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Thread: Home from the NICU

  1. #1

    Default Home from the NICU

    My baby was in the NICU for 10 days after birth due to breathing problems. While in there the nurses had her on a 3 hour schedule, I would go feed her then they would feed her 1 more oz on top of what i feed her. Now we are home & her pediatrician said to let her eat when she wants to, stop waking her every 3 hours. Will my body just sinc up to when she needs to eat or how do I get my body to sinc up with her schedule she is trying to create? I don't want my milk supply to diminish from not feeding every 3 hours. (she has been eating like every 3-5 hours)

    i really want to breast feed this one for a while with my first my milk dried up 6 weeks after having her and I don't want that to happen.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Nursing on demand, whenever your baby asks for it, is the best way to keep up the supply you need to feed your baby. If your lo sometimes sleeps for 3-5 hour stretches, it is not necessary to wake her to nurse-- she will make up for it later by nursing more often when she is awake.

    I too had a baby in the NICU for about a week, and he was on a feeding schedule for the first few days as I was pumping bottles for him; but once I started exclusively nursing, I talked the nurses into letting me pretty much nurse on demand as he often preferred to sleep through scheduled feeding times and when we tried to wake him to nurse, he just fought it anyway and wouldn't nurse.

    It will take some time for your body to adjust to your baby's on-demand schedule; and again every time she goes through a growth spurt, or starts nursing less frequently temporarily (such as when she has a cold). But this is all normal for breastfeeding.
    ~Sylvia~

    Wife to Nick, m. May 2005

    Mommy to Gabriel (b. January 2007, 8lbs. 15oz.), nursed 18 months.

    Isaac (b. August 2009, 9lbs. 1oz- naturally), nursed 22 months, through PPD/PPA and emergency gallbladder surgery.

    and Corban (b. March 2012, 11lbs. 6Oz.- naturally in the water), my NICU baby, still nursing strong at age 2!


    Daughter of God

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Every 3-5 hours seem really long for a 10 day old to go with out eating. I think he meant your body would sync up to eating MORE often not less. Are you still supplementing? Because that might be causing the long gap in appetite. 3hours is really the outside longest a 10 day old should be going without a feeding. And honestly I would expect it to be more like every 1-2 during her wakeful period.
    Is she sleeping the whole time she isn't eating?
    What's her weight gain look like?
    How many diapers are you getting in a 24hour period?

    Way too lazy for formula

  4. #4

    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Last night was the first night I actually breast every feeding, this morning she did not seem content after I fed her so we did give her some more breast milk in a bottle, it was after that, that she slept for 4-5 hours. through the night and the rest of the day is was about every 3 hours she would wake up to eat. Yes she is sleeping when she is not eating for the most part, she has 1-2 wakeful periods though out the day where she will be awake for an hour or 2. Her weight gain is fine, she gained 6 oz in 3 days, the dr. was not concerned about her weight/feeding ration at all. we change her diapers when she wakes to eat, eats about 10 times a day, she has about 2 poopy diapers in a day as well. So i assume the more I just feed on demand the more my body will start to sync up with when she wants to eat?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    At 10 days, babies shoud be nursing at least 10-12x in 24 hours (even at almost 20 months, I don't think my son has ever gone 5 hours without nursing except maybe two or three times overnight). Some babies are not very demanding, and it is best to offer frequently so early on. Offering to nurse frequently is also the best way to protect your milk supply. If your baby refuses to nurse, that's okay as long as weight gain and diaper output are good, but it is a good idea to offer.

    If your baby seems unsatisified after nursing, it is better to switch back and forth between breasts or use other soothing techniques to keep her happy at the breast (walking, bouncing on your knee, rocking while nursing her) than it is to give a bottle.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

  6. #6

    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Congrats on having your baby home! As pps suggest, at this age FREQUENT cue feeding is vitally important, so baby can get enough and your milk supply can be great going forward. A baby may cue more than once an hour, and you still need to make sure baby is nursing frequently enough overall. So you may need to wake baby or not, it depends on baby.

    Try to resist the urge to supplement after nursing because baby does not seem content. Behavior tells us only so much, and a newborn baby can be discontented for any number of reasons or no reason. Just nurse again or try other comfort techniques. A baby will take what is offered in a bottle even when they do not need more to eat. This is because baby needs to suck lots and lots for comfort and will suck what they are given. If it’s a bottle, they will take in more than they need, conk out for longer than they should, and not nurse again when they normally would. If it's a pacifier, they may suck on that to get to sleep and so not eat enough. Both of these scenarios will hurt milk production and even weight gain if it happens enough, This is why in general, all sucking should be at the breast in these early weeks.

