Q: Will my babies be able to nurse if they are premature?
A: Most higher-order multiples are born premature. If your babies are born before 32-34 weeks, they may not be able to nurse at the breast right away. They may be gavage fed via a tiny tube inserted in the nose or mouth that goes to their stomach. In this case, you can pump (express) your milk to feed them.
Usually babies, if otherwise healthy, born after 34 weeks, and some born even earlier, can suck, swallow and breathe at the same time and this is often the criteria for nursing at the breast. Each baby is different and each nursing experience is different. Having a professional to turn to while you are getting to know each baby’s nursing style is very important. Many hospitals have lactations consultants to help you.
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