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Feeding a Premature Baby


Should I help my wife out with feeding? Here's the situation.

Our newborn is only two weeks old. She was a late pre-term and was born at 36 weeks. Because she is a pre-term, her stamina for breastfeeding hasn't evolved yet and she is taking in much less than we hope at every feeding. My wife is very frustrated by this and cries heavily during each feeding. I mean, she is balling her eyes out! Also, she is recuperating from the delivery and gets very tired. The feeding every three hours exhausts her. But the crying is really concerning me.

Is this normal for her to cry like this? Also, should I help out with the feeding? I know that she wants to breastfeed the kids, but I was thinking about simply helping with the feeding by pumping her breastmilk and feeding the baby through a syringe. At least that way, the baby is getting her mother's milk and she can get more hours of rest at a time.

Thanks for your help.


You have a big role here. First make sure mom is getting the support for breast feeding that is widely available today. Contact her doctor who can connect her to a "lactation" consultant, who specializes in helping new moms and babies learn to breastfeed.

Definitely help her out; it is not good for her to deal with all this frustration alone. Rub her shoulders while she breast feeds and encourage her. She is probably thinking she is not a good mother because she cannot feed her baby; reassure her she is a great mom who is making every sacrifice possible for her baby and you are very proud of her. Make sure she sleeps when the baby does. Yes, it is normal for a new mom to cry under these circumstances; she feels not only frustrated but responsible for the very survival of her baby. Her hormones are surging and are supercharging her emotions. It also reflects her amazing commitment to your child.

The pumping with you feeding the baby with a bottle is a great idea but typically should wait until at least 3 weeks so it doesn't interfere with the baby's breastfeeding (the bottle is easier for the baby than sucking on the breast). Talk to the breastfeeding expert about this, and get it going in a week or so (cool bonding time for dad too). This is a great opportunity for you to show mom that you will always be there for her and your child.

The good news is that everything will get better from here, as both mom and your baby will get stronger, you can get in on the feeding, and you will have a beautiful, happy family.

Good luck and let me know what works so I can pass it on to the next guy facing a similar situation.

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