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did your nicu promote bf'ing?

  • yes, it was great

    Votes: 24 48.0%
  • sort of, but not enough, or inconsistently

    Votes: 21 42.0%
  • no, unsupportive

    Votes: 5 10.0%
  • I could not/did not breastfeed

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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It scares me how bad my NICU was about breastfeeding. Very luckily, my dd was only there for five days, but they repeatedly gave her bottles of formula when perfectly good pumped milk was available, clearly marked, in the fridge not four feet away.

:

something needs to be done to protect babies whose mothers DO pump and or wish to breastfeed them. The infant next to dd was born at 25 wks (was probably about 30-32 adjusted by the time we were there) and while his mother did pump, she didn't have any available (left it at home, not realizing he would be fed that day- he was still not taking bottles every day yet.) Instead of waiting for her visit the next day, the nurse encouraged her to feed him formula- ARRRGGH!!! the whole time I was sitting there thinking "noooo!! necrotizing enterocolitis!! wait til tomorrow and do breastmilk!!"

they were pretty awful about it. seemed very cavalier and did nothing to promote it, besides offering pumping rooms- which were almost always available because practically no one bf's in my area. I wonder how many had similar experiences. they absolutely, positively HAD to give dd formula her first night there no matter what, hospital policy. my milk didn't come in for 3 days. I tried arguing my case that she'd only be getting tiny amounts of colostrum anyways, and showed no signs of dehydration, but it fell on deaf ears and I am still mad about it.
: they also HAD to throw away all breastmilk after 24 hours and instructed me to do the same at home.
 

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Sort of. The hospital that my ds was at pretended to be. However, they spent a lot of time telling me to give up that he would never bf so I did. I kept pumping (even though they insisted that he have formula mixed in the bm) and let them give him a bottle so that I could get him home. He was home for a week before he nursed and hasn't had a bottle since.

My dd's hospital let me nurse her as soon as she was born but then the next day told me I wasn't allowed
The nurses were amazing there though. When she wouldn't take a bottle (and the doctors said she couldn't come home because she refused a bottle) they fought for me and explained to the doctors that I was a nursing mom and that Áine was perfectly happy nursing and gaining weight well doing so. It was because of them that she was finally able to come home when she did (23 days later). The doctors had no apparent clue how to handle a nicu baby who refused a bottle and didn't want to believe that she would be ok simply nursing.

16 months (and 3 years, 1month) later I'm tandem nursing both of those babies.
 

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It's been a while so I'm going on memory. They were very good about encouraging me to pump. DD had an iv for the first few days. I think she did have some formula before my milk came in, but I really didn't mind all that much. I had preeclampsia and was a bit out of it for the first day or two. I think the drugs I had to take for my blood pressure also made my milk come in more slowly. DD also had IUGR (intrauterine growth retardation) She was the size of a 31 weeker even though she was born at 35 weeks (she was 3lbs 10oz and 17" long) Once my milk came in I was encouraged to bring in as much as possible. They always fed her the breastmilk first and would use formula if there wasn't enough breastmilk for all the feedings. Most of the nurses were very encouraging about trying to get her to latch and try nursing after she was off of some of the equipment. Some of the nurses were better than others. One made sure I got a rental pump (she also made sure I got to see the lactation consultant). They made sure I had the special bottles they use to take home and keep the milk in and plenty of labels so everyone would know who the milk was for. There was one nurse though that I REALLY disliked and she was just very difficult in general
I suppose that can happen anywhere.

I opted to use pumped milk and supplement with formula at the hospital because it was the quickest way to get my daughter home. She needed to get to a certain weight (she came home at just over 4lbs I think) and to be able to hold her temp. It was too hard for us to nurse much in the hospital because of DD's tiny size and also because I could not be AT the hospital long enough each day (I have other kids which made it very hard) Once she was home we worked on latching and nursing. It took a while, but she finally got the hang of it around her due date. I think she was maybe around 5lbs or so by then.
 

