Early Term Babies - Less than 37 weeks
We lovingly call the early term babies cute and unhelpful. They are great to snuggle with skin-to-skin, but they are unlikely to be expert breastfeeders until they are closer to term.
Back in the cave days, we would have given early term babes to a mama with abundant milk so the baby didn’t have to work so hard. The new mama would then be handed a 3 month old to drive up milk supply.
What to to do now to protect and build your milk supply?
Put baby to breast as often as possible but don’t expect him to be able to get a full feed in the early days. Pump after feeds and feed back pumped milk if he is too tired or disorganized to directly breastfeed for a sustained amount of time.
Rent a hospital grade pump (this is your version of a 3 month old) to drive your supply up. Aim to pump 8-10 times a day until baby can sustain a latch for a full feed, then decrease pump sessions for every breastfeeding session.
Skin to Skin is a great way to bond! In the early weeks it is important to keep the baby in her “natural habitat” - skin-to-skin with either parent. This is important because this is the place where the baby is the least stressed. As little holding of the infant by other people as possible will ensure that feeding cues are not missed.
Paced Bottle Feeds: A bottle can be helpful for an early (less than 40 week), small (under 6lbs), sleepy or jaundice baby. Paced bottle feedings help baby take the bottle in the same way they would approach the breast; here is a good example of paced bottle feeding can be seen here:
Hang in there - as baby starts to grow and get closer to her due date, she should start to wake up to the party and directly breastfeed more often.
Call us at 303-643-5662 to make a plan that’s right for you!
Product Resources at the 'hood
Order online or stop into our Retail Store for one-on-one help from our expert Retail Mavens. Some of the products we recommend for help with early term babies are:
the mama ‘hood Hug Me skin-to-skin tube top
Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra
Hospital Grade Pump Rental available for $75/month or $4/day - Call 303-643-5662
Medela milk storage bags
Classes and Groups:
Breastfeeding Group - Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays at 1pm
The mama 'hood offers professional support through the breastfeeding experience from the early days well into toddlerhood. Breastfeeding Group is intended for breastfeeding or pumping mamas who are seeking breastfeeding support as well as a sense community.
Social connection is one of the primary goals of this group.
Mamas are encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences.
We will do a pre and post feed weigh in for your baby.
One of our mama 'hood IBCLC's will facilitate the group. Should you need additional support unique to your particular situation, our IBCLC will help direct you towards the proper level of support (Feeding Clinic or Private Consult).
New Mamas Group - Mondays at 1pm
This is a drop-in support group open to mamas with new babies... nursing or not, bring your little or come solo. A great place to connect with other moms in community and get support.
Private Consults: Our expert lactation team is thrilled to work with moms, babies, and families to meet their breastfeeding goals through in-office, in-home lactation or Skype consults. To schedule a consult, call the front desk at 303.643.5662.