World Breastfeeding Week 2023

World Breastfeeding Week 2023

Breastfeeding a premature baby can look and feel very different

Awareness Day

Ickle Pickles is proud to be supporting World Breastfeeding Week 2023.  We understand the challenges that come with breastfeeding a premature baby and know that it can look and feel very different from what you would expect. 

It is common to feel helpless when you have had a premature or sick baby. And it is okay if you find breastfeeding difficult. Often prem babies do not have the strength to suck and breastfeed but you can make a difference and help them by expressing and storing your milk for them to be fed with it when the time is right. It is important to ask for help, especially when you start.

Did you know that Kangaroo Care supports breastmilk production and can be a real lifesaver when breastfeeding? For more information on breastfeeding a preterm baby, have a look at the EFCNI’s (European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants) factsheet here.

Ickle Pickles’ Michelle shares her own breastfeeding story to inspire other NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) parents to not give up.

“When I had my first daughter I was able to breastfeed her successfully for 2 years. However, when my second daughter Charlotte was born, due to her extreme premature birth she needed milk with more calories in order for her to gain the weight she needed.  

Although I was able to express and feed her really successfully ( I would produce gallons of milk and it was a running joke on the unit as they ran out of storage space in the freezer!) I had to start mix-feeding with prescribed formula milk in order for her to get the extra calories. 

This meant my milk supply dwindled and eventually stopped.  I felt a real sense of guilt and loss at not being able to feed Charlotte as I had done with my first daughter. I felt quite robbed of this experience with my baby which added to the other feelings of missed experiences due to her early birth.   

However, my advice would be to feed your baby however you can. Follow the medical advice and try not to fixate on any negative feelings you may experience as ultimately a fed baby is getting stronger and healthier and closer to coming home.”

Join us and help create a breastfeeding-friendly society that supports NICU parents. We thank all our supporters who share tips and their breastfeeding stories at our Peer Support groups. If you’d like to support other NICU mums on their breastfeeding journey please get in touch.

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