Breastfeeding the High Risk Newborn
As the mother of a high-risk newborn, you may have to overcome difficulties that a mother and full-term, healthy baby are unlikely to run into when learning to breastfeed. However, you and your baby will learn to breastfeed. It simply may take a bit more patience and persistence. How soon you and your baby can begin to breastfeed will depend on the maturity of your baby's brain and body systems. Although a baby's gestational age influences the development of stable body systems and the development of the reflexes needed for oral feedings, a baby's physical condition may also affect when direct breastfeeding can begin.
Until your baby is able to breastfeed, you can express your milk (remove milk from your breasts) to establish and maintain breast milk production. Milk expression also allows your high-risk baby to get the benefits of your milk as soon as his/her gastrointestinal tract is ready to handle gavage (tube) or oral (by mouth) feedings. Plan to continue to express your milk until you know your baby is able to get all needed nourishment directly from your breasts.
Listed in the directory below is some additional information regarding breastfeeding a high-risk newborn, for which we have provided a brief overview.
If you cannot find the information in which you are interested, please visit the High-Risk Newborn Online Resources page in this Web site for an Internet/World Wide Web address that may contain additional information on that topic.
The Benefits of Mother's Own Milk
Adding to Mother's Milk
Milk Expression Techniques
Milk Collection and Storage
Delayed or Not Enough Milk Production
Moving Toward Breastfeeding
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