How to Pump for a Preemie

A premature baby drinks a bottle

When preparing for the birth of your baby, there are many things you need to anticipate and get ready for. One factor that you can’t control is your baby coming earlier than expected, and that’s okay! No matter when you give birth, breastfeeding will be a learning experience. Here is what you need to know when pumping for a preemie:

  • Milk produced by mothers of premature babies is different for the first several weeks since they have different needs than full-term babies. 
  • This milk contains a higher number of proteins, minerals, and large concentrations of antibodies to help your baby fight infection.
  • Breast milk is easier for your preemie to digest than formula, many healthcare professionals consider it “liquid gold” for preemies.
  • Mothers of premature babies should start to pump as soon as possible after giving birth to start establishing their supply.
  • An electric hospital-grade breast pump is essential to allow for easy pumping; browse our wide selection at the Breastfeeding Shop here.
  • Skin-to-skin with your baby is super important to your milk supply, but other benefits include stabilization of breathing, mother-infant bonding, a lower risk of maternal development of postpartum depression, maintenance of babies’ body temperatures, and improved developmental outcomes.
  • While your baby is in the NICU, pump by their bedside, or if you are away from them, look at photos or videos while you pump.
  • Portable pumping options are super helpful for premature mothers, check out the variety of options we have available here.
  • Keep your baby’s nurses and NICU lactation consultants in the loop if you are experiencing any issues.
  • NICU breastfeeding support groups are very helpful as well as virtual breastfeeding support from trained professionals such as our consultants available to assist you with your needs especially when you leave the hospital. 

Welcoming a premature baby into the world can be scary, but at The Breastfeeding Shop, we want mothers to feel prepared for anything! Breastfeeding can look different for everyone, but adapting and learning along the way is the most important method for mothers of premature babies to help their babies thrive.

For more information regarding pump options or other resources for breastfeeding a premature baby, reach out to our representatives who are trained to assist you with your custom needs. 


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