Breastfeeding premature or multiple babies

Premature babies

Research shows that giving your premature baby breast milk benefits both their health and yours. Breast milk contains antibodies, hormones, nutrients and growth factors that nourish your premature baby and provide a protective defence against infections. Breast milk is easier for a small baby to digest than formula milk, so you’ll be encouraged to breastfeed or to express your milk if your baby is too small to suck at the breast. The neonatal intensive care nurses will support you to use a pump to express milk for your baby. Providing breastmilk is your way of supporting your baby’s progress.

Useful link

Bliss – an organisation to support parents and carers of babies who are born prematurely or sick.

Twins or more

When you know you’re expecting more than one baby, breastfeeding can seem a daunting prospect! However, with careful preparation and good support, it’s definitely possible. Remember, any amount of breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding at all.

Caring for two or more babies not only takes more time, but also requires more physical and emotional energy. To get breastfeeding established, surround yourself with people who can offer you help and support. There are many breastfeeding helplines you can call for advice and local groups you can join – talk to your midwife or health visitor or look at the ‘useful links’ on this page: All about breastfeeding

Multiple babies are often born premature or may just be small. In either case, they may need special attention to achieve successful breastfeeding. In the early days they may not be able to sufficiently stimulate a good milk supply so expressing your milk can be a helpful way of getting your breasts to produce more.

All babies are individuals and multiples babies are no exception. Gradually you’ll learn the separate habits and feeding abilities of each baby. While a set routine is a bit much to expect, you’ll find that many babies settle into natural feeding rhythm once they’ve reached six weeks old.

Useful links

National breastfeeding helpline


Page last reviewed: 21-10-2017

Next review due: 21-10-2020