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Breastfeeding premature or multiple babies

Breastfeeding a premature baby or more than one baby might seem like a scary prospect, however with support, you can enjoy a successful breastfeeding journey.

Feeding premature babies

Breast milk has many benefits to you and your baby. It contains all of the things your baby needs for nourishment, and also protects 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 nurses in the hospital will support you to use a pump and express milk for your baby. Giving your baby breastmilk is a great way of supporting their 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 could seem overwhelming. With careful preparation and good support though, it’s definitely possible for you to reach your breastfeeding goals. 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 takes more physical and emotional energy.

To help get breastfeeding going, surround yourself with people who can offer you help and support. There are also many breastfeeding helplines and support services you can contact for advice and guidance, as well as talking to your midwife or health visitor.

If you have twin, triplets or more, they are often born premature or may just be small. This means they might need special attention to breastfeed. In the early days, they may not be able to stimulate a good milk supply so expressing your milk can be a helpful way of getting your breasts to produce more.

All babies are different and gradually you’ll learn the separate habits and feeding abilities of each baby.

Don’t expect to have a set feeding routine straight away; you’ll generally find that many babies settle into natural feeding rhythm once they’ve reached six weeks old.

Useful links

National breastfeeding helpline

Page last reviewed: 18-01-2021

Next review due: 18-01-2024