Breastfeeding Premature Babies

by Birth Without Fear on October 4, 2011

Heidi recently wrote this guest post on working through fears in pregnancies after loss, trauma and birthing a preemie. She emailed me this photo recently and just have to share. I know you’ll love it and it will touch your heart as it has mine. All babies need their mommy’s love, comfort, milk and cuddles, but preemies need extra skin to skin and care so they can grow and heal. It’s amazing how resilient these little babies are! ~Mrs. BWF

preemie baby

This picture is of the first time I breastfed our preemie.  He had just come off ventilator after 3 months, but was still on oxygen and was gestationally about 35 weeks. He wasn’t due for another MONTH, but was 3 months old in this photo.  :)

They had the lactation consultant and our primary NICU nurse setting up privacy screens and getting supplies and a nursing pillow.  They went to get a nipple shield just in case, but when they stepped back into the room my preemie had latched on like a pro and was happily nursing away.  They were stunned and our nurse snapped this photo while they stood there laughing and shaking their heads.

After exclusively pumping for three long months, nursing him for the first time was one of the sweetest and most amazing feelings of my life. Nursing a preemie is a huge, HUGE challenge and we certainly faced hurdles before and after this photo was taken.  But however brief the time and however small the amount of milk, it’s a priceless gift to breastfeed our babies – for them and for us! ~Heidi

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane October 4, 2011 at 11:31 pm

I love it <3 I was so happy to have my 24 week daughter start nursing. Pumping was yucky and left me feeling like a dairy cow. She took to nursing pretty well, in fact hated her bottles and the nurses had a hard time getting her to bottle feed at night when I was home with my older 3 kids. Nursing was amazing and helped us bond after being separated for 100 days <3 nursing rocks. Yes my daughter grew slowly with no formula but she grew healthy and that was more important. she is almost 8 now and I am so proud the 18 months I put in to give her this head start

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Tomi October 5, 2011 at 12:35 am

BEAUTIFUL

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Heidi October 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

Diane, I’m so happy to hear your daughter was able to nurse! Because I had two older children at home I could not be at the hospital at nights but like your baby, my son was refusing bottles! The social worker arranged for me to live in a hotel on the hospital campus so I could be there around the clock to nurse. We were in the NICU 109 days but my son came home just 17 days after this first time he nursed. He latched on like he had been waiting his whole life for that moment. :) He’s 6 years old now!

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Kym October 5, 2011 at 10:12 am

CONGRATS momma!!!! My premie was only weeks early and they clipped her tongue. Our nurses were not very helpful they kept giving her bottles instead of letting me pump for them to use for her. We lasted 8 long months through almost every thing that can go wrong. Teeth were our down fall, she refused to nurse after she started getting her first two teeth :(. You are awesome momma! :D!!!!

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Michelle Nailer October 10, 2011 at 6:56 am

I gave birth to my beautiful 34+4 weeker 3 days ago and the hospital have been so supportive of me breastfeeding. She managed to latch on when only a few hours old and loves the skin to skin time. As she gets too tired to have a decent feed while on the breast, she is being fed through a tube in her nose. At first they were giving her formula, but now I’m expressing enough milk for her to be given that instead.

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Mrs. BWF October 10, 2011 at 9:41 am

Oh Michelle, how sweet. Thank you for sharing. Congratulations. You are already an amazing and loving mother to your new little girl!!!

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