Hi! I'm so glad I found this site. It seems like people have a lot of nursing experience and wisdom to share...and oh do I need it!
I have a 3 week-old little boy, born at 33 weeks, and even though he has no medical issues, he'll be in the NICU until 37 weeks (he needs to show steady growth and keep body temp. stable). I have started nursing him about a week 1/2 ago (he was originally fed through an NG tube) but only for about 4 feedings a day since the doctors and nurses are insisting on feeding him with a bottle (my breastmilk) most of the time in order to "measure" his intake (this drives me nuts!!).
I have been working with a lactation consultant since day 1, pumping every 3 hours and getting assistance with helping him latch on...etc. Baby has been doing well latching on, but tends to fall asleep after 5-10 min. of nursing. I have read and heard that babies need to suck differently to get milk from the breast in comparison to bottles, so I'm getting worried he's just becoming "lazy" when I nurse him, since I hear he has to give a little more effort at the breast. The lactation consultant suggested today that I use a shield to ease the transition between breast and bottle (she also said that my nipples were a little on the "flat" side...lovely, I know ), and baby did really good with it the 3 times I nursed him today.
But now I'm wondering if the shield is such a good idea. What do you think? Is it ok for him to get used to the shield or would it be best just to keep trying without it until he stays awake the whole time? Will I ever be able to breastfeed without the shield? My baby is moving out of the NICU tomorrow and will be transfered to the pediatrics floor, so I will most likely be able to share a room with him and have a little bit more freedom as far as when and how often I nurse him (he's now on a strict 3 hours feeding schedule).
What do you recommend I do. Keep up with the shield since it works well, or nurse without it to get baby used to it? Do you think I'll be able to breastfeed 100 % of the time when I take him home? OR will I always have to alternate with bottles?
This whole ordeal has been so hard on me, I always thought I would breastfeed from day one, but instead, it's a constant battle to even get the nurses to let me breastfeed, and when I do, it's with 20 people in the room working with other babies, bright lights and machines beeping, a lactation consultant starring at me....etc.
I can't wait until I get my little one at home! Please tell me my efforts are going to be worth it in the end!!!!