Saturday, December 10, 2011
My son was born at 26 weeks, and I EPed for the 70 days he was in the NICU. When he came home at about 36 weeks gestational age, I was determined to breastfeed. A couple things helped with me.

1) I used a special needs feeder by Medela (the sell them on Amazon) to help teach him proper sucking techniques. It only allows milk to flow when the baby actually sucks (unlike a bottle that will constantly drip), so I think it helped "train" him to breastfeed. Here’s the link, but you can buy them cheaper than this.

2) I used ultra-slow flow nipples after I went back to work. Our NICU did a study to understand which nipples are the slowest flow, and they figured out it was the Similac Slow Flow nipples. They're sold as disposable, but you can wash and reuse them. We bought a case of 50, and we still have a bunch left. Here’s the link.

3) I used a nipple shield. That helped my son get milk when he was very tiny. After awhile, though, I felt like it was actually hindering his ability to get milk. I had to use a very small size for his tiny milk, and it hurt my nipple. I also think it sort of constricted the flow.

I just gradually increased the number of feedings I did by breast. My son was in the NICU so long that he came home on a pretty regimented 3-hour schedule. He'd take bottles at 3, 6, 9, and 12. the nursing didn't replace the bottles 1:1 (I usually had to nurse more often than I would have had to give bottles), so I'd allocate time periods where I would only nurse and not give bottles. So, at first, I'd nurse between 12pm and 3pm every day (replacing 2 bottles). Then I'd extend it to 6pm. Then 9pm. By that point, he was strong enough where he was nursing well, so we just went cold turkey to nursing, and we never looked back.

My son is still nursing at 10.5 months, and he's always gotten breastmilk. I went back to pumping when I went back to work, but it sure was nice to have a little while where we could just nurse on demand.


Caroline said...

You go girl! I know what it's like to pump in the NICU, and it's not easy! When we got out of the NICU in June, we were able to easily transition to breast with my fast learner, but pumping was a task...I was a lucky one, I made too much! I continued to pump until August where I was able to hang up my pump for a while. While it was hard, it is one of the most important things I could do for my baby! At nearly 8 months, she's still nursing strong!

Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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