Browse by Medical Category
Congratulations on the birth of your baby! It is wonderful that you have decided to breastfeed and provide your baby with such a special gift.
All babies benefit from breastfeeding or receiving breast milk. Breastfeeding can:
There are, however, special benefits for babies with Down Syndrome:
When any baby learns to breastfeed, it takes time and patience. Getting off to the best start helps you and your baby succeed with breastfeeding.
You can be sure your baby is getting enough milk if you watch for the following:
Babies with Down syndrome may face some special challenges that might affect breastfeeding. There are many things you can do to work through these challenges and have success.
Low muscle tone
Your baby may have low muscle tone, or weak muscles, especially in their tongue and lips. To help babies with low muscle tone during breastfeeding, do the following:
Your baby may be extra sleepy, which can affect feeding patterns. Babies who fall asleep may also not get enough milk, especially the end milk or “hind milk.” End milk has extra fat and calories which help your baby to grow.
Babies with Down syndrome may have a protruding tongue that pushes against your nipple. To help these babies breastfeed, try the following:
Some babies might not breastfeed while at the hospital. Your medical staff can help you create an individual feeding plan to make sure your baby gets all the nutrition he needs to grow and thrive. After you leave the hospital, you will meet often with your pediatrician who will help make changes to the feeding plan as needed. During this time, it is important to build and protect your milk supply. Building a milk supply usually happens if your baby is breastfeeding a lot. If your baby is not breastfeeding, the medical staff will help teach you how to get a double electric breast pump and how to pump your breasts. In the end, some babies do not breastfeed. However, giving your baby your breast milk from a pump will still give your baby all the wonderful benefits.
Your nurse in the hospital will help you with breastfeeding. She will also arrange a visit with a lactation, or breastfeeding, consultant during your stay. The more help and support you have, the more successful you will be. It is important to check with your pediatrician to see if they have a staff member who can help with breastfeeding or make a referral to someone who can. Ask your nurse in the hospital for available resources. Zipmilk.org is a great website that can provide you with Lactation Consultants, La Leche League Groups and other support groups in your community.
Back to Top