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Thread: 35 week breastfeeding

  1. #1

    Default 35 week breastfeeding

    I have a rare condition called vasa previa and will be delivering my baby at 35 weeks. This is my second child. My first was born term and breastfed beautifully....with my supply coming in on day 2....and a lot. This time around I'll be having a scheduled c-section. I have many questions. Will my milk supply be the same? What can I expect in terms of a 35 weeker's ability to BF? How often will the NICU allow me to BF?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    I don't know anything about vasa previa but I know how scary it is to face a premature c-section. I hope everything goes well.

    In terms of breastfeeding, a lot probably depends. I had twins at 33 weeks (pre-eclampsia) by c-section. I was able to put my daughter to the breast around day 3 but my son had a lot more breathing problems and couldn't take anything my mouth for three weeks and it was many more weeks before we got the hang of nursing. In my experience, the NICU's big concern was that the babies have the hang of breathing without assistance before they tried to nurse. I pumped like mad and they always got breastmilk either in bottles or for my son, through a tube.

    I would start pumping as soon after the c-sec as you feel able. Ask the hospital lactation consultants to set you up with a hospital grade pump. It will probably be slower to bring your milk in than nursing, but it will do it. And tell the NICU right away that you want to breastfeed exclusively and they should not supplement without talking to you first. In my NICU experience, they follow a very regular schedule (feeding, diapering every three hours). Since I knew when the feedings were, I could make sure to be there to nurse. How often the NICU lets you nurse depends a lot on the babies condition, but for me, once I was allowed to put them to the breast, the NICU let me nurse every feeding I was there. And if I wasn't there (after I was discharged and the twins remained), they were given pumped milk.

    My twins and I had a rocky start but they went on to nurse for 2.5 years - it can be done! And you're in a great position because you've nursed before so you're less likely to doubt yourself. Just don't be afraid to seek out a lactation consultant early and often. Good luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    35 weeks seems to be that magic number where you have a real good chance of having a baby without any breathing problems or need for a NICU stay.

    Here's my version:My DS 2 came into this world at 35 weeks via emergency C-section (placental abruption). He did very well with breathing and was in my room within about 5 hours of being born. He had a lot of trouble feeding and great difficulty regulating his body temperature (he was often too cold). My LO was also hypoglycemic so needed every calorie I could get into him in those first days. I worked with the nurses and breastfed from day one and also tried to top up with formula. (I know formula users are generally despised on this forum but you may find yourself in a similar situation so thought I'd be honest with you). I found my body responded the same as it did with DS 1...made colostrum right away and got milk within a few days. I was lucky that my little guy could suck and swallow but his main problem was sleepiness. Every one will tell you to strip them down and put wet cloths orotherwise irritate the baby to wake them up. I recommend exercising caution with the strip downs since babies this age cannot thermoregulate. Your baby will be whatever the surrounding temperature is like a cold blooded creature for the first couple weeks. It was a vicious cycle of nursing for about an hour (while constantly stimulating baby) then bottle feeding for about 20 minutes and then rewarming baby and then nursing again. I literally did not sleep for the first four days of his life. It would take me about an hour of nursing to get maybe 12 minutes of feeding in. It was absolute madness that first week. And then day by day he got better and better with feeding. For the first 2 weeks I set an alarm at night to wake me up every 3 hours to nurse. Late in that second week he started waking me up (before 3 hours) so felt comfortable switching to demand feeding. He was very high needs for about 10 weeks or so. It was like a continuous growth spurt. That's when I joined these forums because he was nursing constantly (literally) and I had a 3 y.o. to take care of too. The upside is he became an expert BFer in short time.

    Now DS 2 is 16 weeks old and does excellent with BFing and has not required supplementation in a long time. He behaves more like an 11 or 12 week old baby but is gaining weight like crazy. (birth= 6 lb 3 oz, home 5 lb 7 oz, 11 weeks 12 lbs).

    Things that worked for me:
    stimulation: tickling & tapping feet while nursing, burping position & patting before nursing, hand expressing some milk onto my nipple and his lips

    temperature control: have a thermometer handy in case you need to monitor it, kangaroo care for rewarming (and so much more), we also had to use a heating pad a couple times because he got so cold (be super cautious with this one)

    everything else: hugely supportive DH, a lot of pre-made meals in my freezer, letting my housework slide

    Also wanted to mention not to be concerned if he or she comes out looking kind of dusky or mottled. their circulation is quite poor too so the nail beds can be quite purple and my LO's skin still gets mottled. it will all go away.

    well, good luck with everything. I know I've jabbered on for a while but I found it really hard at first and wish I had known more. Some doctors treat it as nothing special since they are not very premature but I definitely see the difference those 5 weeks make.

    It is very do-able...have a great time meeting your new LO!

    PS - ask about iron supplementation
    Last edited by @llli*foo; July 28th, 2008 at 10:07 PM.
    2005 2008

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    line up some good help before you go for the surgury!

    You can do it!
    heres a link that talks about how to pump if baby isn't nursing any at the breast!


  5. #5

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    Thank you for all of your responses. I like to hear about other peoples NICU experiences.

