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Nurturing Your Premature Baby: A Guide to Breastfeeding in the NICU

3 min read

Nurturing Your Premature Baby: A Guide to Breastfeeding in the NICU

Welcoming a premature baby into the world can be both a joyous and challenging experience for new mothers. The journey of breastfeeding may take a different path, but with the right support and knowledge, it is possible to provide your little one with the incredible benefits of breast milk.

In this blog post, we will explore the unique experience of having a premature baby and how it can affect your breastfeeding plans. We'll also provide practical advice and emotional support to empower you on this extraordinary journey.

Understanding the Challenges:

Having a premature baby can present various challenges when it comes to breastfeeding. Premature babies may have difficulty latching or feeding directly from the breast due to their underdeveloped sucking reflexes. Additionally, they might require medical interventions or stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), which can further complicate the breastfeeding process. It's important to remember that every baby is different, and it may take time for them to develop their feeding abilities.

Pumping Around the Clock:

One of the most crucial aspects of breastfeeding a premature baby is establishing and maintaining a robust milk supply. Since your baby may not be able to feed directly from the breast initially, pumping breast milk is essential. Aim to pump around the clock every 2-3 hours (yes this is hard but essential), using our pumps that are mimicking your baby's feeding and schedule as closely as possible. This helps stimulate milk production and ensures a sufficient milk supply for your little one's needs.

Building a Support Network:

The importance of a strong support network cannot be overstated for mothers of premature babies. Reach out to your partner, family, and friends as well as fellow nursery mums for emotional support, understanding, and practical help. Joining support groups, both online and offline, can connect you with other mothers who are going through or have experienced similar journeys. These communities provide a safe space to share experiences, seek advice, and find solace in knowing that you're not alone.

The Role of Lactation Consultants:

Lactation consultants are invaluable allies on your breastfeeding journey, especially when your baby is premature. These trained professionals can guide you through the challenges you may face, provide personalised support, and offer techniques to enhance your breastfeeding experience. Don't hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant for assistance, as they can help troubleshoot any difficulties you might encounter.

Choosing the Right Breast Pump:

Selecting the right Milkbar breast pump is crucial for mothers of premature babies. There are various options available, such as manual pumps, electric pumps, and hospital-grade pumps. Consider factors like comfort, efficiency, portability, and ease of use when making your choice. It may also be helpful to consult with a lactation consultant or other experienced mothers to determine which pump suits your individual needs best.

Additional Tips for Emotional and Physical Well-being:

Caring for a premature baby in the NICU can be emotionally and physically demanding. To ensure you can provide the best for your baby, it's essential to prioritise self-care. Remember to nourish yourself with a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and get enough rest whenever possible. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness, can also support your emotional well-being during this challenging time.

Breastfeeding a premature baby in the NICU may present unique challenges, but with determination, support, and the right resources, you can provide your little one with the remarkable benefits of breast milk. Remember, every drop counts, and your efforts are truly commendable.

Reach out to your healthcare team, lactation consultants, and support groups for guidance and encouragement. By nurturing yourself along the way, you'll be able to continue giving your baby the love and nourishment they need, even in the face of adversity.


  1. - Providing Breast Milk for Premature and Ill Newborns
  2. La Leche League International - Successfully Breastfeeding Your Premature Baby
  3. La Leche League International - Breastfeeding Premature Babies
  4. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia - Breastfeeding Your Late Preterm Baby
  5. International Breastfeeding Journal - Benefits and challenges of transitioning preterm infants to at...
  6. Raising Children Network - Breastfeeding Premature Babies in the NICU
  7. Medela - Feeding Your Premature Baby Breast Milk
  8. March of Dimes - Feeding Your Baby After the NICU

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