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Breast Feeding a near term premature baby? (34 Weeks)

(12 Posts)
212smj Wed 12-Mar-14 19:46:51

Hi There,

I need some breast feeding advice...... I'm getting myself worked up about it!

I'm currently 34+3 and tomorrow I am having a cervical stitch removed, which my consultant believes will lead very quickly to labour as my cervix is already open to my stitch.

If I deliver my baby at 34+4 I have been told that the hospital policy is that any baby delivered before 35 weeks needs to go to SCBU
to be assessed etc. My question is what will I/can I do about trying to breast feed?

I know that 34/35 weeks is the crossover for baby's sucking reflex to develop, so will I be able to try?

I'm a first timer with BF and desperately want to get milk etc established and I could really do with some advice?


givemeaclue Wed 12-Mar-14 19:55:05

Hi, yes absolutely. I had babies in nicu born 33 weeks, they were too little to beast feed for first couple of weeks they had express milk in tubes in their noses. They encourage you to breast feed hugely, pumping. Every three hours, set alarm clock to pump in the night etc.. Then moved to ward when they were 2 weeks old to establish feeding routine. After another couple weeks mine still had not even managed to latch on once despite being on the wards breast feeding training regimen. Still having milk tube fed. Eventually switched to bottles so we could get out of hospital and it was much better for us personally. You get tonnes and tonnes of breast feeding support and help on the nicu, they lent me an electric pump to bring home etc

Good luc

DomesticGoddess31 Wed 12-Mar-14 19:57:57

My DD was born at 34+5 and was in the neonatal unit for 2 weeks. She was fed formula via a tube to start with and I started pumping (the hospital had a number of good breast pumps. Pump both sides simultaneously if you can). Whatever colostrum and milk I managed to express was given by tube to my baby and topped up with formula. After a day or two I started giving breastfeeding a go before each tube feed. I got lots of help from hospital staff who were brilliant.

So yes you will be able to give it a go.

Good luck!

zippyrainbowbrite Wed 12-Mar-14 20:04:31


There's something called a supplemental nursing system which might help - it's basically a small tube attached to a bottle: the end of the tube is stuck to your breast so it finishes by your nipple. The idea is that you breastfeed, but the tube gives additional milk, so even if they aren't getting much from you they should still get something. It also helps them get used to feeding, and will help stimulate your milk production.

You can use formula or express for them - expressing May be hard initiLly, but again would help to stimulate milk production.

Sorry, I don't have first hand experience of the SNS (I just learned about it on a course yesterday!), but imagine the midwives who are experienced with premies will have lots of advice.

Hopefully someone who's been through it will be along shortly, and good luck for tomorrow!

Driveway Wed 12-Mar-14 20:07:48

If you want to do it you should be able to. I've fed a 33 and a 32 weeker. Good luck! Have you been round the SCBU on a tour? smile

neversleepagain Wed 12-Mar-14 20:09:30

My twins were born at 34 weeks. Sucking wasn't really the problem for us, it was how sleepy they were! They would constantly fall asleep at the breast.

Hand express colostrum every few hours and your milk will come in. Expressing near the baby helps produce more milk, if you are at home take a worn item of baby's clothing with you to smell. Being able to smell your baby also helps with milk production. Ours were formula fed until I had enough milk for both then they were fed breast milk via tubes until strong enough to bf.

Good luck

212smj Wed 12-Mar-14 22:20:03

Thanks for replies. I have been on a NICU tour but they just said they would provide support but no real detail. I suspect I am just freaking myself out about it. I was already a bit worried about BF and now with an early delivery it's an added thing to worry about.

I feel a bit better after hearing these stories though :-)

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Wed 12-Mar-14 22:24:53

I fed my 33weeker from day 1 smile

His suck reflex was good though he was very sleepy

What really helped was holding in the 'rugby ball' position, I don't think we would have managed if I hadn't used that hold as I have huge boobs and he had a tiny mouth

I'm sure they will give you lots of help, the best things you can do are eat and drink well, get yourself comfy with lots of pillows and relax as much as you can. If you need to express look at your baby and let yourself feel that rush of love, it will help so much

Best of luck with your new baby, I hope it all goes well smile

212smj Wed 12-Mar-14 22:50:56

Thank you so much. Good advice. I have invested in a BF pillow which I think will help. It's not even definite that this little one will be early, but I have been advised it's very likely. All this unknown is so daunting!

dats Wed 12-Mar-14 23:43:25

No bf advice, but at 34+1 wanted to give your hand a squeeze and wish you all the best for tomor!

primigravida Wed 12-Mar-14 23:47:55

Yes it is possible - it might be more difficult and you will probably need to pump a lot to build your milk supply. I have two friends who had babies born around that age and I expressed milk for both of them (thankfully babies born at different times) until my friends were able to make enough milk. They were both able to successfully breast-feed. The key things are to persevere and get the help of a good lactation consultant.

MostWicked Wed 12-Mar-14 23:54:34

I expressed and did a combination of tube feeding and breast feeding of my 32 week baby. He tired very quickly at first, but got the hang of it within about 10 days.

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