    I was able to speak with my friend's mom...who is a head nurse....and she was mentioning that in the first few days after birth it wouldn't be a bad idea to give formula (via tube) to baby until my milk comes in. I have mixed feelings about this. If it helps the baby to gain strength tho...to breastfeed better and sooner....I don't know? Also, I got the sense that sooner baby gains weight....sooner the discharge and ability for us to finally practice being together and BFing. It seems to me that here where I live....35 weekers are always in the NICU....so I think my hopes of rooming-in are gone.

    My first babe was 8lbs 2oz at 38 weeks....is this any indication of about how big I can expect this one to be at 35??? 5 or 6 lbs? Does nipple size/shape also impact a little babes ability to BF?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    Not sure about size. My first son was 36 wks 6 days and weighed 7 - 13 and my 2nd was expected to be over 8 lbs at birth and came in 6-3 at 35 wks. Folk wisdom is every baby gets bigger and comes earlier. Have no idea if it's true.

    I think you'll have to wait & see how strong baby is and then find out how to feed. The hospital I was at had an intermediate care unit so that's why we didn't have to go to NICU. Maybe there isn't that in between level of care at your hospital.

    Do you know how long they'll keep you in hospital? I was in 4 days and got to bring my son home with me since we both were ready for discharge at the same time. His discharge criteria did not include weight. They wanted him to be able to nurse (or bottle feed) and to be able to maintain his body temperature.

    I hope you get a chance to nurse right away so your little can start to learn early. Most NICU stories I've heard are very supportive of BFing moms.

    Suggest bringing in your breast pump attachments for use on the hospital pump. Saves on those rental fees.

    Pick up one of those preemie head supports for the car seat if you don't have one already. My LO had a car seat study in hosp prior to discharge. These LOs tend to get apnea in this position. If my LO had failed the study (he passed) I was told we could rent a car bed at the hospital. I also found I had to position the car seat in more recline (bolstering up with towel roll) so he wasn't so hunched.

    Thay are all so unique...I hope your LO is a strong little babe! You haven't mentioned a DH...also hoping you have some support.

    Have you had a section before? There is a lifting restriction of only lifting your newborn (or 10lbs). Thought it might help you plan since you have another LO at home.
    Last edited by @llli*foo; July 30th, 2008 at 01:06 AM.
    2005 2008

  7. #7

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    OH YES!! I have the most wonderful DH!!! Shame on me for not mentioning. He will be with our ds and taking care of stuff while I'm hospitalized (I'll prob be hospitalized by 32 weeks).

    What is a preemie head support? Is it that little donut thing that goes in front? Thanks for this suggestion.

    This is my first section. I had a full natural birth with ds....so this is all very new. I hope I recover well. I knew about the lifting thing. Can you tell me more about walking stairs??? I live in a 2 story....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding

    Our son was born at 32 weeks. I had no warning and was not able to read anything at all regarding NICU and feeding and what to do...I felt so lost.

    He was on a respirator for the first four days so he had to be IV fed. "Thankfully" this allowed me time to start pumping and a get a good supply going before he could take any other sort of nourishment. I think I was lucky in my hospital experience because lactation was there the night I had him at like 2 in the morning getting me all set up on the pump.

    He was then gavage fed until he could get the suck/swallow/breathe reflex down. I was unfortunate in the fact that although it was written all over my chart EVERYWHERE that I came in every three hours to try to breastfeed, more than a few times I came in and the nurse was bottle feeding him. Grrrr!

    The NICU my son was at was very supportive of breastfeeding and only giving breastmilk if able so I never had an issue with the nurses trying to give him formula. he never really learned to latch and actually breastfeed until around his due date, which they told me could happen, so I was just patient and kept trying. He eventually got it. Just out of the blue one day!

    And for going home, as far as we were told, he would have to be over 5 pounds, able to maintain his temp, no apnea (which he never had), and have the feeding thing down. Well, right before we went home the NICU received FOUR sets of twins, so I think they needed the space and they sent us home when he only weighed 3.11! He was gaining weight and had been in an open air crib for two days so I guess they thought everything would be good. And it was, although I don't think we slept a wink until he got to about 6 pounds!

    As far as the c-section, yes it hurts, yes you can't lift much,but when it comes to your baby, you feel like superwoman! I was in the hospital for about 6 days even after I had him (not cause of the c-section but for the pre-eclampsia and HELLP) and I got into trouble by my doctor for walking all the time and trying to do too much! And I turned out ok!

    So good luck with everything! Here's good vibes for everything going smoothly!
    I'm Hillary
    Wife to Gualberto
    Mom to Nolan
    Born at 32 weeks-3lbs/10oz
    Our precious early angel

  9. #9

    Default Re: 35 week breastfeeding


    I just wanted to say congratulations on your pregnancy and especially the vasa previa diagnosis! This will save your baby's life!
    I'm a mother to a survivor and would like to invite you to join our email group at http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Vasa_Previa/

    My son was delivered at 36 weeks and didn't spend 1 day in the NICU. He also didn't have any problems breastfeeding. The people in our group are loaded with information on vasa previa, NICU, breastfeeding a preemie and just generally what to expect with a vp pregnancy.

    It sounds like your doctor has proper management in place by admitting you at 32 weeks to the hospital. You are very fortunate to receive this diagnosis.
    Best of luck to you and your baby and we hope to see you there.

    Mom to a Survivor

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