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We got bottles and pacis immediately without asking and were always given the "of course you'll be supplementing" line. Also, it was after a week before we were told of skin-to-skin and that we could try to bf. At one of my bf appts with the LC, I go tthere early and found out that the nurse had already fed Chaya so that she (the nurse) could go to lunch early.

The nursing staff for me, though was even worse. I was having a horrible reaction to the duomorph and no one bothered to help me and remind me to pump. I ended up sleeping through many of my pumping times and as a result am fighting low supply issues.
 

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Yes they were but they weren't perfect. They probably could have been better. I think the first thing that i wasn't impressed with was the lc. All she did was set up a pump rental for me. She didn't offer any advice or suggestions on anything! She seemed more hurried and didn't want to help. I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable going to her for advice.
The staff was good there in reminding the moms of the benefit of bf, not that i needed it but it was good to hear the encouragement. I was a little upset over there bm handling. They wasted tons of my bm. In the beginning i'm not sure how it was wasted since i didn't realize my stash there dwindled quickly. I had enough bm in the freezer there for a long time, since she wasn't taking much in the beginning I don't understand where it all went. I know there were a few they just tossed cuz i did'nt put my label on it, even though it was in the bag w/all my others.
Another big peeve of mine was, I had in huge letters on her info card on her crib that if I was low in bm to call asap and I would come down and bring some, anytime of the day even middle of the night and not to give formula. Did they? NO!! i got so pissed at them and I'd be walking in with a cooler of bm and they'd be giving her formula. They never ever called me.
They only had 3 rooms to pump in but these rooms were also used for the family rooms, so trying to get one while I was there was almost impossible and many times i wasn't able to pump while there, missing a very prime opportunity to pump after seeing my baby
 

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I have to give props to the Mayo Clinic, they were VERY good about breastfeeding. DS was 31 weeks and never once received a bottle, all of his feedings were tubed if they weren't taken by mouth. It was about a week before he could eat anything so by then I had a small stash going. They had a Medela Classic available to pump (actually several, there were 2 pumping rooms in the NICU plus another one in the PICU) and you could request another one be brought up if you wanted. They always had stashes of bottles available and encouraged you to use them and take extra if you were running low. I had SO MANY of those little bottles by the time DS finally came home! If my freezer stash was running low they'd let me know so I could bring more for the next day. They always used the fresh milk first, and if it was close to expiring they'd put it in the freezer so they wouldn't have to throw it. I tried to quit so many times because it was so frustrating, I was convinced he'd learn to eat faster if he had a bottle, but the nurses never let me, they always talked me out of it, and we ended up nursing for 17 months because of it!
 

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Compared to a lot of stories I've heard ours was great, there were places where they could have been better though. As always some of the things varied according to which staff were there, some were much more supportive than others.

They had a nice pumping room and pumps on the ward while I was still in hospital. They even had some pumps which they sent home with mums, it was the luck of the draw whether they were any available though
There was information given on the benifits of BM but the staff didn't have many suggestions for increasing supply while pumping. I wasn't even told to pump more often! Nor could we pump next to DDs cot.

They automaticaly cup fed DD and we needed to sign a consent form form her to be given a botttle or pacifier. They also seemd to treat the 3 hourly shedule as a maximum time babies should be left and did feed before then if they seemed hungry. It was expected that once they started breasfeeding you note down how long they fed for each time and only gave top ups if it wasn't very long. They didn't seem to remember to call mums on the wards when thier child was hungry but would just feed them though.

One night just as we were leaving the nurse asked us what type of formula we would like to use, stunned we said none but they said there was not enough EBM in the fridge for DD to last until morning. Given a bit more warning I could have tried to fit in another pumping session, instead DH drove more milk over at 4am. After that DH kept very carefull track of how much EBM we had stored. Little things like that kept cropping up, we worked hard at keeping track of it all but I really feel we shouldn't have had to.

The worst thing for me that that there was so little privacy, all the pumps were in one room, I hated it whne there were other people in there. There was also nowhere private to feed DD, there were a few screens available but it was so claustophobic behind them I ended up not bothering. Much to the obvious discomfort of a few visting dads. There was also only one comfy chair per room of 4 babies.
 

