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Ep. 188- Encore: World Prematurity Day

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*We apologize for any typos, misspellings or incorrect grammar. Our transcript is auto-generated by software that’s trying its best, just like all of us.*

Hey everybody, welcome back to the Milk Minute Podcast. Welcome, welcome. I am at home snuggling my baby girl, Marty. You sound unsure. I’m at home snuggling my baby right now and, you know, we’re navigating our first Months?

Months? Months? Your, your, your fourth trimester. My fourth trimester. I don’t have brain cells anymore, but that’s okay. You probably don’t either. They’re just, they’re just getting sucked out through your titties right now, Heather. That’s right. She’s pulling them out through my shoulder blades, through the front.

That’s what it feels like. Sure, sure does. Yeah, so we’re back today for World Prematurity Day. And, you know, we wanted to chat about that a little bit and make sure we had an episode for everybody who is trying to breastfeed their premature baby or pump for them or whatever the case may be right now.

Yeah, we definitely wanted to revisit this one because You know, it’s the least we can do when you’re working hard, visiting your baby in the NICU and navigating feeding challenges. We just wanted to make sure that this was available for everybody. Yeah, you know, it’s funny though, now you’re probably working with more premature babies than you have in a long time.

Mm hmm. Absolutely. One of the biggest things that I enjoy helping with is actually helping NICU moms navigate home. Oh gosh, the graduating the NICU. Graduating the NICU is so intense. There’s a whole ABM protocol about that, by the way. Did you know? Oh, actually. No, I did not. I’ll have to send it to you.

It’s, it’s one of their early protocols, so I don’t know if it’s been updated. I don’t know if it needs an update, like. Yeah. But yeah, it’s, it’s that intense. Well, I mean, I don’t even know how you make a protocol because there’s so many different types of babies that are coming home. Some are coming home, but there’s still high needs.

Yeah. So, anyway, a lot of the time, though, it’s just, Alright, you’re graduated. Bye! Boop! And they’re like, What? And they’re already back to work. Their maternity leave, quote unquote, is run out. And so they’re like, Oh, now I have to bring this kid home, and I’m already working, and, and, and. And at some point, I would have to say the hardest thing for people that I help with is when I finally have to tell them, You have to stop treating this baby like a preemie.

Yeah. You know, like, we’re gonna treat this baby like a, like a baby now. It’s terrifying. We can trust your baby now. And they’re like, are you sure? Yeah. They’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time. Well, and, and truly a lot of parents do suffer with, you know, how to manage the trauma of the time in the NICU.

You know, you It’s like if your baby is in the NICU baseline, they are not doing great, right? And then on top of that, the environment in most of our NICUs here in the United States is really not conducive to healing or bonding or peace. There’s a lot of noise. Just like the sound of the machines can be super traumatizing to parents.

And, you know, most of these parents, by the time their baby’s leaving the NICU, they’re like, Okay, I’ve just experienced my baby almost dying like 10 times. And nurses rushing over to their tiny incubator. And like, now what? Now we’re suddenly in a crib at home? What? Like, that’s a big change and I definitely encourage all of our sweet NICU parents out there to think about mental health support for yourself.

You probably haven’t had time to think about it so far. But especially if your baby’s graduated. And also they go from being weighed every day to like, oh, we’ll see you in a month. And you’re like, what do you mean you’ll see me in a month? Right. Aren’t we seeing each other every day? So I’m. So happy to hold the hands of those folks and make sure that they have all of the stuff they need as well as prepare for the mental breakdown that is inevitably coming because you don’t have time for it when your baby is in the NICU actively because you’re just in the doo doo brain.

Right, and all of that stress builds up. And up and up and you’ve maintained this high cortisol level for so, so long and your adrenals are so over activated, you know, we’re in this really, really activated body state and that catches up to you, even if you are really good at ignoring your own body, which a lot of us are, it’s just going to slam into you one day.

For sure. And also relationships are super strained by the time the baby comes home, because newsflash, every partner experiences a NICU stay differently. There’s usually one partner that is like, they’re at the bedside 24 seven, you know, wanting to, you know, never leave the baby. And then the other partner is like, Well, if you’re going to be there, I’m going to mentally shut down.

And I’m just going to do what I can do, which is go to work. make extra money, or they have to, yeah, they have to, we, we can’t take time off work. If you’re taking time off work, it’s, it’s really tough. And a lot of resentment breeds over things like that, regardless of intention. And also expectations. Like, I thought you were going to experience it this way.

And you didn’t, you know, so just helping parents understand that. That is actually pretty normal. It is, and it’s very normal to also feel like you’re a little bit behind in bonding and, you know, it’s, it’s normal to feel a lot of guilt and resentment and all of that, and it’s things that you can work through.

Absolutely. And it’s just helpful to know that you’re not the only ones, for sure. Yeah. So, we just wanted to give you all a nod and let you know we’re thinking about you and we’re absolutely grateful. We’re absolutely here to help you. And by the way, I will help you with telehealth too. So I’ve had patients who’ve had babies at 25 weeks that I have helped from birth all the way through coming home.

And it’s nice because they change so much and we’re, we’re just there to like, Oh, hey, when you go visit your baby today in the NICU, ask them about A, B, and C, because we’re kind of nearing the time that this might be happening. And this would help set you up for breastfeeding success. When you get home.

And yeah, I’m happy to be that sounding board for you. All right. Well without any further ado, let’s harken back to episode 29 here. All righty. Bye. Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Milk Minute. Hey, guys. We wanted to make sure that we had this episode ready for World Prematurity Day. Mm hmm. In November.

