Hello! I'm 32 weeks, will be 33 this weekend. I have been on bed rest for several weeks, as my dr is trying to get me to 35 weeks before delivering my baby girl. My DS was born at 34 weeks, and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. He was initially fed through a feeding tube, and then we could never really get the hang of nursing once he was taken off. I used a nipple shield which helped some, but I probably gave up too soon in all honesty. I continued to pump until my supply dried up after about 8 weeks.
My hope is to exclusively BF this time around, but I'm nervous and keep thinking back to the last time around. Does anyone have any suggestions on nursing a NICU baby, being successful once they're home, etc.? Any stories/advice would be greatly welcomed!
My sister was a teenager when my niece was born 15 weeks early (she has physical issues from CP but is otherwise fine, she is a happy, healthy, smart junior in college) and my mom drove her to the hospital twice a day with pumped breast milk. She was never able to actually nurse because it took so long for my niece to come out of the NICU, but my niece got only my sister's breastmilk for 9 months. It can be done, she said it is very difficult but can be done.
My baby wasn't premie but was born with fluid in his lungs and needed to be on the ventilator for a day. Which at the time he was strictly IV fluids. Day 2 he was taken off the ventilator and put on feeding tubes I made sure to pump every 3 hours to keep up supply. He had so many trubes though that I couldn't hold him until 3 days old which then he was still only strong enough for a bottle. The next day once some of his lines were out and he was on less oxygen I asked when he could try nursing and they said he was strong enough. We had no issues and that day on I would only nurse when I was there. I was fortunate enough to be able to be there 8am-5pm. I asked for them to have feeds on demand rather than scheduled feeding times. And I know that may not be possible for all babies or all hospitals but the more you are there to work on it the better. He is now almost 10 weeks and only gets the breast no bottles. Good luck :)
**** forgot to mention he was in the NICU for 8 days
<blockquote><b>Quoting Elizcarlisle:</b>" Hello! I'm 32 weeks, will be 33 this weekend. I have been on bed rest for several weeks, as my dr is ... [snip!] ... any suggestions on nursing a NICU baby, being successful once they're home, etc.? Any stories/advice would be greatly welcomed!"</blockquote>
I had my baby at 32 weeks and had to wait until be was about 34 weeks before we could breastfeed. I had to go at his pace, which was challenging, but I also pumped a lot. I had major struggles with very low prolactin levels at first, but took meds that helped a lot. Because my supply continued to be insufficient, I had to supplement with high calorie formula. My son is now 3.5 months old and I breastfeed as much as I can and supplement with formula because supply can't meet the demand. I also pump as much as I am able, even at work. Returning to work has impacted my supply but I'll try to go as long as I can! There's just no better way to comfort my little one than nursing him.
Thank you! You all are doing a wonderful job, and have given me quite a bit more confidence that we can do it!
My son was born at 36 weeks, but stopped growing at 33 weeks gestation and we successfully breastfed for 22 months. It wasn't easy, but we did it :) good luck
My story is similar to hamham. My son was born at 36 weeks has a 5 week nicu stay. He got iv fluids for a few days and we couldn't breastfeed for a week. He is supplemented with high cal formula only because he isn't gaining weight. Hopefully soon we can be ebf.