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Dr. Jennifer Gunter

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

Will I be able to breastfeed my preemie?

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.

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