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My NICU was very encouraging about pumpin g and had several pumps available to borrow for free, as well as free tubing and attachments for each new mom. They gave us bottles and labels as well and offered both frdge and freezer space (which was limited, I was soon storing milk at home, my parents' house, and my neighbor's house!)

The main problem I had was not getting much support for actual breastfeeding. They just wanted to bottlefeed my breastmilk to her. I didn't have a lot of support from a LC, they only sent one to see me once, and it was because they were worried about me tandemn nursing, and they were hoping she'd tell me to stop
So I was having problems latching her and getting her to take enough milk at each feeding. And because of my older daughter I couldn't be at the hospital for every feeding, so I just kept pumping and bottlefeeding and trying to nurse.

It wasn't until we were home that we got serious about nursing. We bought a scale to keep track of her intake, used a nipple shield and visited a LC. Finally after 3 exhausting months, she learned to nurse without the shield. She is still nursing now at 19 months!
 

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No, my NICU sucked in that regard. I was never permitted to put them to breast once in the 5.5 and 7 weeks that they were there. I didn't know at the time that I had a right to push the matter. At 9.5 months now(7 months adjusted) one baby breastfeeds but the other will not...I'm still doing my best to make sure both get as much breastmilk as possible -- no thanks to the lousy hospital and lousy NICU.
 

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Mine was pretty good. There was room for improvement, but overall, the experience was a good one. DS got formula for a day or two because he was ready for tube feedings before my milk came in (took about 5 days for me), but the nurses mixed any colustrum I could give them into that formula, even if it was only a drop of colustrum - they'd mix it in. And they called it liquid gold and told me what a great job I'd done getting those few drops into the bottle (that was hard!). But once my milk came in and I was able to give them a good supply, DS only got breastmilk. I think there was ONE time he got formula when a nurse forgot to check for breastmilk in the fridge, but all other times they used the breastmilk (and I think that nurse may have been in the PICU, not the NICU - DS was an overflow baby that got moved to PICU, so the nurses were different there).

The hospital had an LC assigned to the NICU, and she talked to me several times. The hospital provided me with a pumping kit, and arranged rental of a Lactina the day I was discharged, sending it home with me. There were also pumps in the NICU itself, in their breastfeeding rooms. And I was told I could use those any time that the NICU was open. So I could hold my baby, then go in the room to pump.

They did start DS on a bottle, and didn't let me breastfeed at first. That's probably the only no-no I can think of. He started the bottle on a Wednesday, and the LC called up the nurses and convinced them to let me breastfeed on Monday, and then she came up that day at the time I said I'd be there for a feeding, and she helped me with the first feeding, giving me a nipple shield to use (so DS latched on first try really easy). They gave him a supplemental bottle after the first feeding, but then the second feeding... the doctor came in right after I'd finished nursing, but before the bottle was given. The doctor said he didn't need the bottle since his belly was really full!
Boy did it feel good to hear that.
So after that, we didn't do any supplemental bottles, but he did get bottles if I wasn't there. I'd feed him during the day, then he got bottles at night. When we went home, he was 100% at the breast (with nipple shield), and the only problems we had was knocking the nipple shield off in a fit of hunger, which made the fit worse.
I think I pretty much got lucky with the bf'ing and nipple confusion stuff that can happen.

Oh, and DH worked just a few minutes from the hospital, so he went in early in the morning (like 6am) to drop off milk pumped overnight and to see/hold the boy for a few minutes if possible (well, seeing him was always possible, but they were picky about holding).

My NICU did NOT allow kangaroo care, which probably would greatly help bf'ing (among other things), but I hear that that is going to change soon. I hope so! I did have one nurse in the PICU suggest it, and she just said to close the curtain and do it without telling anyone.
The PICU gave us a private room with chair and TV, and I got to hold DS all day while I watched TV. It was great. Makes up for that one formula feeding he had there.
 

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I'd say ours was terriffic although in all honestly we only spent a night in the NICU but several days rooming in with Ds and working with special care nurses, NICU LC, etc. They needed the space and the Dr. announced Ds to be big enough and in need to his mama.

