Sometimes, your little one arrives early. Breastfeeding is doubly important when things don’t go according to plan.
Preterm birth is a unique challenge that many mothers face in their lives. In preterm births, the baby might need to stay in an incubator to finish its development, while multiple births create a unique set of circumstances which the parents need to deal with. Usually, preterm babies are born with low body weight and require an extra amount of effort, love, and care during their nursing period.
Breastfeeding is irreplaceable in the speedy recovery and normal development of these precious little ones. Due to the stress involved in these situations, some mothers may suffer from decreased milk production and lower milk volume and may search for their solutions for breastfeeding problems.
Preterm babies need even more love and attention
A preterm baby is a baby born before the 37th week of gestation. The challenges that arise from premature birth vary in severity on a case-by-case basis. Low birth weight (<5.5lb) is a common occurrence in preterm birth and in this situation breastfeeding is even more important for quick and stable development in the nursing period.
Preterm babies require more skin-to-skin contact and more frequent feeding, albeit the amount of milk they ingest might be lower than other babies. These babies can get sleepier during feedings as well.
On the other hand, Babies who can’t be immediately breastfed due to any reason can still benefit from consuming breast milk in alternative ways (expressing milk by hand or a pump and using a syringe).
The benefits of the first breastfeeding (colostrum)
The colostrum is the first milk that’s produced just prior to, and after birth. It is a low-dose, high-density form of that is immensely beneficial to newborns, especially preterm babies. It contains very high doses of nutrients and antibodies when compared to normal breast milk such as:
- Fat concentration
- Various growth factors
- Other trace compounds
It helps with the overall development of your little one. Some people call it ‘the miracle liquid’ in order to accentuate its importance when it comes to the recovery and thriving of prematurely born babies.
It gets easier with time
Despite all challenges, it’s very important to know that it gets easier with time. With the help of close family members, support groups, or even licensed lactation consultants, tackling the challenges of breastfeeding become child’s play.
This support has shown to help with a wide variety of factors in improving the energy and stress levels of moms during the nursing period, which is a huge benefit for the little ones as well.
Introducing galactagogic foods and supplements might be the best choice for those mothers who are struggling with low milk volume, and wish to improve it.
Raising a child is no easy task and sometimes life throws a curveball, to make things just a bit more interesting. However, the transformative experience and the irreplaceable bond that forms between each mother and her little one is a precious and a singular experience worth every drop of sweat and every sleepless night.