So we are going to talk about feeding a premature baby and we are specifically talking about babies that are less than 35 weeks. Yeah. Between 35 and 37 weeks, those are like late preterm babies. So yeah, there’s still kind of preterm, but They probably won’t go to the NICU. They might, but they might not go to the NICU.

And they kind of just come with their own bag of stuff to deal with. So we’re talking about preemie, preemies that are less than 35 weeks. The chances are very good. They’ll go to the NICU and different things that you’ll want to prepare for and things that you can do while your baby is in the NICU to achieve breastfeeding success.


Let’s take a minute. To thank our sponsor Aeroflow. Oh, tell me more about that. You know, do you ever wake up in the morning and you’re like, I would love to call my insurance company today. Literally never once have I thought that. Okay, so people at Aeroflow knew this. And they decided that it would be in everybody’s best interest if they developed a business where they contacted your insurance company to order your breast pump for you.

This sounds good. So you literally never have to call your insurance company to work out getting a breast pump, which is fantastic because no one ever wants to do that crap when they’re postpartum. And the other cool part is… They will text you and let you know when it’s time for you to replace your pumping parts and when your insurance will pay for new ones.

So maybe, you know, your pump parts are fine for now, but if insurance is going to cover a new set, great. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m not really combing through my insurance benefits information postpartum to see when I qualify for replacement parts. No, not at all. Right. So we’re going to go ahead and put a link.

In the show notes for Aeroflow. And when you click that link, it’s super easy. You just put in all of your insurance information and then somebody from Aeroflow contacts you directly. And you have like a real person that you talk with and then they do all the dirty work for you. It’s fantastic. I couldn’t recommend it enough.

Please just do yourself a favor. And get your pump through Aeroflow. It’s gonna save you so much time and trouble. Right, and they have all the top brand name pumps, replacement parts, and accessories. You know, they’ve got cooling gel pads. They’ve got those pumping bras. All the stuff you need, one place.

Yep, one place. So I guess the only thing left to say about that is you’re welcome. Yeah, you’re welcome.

So we have kind of some basic guidelines for things you can hopefully plan for, but yeah, I wanted to kind of start out like if you are pretty sure you’re going to have a baby before 35 weeks, so maybe you have a particular condition prenatally where that’s really likely. Or you, you have to be induced or have a C section for some reason earlier than then, or you have preterm labor, stuff like that.

Like let’s, let’s start with, okay, so you’re pretty sure your baby’s coming before 35 weeks. What do we do next? Well, as providers, I’m always trying to get you in with a consult with the NICU team to talk about what you can expect at the birth. all the way up until the very end of your NICU stay and taking a tour of the NICU.

So that can just eliminate a lot of fears that you might have that, you know, just the fear of the unknown, like, where’s my baby going to be going? Who’s going to be taking care of them? When can I see the baby after I’m done with my birth, you know, baby probably is going to get rushed to the NICU because that’s where it goes.

After you have a baby premature, that’s going to probably need a little extra help. So, you know, just helping your brain understand that nobody’s stealing your baby. You can go visit them usually a couple hours after. And then at what point can you start the feeding process or the pumping process? Yeah, and I think that’s really important.

You know, most of the clients that I support who are having a premature birth, you know, I’m just, I’m their doula. I’m no longer their primary care provider there. And that’s what I always encourage them to do. I’m like, hey, if your doctor hasn’t set this up yet, You should talk to the NICU, talk to the charge nurse there, figure out who’s going to be your ally in that situation.

Who’s going to be the person you go to when you have questions. Yeah, what does it just physically look like? Because every NICU is different. The like, protocols and setups and time slots are all going to be different in every facility. Whether or not, you know, you can stay with baby or whatever. Like that, that’s different by facility and country and region, so.

I encourage you, if you have a high likelihood of having a premature baby, to figure all that out prenatally. Yeah. And then also, just like a quick note, if you are a pregnant person who is naturally leaking colostrum in pregnancy, you can go ahead and collect that milk in milk saver shells and freeze them in syringes for after the baby is born.

Like, say you’re a person that always has your babies early. Like, there are just some people that have preterm labor and they know what’s going to happen. So you can start wearing those milk saver shells, like, even in the shower. That’s a classic time that you let down. So, you know, just grabbing them right after your shower or when you start to feel the let down and collecting it.

Because they will use those syringes of milk to colonize the baby’s gut and set them off on the right track when they’re allowed to eat. Yeah, absolutely. And to be clear, we are not recommending that you pump at that point because nipple stimulation can cause contractions and labor. So we just want to make sure, especially if you’re already somebody Choose in a danger zone there like you’re not encouraging that anymore but wearing milk saver shells or putting a little cup under your nipple.

If you see yourself like leaking when you get out of the shower or something, that’s all great. Save that stuff. It has to be collected. In a clean way, though. So like, make sure you’re grabbing a sterile cup, because if your baby is a NICU baby, we have to be extra cautious about sanitation and making sure that you’re collecting this milk with the least amount of bacteria possible.

Yeah, I like to get a pack of little medicine cups that are sterile, things like that, that are just easy to collect milk in, especially. If you’re hand expressing, say, after birth, you know, like you’re not going to get an ounce of milk. So it’s nice to just have a really small container. Right. And, and understand that a small amount is what’s expected.

You’re not supposed to be collecting ounces and ounces of milk. Even two drops is good because you can actually take those two drops on your finger and you can wipe it around inside the baby’s mouth on their gums. And that. Is going to do several things. That’s first of all, they are getting colonized with your flora.

And then also they’re getting to taste their mom, their mommy’s milk. And then they’re also, you are introducing some antibodies. Which is great. So don’t think that just two drops is nothing because it’s something. Yeah, and digestion starts in the mouth. You know, it starts this whole chain reaction that baby has never experienced before.

So it’s okay to just start real small. