If you have a premature birth let Ameda and My Breastpump join with you and support, you through your NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) stay. Most premature births are unpreventable. There is nothing that a mom or dad could have done differently. There is no-one to blame. Your baby comes too soon and all of a sudden your world changes to be hyper focused on the world of NICU, expressing breast milk and spending time with your baby.
When you see your premature baby for the first time every single emotion runs through your entire body. You can be grateful and mad and at the sometime full of love ad fear. It is important to acknowledge the feelings that you are going through but at the same time also know that you are not alone in this journey. Seeing all the tubes and pipes and hearing the beeps and alarms of the machines can be scary. While the doctors and Nurses are focusing on your baby, let us help you with your parenting and breast-feeding journey.
Even though the Medical staff are looking after and treating your baby, you are still the most important person in the world to your baby. Let’s explore different ways that you can increase your milk supply (with expressing) and also build up your bond with your baby:
- Try to see your baby as soon after birth as possible. You can be asked to be wheeled into NICU on your bed or wheelchair if you are not able to walk yourself. Even though you most likely will not be able to hold your baby, just seeing your child for possibly the first time is so important for you. There is security in knowing where you baby is and knowing that your baby is being cared for. Ask to kangaroo your baby as soon are your baby is medically stable. This means to have your baby (with just a nappy) directly on your chest. Skin to skin has many benefits. It can even help you to increase your milk production and keep your baby warm and comfortable so that she burns off less calories which can help her to maintain or gain weight
- Use a good quality breast pump. You can rent a hospital grade breast pump or buy a personal breast pump that has hospital grade technology. (Click here for information on the Ameda Elite Hospital Grade breast pump rental: https://www.mybreastpump.co.za/content/breastpumphire) If you have a baby in NICU you will need a pump that stimulates your breasts and helps you to make more breast milk. Ameda can assist you with both types of breast pumps. The Elite hospital grade breast pump is an approved multi-user hospital grade breast pump. The pumps are cleaned, sterilized and calibrated between every client so that you know that you have the best quality pump while renting. Ameda has conducted research on the strength and effectiveness of the Elite breast pump. What Ameda found is that if a mother used the pump at least 8 times a day she may be able to make 500ml of breast milk by day 5. The first two week after a premature birth is often critical to your long-term milk production. Ameda also has the Finesse Double electric breast pump that has hospital grade technology which means that the pump motor is strong enough to support exclusive pumping and maintain high suction. The Finesse has the bonus of having a 2-year warranty. (For more information click here: https://www.mybreastpump.co.za/product/finesse-double-electric-breast-pump)
All Ameda breast pumps have the HygeniKit which is FDA approved as a true closed system. The true closed system not only prevents the back flow of milk into the tubes and pump but is also clinically proven to prevent the movement of bacteria and viruses. Closed system breast pumps are designed in such a way that your breast milk, bacteria, and viruses are prevented from moving into the tubing and getting in the motor and casing of the pump. Once the milk is in the tubing or pump case it is exceedingly difficult to clean, if not impossible, and allows for the growth of the bacteria and viruses, keeping the pumps ability to create the correct about of suction.
- Take as many photos as you can. Have your phone with you so that you can take a video or lots of pictures. The photos or videos can help you to prepare for expressing your milk by letting you focus on only your baby. It is also so special to be able to send pictures of your baby to the grandparents or close friends. They will not be able to visit so this is a great way to let them see how strong your little one is getting
- Make use of a bonding heart. Bonding hearts are fabric hearts that absorb your smell. You wear it under your bra and when you leave the NICU you leave your bonding heart with your baby. This way your baby can continue to smell you. Babies that are born prematurely are exposed to harsh chemical smells from the NICU and by leaving your smell they are able to focus on you.
- Find a support group of parents that have been through NICU. NICU moms can understand what you are going through and are able to comfort you. They have knowledge of the NICU and procedures that happens. They become your family in the NICU. They will cheer you on and celebrate each milestone with you when you and your baby reach them.
This month is NICU awareness month and we want to celebrate how strong families that spend time in NICU are. It is not an easy start off being so small but babies that are born in NICU have the most amazing will to grow and be taken home. This month My Breastpump will be focusing on prematurity and sharing information around expressing exclusively to support your little one’s growth and development on our social media platforms. #PreemieStrong