Monday, March 26, 2012
I have done the NICU breastfeeding game a few times- each time I have learned a few things and gotten better at it. I have also been astounded really as to how much some lactation consultants and nurses do not know; lactation consultant and nurses who work in a level III NICU.
Here are somethings that I got to teach the NICU Lactation Consultants about:
1- Colostrum Oral Care. This is a big deal especially for infants not orally feeding. It helps protect them from lots of nasty bugs. It is also comforting to them.
2- Avoiding formula- if there ever is a baby who needs breastmilk it is a pre-term infant. A mother's milk changes for her baby's needs. Even for pre-term infants a mothers milk is highly specialized for the baby.
3- Pacifier Use. For a full term infant, pacifiers may cause nipple confusion. For preemies pacifiers can be very useful.
4- Nipple Shields- Again breastfeeding preemies is different than full term infants. Preemies often lack the fat pockets in their cheeks to get a good grip on a mother's nipple, the shield makes it easier to hold on to.
Here are some more outrageous things I have been told about breastfeeding- from NICU lactation consultants:
I have been told that I should not nurse my toddler and my infant from the same side.
I have been told that I cannot breast feed two babies at once.
I have been told that my baby will do better on formula
To say that I was stunned is an understatement. I am stunned and disappointed. What hope to mothers have to breastfeed their pre-term infants successfully if the people who are supposed to help them learn how to breastfeed don't know some key things about breastfeeding a preemie.
If I did not know how to do this on my own, because of previous experience, I doubt that I would have been successful. NICU lactation consultants and RNs should be the best of the best regarding breastfeeding education and support. NICU babies need breastmilk more than almost any other infant.
Posted by Just Me at 3:17 PM