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Problems Expressing Milk for My Premature Baby
Having a child truly changes everything; makes your life refreshing and more joyful. One thing that we have to remember is that children do not come with instructions and every child is truly unique in their own beautiful way. With a child come new responsibilities, new cloths, car seats, new furniture and toys, and less space and sleep for the new parents. As a parent, all you wish for is for a healthy newborn child that will be happy in their new home with you, but alas this does not always occur. If you are a new parent to a premature baby, you know the different struggles you have to face with your premature infant and even tasks like breastfeeding can become a challenge.
Premature birth or preterm birth is giving birth to a child that is less than 37 weeks old meaning that the organs in your child have not fully developed and that they will need special care. Aside from giving birth to a premature baby and worrying about their health, you will be wondering if it is still possible to feed your child breast milk and you will be glad to know the answer is yes! Studies have shown that breastmilk can help your premature baby development and reduce and resist various infections. So what do you do when you have a newborn premature infant that would benefit greatly from breastmilk?
-Start expressing milk as soon as possible! You may try expressing milk few hours after your child is born with hands or a breast pump.
-Pump your breast for about 5 minutes every 3 hours for the first two days until your breastmilk comes in.
-Once the milk starts to come, no matter how small the amount, try to express at least 6 to 8 times during a 24 hour period. Remember, pumping your breast frequently will allow for the breastmilk to come sooner and in greater amount.
If your breastmilk supply is still low you may try the following:
-Rest! You will be stressed and overwhelmed with having a premature baby but giving yourself plenty of rest and eating a healthy meal with benefit both you and the child.
-Increase the amount of time you pump. Try shorter pumping sessions but more frequently such as pumping for ten minutes every 3 hours instead of 15 minutes every 4 hours.
-Try different herbs or beer. Some swear that beer will increase breast milk flow while others rely on brewer's yeast, fenugreek tea or capsules, blessed thistle, or mother's milk tea. Try one herb at a time and wait for the herb to take effect!
-Breast massage and warm pads/cloths before breast pumping can lead to a great milk flow.
-Try alternating from hand pumping and machine pumping or switch to a double pump.
-Check your pump! This is sometimes overlooked and could be the main problem while you are not providing enough breastmilk.
Remember, having a premature child can lead to stress which could lead to your breast milk deficiency. If you are not happy with the amount of breast milk you are producing, you should supplement with baby formula. You should not feel guilty if you are unable to product sufficient amount of milk and should make sure that your child gets the nutrition and food from a different source that will help them thrive and build their immune system.