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Pressure to use bottles in NICU

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi mamas.  I have 34 week twins who are now 36weeks and in the NICU.  One twin is rooting at feeding times and has been put to breast and is starting to remove small bits (a couple of cc) of milk on occasion (not regularly).  The other is not removing any milk and will occasionally cue but not regularly.  The nurses in the NICU are really pressuring me to let them use bottles when I am not there for a particular feed. They are otherwise being fed through an ng tube.  

My intent is to breastfeed both babies, but I am worried about the effect of the bottle on successful breastfeeding when breastfeeding has not yet been established well.  

The nurses are telling me that I will do long-term damage to the babies if they are not given either breast or bottle when rooting.  For the most part I am there to offer breast, but occasionally I have to leave and miss a feed or two. 

post #2 of 12

Honestly, I let my babies have bottles of EBM when I wasn't there for feedings, because it sped up their discharge dates.  They can't be released on an NG tube.


Nipple confusion is a challenge, but it's not always insurmountable.  My 32-weeker and 34-weeker both transitioned to the breast after their NICU stays.  It took my 32-weeker longer of course, but my 34-weeker was exclusively breastfed within a week of her homecoming (after 10 days in the NICU).



post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  I feel like I have had to give up so much that is important to me and it is so tough.  I'm hoping we can make the transition to only breast rather quickly.  I just want my babies home. greensad.gif

post #4 of 12

I also let my ds have a bottle.  I just wanted him to come home and if I had to do some damage control after that, then so be it.  He was a great nurser.

post #5 of 12

It's hard to know the right answer.  I have heard of parents who choose all different things- coming home with NG tube so as to have the only oral feedings be breastfeeding-- choosing to not try at the breast and focus only on bottle nipples to get them home faster-- doing a mix of NG and bottle and breast feedings-- I don't think there's one answer that works for every one and everyone's outcomes are different.  The NICU environment is such a far cry from the normal process of learning to feed, and each baby has their own strengths and challenges... do what feels right and always remember you made the best choice with the information you had at the time.  IMO, what's important is being a flexible and adaptable parent (truly attachment parenting) who is aware of their individual babies' needs and not what a baby 'should' do based on preconceived ideas or on NICU protocols or on a 'average' full-term baby. 


I also conceptualize it as nipple 'preference' [a changable behavior] instead of nipple 'confusion' [implying a lack of understanding on the babies' part]. 

post #6 of 12

My son was 34 weeks and left the NICU with the bottle (after a 25 day stay). It took a grueling two weeks of pumping, bottlefeeding, and breastfeeding, but he transitioned. He's now chubby and a fantastic nurser. Good luck to you!

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks, mamas!  It is so nice to hear from those of you who have successfully transitioned to breast.  I just can't wait to get him eating and to finally have him home. <3<3<3

post #8 of 12

I am going through this now DD was born at 30 weeks and stayed in the NICU for exactly 30 days.  She is a pretty good nurser we have been home about almost 2 weeks. She latches well but not at every feeding but she is getting there. I also am pumping, bottle and nursing. I nurse her anytime she roots as well in between feedings etc.... She had the bottles of EBM in the nicu. They way she is nursing I know she will get completely to the breast but it was worrisome in the beginning as I nursed my other two kids and they both weaned at age 4!!!!

post #9 of 12

My dd was born at 33 weeks with an emergency ceserean and spent 25 days iin the NICU.  After having breastfed three babies it was very hard to let her have a bottle.  But in order to get her released as soon as possible she needed to have a bottle and get off the tube (they said).  I too was concerned about nipple confusion.  I brestfed when I could but they didn't really let me breastfeed without her getting milk through  the tube at the same time til the last few days.  When she was released she went straight to nursing round the clock.  I think I gave her a bottle like every other day or two in the evening when she was extra hungry for a week or two.  Mostly just cuz I had so many bottles that I had pumped for her when she was in the NICU.  She has nursed well.  She was a little fussier than my normal gestation babies because of gas and it took a few months to really feel like everything was okay.  But here we are at almost 6 months.  She is chunky and healthy in everyway.  


To all the moms still going through the heartache and headache of the NICU:      THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!!!


post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by glorysmom View Post


To all the moms still going through the heartache and headache of the NICU:      THERE IS LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!!!!!


Thanks.  This is helpful.  We are finally home and one is on breast but the other is not yet there.  Hearing from BTDT mamas helps so much.  Hoping both will be fully on the breast soon.

post #11 of 12
To all the Mamas who successfully transitioned to breastfeeding after the NICU, how exactly did you do it? My daughter was 34 weeks at birth and spent 10 days in NICU. She was able to nurse some in the hospital and had EBM the rest of the time. At home (two weeks home now) I've been putting her to breast and sometimes she'll latch on and suck ok, sometimes she'll refuse the breast completely, and tonite she's biting the nipple and I can't get her to find a good latch even after repositioning and retrying a dozen times. After nursing, we give her a supplemental bottle but it's obvious she really prefers the bottle (of course). Help! I really want to breastfeeding exclusively but with another young child at home, I don't have the energy of will power to continue nursing, bottle feeding then pumping, and I'm not fond of the idea of pumping long term to give her EBM :-(
post #12 of 12

mamdiro (hugs) I hear ya. 


Just keep putting her to the breast first, have you considered using s supplemental feede. For me I would nurse her first, then pump, then give the bottle! I know! crazy the LCs call it triple feeding but it is what got her back on the breast, and I would offer the breast in between when she was sleepy and many times during day and night after a full week of that and then the second week home she took the breast more and I could pump much less and then EBF!!! so you can get there. I was so tired for those two weeks but is was worth it to me. I don't like pumping and already had to do it when Sång  was in the nicu for 4 weeks. now I just pump 1-2x a day so I have  small stash for my gym time, etc...DD won't really like to take a bottle from mne at all but will from DH. She also does not care what kind of nipple or bottle it is although we mostly stick to the ones from the NICU she had


Keep trying the breast as often as you can, each day you will start to noticed even if a little bit of a difference in your baby going to the breast better, some peds say that it can take until the babies are at their due date before they are EBF so don't give up yet.


Be gentle with yourself, haiving a babe in the NICU is stressful enough.

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