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 or text the Boob hotline to make a plan that’s right for you! 303-887-9161
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 $65/month or $4/day - Call 303-643-5662
- Medela milk storage bags
Classes and Groups:
Breastfeeding Group - led by one of our expert IBCLCs, this group is for any mama who wants help with breastfeeding, has questions, or just wants to come for support. We will do a pre and post-feed weight for baby.
- Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 1:00pm
- Fridays at 3:30pm
Postpartum Support Group - If you are a mama to a baby - this group is for you. This is a time to get out of the house, connect with other mamas, and discuss the joys and challenges of mama ‘hood. This group is completely open and non-judgmental. Come for advice, support, to laugh, or just to get out of the house.
- Wednesdays at 1:00pm
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 or text the Boob Hotline at 303.887.9161