Within a few hours of birth, I was in the NICU and they let him nuzzle/mouth the nipple and then try nursing with a shield. I had a hospital grade pump in my room and instructions on how to use it starting right after birth. Ds was given bottles and forumla as I wasn't pumping much colostrum. But I'll never forget the nurse who looked me in the eye, when I was feeling all discouraged and said, in all seriousness, here's a syringe, any drops of collostrum you get, I'll give to him. In the NICU they have privact screens, rocking chairs and pumps so women can come in and pump right next to the isolette. They noticed we weren't using the soothie pacifier they provided and always asked us to confirm we didn't want to and never gave it to him.

Before I even left the hospital the LC had arranged with our insurance to pay for two months rental of a hospital grade pump we took home. An LC came to our room every day in the hospital or whenever we requested and again, we had an appointment set-up with her before we even left the hospital. Even after leaving the hospital we must have had 5-6 visits, with an LC reserved to meet just with pre-term infants, every few days in the beginning to help us establish a breastfeeding relationship.

Both Dh and I were encouraged, even expected to do Kangaroo Care. In fact, if someone came in and the baby wasn't in our arms, that person would start reciting all the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and encourage us to pick up Ds and would offer to help us get set-up. The nurses even helped me arrange it so I could sleep with Ds on my chest.

The downs: I honestly don't remeber if they offered us an sns or cup feeding. I had never heard of them when Ds was born and was in such shock for the first 48 hours that its possible they never offered or that we said, go ahead use bottles. I don't remember.
 

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I think they could have been better by not using bottles, which can cause nipple confusion, but otherwise they were AWESOME! They didn't give her a drop of formula, supported my pumping, put a sign on her crib that said "No, Pacifier Please at Mom's Request," had a lactation consultant devoted exclusively to the NICU, etc. So, I can't complain too much compared to other stories I've heard.
 

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Ours was great, and encouraged mothers to BF and especially to pump while they were there. Even had a pumping room With several different styles of pumps. Whenever our nurses got low on BM, they would call me to bring some in. I specified in his chart for them to, because we live an hour away.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by momma2emerson
put a sign on her crib that said "No, Pacifier Please at Mom's Request,"
In the NICU, I was told that they used the pacifier during feedings to help the baby learn that sucking gave them a full belly. DS was born at 29 weeks, so didn't have the suck/swallow/breathe reflex yet (they said it usually develops around 32 weeks).

So is there any truth to the pacifier->full belly connection? Or do you use something different if you don't want to use a pacifier?

Thankfully, DS didn't have any nipple confusion issues really. We did pacifier during tube feedings, then bottle starting at 32 weeks, then breast with nipple shield about 5 days later, and then 2 weeks after he came home, I got him to take the breast without the nipple shield, and over the next 2 weeks, we were on and off again with that, but finally weaned off the shield. From then on, he had no problem taking breast or bottle (got a bottle like once a month when I had an appt or something where I didn't want to expose him to all the winter illnesses). So I think I was lucky, starting out with all artificial nipples and still managing to get 100% breast. Definitely depends on the baby as to whether that will work! I'm just curious about the pacifier thing for babies born prior to 32 weeks.
 

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Wonderful experience here!

I have a term baby, who nursed well for 8 hours after birth before having severe health problems. They heavily promoted breastfeeding, almost said it was mandatory for his health problems
).

They went so far as to offer tube feeds at night when I was away to avoid nipple confusion. I did not want him to have to have a tube stuck in his nose the whole two weeks he was there, and his sucking reflex is wonderful so we took our chances. They are also feeding him on demand, not a schedule, and trusting me to be a mommy when I am there, feeding him 20 minutes after the last time, or 3 hours.

I love my NICU nurses and am very lucky given I did little research on that information thinking my baby would be healthy.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by boscopup
In the NICU, I was told that they used the pacifier during feedings to help the baby learn that sucking gave them a full belly. DS was born at 29 weeks, so didn't have the suck/swallow/breathe reflex yet (they said it usually develops around 32 weeks).
We were told this as well, but I really don't think it is true. My twins had pacis and bottles in the NICU and had horrible nipple confusion. I couldn't get them to breastfeed until they were 8 weeks old. My DD would just scream when I'd try to nurse her. Fortunately, they did get the hang of it and are still going strong.

