What about Pumping My Milk for My Premature Baby?
If your baby is not strong enough to feed at the breast, you should begin to pump as soon after the birth as you are able. Frequent pumping, every two to three hours, will mimic the frequency of a newborn's feeding pattern, and bring in a good milk supply. "The key to maintaining a milk supply over time while expressing is to establish a daily routine and stick to it, mimicking the frequency and length of a baby's usual breastfeeding routine." (LLLI BREASTFEEDING ANSWER BOOK, p. 253)
Use a full-size, hospital-grade pump, with a double-pump kit; many NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) have these pumps available for mothers. Ask at your hospital.
Pumping both breasts at once will save you time. Save your colostrum, the first milk. This is the perfect first feed for your baby to have. See the FAQ about breast pumps for more information about evaluating a breast pump for use when you are at home. See the entire FAQ section on Pumping for more information.
This article may be helpful to you as you prepare to take your baby home with continued pumping.
Contacting an LLL Leader in your area may help you during this challenging time. To find a Group near you, call 1-800-LALECHE, look at our LLL Web Page Index or follow the hints on our page about finding a local LLL Leader. If you are unable to find a local Group, you may consider attending one of our on-line LLL meetings.
For additional information, see the rest of the Premature Infant FAQs.
Our FAQs present information from La Leche League International on topics of interest to parents of breastfed children. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's lifestyle. This information is general in nature and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise. If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader. Please consult health care professionals on any medical issue, as La Leche League Leaders are not medical practitioners.