Preemies can have difficulty sucking, swallowing, and breathing, which makes breastfeeding more challenging, says Bowers. But if you can persevere through the first few weeks, you're more likely to succeed. Some expert advice to help you along:
- Breastfeed within a few hours of giving birth, one baby at a time per breast. Continue every two to three hours.
- Once one baby is nursing effectively, try breastfeeding simultaneously (with the help of a lactation specialist and a nursing pillow).
- If your babies can't breastfeed, start pumping milk with a hospital-grade breast pump within the first few hours after birth. Continue every three hours, and freeze the milk.
- Once home, continue breastfeeding every two to three hours while family and friends take care of household chores.
- Have a lactation specialist come to your house in the first few days to check the babies' positions and show you how to keep milk production up.
Originally published in American Baby magazine.
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