Our NICU nurses and doctors really encouraged breastmilk and pumping but not so much actual breastfeeding. Some of the nurses were helpful with latching but the LCs were terrible.
 

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We had some good nurses on staff and some bad nurses.

They wanted to give Marlow a bottle before breastfeeding. We told them we wanted to nurse her instead but they said she wouldn't have been able to handle it. So we asked them to wait but when we weren't there they gave her a bottle...they said the previous nurse didn't communicate our wishes. We also came in one day to see her with a pacifier without asking us first.

Our other big problem there was that they gave Marlow someone else's milk twice. It may not be a big deal about the milk but it seemed like they should have been paying closer attention to what they were doing.
 

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I have been in the nicu twice the first time with a sick 33 week baby, he didn't start feeds for 4 days, and the first feeds were with an ng tube

I wanted Hayden to have all breast and ng feeds no bottles or pacifiers
but the nurses actively discouraged that. They insinuated he would be screaming the whole time I was gone if I didn't allow them to use pacifiers
so he got bottles of expressed bm while I wasn't there and always had a pacifier shoved in his mouth
, but he was a big hefty baby with a great latch, so once we were home (21 days later) he nursed 100% until 18 months

my 3rd ds was preterm but no nicu stay

my 4th baby dd she was in the nicu for "observation" for 6 hours after birth, which she did not need. SHe was awake and alert, and I told the staff she needed to eat, they kind of brushed it off, but said they could give her a bottle in the incubator
I said no way! then she fell asleep and so when I finally got them to let her out and brought her back to my room she was so sleepy and probably had low blood sugar so it was near impossible to get her to take much bm while nursing. she also had a bizarre latch. we were discharged the next day, but on day 5 readmitted to the picu for severe jaundice, I only agreed to go with the understanding that she would be breast milk only and no bottles and that I was not to have any restrictions placed on me about picking her up and holding her.

of course as soon as I walked in the door the nurse said how about we start by giving her a bottle to see how much she is taking
: I refused and insisted they put in an ng tube (I knew she just was not effective enough with the sucking to get much out of a bottle or a boob) for the next 72 hours I had the ped and the nurses repeatedly tell me that Lauren could not go home until she was taking all feeds by mouth but I refused to use a bottle my husband even wanted me to top her up with a bottle so we could come home. but I stood my ground. The other Jaundice babies that were there were ALL getting top up bottles (all were bf as well) I just think its sad
 

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We were at the NICU at UCSF (in San Francisco) for 2 months and they never gave ds formula and encouraged me to start pumping as soon as I recovered from my general anesthesia.

They had pumping rooms at the hospital and a lactation consultant whenever I needed one.

I'm so sorry some of you mamas had trouble with the hospitals being less supportive.
 

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Mine was very good. They gave all moms a booklet explaining the importance of breastmilk for preemies and showing some holds particularly useful for teeny ones. My sons were actually postdates (by 16 days and 5 days), but it was still handy. #1 was sedated for the first 5 days and they encouraged me to pump as soon as I could. As soon as he began waking up, we kept trying to nurse. When it wasn't working, the nurses would cup feed him--no one ever bugged me about the fact that I didn't want him to have bottles. I think he had formula once when I didn't have enough milk pumped to get him through a night's feedings. They had us feed on demand, with a 3 hour max. Basically, his last 3 days in the hospital were just for us to get the hang of nursing. They purposely gave us the nurses with LC training--one such nurse was the one who really helped since the LC's weren't around over the weekend.

With #2, we were only in the NICU for 3 days (breathing issues) and I stayed there the whole time--there are private rooms instead of a big NICU room. Each room had a pump and they really encouraged moms to use them. I was pumping 8 hours postpartum and nursing at 24 hours and he hasn't slowed down since.
 
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