Premature and/or sick babies may take longer to establish successful breast feeding. Having your baby admitted to Special Care Nursery can be a stressful and frustrating time. This may be the first time you have breast fed or the situation may be completely different to previous experiences. It is therefore important to not become concerned if your breast feeding is not initially as successful as you imagined it would be. Give yourself and your baby time to adjust and enjoy each new experience as it presents itself.
If your baby is able to, or at the soonest opportunity, we will give you complete support to commence breast feeding.
Because of the special needs of your Special Care baby, you may start to breast feed on a reduced regime, possibly 1 breast per day. This will increase in line with your baby’s progress. The rate of progress will be determined by weight loss or gain. Your baby will exert a great deal of energy when breast feeding and a small weight loss may initially occur. This is perfectly normal but it you have any concerns, always discuss them with the nursing staff.
Your Paediatrician will inform you of the breast feeding requirements of your premature baby. You may find that you do not completely establish breast feeding while your baby is in Special Care, and that even when discharged home, your baby may still require some supplemented bottle feeds to maintain weight gain.
Progress may appear slow but you will notice improvements as your baby grows and becomes stronger. The nursing and midwifery staff on Special Care Nursery along with the lactation consultants at St Vincents Private will endeavour to assist you at every opportunity. You are also encouraged to return to our lactation clinic if you require any further assistance or advice with feeding your baby once you have been discharged from our care.
It is also important to remember, that there is a lot of information available regarding breast feeding. At times some of the information appears to be confusing; however, it is important to find out what suits both you and your baby on a set day. Their needs are constantly changing.