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Breastfeeding the Premature Infant and Nursing Implications

Black, Amanda BSN

Section Editor(s): Ikuta, Linda

doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e3182425ad6
Found in Newborn Care

Research indicates that feeding preterm infants at the breast is physiologically less stressful than bottle-feeding. Poor sucking reflexes make it difficult to initiate breastfeeding for these high-risk infants. Mothers need to understand the difficulties of breastfeeding, as well as the advantages for herself and her baby. It is important for nurses to be well educated on how preterm infants are breastfed and how to best support the mother through her experience. The nurse must focus on caring for the infant as well as fostering the mother-infant connection to promote breastfeeding. A mother will need continual support, encouragement, and advice from the nurse, while teaching her baby how to breastfeed.

Regis University, Thornton, Colorado.

Correspondence:Amanda Black, BSN, Regis University, 3351 E 120th Ave, 21-203 Thornton, CO 80233 (

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses