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Improving premature infant nutrition is one of the main goals of the SPIN Program. Helping mothers to start pumping and make enough milk for their infants is a great start, but we also aim to help mothers learn to breastfeed their babies.

We believe that the benefits of mom's milk continue after the baby leaves the NICU. However, few of the smallest premature infants are successful at breastfeeding. Long hospital stays, chronic lung disease, sensitivity to oral feeding, and low milk supply make breastfeeding a challenge for these infants. We hope that by encouraging families to start skin-to-skin holding early on, allowing the baby to practice breastfeeding before bottles are introduced, and teaching mother how to independently breastfeed may help more preemies to be successful with breastfeeding.

This series of videos follows one family with 24-week twins in their journey from skin-to-skin care through learning how to breastfeed as they get ready to go home.

Step 1: Skin-to-skin contact

Meet Kimberly and her twins, Jack and Riley, born at 27 weeks. This video covers the following topics and tips:

  • Benefits of skin-to-skin time: Improved weight gain; stabilized breathing, heart rate, and temperature; increases milk production; prepares baby for breastfeeding
  • Pump afterward to increase supply
  • Hold baby for at least an hour, no more than three

Mira este video en español.

Step 2: First time at the breast

  • Jack and Riley are now 33 weeks gestational age
  • Non-nutritive breastfeeding: Pump before to decrease milk flow
  • Signs of readiness: Lapping with tongue, turning head to look for breast, sucking on hand

Mira este video en español.

Step 3: Learning to Breastfeed

  • Jack and Riley are now 34 weeks gestational age
  • Learn differences between full-term and pre-term breastfeeding
  • Learn benefits of nipple shield
  • Readiness for next step: Sucking well on shield, longer bursts of sucking, tolerating milk well, no signs of stress

Mira este video en español.

Step 4: Getting Better at Breastfeeding

  • Jack and Riley are almost 40 weeks gestational age
  • Weigh baby before and after to assess milk transfer
  • Learn about best breastfeeding positions
  • Learn signs baby is drinking well
  • Learn sign of stress

Mira este video en español.

Step 5: Getting Ready to Go Home

  • Jack and Riley are 45 weeks gestational age and ready for a discharge feeding plan
  • Keep hospital routine for first week at home; keep pumping at home
  • Continue to use nipple shield until baby grows stronger
  • As baby matures, allow more time on breast
  • Allow baby to drink from bottle after breastfeeding (unless fluid restricted)
  • Learn more tips for breastfeeding at home
  • Learn signs baby is ready for more breastfeeding

Mira este video en español.

You can also view these videos in a YouTube playlist: