Keeping Everyone Updated
Sometimes parents feel that it is hard to keep everyone up-to-date on the latest information about the baby. Remember, you are the parent and can set limits around what you decide to share about your baby. Staff will not share information with others unless you say it is okay. Some parents use a website called Caringbridge.org to help keep loved ones updated.
This site lets you set up a place to share your baby’s journey with updates and photos. Only those you want to see the page must use a password you give them. In addition, it may be helpful to have just one “point of contact” who can give updates. This may cut down on the number of phone calls you have to make, and can help make sure everyone gets the right information.
Breastmilk Pumping and Feeding Support
Did you know that a mother’s own breastmilk is considered a medicine and is an important part of the care of your sick or preterm infant? Breastmilk has more than 80 ingredients that include not only the perfect nutrition but also leukocytes that help fight infections for you baby.
It also has other antibodies, living cells, enzymes, and hormones that are specifically designed to help protect your baby. In fact, our motto at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is “Mother’s Milk is Medicine and Every Drop Counts”.
Pumping breastmilk is an important step in establishing a breastmilk supply for many of our NICU moms.
Since the goal for most of our moms is to pump 8 times per day, here are some tips to
make this a bit easier:
- Follow a set routine for pumping when you can.
- Set alarms on your cell phone to remind you when it is time to pump. This can be very helpful at nighttime.
- Keep track with a pump log or an App on your smartphone to make sure you are fitting in all of your pumping sessions.
- Use your pumping time to sit and relax. Try looking at pictures or videos of your baby while pumping. Some moms also like to have items that smell like their baby close by when pumping.
- Use deep breathing strategies to help your body relax while you pump.
- Some moms find it helpful to have a cooler by your bedside to make pumping at night a little easier. If you can, have many pumping sets available so that you do not have to get up and wash parts until morning.
- Try a few minutes of breast massage before you pump. Warm, moist heat may also help, as well as expressing milk by hand.
- Listen to music and limit distractions while you pump.
- Use a hospital-grade pump. Ask your nurse for more information about this.
- Let yourself ask for help. A support person can do things to help you, like gathering your pump supplies, washing your pump supplies and labeling the baby’s milk. Skin-to-skin
contact is shown to help increase milk supply.
- Talk to your nurse about when your baby may be ready to try nuzzling. Nuzzling is basically skin-to-skin contact, close to the breast. This can prepare you and your baby for non-nutritive breastfeeding, which is like “practice” breastfeeding at a dry breast. It can also prepare you and baby for direct breastfeeding or bottle feeding your breastmilk once your baby is able to do this. Spending time holding your baby skin-to-skin, nuzzling, non-nutritive breastfeeding, and direct breastfeeding can be a special time to get to know your baby.
We know this all can be stressful and exhausting. Again, taking care of yourself as a breastfeeding mom is so important. Please make sure you are getting healthy meals and snacks throughout the day, plenty of water, and rest when you can.