Feeding – that time of year again!

It’s that time of year again when perhaps our waist bands are feeling a little tighter and when New Year resolutions sounding food and drink are made and broken.

CYXlNzmWcAARASiAnd… it’s that time of year again when The Smallest Things will be discussing all things surrounding feeding a premature baby in NICU. From expressing to NG feeding; mls and hours; suck reflex and breast feeding – we’ll be looking at everything!

Did you know – a baby develops their suck reflex in the womb at around 34 week’s gestation?

So, for babies born before 34 weeks gestation many are feed via a nasogatric (NG) tube (a fine tube passed through the nose and into a baby’s tummy).

Did you know – mothers express for their babies in NICU on a 3 hourly cycle? Neonatal units have ‘expressing rooms’ where mothers gather to pump milk for their babies and sterilise expressing equipment. Some mothers have a plentiful supply of milk, whilst other mothers can find establishing milk supply difficult – often due to the stress and environment of the neonatal unit or recovery following birth trauma.

Expressed milk can be given to babies via their NG tubes and many mothers remember the first time they see their baby having their expressed breast milk.

Did you know – Expressing mothers set their alarm at night to continue expressing on a 3 hourly cycle; getting up throughout the night to feed a baby who is not with them and perhaps they have not yet held.

Establishing feeding – breast, bottle, expressed or formula in neonatal care can be a difficult journey and through our stories and experiences we hope to shine a light on the NICU world and offer hope to those embarking on this journey.

If you have a story to share please contact Catriona at smallestthings@yahoo.com


1 thought on “Feeding – that time of year again!

  1. Emily Spillman

    My son was born at 26+2 and I’ve have been adiment that I will breast feed him. I have been very lucky to have a plentiful supply of milk so much so that I am able to donate my milk for other babies on the unit and local area. From 27 weeks we introduced a Non Nutritive Tool (Pacifier) to use while he had his tube feeds and he already had a very strong sucking reflex. Over the weeks he got stronger and stronger and at 29 weeks I started introducing him to the breast and he would lick and suck gently. I kept putting him to the breast when he would show signs of routing and tried to tube feed him at the breast to strengthen the association between them. Then at 34 weeks he was strong enough to suck at the breast but would often get frustrated because he wasn’t able to maintain a good latch. I also became really sore because his small mouth could only fit my nipple and I became worried that I wouldn’t be able to maintain our progress. The nurses kept telling me not to expect to much from him due to his gestation but I could see that he really wanted to feed and priced to me that he can suck strongly on a pacifier for more than 10 minutes. So one night I tried him on a bottle just to see if he could coordinate breathing, sucking and swallowing and he drank the whole lot! However I didn’t want to go down the route of bottle feeding just to get home sooner so I did some research and found nipple shields. Well….. These are amazing! The unit here don’t advocate them but I think they are great. The first time I tried them he managed a 10 minute feed and 48 hours later I have been solely feeding him at the breast with no top ups down the tube. He has also gained weight steadily and he is still only 35+2.

    Good luck everyone



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