Biberon prématuré : comment nourrir un enfant né en avance ? - Élhée

Premature bottle: how to feed a child born early?

The arrival of a first child is a memorable and emotionally charged experience for many parents. This experience can be even more intense and worrying if the child is born prematurely.

Worry and feelings of helplessness may increase when faced with the additional challenges of caring for a premature baby, particularly when it comes to feeding .

Feeding a premature baby is often more difficult, but fortunately, suitable solutions exist to support parents through this ordeal.

Find out how to feed a premature baby with this comprehensive article!


Why do we say that a baby is premature?

A baby is considered premature if it is born before the usual term of pregnancy, generally expected between the start of the 38th week of amenorrhea and the end of the 41st week of amenorrhea.

Babies born before the 28th week are considered extremely premature. They are cared for in specialized neonatal care units because of their extreme fragility.

A premature baby can also be recognized by its low, or even very low, weight.

  • Newborns weighing less than 1000 grams are considered to have extremely low birth weight.
  • Those whose weight is between 1000 and 1499 grams are classified in the very low birth weight category.
  • Finally, babies weighing between 1500 and 2500 grams are categorized as having low birth weight.

This classification based on weight provides the medical profession with information on the health and needs of each premature infant.

What causes a baby to be born prematurely?

Various reasons can lead to premature birth:

  • a twin pregnancy,
  • premature placental abruption,
  • fetal health problems requiring artificial induction of vaginal delivery or a cesarean section,
  • a weakened cervix,
  • premature rupture of membranes,
  • medical complications in the mother (pregnancy diabetes, preeclampsia, others, etc.).

Feeding a premature baby who has the strength to breastfeed

Through breastfeeding

Breastfeeding will provide all the necessary nutrients to a premature baby. It is therefore advisable to encourage your child to breastfeed if you wish to breastfeed. Due to the tiny size of his stomach which does not allow him to swallow large quantities of milk and the effort that each feeding will cost him, you will have to think about breastfeeding him very regularly.

Your lactation will develop on its own over the days and weeks.

🍼 Related article: How to restart your lactation? 

By expressing your milk using a breast pump

If breastfeeding is not possible at every meal, you can express your breast milk and give it to your baby from a bottle.

Regular expression of milk maintains milk production and allows healthcare professionals to monitor the baby's nutritional intake, which is not possible when breastfeeding. This can stress some parents who also do not have the ability to control the quantity of milk drunk by the child.

You can use a manual or electric breast pump to express your milk.

By giving special powdered milk to premature babies

If you do not want to breastfeed or breastfeed, know that there are also special milks designed for premature babies, such as:

  • Enfamil EnfaCare,
  • Similac NeoSure,
  • Gallia Baby Expert Pre-Gallia,
  • Guigoz UltimaPré (Guigoz pre-guigoz expert),

Before choosing the ideal infant milk, contact your pediatrician who will be able to advise you.

Thanks to a bottle for premature babies

To offer your baby expressed breast milk or powdered milk indicated by your pediatrician, you can use a special bottle, designed for babies born before the end of the gestation cycle.

These bottles have teats adapted to their little mouths and their sucking abilities.

If your premature baby does not have the strength to breastfeed or bottle feed

Expression of breast milk and administration with nasogastric tube or syringe

If your baby has difficulty breastfeeding, expressed breast milk may be given through a nasogastric tube. This tube is placed in the nose and goes down into the stomach, allowing the baby to receive milk in a controlled manner.

Nutrition with syringe without needle

Another option is to administer expressed breast milk using a needle-free syringe. This can be done slowly to allow the baby to get used to taking food.

To conclude

Although the arrival of a premature baby can cause concern, it is essential to remember that as parents, you are not alone. Thanks to medical advances and adapted solutions available on the market, the nutrition of a premature baby is now perfectly controlled!

In summary :

  • If your child is not able to feed from a bottle or breast, he will be cared for by a care team in a neonatology department.

  • If he has the strength, you can then breastfeed him and give him special milks.

Don't hesitate to equip yourself with a bottle specially designed for premature babies which will make it easier to take food during meals and will allow you to have more peace of mind if breastfeeding is not an option for you!

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