Yay! We are Going Home!! But my baby is needing to be fed how??

Getting ready for the big day to leave the hospital is so very exciting, but it is normal to feel nervous when you think about the tasks that the nurses have supported you with while the baby was in the hospital. Now you have to complete those tasks on your own.  

Depending on your baby’s medical diagnoses, it is possible that feeding your baby may be a bit more complicated than you originally had imagined.  Here are some potential scenarios that you may be faced with but remember, you are not alone, and someone else has been through a similar situation.  And Gift of Life is only an email, a message or a phone call away!

Tube/Gavage Feedings 

Although it is not common for a preemie to be discharged from the NICU on tube feedings, sometimes it is necessary.  A small flexible tube may be inserted into the mouth or the nose that passes down into the stomach and may be used for continuous or intermittent feedings.  Sometimes this is used if the baby is not strong enough to be obtain adequate nutrition directly from the breast or a bottle.


Healthcare professional recommend feeding babies breast milk.  In order to meet the unique needs of a premature baby, in addition to your baby nursing on the breast or taking your breast milk from a bottle, often it is  recommended use a breast milk fortifier and/or supplement you breastmilk with formula.


Your healthcare provider may recommend adding a human milk powder fortifier or a powdered formula to your pumped breast milk in order to add extra nutrients that your premature baby may need to continue to catch up in growth and development.


Many mothers may choose to use a combination of formula or breast milk or exclusively use formula to meet the nutritional needs of their premature infant.  Special formulas have been designed for the premature baby to use at discharge.

All of the above feeding scenarios have enabled your baby to be discharged so that you can care for your baby in the comfort of your home.  With your love and the support from others, as well as the nutrition you will be feeding your baby, will allow your baby to grow and thrive!

Healthier Breastmilk: Transforming Liquid Gold to Liquid Platinum

You may have had a lactation consultant, a nurse or your physician reference the breastmilk you are providing to your preterm baby as “Liquid Gold”.  Research supports the importance to feeding your breastmilk to your baby during critical weeks while in the NICU.  But did you know you can increase the level of some nutrients in your breastmilk by what you choose to eat, which can potentially result in better outcomes for your baby?

Healthier Breastmilk banner - Liquid gold to liquid platinum

A recent research study has shown that the risk of chronic lung disease may decrease in babies receiving high level of Omega 3s. A specific Omega-3 fatty acid, known as DHA, is a type of fatty acid that has already shown many different health benefits to the brain such as improved cognitive development in babies.  The worldwide average of DHA in breastmilk is 0.32% of fatty acids. However, the average amount in breastmilk in the U.S. is often significantly lower due to mother’s poor consumption of Omega 3 rich foods.

Low Mercury containing fish such as salmon and chunk light albacore tuna are excellent sources of DHA. Some milks and eggs are also supplemented with Omega3s, and lastly, prenatal vitamins taken while lactating may or may not have DHA and their amounts can often vary.  So check your food and supplement labels.

Eating nutritious foods is not only important for your health, but also the health of your baby! Your breastmilk can change from liquid gold to liquid platinum!


*This blog post was written by:


Registered Dietitian and Certified Lactation Counselor

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