Baby in NICU

Leanne - posted on 12/01/2010 ( 19 moms have responded )

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Hello everyone,

I was wondering if any of you had any experiance with a baby in the NICU and then successfully breastfeeding.. My little girl was born at 33 weeks and has been in the NICU since.. she is now 13 days old.. she has started to bottle feed and the rest they feed her by tube through her nose.. she is doing really well with the bottle. Because of roads(snow) and not being able to drive yet(c-section) and having to young boys at home, one that is 2 so he is not aloud in the NICU.. I am unable to see her as much as I want.. I am lucky if I get to see her for an hour or so a day.. sometimes I have to miss a day, which kills me. So I have tried to breastfeed her 2 times already and she did great the second time but I had to use a nippleshield.. they said I can try 1 to 2 times a day.. and when she comes home I have to slowly transition her from bottle to breast.. but from my experiance I heard most babies once they take the bottle they dont want the breasts.. anyone have experiance with this type of situation.. and what am I in for? Do you think its possible to have a successful breastfeeding with her after she gets released.. may be a few more weeks.. that and I am concerned she wont bond with me well because I have missed out on so much..

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For my 1st I had some complications after birth and was unable to feed for some time. The hospital without any choice started him on formula and a week later we began trying to bf and after several tries I was feeling defeated and about to give up. Then out of no where He latched!! Don't give up:D

Celeste - posted on 12/01/2010

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I had my twin boys at 34w2d. They didn't have NICU time but they were in the special care nursery.

One of my boys preferred the bottle to the breast and refused to latch after being given bottles. When they got home, I worked with him every day to get him to latch. Finally, about 6 weeks (and around their due date), he finally latched. It definitely is possible to transition from bottle to breast.

This is what worked for us:
-Skin to skin. You with no shirt and no bra. Baby in just a diaper. Put her on your chest and hold her.
-Pump to get letdown going and then try to latch
-Breast compressions.

It's also important (and I found this out the hard way) to feed her at the first signs of hunger. Crying is a late sign of hunger and it can be hard to get her to latch.

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SONJA - posted on 12/05/2010

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OUR DD WASNT IN NICU BUT SHE WAS IN AN O2 AND INCUBATER FOR A FEW DAYS BC HER LUNGS HER NOT FULLY DEVELOPED. THEY BOTTLE FED HER IN THERE BUT I STRONGLY ENFORCED THE BREASTFEEDING WITH HER- AND SHE LATCHED ON FINE. THE NURSES SAID WHERE MOST MOMS GET FRUSTRATED- I JUST GOT MORE PERSISTANT. (I WAS FRUSTRATED BUT NOT AT HER-BC IT WASNT HER FAULT) SOMETIMES IT WAS TOUGH-BUT NOTHING WE COULDN'T OVER COME. IF YOU CAN TAKE SOME BOTTLES IN FOR THEM TO USE THAT RESEMBLE A BREAST SO SHE DOESNT GET COMPLETELY USED TO THE NIPPLE THAT LOOKS LIKE A BOTTLE. DONT WORRY ABOUT YOU MISSING OUT ON BONDING- YOU CAN MAKE UP FOR THAT WHEN YOU BRING HER HOME. BESIDES- SHE HAS ALREADY STARTED THE BONDING ROCCESS WHILE IN YOUR WOMB AND WILL CARRY ON DURING YOUR TIME TOGETHER. YOU CAN ALSO BOND WITH HER THERE AT THE HOSPITAL BY BEING THERE AND MAKING EYE CONTACT WITH HER AND SHARING SMILES AND SINGING TO HER (WHETHER YOU ARE A GOOD SINGER OR NOT) YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO BOND WITH HER LIKE MOTHERS THAT TAKE THEIR BABIES HOME RIGHT AWAY BUT YOU CAN STILL BOND WITH HER. JUST DON'T GIVE UP! GOOD LUCK AND DON'T BE DISCOURAGED!

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adjustinhg depens on on your baby there is no right or wrong answers some adjust while others dont they should have breast feeding counselors at the hospital to help you with the transition dont give up and be persistant. consult a lactation guru and join the breastfeeding moms group there is so many resources for you good luck and congrats!

Beverly - posted on 12/04/2010

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I think it varies from one child to another. My son was born at 33 weeks, spent a week and a half in the NICU and then 2 in special care unit. I had had major surgery just before he was born and couldn't visit him as much as I wanted to, but I expressed my wishes to breastfeed, so I pumped everyday religiously as if I was feeding him and brought it in to the hospital so he could be fed through tube and/or bottle. Before he came home I tried to nurse him and he took right to it and never had a problem after. Seems as if every hospital now has Lactation experts available. The key is to not give up. If a child is hungry, he/she will eat

Rachel - posted on 12/04/2010

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First I want to tell you to hang in there! What a hard thing to go through in the beginning. My little boy was full term but in the NICU for polycythemia, I made them wheel me up every 3 hours to nurse him day and night -but- you have it much harder. I don't have much advice other than to be patient and yes, I'm sure you can do it. If the nipple shield is what makes it work then use it. Good luck and healthy baby wishes to you!

