BookmarkBookmarkTick

Q&A: Will I Be Able to Breastfeed My Preemie?

Will I be able to breastfeed my preemie?
ByDr. Jennifer Gunter
OB-GYN
Updated
January 30, 2017
Hero Image

Definitely — breast milk is the best food for your preemie. A baby who is 34 weeks may be able to try breastfeeding, but before 32–34 weeks most preemies cannot coordinate sucking and swallowing and will be fed by a tube that goes through the nose or mouth into the stomach. Some babies will not be ready to tolerate tube feeds and will receive special nutrition intravenously. Every preemie mom is encouraged to pump her breast milk if she is too sick to go to the NICU to feed her baby or if her baby is getting tube feeds. If your baby is getting nutrition in the IV, any pumped breast milk will be stored until it can be used.

Related Video
danielle fishel speaks at L.A. children's hospital about the bond she has with other NICU parents

Danielle Fishel Opens Up About Bond She Has With Other NICU Parents

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
03/04/2020
hand holding preemie foot in the nicu

NICU Nurse Treats Son of a Patient From 30 Years Ago in Sweet Surprise

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
02/19/2020
actress danielle fishel opens up about the trauma of having her newborn in the nicu

Boy Meets World Star Danielle Fishel Gets Real About Her Mom-Guilt

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
10/15/2019
couple exchanging rings at their wedding ceremony

Bride Walks Down the Aisle Holding Preemie Baby at Hospital Wedding Ceremony

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
08/08/2019
actress danielle fishel karp gives birth 4 weeks early

Danielle Fishel Sums Up the Roller Coaster of Emotions When You Have a NICU Baby

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
07/02/2019
illustration of fireworks over a city

World’s Smallest Surviving Baby Finally Goes Home

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
05/31/2019
preemie baby in the hospital being cared for by doctor

Study: Special Form of Therapy Proven to Help Premature Babies’ Brains Develop

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
05/29/2019
father touching preemie in the nicu

Revolutionary Wireless Sensors Could Allow Skin-to-Skin Contact With NICU Babies

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
03/01/2019
world's smallest baby goes home

World's Smallest Surviving Baby Boy Is Sent Home After Months in the Hospital

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/28/2019
Dad holding son playfully yelling.

Dad's Adorable Photos Capture His Preemie Son Doing 'Manly' Things

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
02/06/2019
coffee beans in canister, study shows they caffeine can help preemies

Premature Babies’ Brains Benefit From Caffeine in First Few Days of Life

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Published
12/13/2018
Article removed.