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Establishing breastfeeding

(4 Posts)
Loveallmyboys Sun 02-Nov-14 20:42:09

My preemie is almost 3 weeks old. He was born at 30+5. He's had no problems other than prematurity. No cpap, no oxygen, he's putting weight on brilliantly. He was 3lb14 born and today is 4lb10! All we need to do to get out of that door is 'establish feeding'.
I'm determined to breastfeed him as I was unable to BF my other 2 boys.
The neonatal nurses are all really helpful but I was wondering if anyone had any tips on getting the job done ASAP? He's having a good oh and will latch on and do a few sucks, so we are doing well. Oh and my milk supply is through the roof!

Poppet45 Mon 03-Nov-14 12:09:53

Congrats on your DS and so lovely to hear things are going really well. First up it totally can be done if you're determined. My dd came home bfing after being born at 27 weeks, and she decided to keep doing it for the next two years (not quite my plan!!). The most important thing you can do is to make sure you have a good supply - you need at least 900ml a day I think - I ended up with 1200 :S but it was a bit of a godsend as dd was weak and had a tongue tie so it helped that my boobs did more of the work than she did. If you need to up your supply expressing overnight will really build it, as will more frequent expressing sessions before you go to bed (1-2 hourly is great), it kind of mimics clusterfeeding and its not too much of a hassle infront of the tv of an evening! Our mws swore on drinking lots of barley water to up supply, as well as breast massage before you start pumping.
Once you're happy about your supply then its just down to getting the LO to master feeding, sometimes you need to strip them off to get them to really wake up, and also put them to your breast before a tube/bottle feed, so they give it the best go they can and associate boobs with a full tum. If you try after a feed they're likely to be sleepy and not too bothered. And keep trying. It takes time and a lot of patience. You can get something called a supplemental nursing system which is a bottle with milk in and a tube that feeds from that into the baby's mouth while they are bfing - to ensure that in the early days they get a bit of extra help when they are feeding with some additional passive milk going in as well as the stuff they are working for. It was a bugger to clean mind!
Good luck x x x

MissMedusa Sat 08-Nov-14 21:59:26

Breastfeeding a preemie is not an easy thing but can be done if you have the time and the patience (and both your body and baby cooperate). My 28 weeker was about 4 months old actual before he was exclusively breastfeed and it was a frustrating process getting there but we got there in the end and once we finally had it established it was a breeze and has been ever since.

We left the NICU at 36 weeks and at that point I was bf once a day. I upped that to twice a day when he got home. Once in the morning and once in the evening. A few weeks later I added a third feed, alternating bottle and breast, the rationale being that if he couldn't get enough from the breast he could make it up with the next bottle feed. I switched that to bottle feeding at night (usually 3 times) and breastfeeding during the day (as often as he wanted) as he seemed to breastfeed better when his previous feed had been from the breast too. In time I replaced one bottle at a time with the breast until he was exclusively breastfed.

My LO was able to switch between bottle and breast (some can't) but he did develop some bad habits from it. He would get impatient when milk wouldn't flow fast enough from the breast so in the beginning I would pump a bit first to get let down going before I latched him. He would also make a clicking sound when he sucked, taking in a lot of air so had to be burped often but that corrected itself with time.

The hardest thing was probably the insecurity of not knowing how much he was getting. I tried weighing him before and after feeds but that just made me nuts so I made a deal with myself that as long as he continued to gain between 100-200g a week as recommended we would keep breastfeeding and he always did. I think he probably would have put on weight faster if we were bottle feeding (at 8 months actual he's only 6.5kg) but I felt like the benefits outweighed the faster weight gain and recently when both DH and I came down with a very contagious cold that went into my lungs (the kind of thing you want your preemie to avoid at all costs), my lo did not catch it and I am certain that is because he got the antibodies through my milk. That alone is enough to justify my decision to myself and makes the struggle worth it.

enqueue Thu 18-Dec-14 20:09:53

Wondering how you are getting on OP?
My son was born 31+2 and is now 2 and 1/2 weeks old, seems like I am in a very similar position to you when you posted so would love to hear how things are going! My SCBU have been very good at encouraging me so far so I hope yours have been too!

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