Breastfeeding the premature infant and nursing implications

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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. Copyright © 2012 by The National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

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