Tue. Nov 29th, 2022
How should a premature baby be breastfed?

Breastfeeding a premature baby will depend on your situation. It can be direct, by bottle, syringe, probe… But it is always better to feed it with breast milk.

If for a newborn , breastfeeding is very important, for a premature baby it is essential. Depending on your situation, breastfeeding a premature baby can be done in different ways.

Some can breastfeed directly, but others need to be fed through a syringe or tube. How they explain it to you in the neonatal unit, where they will give the little one all the necessary care to get ahead.

A baby is considered premature when he is born before 37 weeks, even if he has a weight considered normal for a newborn. As a premature baby, you will need a series of special care. One of them is food. As a general rule, doctors will recommend that mothers breastfeed their babies.


In fact, as nature knows, the milk produced by the mothers of a premature baby has some differences with respect to that of those who have given birth at term. Next you will discover what it is made of.

  • Colostrum: contains proteins, sodium, IgA immunoglobulin, lysozyme, lactoferrin, macrophages, lymphocytes and neutrophils.
  • Nutritional composition: the breast milk of a premature baby has higher levels of iron, protein, sodium and chlorine than that of a full-term baby.
  • A premature baby’s milk contains more defenses to fight infection.
  • Fats are different, easier to digest and absorb. At this point, it is important to note that the fat in breast milk helps improve the development of the baby’s brain and neurological tissues. This is especially relevant in premature babies.

All these nutrients are essential for the correct development of the baby. In addition, it should be remembered that the absorption capacity of long-chain fatty acids in breast milk is 90% or higher, compared to 65% in artificial milk.

Another reason to prioritize breast milk when breastfeeding a premature baby is that it will protect the little one against one of the problems seen in many premature babies: necrotizing enterocolitis, a serious intestinal disease. In general, breast milk reduces the chances of newborns getting intestinal infections. In part, because human milk is easier to digest than formula milk .


It is preferable that a premature baby is breastfed directly, so neonatal units should guide the mother and support her so that she can breastfeed her child. Check out our parenting site for more and great ideas for your new born.

If he had to remove it so that the doctors can give it to him in the most convenient way for the child (bottle, syringe, tube, etc.), the unit staff must offer him a breast pump, teach him how to use it and allow him to be as comfortable as possible. of time possible next to the little one to favor the rise of the milk.

Normally, the amount of milk that comes out during the first few days is small, but the volume will increase as time goes on and pumping is done on a regular basis. That is why it is recommended to use the extractor at least 6 times a day.

Some mothers find it helpful to express their milk at their baby’s bedside or immediately after holding the baby. Gently massaging the breasts before and during pumping has also been shown to improve milk production .

It may happen that the pediatrician indicates the need to enrich breast milk so that the newborn receives all the necessary nutrients for its recovery.