Breastfeeding & Preemies

November 10, 2017

It is important to remember that breastfeeding a preemie is a whole different ball game than breastfeeding a baby who was born near their due date. Preemies need a little extra time to grow and develop. Often as parents of preemies we need to reset our expectations about what our baby is able to do.


Here are some tips and reminders about breastfeeding your little preemie:

Preemies have less developed muscle tone in their entire bodies.

This includes their face and all the muscles needed to develop strong breastfeeding techniques and sucking skills.

Preemies often tire during feedings.

Providing your baby with swaddling to support their body, jaw support to help them suck, and short feedings can help the time they are active at the breast be more effective.

Preemies often do a combination of breast and bottle feeding for a while.

And that is totally OK, mama!

Keep posture in mind while using a bottle.

When feeding your preemie with a bottle, sit upright and keep the bottle horizontal to ensure a slow flow of milk works well.

Pace your preemie’s feeding.

Give them a few sucks, then let them rest for a few seconds, and repeat.

Follow your preemie’s cues.

If their eyes turn to huge saucers, stop! If their eyes start to close, stop!

Practice mouth exercises between feedings to help your preemie strengthen their mouth and tongue muscles.

Try tracing your preemie’s lips and gums with your finger and offer them a pacifier.

Now go get that preemie fed, mama!

And remember, feeding a preemie takes lots of patience and calm.  Before you know it your baby will be growing by leaps and bounds. 

Breastfeeding & Preemies

Willow Merchant

Momseze Blogger

Mother of 3 diverse boys ages 8 to 16, lover of all things mama & baby, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Registered Nurse(RN), International Board Certified Lactation Consultant(IBCLC), Reiki Master, Certified Infant Massage Instructor(CIMI), Certified Childbirth Educator(CBE), Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician(CPST).

Recommended Products