THE POSTNATAL WARD
Late Preterm Babies (born between 34 and 37 weeks gestation)
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine guideline notes that because of their immaturity, late preterm infants are less alert, have less stamina, and have greater difficulty with latch, suck and swallow than full-term infants. Therefore a focus on maternal milk supply (with milk expression) may be needed, along with close monitoring of whether the infant is getting adequate nutrition at the breast. Preventative measures such as extended skin-to-skin, unlimited access to the breast, hand expression of colostrum within an hour of birth and then at three hourly intervals if any separation or feeding concern, and routine use of breast compressions are recommended. Babies may need to be woken for feeds to ensure at least 8 feeds in 24 hours. Feeding more frequently than 3 hourly is welcomed.