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Can I breastfeed my premature baby?

Research has shown us that premature babies who are fed on expressed breast milk (EBM) get on better than those who are fed with formula, suffering from fewer complications. A premature baby on the special care baby unit (SCBU) can still be a breastfeed baby.

You can get advice on how to express your milk from the staff in the SCBU or from your midwife. Remember that your baby will not need a lot of milk at this point. You will only produce a tiny amount each feed in the early days but don’t discount it; it’s perfect for your baby! When you get going with your expressing, you could consider donating some of your leftover supply to a milk bank, to help other sick babies (see the section on milk banks).

You can gradually introduce the breast into your baby’s daily routine as they grow in size and strength. Until then, try a cup or spoon instead which you can gradually phase out until you are breastfeeding all the time. Be prepared, get determined! This will not be the easy option at first, but it IS better for your baby and will be well worth it long term!

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