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Thread: Preparing for a Premie

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Atlanta, Ga.

    Default Preparing for a Premie

    I had a huge shock this week, as I went to my OBGYN to get checked out because of some pressure that I was feeling low in my abdomen, and was told that I was 2cm dialated, and taken immediately to the hospital. I am 31+2 weeks today.

    We think we stopped the contractions, and when (if) I go home, I will be on bed rest until this little man makes his appearance, whenever that may be, but my Dr. Feels that if may be sooner rather than later.

    I am very concerned with how to cope with breastfeeding a baby born so young, but mostly, what I will be able to do while he is in the hospital to help ensure that we can breastfeed when he is out. I am sure that a lot of it will depend on how many weeks along he is, but I would like to be able to go in with some tools in hand, instead of just following the advice of the Dr's and nurses.

    My brother and his wife just had a baby at 34 weeks, and some of the stuff that the were told/had happen isn't what I would be comfortable with, so I just want to be prepared about my rights,if that makes sense. Luckily, I the LO is doing great, and is a BIG baby (he is already at 5 lbs)

    Please excuse typo's and weird punctuation, I am on a touch pad in my hospital bed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Preparing for a Premie

    Welcome! I am sorry you're stuck in the hospital, and facing a potentially premature birth for your baby. I don't know much, personally, about breastfeeding a baby who arrives early, but I think the following links might be useful to you:

    The one note of caution I want to extend based on your post is about that weight estimate. 3rd trimester weight estimates are notoriously inaccurate, with routine errors in the 1-2 lb range. So if at any point someone says "Your baby is X lbs, it's now safe for him to be born," take that with a huge grain of salt!

    I hope you make it to your due date, mama. Don't worry overmuch about being 2 cm dilated already- it's pretty typical for a mom to be somewhat dilated in the 3rd trimester, and you can hang out being somewhat dilated for weeks and weeks (which is what I did with baby #1).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Default Re: Preparing for a Premie

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I hope you make it to your due date, mama. Don't worry overmuch about being 2 cm dilated already- it's pretty typical for a mom to be somewhat dilated in the 3rd trimester, and you can hang out being somewhat dilated for weeks and weeks (which is what I did with baby #1).
    I don't know about dilation, but I know a woman who had contractions for a month before her baby was born. Not braxton-hicks, but real, regular contractions. Her doctor was able to put her on some meds to keep her out of labor until she reached 37 weeks, and the baby was born normally at about 38 weeks.

    Do you have a birth plan in place? Do you know about kangaroo care? I would get as educated as you can about how you want your birth to go, whether it's a normal birth or pre-term. Make sure your doctor understands what you have in mind. You want to maintain control of the court, so to speak, and being educated and prepared (and having your husband on your side), is the best way to have that happen.

    If you haven't already, ask if you will have access to a hospital-grade pump so you can pump colostrum if baby can't suckle. Make sure you will be able to stay with baby. Be aware of the various feeding options that don't involve artificial nipples (such as syringe or fingertip feeding.)

    I, too, hope you make it to full-term and that your new baby is born healthy and ready to breastfeed!

    SAHM-WAHM to lovely Lizzie, born at home 9/14/2010

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Default Re: Preparing for a Premie

    I hope you make it full term too.

    I will tell you mistakes I made with my first DD who was preemie and what I did differently to have success with DD2 who also was preemie, infact months earlier then DD1!

    DD1 was born only two week early, but was super small due to cord compression and placenta problems. She was 4lbs 6 oz. I went to visit her as often as I could, and was always told to go back to my room and "rest". I still went more often then they wanted me to (she was in NICU), I "rested" I believe too much, because I was kind of pushed to. I sent pumped milk, and would try to latch her every visit with her and never was successful. I never got her to the breast and I EPed for 2 1/2 years. So for DD2 I did a lot of research.

    I didn't care what they said with DD2, I asked what their feeding schedule was (NICU is really strict on this!). I told them I would be there, and I would. A few times though they fed my baby before schedule, and I got really angry! REALLY ANGRY. I told them, I said I would be here! I was here 10 minutes early why did you do that! And they said cause a lot of mom's say they will come and don't. I said, I said I would be here and I will! Do NOT feed her before the schedule, I WILL be here! I will tell you or call you if I ever can't. But at least wait for her schedule! Any way... I finally got that through the nurses heads. And I went. Ok, I couldn't go every feeding, cause believe me having your baby with you is much different then NICU. But, I made a deal with myself. I went to every one except for one. I just missed one nightly one a night. So I could sleep and get enough rest to make it to the nicu for ALL the other feedings. What I did was, I would go and breastfeed baby for approximately 30 minutes, every 3 hours (that was that NICU's schedule). I would take every minute they would let me, I NEVER ended her nursing, till they would force me to. Then I would supplement her with a bottle of what I had pumped which unfortunately DD2 was a emergency C section so it took me longer to get much milk in at all. So after her breastmilk bottle I gave her formula. *sigh* (I would not do a bottle this time around though I would do cup feeding instead!). Any way, then I would go back to my room pump milk, and "rest".

