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Feeding a slightly early baby - advice please!

(43 Posts)
lotsofcheese Wed 17-Apr-13 14:27:58

I'm 35+5 & just had steroids for possible delivery by CS on Friday.

My last baby was extremely premature & I expressed for him for 3 months - I eventually got a good supply going but sadly he wasn't able to breast feed for various reasons (he was on oxygen & was too weak to suck).

This time, I'd really like to be able to breast feed, but wondered if anyone has experience of feeding a baby of that gestation?

I've still got my pump, know how to hand express & am prepared to consider top-ups till feeding is established.

I can't face leaving another baby behind in hospital again so I'm really keen to get feeding going.

All advice/experiences appreciated. Thanks

NotSoNervous Wed 17-Apr-13 14:32:17

Sorry no advice but fx all goes well for you Friday

elfycat Wed 17-Apr-13 14:54:12

I had DD1 at 36+2 (waters went at 36+1).

I stayed in hospital for 3 days while her sugars stabilised. I was hand expressing colostrum, BF, topping up with donor/ff if her blood sugars were low every 2 hours and ending with a BF. That is starting every 2 hours so one hour of feeding and one hour off - for 3 days. It was a bit tiring but worth it as she then BF successfully for months.

I hated expressing though, it didn't really work for me long term. You seem to have more successfully done that bit. I perservered for a few weeks as it boosted my milk supply and was well worth the effort.

elfycat Wed 17-Apr-13 14:58:09

Good luck for Friday. The early ones need a bit more hugging = sit down with your feet up, make people run around after you and snuggle.

Marsupials have developed a system of having early babies and then getting them to snuggle, rest and latch when needed. I think early babies need the same sort of treatment.

lotsofcheese Wed 17-Apr-13 15:31:47

Thanks - it's good to know that a combination of breast/expressing/formula can work.

The neonatal unit DS was in & which this one will too is very focused on BF (too much so in my personal & professional opinion) & I know it will be up to me to be assertive about top-ups etc.

TeaandHobnobs Wed 17-Apr-13 16:00:54

DS was 31+5 but a really good weight and already had the sucking reflex.

I'm assuming you can stay in hospital if DC2 needs to? In that case, all being well, try to breastfeed for as many of the feeds as you can (presumably to schedule if on SCBU) and ask for other feeds to be tubefed/cupfed as appropriate. DS had a mixture of formula and EBM until I was pumping enough to cut out the formula, and he was tubefed for about a week and a half (some breastfeeds with EBM topups), until they took out his tube and he was cupfed overnight (rather than bottle) then I roomed in with him.

I hope everything goes well and you get good support flowers

nananaps Wed 17-Apr-13 16:04:57

I had my baby at 36+5. Also had 2 doses of steroids prior to delivery.
He weighed 5Lbs 14oz.
Fed almost continuously day 1,2,3 &4. On day 2 i asked for a formula top up as i could smell ketones on his breath and saw no evidence of milk in his mouth.
Milk came in on day 4.
I was in hospital with nothing else to do other than feed so it was ok.
12 weeks on we are well established and weight gain is fab.
All the best for Friday grin

habhann Wed 17-Apr-13 18:13:59

I had my lo at 35 plus 5 weeks. C section. Colostrum for 3 days then milk came in. Co- slept , side lying position made feeding easier post section. Still breastfeeding @ 25 weeks ..good luck

lotsofcheese Wed 17-Apr-13 18:20:41

Thanks so much for advice - all messages are helpful. I'll take my phone in so I can read over messages while I'm in hospital.

I'll be in for a few days because of c-section & thereafter will ask scbu if I can room in - although the last time they were very short of rooms & we only got 1 night - despite 95 days in the unit & home oxygen.

I'm just worried about feeding issues keeping us in longer than necessary as the unit are very anti-formula & follow the WHO policy to the letter. But I'm ready for them & all your advice is ammunition for me - thanks!

tory79 Wed 17-Apr-13 22:29:21

I had ds at 36 weeks, had steroids prior to section. He was absolutely fine, slightly jaundiced though, and had tt. However, we got stuck in hospital for 5 days as he lost 13% and we had to stay until he had gained. I think this was due to the tt, and also my milk did not come in for 4 days - I think its fairly common for a cs to delay it a bit.

I fed him on demand, and also expressed a bit to give to him as top ups as well. Stopped this when I left hospital though.

However, bf worked well for us, and still going at 19m.

