Top of the page
Your baby has been getting special care in the hospital nursery. The hospital will send your baby home on a feeding schedule. This tells you how and when to nurse or bottle-feed at home.
Most premature babies need to be fed slowly until they get strong enough to suck from a breast or bottle. Your baby may be fed through a tube that runs down the nose into the belly. This is called gavage feeding. Babies who are very early or sick may be fed through a tube that passes through the skin into the stomach (gastrostomy).
If you are going to breastfeed your baby, you may need to pump your milk and feed it to your baby through a tube. Your doctor may advise adding iron, vitamins, or formula to a breastfed diet. If you are going to continue tube-feeding your baby, the hospital staff will show you how to use and clean the tube.
Feeding your baby this way is very different than how you expected it to be. But it supports your baby's life and will help him or her get strong. Your baby will need to eat often, in small amounts. Your doctor will help you and your baby set up a feeding routine and will help you handle any feeding problems.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter Z261 in the search box to learn more about "Feeding Your Premature Baby: Care Instructions".
Current as of: May 27, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.