November 24, 2012
Breastfeeding the Late Preterm Infant
The late preterm infant encounters many disadvantages when it comes to breastfeeding and life in general. The late preterm infant is at an increased risk for “airway instability, apnea, bradycardia, excessive sleepiness, excessive weight loss, dehydration, feeding difficulties, weak sucking, jaundice, hypoglycemia, hypothermia, immature self-regulation, respiratory distress, sepsis, prolonged artificial milk supplementation, hospital readmission and breastfeeding failure during the neonatal period” (Walker, 2008). The article, Breastfeeding the Late Preterm Infant, was written by Marsha Walker and published in September 2008 by the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing. This article explains the management of breastfeeding the late preterm infant and the difficulties that are likely to arise to nurses and other healthcare professionals. Human breast milk is very important for infants, especially to infants born preterm since they have lower antioxidant capacity. Human milk will help protect against diseases and conditions associated with oxidative stress. An issue that arises with the mother of a preterm infant is that there is an increased risk of delayed lactogenesis II. Lactogenesis II is when prolactin level stay high and there is an abrupt withdrawal of progesterone (after placenta delivery), which stimulates copious milk production. The delay on lactogenesis II can be seen more in women who may be “overweight or obese, experienced cesarean delivery, have pregnancy induced hypertension, diabetes or treated for preterm labor” (Walker, 2008). With this delay there is a limited amount of milk available to the infant during early days, which can lead to lack of nutrition. Breastfeeding should be initiated soon after birth. It has been shown that “extended skin-to-skin contact keeps the infant warm, prevents crying and allows for frequent feeding, all which...
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