Breastfeeding a NICU baby?
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  1. #1
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    Default Breastfeeding a NICU baby?

    My daughter Tessa was born at 34w6d and is currently in the NICU. Tomorrow I will be five days post partum and we are attempting our very first actual breastfeeding session. At the moment, I am getting about an ounce a breast at each pumping session. My daughter loves the pacifier and seems to like the elongated nipple. She has played around my nipple and had a few quick on/off latches. My husband had a wonderful idea to pump for five minutes, and get my nipple swollen and thicker/longer before than trying to get my daughter to latch. Does that seem like a good idea? Any other helpful hints to elongate my nipple? I want the nipple shield to be the last option. Do any other mommas have any tips when it comes to breastfeeding a NICU baby, and building up a supply while your child is hospitalized? Thanks so much in advance, ladies!

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    Online Community Director MissyJ's Avatar
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    It sounds as if Tessa is doing well! I'm so very glad to hear it!

    We have some wonderful articles onsite regarding breastfeeding a preemie. One if by two of my personal favorite experts -- Deborah Davis & Mara Stein: "Meeting the Challenges of Breast-Feeding in the NICU"

    They are authors of the book "Parenting Your Premature Baby and Child: The Emotional Journey", which in my opinion remains one of the best guides available for this journey!

    Another is by breastfeeding expert, Jack Newman: "Breastfeeding the Premature Baby."

    I believe that your husband's idea is worth trying. One of the points that I believe is important to remember is to NOT judge "failure". Most NORMAL newborns can take time learning to latch, etc. at 40 weeks. Even if your little one latches and only is able to nurse briefly that is a success. It is a success if you are able to get that reflex action of her turning to your breast to nuzzle. It is a success because the two of you are continuing this process in extremely difficult circumstances. DO attempt your breastfeeding session while using kangaroo care (skin to skin contact)

    Another important tip is with pumping. If you weren't given one, try renting a commercial grade pump through the hospital's lactaction dept. Recognize that your supply will fluctuate and some days it may seem that what you are getting out is negligible. I think you'll find as your baby does better, your supply will improve as well -- or at least that was my personal experience. (I did not have a preemie but a newborn hospitalized shortly after birth.)

    (((((HUGS))))) Hang in there! Whatever you can do -- good for you... even if that does mean there are times when she is supplemented. The main "success" story is coming soon when you get to have that sweet baby home with your family!

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    Posting Addict ChristaM's Avatar
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    Hi: I can't recall what it's called; but I was given a little pump like device that is to be used to draw out the nipple. It's not a breat pump, because it's not meant to extract milk. But, it may help to use something like that instead of a pump because the milk at the beginning of a session is the richest in fat/protein; the longer you pump, the more "water" based the milk becomes. To help ensure the "brief" sessions have the most bang for the buck; I would try leaving the higher fat milk for your daughter to drink.

    Good luck! Also, I know Missy suggested a pump from the hospital; most hospitals have lactation consultants on staff; I would ask to meet with one and express your concerns / questions. They should be able to help provide some onsite guidance.

    HUGS!
    Me: Christa, 41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momma2Girls View Post
    My daughter Tessa was born at 34w6d and is currently in the NICU. Tomorrow I will be five days post partum and we are attempting our very first actual breastfeeding session. At the moment, I am getting about an ounce a breast at each pumping session. My daughter loves the pacifier and seems to like the elongated nipple. She has played around my nipple and had a few quick on/off latches. My husband had a wonderful idea to pump for five minutes, and get my nipple swollen and thicker/longer before than trying to get my daughter to latch. Does that seem like a good idea? Any other helpful hints to elongate my nipple? I want the nipple shield to be the last option. Do any other mommas have any tips when it comes to breastfeeding a NICU baby, and building up a supply while your child is hospitalized? Thanks so much in advance, ladies!
    I agree with the previous posts. I had a nicu baby 32w and it took time for him to even develop strength to suck. He would get tired quickly too. It takes time sometimes, but what ever contact skin to skin will encourage her. I had a problem with too much fast supply (fast andvfurious let down) so I would pump a little first. I noticed, my baby able to latch on much better for the reduction of milk reason, but also because of the change in shape. so it is worth a shot

    Congratulations on your sweet baby!
    Aisha

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