The value of breastfeeding in NICU for preemies

Preemies need more love and care than a full-term baby. It is extremely essential that mums of preemies breastfeed their little ones with necessary nutrients that are crucial for their growth, both physically and mentally. A premature baby, when breastfed, gets several preemie-specific benefits of breast milk. 

Feeding the baby with mother’s milk instead of processed milk can make a lot of difference. Breastfeeding also has numerous positive effects on the child’s growth and development. 

Why is breast milk crucial for preemies?  

 

Preemies are prone to various ailments in the first six months.

Preemies are babies born more than 3 weeks before the due date. Preemies miss out on the essential nutrients they are supposed to receive while in the womb, which are crucial for their protection from various complications at the time of birth. 

For instance, large protein molecules such as DHA (a fatty acid vital for healthy brain and eye development) and immunoglobulin G, cross the placenta and are transported to the growing foetus in the last 3 months. Since preemies come out early, they miss out on the aforementioned large proteins which make them immune to various ailments for the first 5 – 6 months after birth. 

The breast milk produced by mums of preemies contains a higher amount of fats and secretory immunoglobulin than mums of full-term babies. If you keep breastfeeding your premature baby, you can fulfil the baby’s nutrient requirements and help them combat the complexities that might occur. 

 

The breast milk is specially produced for preemies growth

When preemies are born, your body knows the birth was before time. Therefore, your body provides the best milk required for her infallible growth. The breast milk produced is different from that of mums of full-term babies.

For the first few weeks, the breast milk contains more protein, fats, calories, and all other essential nutrients needed for the little one’s growth. 

Apart from physical growth, your milk also has a profound effect on your baby’s mental growth.

 

Preemies have an immature gastrointestinal tracts

Preemies have an immature gastrointestinal tract which makes digestion and absorption of nutrients difficult for them. Breast milk is the best food since it is easy for their delicate guts to process.

This milk also has a laxative effect on your baby’s bowels, helping her pass the first stools without much bother. Stools can help the paediatrician to identify the potential complexities and most importantly, it resolves the jaundice issue. 

 

Helps mums develop a bond with their little ones 

Breastfeeding helps the child stay warm, the heart rate remains regular and oxygen level stabilizes. Breastfeeding also provides an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your little one. 

Breastfeeding is also a great way for new mums to get to know their young ones, understand their likes and dislikes, their sleeping and feeding habits, etc.   

Now that you’ve understood the humongous effects of breast milk on your premature baby, don’t shy away from breastfeeding your young one. If you need assistance, there are helpline numbers (https://www.medelabreastfeeding.in/lc-club/) which can guide you with the required information and help you obtain the best breastfeeding solutions for a comfortable breastfeeding journey. 

Happy Breastfeeding to You!