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Thread: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    We have a 34.6 week premie. This is his 3rd day in the NICU and Mom will be discharged tomorrow. I am the father. I come from a family and country outside the USA where breastfeeding is not frowned upon as much. My mother had a breastfeeding clinic for 21 years in a developing country. She is our well of information.

    We came to the conclusion that it will be impossible to breastfeed our son around the clock at this high tech hospital where they forgot to add the live-in rooms for nursing premie moms. Mom has started to feed our son who is latching pretty well if he is not asleep. I’m helping mom with pumping and hand expressing. She is not producing enough milk yet for the time when Mom will be home sleeping. The milk flows much better when he is sucking. We would like to provide our son with breast milk around the clock. We need some American advice.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2006
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    Unfortunally, the NICU's are not set up to provide parents with accomidations, they are just for the babies, the room in's were not forgotten, they are not put in due to it is a intensive care unit, even in adult intensive care units, someone's wife, husband or children are not allowed to stay in the room with them...... I would suggest a hospital grade pump to take home (you can rent one from the hospital or if you qualify for WIC, they will assist since the baby is in the NICU with locating your wife one).

    I found the NICU my daughter was in was very pro breastfeeding and helped as much as they could. They provided me with all the bottles I needed along with help from their Occupational Thearpist (since the LC there didn't do much to help us). I was not allowed to nurse my daughter till she was around 7 days old due to she had a suck, swallow, breath problem and kept on turning blue with feedings (on top of her regular apnea).

    All I can suggest is pump pump pump (or hand express if she's able to do that, I could never get the technique down) to get the milk in & keep up the supply and demand (I did every 2 hours throughout the day and night). Let her know she is not a failure for not producing what the NICU doctors says is enough, they overfeed them to put the weight on, you have no control over that. Once baby is home and exclusivly nursing, it gets so much easier.

    Good Luck and keep us updated.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    don't be afraid to call your local lll Leader she can help too!
    just keep pushing to breastfeed as much as the hospital will allow.
    Its ok too to ask them not to feed the baby with bottles and use some other feeding way.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    Just a vote of support for you and your wife!! She is so lucky to have your support, that is worth it's weight in gold, or in breastmilk!!

    best of luck!
    Mother to Emily June, b. Sept 18, 2005 and Lucy Quinn, b. 1/20/2012

    “Buy the ticket, take the ride."
    Hunter S. Thompson

    Excitement on the Side: Who doesn't love a confident woman with long boobs...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    http://www.llli.org/NB/NBSepOct06p213.html
    heres a story from new begingings.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    Quote Originally Posted by babygirlsmom1005 View Post
    Unfortunally, the NICU's are not set up to provide parents with accomidations, they are just for the babies, the room in's were not forgotten, they are not put in due to it is a intensive care unit, even in adult intensive care units, someone's wife, husband or children are not allowed to stay in the room with them......
    The hospital where my sil gave birth had rooms that the mother could stay in right next to the NICU, and a pumping room right next to those. And they had the option of staying in the NICU all day and all night. They had recliners next to every unit, and when they were there, there were about 25 babies in the NICU. Its one of only 2 NICUs in the state. It was very pro-breastfeeding. They were very lucky to have delivered in such a bfing friendly hospital, becuase they lived 120 miles and going home was not an option. She stayed in those rooms for free (well, not for free, because it was so much for my nephew, but they weren't charged extra). I just wanted to point out that there are hospitals out there (even in rinky dink Montana) that really do want to encourage breastfeeding.

    I think it is important to remember that you are paying them...not vice versa. They work for you. If you want to provide your lo with breastmilk, then they have to oblige (unless for some reason it actually is endangering the wellbeing of the baby, but I would find that to be very rare). You are your baby's only advocate! And my sil had to wake up every 3 hours, just as if the baby were home, to pump. I recommend renting a hospital grade pump, or if that's not an option, purchasing a Medela Pump in Style or Ameda Purely Yours. The hospital grade pumps are better though! And your wife might have to wake up to pump in the middle of the night, to provide enough milk and to get her supply where it needs to be when you bring the baby home. Supply=demand, and the demand will probably be there at night once your baby ishome. I really recommend she pumps day and night.

    I hope that helps. And its wonderful that you are so supportive. Both your baby and your wife will need that in the months to come!

    Erin
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    My son was also in the NICU (full term but had jaundice) and I found they were NOT breastfeeding friendly at all. I agree with all of the previous posts...keep pumping as much as possible. What I did was pump the colostrum/milk and left it there for the nurses (once I was discharged) and if DS was still hungry they supplemented with formula. I know its not the ideal situation right now, but your baby is getting the benefits of mom's milk. Its VERY hard going home from the hospital without your baby but rest assured that your baby will come home with you. Once that happens breastfeeding will be MUCH easier. It also couldn't hurt to try to feed the baby using alternative methods (not the bottle) but you may have to "fight" with the NICU staff - they are very pro-bottle.

    What someone told me when my son was in the NICU is that the NICU staff are very scientific and measure EVERYTHING (how much the baby eats, sleeps, wet diapers, etc). I know its frustrating but the bottom line is it is YOUR baby and you can tell the NICU staff what you want and don't want.

    Good luck and tell your wife to keep pumping!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    289

    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    A big round of applause to you for working so hard to support your wife in this. I have no experience with a preemie, but definately agree with the advice for your wife to pump as often as possible, at least as often as the baby will feed if not more often. The hospital should also have a lactation consultant on staff. It is usualy a registered nurse with special training in breastfeeding, so ask to see this nurse and ask for all the help you can get.

  9. #9
    lacey is offline Getting Comfortable Here
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    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    I was strep b positive and they are supposed to give you two doses of antibiotics during labor, but can only give them to you 4 hours apart. Michelle was born two hours after they gave my the first dose so they kept her in the NICU to monitor her for the two days we were in the hospital. Our NICU had breastfeeding rooms. The chairs were uncomfy but at least they had private rooms to feed. I know you want to breastfeed entirely but maybe you could supplement with formula until her milk comes in. Good luck with everything.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2006
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    893

    Default Re: Breastfeed unfriendly NICU

    Quote Originally Posted by epbrown View Post
    The hospital where my sil gave birth had rooms that the mother could stay in right next to the NICU, and a pumping room right next to those. And they had the option of staying in the NICU all day and all night. They had recliners next to every unit, and when they were there, there were about 25 babies in the NICU. Its one of only 2 NICUs in the state. It was very pro-breastfeeding. They were very lucky to have delivered in such a bfing friendly hospital, becuase they lived 120 miles and going home was not an option. She stayed in those rooms for free (well, not for free, because it was so much for my nephew, but they weren't charged extra). I just wanted to point out that there are hospitals out there (even in rinky dink Montana) that really do want to encourage breastfeeding.
    Most NICU's will let you stay in them all day and night (except for shift changes and admissions of other babies, they clear them out). What I was saying is you cannot "bed down" in the NICU next to your baby, they do not allow that. The NICU my DD was at also had a pumping room and provided 3 diffrent pumps within the NICU to use. That is awsome they let you SIL stay in the hospital with her LO while they were in the hospital. The one my DD was in, there wasn't a place so I could take a nap or anything & I had to go home to get rested.

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