Feeding a premature baby

When it comes to dealing with a premature baby, the rules change somewhat from the typical ones for dealing with a baby where everything has happened more or less on schedule. Sometimes you will find that, due to their reduced size and strength, your baby has less of an appetite if it has been born prematurely. In order to mitigate against this you may need to pay more attention and encourage him or her to feed. Even though their natural desire to feed may be reduced as compared with a stronger baby, they will still need to feed in order to gain some of the strength that they lack.

A newborn, fully healthy baby will want to feed between eight and twelve times a day. They will automatically wake up in order to do this. A premature baby may prefer naturally to sleep, as they will tire easier due to their lack of strength. This may mean that you need to wake your baby and persuade him or her to feed. After a time this will become a more natural process as they gain in strength and consequently in appetite. While you are waiting for this to happen, it may be necessary to wake without “fully waking” – an alarm clock set to a gentle chime will mean that you can wake, feed, and go back to sleep, which is much better for your own health. By keeping your baby in the same room as you, you can simplify this matter a great deal.

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