This week (1 to 7 August 2016) is World Breastfeeding Week and we’re here to support mums who are looking to breastfeed or express milk for their babies.
There are lots of benefits to breastfeeding and expressing milk. Breast milk provides babies with protective antibodies, provides nutrients and fats to help promote growth and is easier for babies to digest than formula milk.
All newborn babies are different when it comes to feeding, whether born at term or prematurely. It is still possible to breastfeed premature babies, even if it takes slightly longer or requires extra support from the staff on your unit.
Kangaroo care can also help improve lactation and help with establishing breastfeeding. Kangaroo care is skin-to-skin contact where a baby is placed against the parent’s chest and can be used with babies with high medical needs, but will require careful planning and collaboration with the neonatal staff.
If you or your baby are not ready to feed directly from the breast straight away, you can pump the milk from your breasts using a technique called expressing. This provides milk that can feed your baby, whether through an intravenous line or tube, or by bottle.
It is a skill that can take time to learn, but the staff looking after your baby will give you positive support and practical help with this.
Our publication The best start: A guide to expressing and breastfeeding your premature baby is full of practical advice and useful tips for mums looking to breastfeed or express milk for their babies.
You can also call Bliss’ helpline for free on 0808 801 0322 for advice and support over the phone, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the feeding section of our website.