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.
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.
- Unicef- Infant Feeding during COVID-19
- It’s always good to meet with others going through similar issues, so seek out a group for parents of multiple babies. The Twins and Multiple Birth Association (TAMBA) will help you find a group in your area.
- Advice from the Baby Sleep Information Source (BASIS) on safer sleep for twins and multiple babies.