Real Women: The Reality of Breastfeeding a Premature Baby
Giving birth prematurely can cause a lot of stress, fears, fatigue and discomfort. Not all the experiences are equal so, here at Lily and Ribbon, we want to share a direct experience explained by a Real Mum who has been through it all.
Beth talks about her experiences with Eddie, who was born at 28 weeks’ gestation, and is now nine months old. She shared her journey of breastfeeding him for mums who might be going through the same thing...
Breastfeeding a premature baby: when does your milk come in?
With Eddie, it actually took four days for my milk to come in, which was a huge shock because with Vinnie, my milk came in at day two and with Roy, my other 28 weeker, my milk came in at day two also, but I just persevered and it did come through in the end!
What support is there out there for breastfeeding mums who have a premature baby?
The people who are going to help you the most are the nurses in your unit, because they've experienced it all before. It is also possible to speak to the charities Tommy's and Bliss as they both have really good resources on premature babies and breastfeeding them.
What challenges are there with breastfeeding a premature baby?
So, once direct nursing started with Edie one of the biggest challenges for me was finding that time to still pump, because I still had to pump enough off because he was only having one breastfeed a day! And then it slowly increased, but it was difficult to pump, express and NG feed him. That was a tricky balance, but also, I found it really difficult to sort of want to breastfeed at the start, because it didn't feel natural because he was so small. With Vinnie. It was super easy straightaway. With Eddie, it took a little time. The number one thing I wish someone told me is that on day one you do not need to express into those silly little syringes they give you. You don’t need to squeeze your nipple and express directly into those tubes. You can ask for a sterile cup which is so much easier and then use the syringe to suck up the milk. I was faffing around and getting myself really stressed until I learnt that!
This is only one of the million personal experiences regarding premature babies, if you want to share yours and add some tips please feel free to write a comment below. A lot of mums are going through the same journey for the first time and we strongly believe in supporting each other!
Moreover, in order to be more helpful and to give you enough clarification about this topic we have selected these articles below with some useful resources: Breastfeeding your premature baby, Feeding your premature baby and Breastfeeding.