Zephan's doing really well. So far he's doing "tube to boob" very well. We started putting him at the breast for nuzzling and comfort at 31 weeks, just a few days after he was born. Right at 32 weeks, he began to latch and was getting a few cc's.
At 33 weeks, we added a nipple shield. The first day he took 4cc, then 10. The next day he took 14. And then in one day he took 24 cc at noon, 36 cc at 3:00, and 40 cc at 9:00! His "full feeds" are just 37 cc. With that, we've moved out of the NICU and into the Special Care nursery. We're working on breastfeeding 5 out of 8 feedings and letting him rest and have his milk by gavage for 3. He is now 4 pounds 5 ounces, up from 3 pounds 13 when he was born 2 weeks ago. He's 33 weeks 5 days.
All of that to say, it is possible. We've had great support here at the hospital from BF-friendly doctors and amazing lactation consultants. At this rate, it looks like Z will go home exclusively breastfeeding (possibly with some fortifier by sns or finger) in about a week - at just 34-35 weeks and weighing less than 5 pounds.
I know not every baby is able to do this, but I guess I'd say don't listen to the doctors who say "your baby can't do this" or "he will be here forever unless you bottle feed". Zephan's proof that sometimes breastfeeding is easier, less stressful, and works better than bottle for some preemies!