What if …
Q.66 What if a baby is born preterm and cannot breastfeed?
If the baby cannot feed from the breast, the best food for the baby is still its own mother’s expressed breast milk. This is true whether or not a mother is HIV infected. Several oral feeding methods are possible (cup/paladai/spoon/direct expression into mouth), or the baby can be fed with expressed breast milk by naso-gastric tube.
Once the baby can feed normally, the mother should be encouraged to breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, and then continue up to at least 12 months, with appropriate ARVs for treatment or prophylaxis, as per the general recommendation for HIV-infected mothers.
If the mother cannot provide breast milk herself, then breast milk from another mother who is not HIV infected or from a breast-milk bank can be given. If neither of these options is possible, then infant formula appropriate to the needs of the child can be given (there is special formula for preterm babies).