Late preterm feeding plan

Late preterm feeding plan

Late Preterm Feeding Plan

If your baby was born between 34-36 6/7 weeks they might be a little bit tiny, a little bit sleepy, and a little bit uncoordinated. Preterm, later preterm, or growth restricted babies may lack mature feeding skills, strength, and stamina to express and transfer enough milk from mom.

The last 6 weeks of pregnancy is a critical time for the development of your baby’s brain, lungs, and other systems that help with the coordination of sucking and swallowing. Infants born prematurely don’t have enough brown fat, a type of fat babies use during their infancy, to pull from for energy and heat. Brown fat develops during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Infants born prematurely, before the layering of brown fat and maturation of organ systems, need extra support as they make the transition to life outside the womb.

It is recommended to feed your baby on a schedule until they are 37 weeks (adjusted age). Once they reach term, they can feed on demand.


Feeding Plan

  • Wake infant every 3 hours (8 to 12 feeds/day.) Watch for feeding cues, feed sooner if cuing.

  • Offer breast first at each feeding before any supplements.

  • If baby latches and suckles, encourage baby to stay awake and suck for a minimum of 10-15minutes at breast, baby may feed longer if nutritive suck pattern noted. You can keep your baby awake by gently rubbing baby’s feet or tickling their back; you can take a wet washcloth and rub it across their forehead, back or feet to keep them alert and eating.

  • If baby does not breastfeed well (at least 10 minutes of active nutritive sucking with swallows) supplement with mom’s breast milk or formula if more volume is needed.

  • The amount your baby should take per feeding is based on stomach size. If you are supplementing with breast milk or formula in a bottle you should pace bottle feed and follow guidelines for belly size volume.

    Belly Size

    • Day 1, belly size 6 ml; 5 – 7 ml per feed

    • Day 2) 10 - 14 ml per feed

    • Day 3, belly size 25 ml; 20 – 30 ml per feed

    • Day 7, belly size 51 ml

    • Day 10 belly size 90 ml

  • Pump both breasts after every feeding for 15-20 minutes. Hospital grade pump is preferred. You should be pumping an amount equal to or greater than what the baby is taking per bottle by day 4 - 5.

  • Work with a lactation consultant in person!! This is key to making sure you protect your milk volume and to assure your baby is getting enough to eat!

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