Just had 33 week 5 day twin boys. My experience in the NICU has been great the only thing that I find strange is that when they are not breast or bottle feeding I have to hold the feeding tube for gravity purposes in one hand and my son in the other. Shouldn't the nurse be holding the tube? Or am I just overreacting? What experiences have others had with this or alternative ways to do it?
Feeding Tube Experience in NICU
I'd say the feeding tube machinery should be on a higher shelf, maybe, or you should find some way to drape it so it doesn't sag. My daughter was born at 32w4d, and spent 32 days in the NICU, and I cannot for the life of me recall this issue with feeding tubes. She definitely had feeding tubes, and I have vague memories or sorting out wires and leads and tubes and everything in order to take her out of the isolette, but the machinery was on a shelf that was higher then the level of me in a chair, so the tubes may have just run down over my shoulder, and not been a problem.
There's not so much nursing staff, usually, that they can have someone stand by you the entire time you're holding your child, keeping the gavage tube out of the way. Each nurse is dealing with multiple patients. Besides, that would be really intrusive and obnoxious.
My experience with gavage feeding was that there was no way to hang it from a pole - there was a machine very slowly compressing a 30 ml syringe of breastmilk horizontally so that it would drip into the gavage tube at a controlled rate. They have the facility they have, open units often don't have convenient shelving. There is a better way, and if you hadn't had premature twins born just a day or so (?) ago, you might have figured it out by now, but I promise you, no one is bringing their sharpest mind to those first few days in the NICU. Holding the baby is really awkward at first, but after a few times, you get good at draping the wires and stuff so they're where they need to be and not tripping you up. (Examination of the pics from DD's first few days indicates that they capped the tube off when not using it, so there's also the "wait till it's not feeding time" option, but I don't know that I love that one. You're at the NICU when you can be at the NICU, and you want to hold the babies as much as you can.)
Congratulations on your twins, and I hope you're all home together soon.
I think baby-friendly NICUs tend to do this as a way to get parents more involved in a baby's cares and promote bonding. My NICU also had us hold the tube for NG feedings. The older nurses said they used to just tape the tube to a higher place in the isolette and just let gravity do its work. Now they are required to hold the babies during any kind of feeding, and encouraged to encourage the parents to do so when they are available.
It definitely feels awkward at first, but gets easier.
We spent 3 months in the hospital. When the G-tube was open to gravity (She was gassy), they connected it above her bed, but once she was no longer NPO she was always on a pump with a continuous drip.
My guess is they were trying to help baby. Even though you are holding the tube, I'm sure it did a lot for your child to have him in your arms instead of in the the bed. Even when my daughter was on the vent and NPO, just holding her you could watch her heart rate go down and she would relax.