    If baby’s weight gain or output suggests baby is not getting enough and thus your pediatrician thinks baby needs to be supplemented, then try giving the supplements PRIOR to nursing. Give an ounce or two at most and let baby finish at the breast.


    A baby this age should be nursing a minimum of 12 times in 24 hours. That is the MIMIMUM, more times is fine and good. A single stretch of 4 to 5 hours for sleep a day may be fine, as long as baby is nursing frequently enough the rest of the time. But it would also be normal for a baby this young to not sleep that long ever.
    I suggest these articles on what is normal when breastfeeding in the newborn period and the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition 2010)
    http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/newborn-nursing/ and http://kellymom.com/bf/normal/frequent-nursing/
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; July 3rd, 2012 at 11:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Hi swirly.whirly

    Congratulations on your new bub, how very exciting for you to have her home

    I would like to share my personal experience with you, if that's helpful. Neither of my babies slept for that long when they were tiny newborns, nor did they go three hours between feeds. My son fed constantly (and still does eight years later, might I add!) and my daughter generally feeds every 1 - 2 hours. She's eight weeks old now but in the first few weeks, she would feed every hour or less. Also, neither could be awake and alert more than a few minutes before they quickly became overtired and upset until they were about six weeks. Even after that, it was only for about 20 - 30 minutes at a time. Anything more than that was all just a bit too much, they get overtired very quickly, making your job that much harder.

    Your body will absolutely sync up if you feed on demand (this makes me think of my husband syncing his iphone ). Your body will replace whatever she eats, as often she eats. We are clever like that This means that your body won't make anything you feed her from a bottle as it doesn't get the message that she is eating and how much she is eating. Keep this in mind. As a generally rule, when mine woke, I would change nappy and offer to feed right away before they became tired. They would feed until they fell back to sleep and fall off the boob eventually on their own (eventually). I would then burp them on my chest and recline the chair I lived in for six weeks until the next time they stirred.

    It's a real learning curve learning to read their cues, so every time mine stirred in their sleep they were fed at that age and it worked very well for us. You can't feed too much or too often so if in doubt, I always offer.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    I have found when I strictly breast feed her she wont sleep in I put her down. She just wants to be held. I dont know if she was used to being fed more from the NICU or she just wants to be held. So is the best thing I could do is just hold her? I can pump 4 oz and that was plenty while bottle feeding in the NICU so I know I make enough for her. I really want Breastfeeding to work and be successful, no one in my family has really breast fed so i have no clue how to get this all to work. Part of me wants to take the easy way out and just let her have a bottle so she...& I can get some sleep, But I keep hoping something will click, or maybe its a phase she is going through and just wants to be held.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Yes, she just wants to be held. A baby sling might be very helpful right now

    I PROMISE that bottles are not easier. NOT. A bottle will NOT guarantee sleep for you. If you decide to do a bottle, you would still have to pump the missed feeding. If you fill it with formula, you'll be making trips to the store to buy formula. And washing bottles takes time. If you spend the time now on nursing, it will pay off in the long run.

    Who cares that nobody else in your family has BF? Every family needs a pioneer.
    Susan
    Mama to my all-natural boys: Ian, 9-4-04, 11.5 lbs; Colton, 11-7-06, 9 lbs, in the water; Logan, 12-8-08, 9 lbs; Gavin, 1-18-11, 9 lbs; and an angel 1-15-06
    18+ months and for Gavin, born with an incomplete cleft lip and incomplete posterior cleft palate
    Sealed for time and eternity, 7-7-93
    Always babywearing, cosleeping and cloth diapering. Living with oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD. Ask me about cloth diapering and sewing your own diapers!

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Home from the NICU

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*swirly.whirly View Post
    I have found when I strictly breast feed her she wont sleep in I put her down. She just wants to be held. I dont know if she was used to being fed more from the NICU or she just wants to be held. So is the best thing I could do is just hold her? I can pump 4 oz and that was plenty while bottle feeding in the NICU so I know I make enough for her. I really want Breastfeeding to work and be successful, no one in my family has really breast fed so i have no clue how to get this all to work. Part of me wants to take the easy way out and just let her have a bottle so she...& I can get some sleep, But I keep hoping something will click, or maybe its a phase she is going through and just wants to be held.
    Totally normal for her to want to be held. Mine did not want to be put down in those early weeks. I did a lot of baby wearing in the Moby wrap and also co-sleeping (safely). I slept when the baby slept and that's how I got a little bit of sleep.
    Lisa

    Mom to Aimee, born 8/22/11
    for 20 months!

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