    I have to say after a C-section doing this every 3 hours was EXHAUSTING! After 2 days I told my husband to take days off work and stay with me, he could help by putting my pumped milk in the fridge and doing other things for me, while I "rested". Just him going to the NICU with me also helped me get some rest-he could help me set up to feed her, he could change her diapers, etc while I just focused on "feeding" her. He was able to keep my water full etc. (you need lots and lots of water!). HE could help clean-rinse the pump parts. For a preemie be prepared to have to pump, because even if you get them to breast, they often aren't strong enough to get your supply in or regulated, so you need to pump after each feeding to get this started. Don't worry if you get the baby to breast, once they reach their birth age gestation most are strong enough to take over and you won't need to pump any longer after that. (what I mean is, let's just say he/she is born at 32 weeks, in about 6 to 8 weeks after that, when they would be 38 to 40 weeks old in reality, they will be about the age where they may be able to take over with out you pumping, I still pumped a extra month or two just to be sure, but really I probably didn't need to).

    Any way, I did that while she was in NICU. She was in NICU for one week. Once we got home, I never had to give her formula again. I was able to pump enough milk to give her that in a bottle again if I was to do it all over I would cup feed. However, it didn't hurt DD2 to get the bottle. What I did was at EVERY feeding, with exception of ONE night time feeding (again just so I could get more rest, as a preemie is not a very effecient nurser, which means they will take a LOT longer at the breast then a older baby) I offered the breast first! I always gave her my breast first, and would go back and forth between the two for as long as I could handle, I would shoot for 20 or so minutes, but sometimes, I was too tired and would just do like 5 minutes. In my mind every minute counted, as long as I gave it to her EVERY time (with exception of that one night time feeding, which I would just give her the bottle, so I could go back to sleep ASAP). Any way, when she was about 6 months she started preferring the bottle, I should of actually took her off the bottle at 4 months (she she would of been full term had she been born at the correct time), but I was too scared she still wasn't strong enough as she was still eagerly eating the pumped bottle after nursing!

    Any way when she started refusing my breast that was it, I wasn't going to EP again. So I just put the bottles away (well I kind of used them just to get her started then would take it away and put her on breast), and just refused to let her have the bottle any more then absolutely needed to get her to feed at the breast. It took one week but after that she never had the bottle again and loved breastfeeding!

    So what I have learned-try to get NICU to only cup feed if they have to supplement, always offer your breast first, even if they tell you she is too little or can't! (they kept saying that to me too! But, I wanted her to know right from the start that was a way of eating, I think DD1 never learned that!), and as soon as she/he is strong enough take bottle/cup away and just offer breast, they will get it down! If their mouth is too tiny try a nipple shield, that really helped DD2 as well, I wish I had bought one earlier for DD1. I went to the hospital with the shield for both DD2 and DS! I had them packed in my suitcase! And I highly suggest every one take one with them to the hospital. Some people do just great with out ever having to use one, but if you ever have a baby with a tongue tie, preemie or too small of mouth, you will be so thankful you brought it, and regret it if you don't and have the disaster I had with DD1! I know I still regret it to this day even though my mother and step mother BOTH told me to! IT only cost about 7 dollars, and that's a drop in the bucket, really not that much if you never have to use it, big deal you are out 7 dollars, but if you have to use it, then as the credit card commercials say, it's priceless!

    So there's the things I learned. I hope it helps.

    Wife to
    Vincent since 2001
    SAHMommy to
    Lela 2006 EPed 2 1/2 Years
    ~Donavon & Jeremy~ 2009
    Belle 2010 Nursed over a year
    Raphael 2011 Nursing like a champ
    Raphael & Hubs

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    ~Heather's Prairie~

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Atlanta, Ga.

    Default Re: Preparing for a Premie

    Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful responses, I really, really appreciate it. My hospital does have a Kangaroo Care option, but it looks to be limited to 30 min. a day in the beginning and increasing after that. I am sure so much of that has to do with how stable the baby is when he is born, so there really isn't a way to know. I just keep going one day at a time, knowing that each day that he bakes is better than it was before!!!

    I am on medication, Nifedipine, to stop the contractions. It seems to be helping, as I had a scare last night, and started getting regular contractions, coming in at close to 6 per hour. My Dr. increased my dosage, and it stopped immediately. But, I guess there is no way to know how long it will hold them off. I tested positive for fetal fibronectin in the hospital, so I am definitely at high risk.

    Thank you again. My insurance company had a nurse call me yesterday, as I guess she was alerted to my pre-term labor scare from the insurance claims. She was actually super nice, and told me that my insurance covers the rental of a hospital-grade breast pump for the duration of time that we are separated from eachother. I also have a lactation consultant lined up, so hopefully that will help me some as well.

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