Breanne - posted on 12/02/2010

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My son was born at 33 weeks and was tube fed then bottle fed to help him start to suck (which I totally disagree with now). We demand fed after about a week and I nursed him with a shield at the hospital. We continued with a shield at home (never even gave him a bottle when we got home) and weaned him off the sheild in about a month. I'd start with the easiest mid day feeds and just not put it on, just massaged my breast to make the milk let down faster for him and eventually we got rid of it all together. Just don't give up! It won't happen over night but it will happenn with persistance.

Celeste - posted on 12/02/2010

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I loved my ring sling! It's been so long, maybe someone else can give you some brand names.

Celeste - posted on 12/02/2010

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Do you have a sling? You can pop her in and nurse her and take care of your other 2 boys.

Leanne - posted on 12/02/2010

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yeah I pump now and take it in.. I just dont know how that will work at home.. having 2 young boys at home and then will have her.. I would love to be able to just nurse and maybe do 1 feeding by bottle or what not..

Stacey - posted on 12/02/2010

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Hi there!

My baby spent his first 7 weeks in the NICU. He was also tube fed for most of the 7 weeks by a NG tube in his nose. I tried to breast feed him in the hospital and he would do great! But now that he is home he is too impatient to try at home. He will latch on but only for a few moments. I just pump as much as I can everyday and put it in a bottle for him or freeze it. Are you currently pumping and taking it to the hospital? Do they allow you to pump at the hospital?

Leanne - posted on 12/02/2010

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Thank you everyone so much for the advice.. yeah its tough! I know you all know what I am talking about.. I am an emotional wreck sometimes haha.. but just praying she comes home soon... she is 2 weeks today.. hopeing soon!

Katie - posted on 12/02/2010

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My daughter was tube fed and in the NICU, not for as long as your situation, just for 36 hours. Due to jaundice treatments it took almost six days to get the opportunity to nurse, and a week after birth my c-section incision ruptured and a uterine infection I had to go back to the hospital. Anyway, after all of those challenges we managed to successfully breastfeed for 16 months with no bottles. It may be difficult to start but a baby will not choose a bottle if there is no bottle. If a breast is all that's offered she will have to take it. Make it a commitment, don't consider bottles an alternative if you're really determined. When I had to pump I requested that the nurses did not use a rubber nipple at any cost but to use either a cup or a syringe. I also requested no formula but I know she was given some against my wishes.

I know how emotional it is to have your baby in the NICU- my heart aches for you just based on our limited experience. I hope she's able to get out soon. You can do it, it'll be a rough ride but it is possible.

Celeste - posted on 12/02/2010

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Rachel, who ever told you that was misinformed. One of my twin boys DID get nipple confusion. It took me six weeks to get him to latch. Someone told me that nipple confusion didn't exist and wasn't anticipating it. Hind sight, I wish someone had told me.



Babies, preemie or full term can get nipple confusion. Some babies do fine with going back and forth (like my twin B). Some, however, do not (like my twin A)



ETA: BTW, I'm not saying that your daughter will get nipple confusion, but if she does, there are ways to get her to latch back on with the techniques in my previous post..

Rachel - posted on 12/01/2010

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my son was born at 35 and I had been told that a preme will not get nipple confusion, my son took both the breast and the bottle from the start. actually eventually he chose the breast over the bottle... although that may be because I produced so much milk that in the early days I was practically drownding the poor kid :P so once he got used to it he seemed to like it much better.

Emily - posted on 12/01/2010

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My daughter was born at 30 weeks and we gradually transitioned from tube feeds to breast/bottle feeds. My advice would be to breastfeed as much as possible when you're with her. Does your NICU do rooming in before baby leaves? I was able to stay overnight for about 3 nights before my daughter was discharged, and could nurse her for each feeding.

When you get home, I would nurse first rather than bottle-feed. The nipple shield is your friend! In the beginning, at least.

Good luck.. it is absolutely possible to successfully breastfeed after a NICU stay. Takes a lot of hard work, but completely doable.

Brittany - posted on 12/01/2010

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use breastflow bottles! my mom works in labor and delivery at our hospital here and says they are perfect for NICU/preemie babies to actually LEARN how to breastfeed because of the way the bottles work. we are using them and i swear by them! everything about them are so natural and you can get them for a great price from walmart, target, or even better ebay!

Jessica - posted on 12/01/2010

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she should transition well my son had problems when first born as well and got bottles alot and then had bad jaundice so was admitted into the hospital and i only got to breastfeed him like 2 or 3 times. just keep trying and every time you go up there try and nurse her. maybe get some milk on your nipple before just so that can help her latch on. i hope you can go see her more often. good luck.

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