Good luck!

sar1133 Thu 18-Apr-13 03:36:39

I had ds at 33 weeks spontaneous labour after waters breaking. He was fed through tube for a week but I kept trying him at the breast and did regular kangaroo care. This all seemed to help. He was cup fed or bottle with ebm when I wasn't there but as I roomed in I was mainly there. We used nipple shields for 2 weeks as well. He was allowed home at 14 days as he had cracked the feeding. X

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Thu 18-Apr-13 04:33:09

35.5 weeks and a caesarean. They'll hopefully let you stay on the maternity ward for a few days, and then go straight to rooting in on scbu. Feeding might be just like a term baby if you are lucky. Hope it all goes well.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Thu 18-Apr-13 04:33:37

Rooming in I meant of course!

MrRected Thu 18-Apr-13 05:29:50

DD born at 35+6. No steroids, vaginal delivery. Spent 3 nights in hospital. She fed like a charm.

HadALittleFaithBaby Thu 18-Apr-13 07:17:16

We're in a similar position. DD born Sunday - VB but rather rapid! Weighed 5lb 4oz. I'm bf but she needed top ups because she is very hungry bit quick to fatigue. My milk came in yesterday so I've started expressing and she's on a combo of breast feeds, EBM from a cup and formula top up from a cup. Hoping gradually to establish more BF so we can drop the cup. We're thinking of going home today but its daunting!

lotsofcheese Thu 18-Apr-13 07:44:34

Thanks everyone - have had a shocking night's sleep due to the steroids - forgot how manic they make you.

It's the 2nd injection today at lunchtime, followed by another scan to check fluid & then the consultant will decide. If it's not decided today it will be on a daily basis.

elfycat Thu 18-Apr-13 09:33:57

My early-one was a few years back now (4) and the little, yellow, scrawny baby has turned into a thumping pre-schooler who is still in bed at 0930. She's not early any longer (more's the pity).

One thing thar irritated me was that people wold dismiss that she was premature. 'Oh well she was just early, not prem then'. I'm sorry but the medical world lumps her in with all the other early babies for a reason. I think it took her 2 years to catch up after her early start and having to be readmitted to scbu with very toxic jaundice at day 8 (but that was just her and isn't that common).

But after that jaundice episode, and all the medication she received while they were finding out the problem, including antibiotics in case of meningitis, she acted like a newborn for at least 3-4 months. not properly prem, grumble grumble...

minipie Fri 19-Apr-13 20:40:46

good luck!

dd was born at 34 weeks, it took 3 weeks to establish breastfeeding and get let out of SCBU (lots of pumping in the meantime)


I believe the reason it took so long is not just because DD was premature and sleepy, but also because she had an undiagnosed tongue tie. so, if you do struggle, don't forget non early baby related issues might apply too!

lotsofcheese Fri 19-Apr-13 22:03:46

Thanks everyone - I ended up having her last night by EMCS.

Her blood glucose has been low despite formula top-ups on the post-natal ward, so she's in SCBU.

Went down earlier for a cuddle & discovered they're topping up my tiny 1-2 ml hand-expressed volumes of EBM with IV fluids-glucose - aaargh! It's not really enough for weight gain so have asked them to top her up with formula, either by bottle, cup or NG.

Had some lovely cuddles with her too. Hoping we can push the feeding so we can get her home ASAP.

minipie Sat 20-Apr-13 08:10:06

congratulations! and best of luck with getting her home soon.

elfycat Sat 20-Apr-13 09:01:41


It took DD1 about 3 days to get her glucose levels to settle. 1-2ml of expressing sound about right (ime - I only ever got 1ml at a time) and it's packed full of what she needs. Have you been able to see a feeding advisor? I'd recommend it before you leave, it just gives you that bit more confidence.

Enjoy those cuddles. And drink lots. SCBU is always so warm.

lotsofcheese Sat 20-Apr-13 12:50:16

Thanks Elfy - I must have forgotten from last time how little milk I produced to start with! I'm less than 48 hours post-section so perhaps a bit ambitious at this stage to be expecting much more.

BabyCheese isn't waking up for feeds & is being fed through a tube. Today there were large aspirates from her tube. I think she's needing more time to get going with the feeding.

HadALittleFaithBaby Sat 20-Apr-13 13:30:52

Ah congratulations! You're about 6 days behind me. Keep persevering with the early expressing and remember your milk will kick in soon! It's early days, hang in there.

TwitchyTail Sun 21-Apr-13 19:26:11


I had my son at 36 weeks. He would latch but not suck at first, so had expressed colostrum and formula top ups (low sugars) for 3 days. Pumped from day 2 to stimulate supply. We always tried him on the boobs first to keep his hand (tongue?) in so to speak. He got the hang of it on day 4 and by day 5 we were ebf. Still ebf at 8 weeks, going brilliantly, doing it right now grin <tmi emoticon> Definitely possible, good luck!

TwitchyTail Sun 21-Apr-13 19:33:42

^^ Oh, and I second the suggestion speak to a feeding coordinator - I don't think I would be breastfeeding now if it wasn't for their advice, particularly about establishing supply with a lethargic jaundiced baby who cba to suck.

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