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How Can I Get My Premature Baby to Eat More?

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Our premature baby is now 12 weeks old (or age 0, since he was born 12 weeks early). He is not interested in eating more than two ounces at each feeding. How can we encourage him to eat more at each feeding and to go longer between feedings?

It’s easy for premature babies to grow tired during feedings, so don’t be surprised if your little one doesn’t finish or falls asleep. To make sure he’s getting enough, try to feed him whenever he shows any signs of hunger, even if it’s only been ashort time since his last feeding. Preemies need to be fed more often than babies born at full term.Try to keep bottles of formula or pumped breast milk on hand so you can be ready whenever he is.

It might help to give your baby a short break to play after a feeding. Also check to make sure he isn’t swaddled too tightly, since that might make him too warm and encourage him to fall asleep while feeding.

If you are breastfeeding your baby, you may find it’s difficult for your premature baby to nurse. Instead, you can pump milk and feed him with a bottle. Once you are able to start breastfeeding directly, your baby should nurse frequently to increase your milk supply. Sometimes, mothers of preemies continue to use a breast pump in addition to feeding frequently to help maintain a good milk supply.

Most important, be patient. Eventually, your baby’s appetite will increase.


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