs and liver are still developing. In fact, a baby’s brain at 35 weeks weighs just 2/3 of what his brain weighs at 39 to 40 weeks.

If your pregnancy is healthy, hang in there during those last weeks because it’s really best for your baby that you wait for labor to begin on its own. But if you’re thinking about scheduling your baby’s birth (like getting induced or requesting a c-section), wait until you’re at least 39 weeks. The last weeks of pregnancy really count!

For parents of babies born 3-6 weeks early

Friday, May 16th, 2008

A baby born three to six weeks early is called a “late preterm” or “near-term” infant. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is providing parents with information on the special needs of these babies and the potentially serious health problems that they may face. “Late Preterm Infants: What Parents Need to Know,” a free patient education brochure, is available in English and Spanish on the Web screen describing AWHONN’s Late Preterm Infant Initiative. Scroll down to Patient Links.

The brochure informs parents about breathing, temperature control, feeding, sleeping, jaundice and infections. It also provides questions to ask the baby’s health care provider before leaving the hospital.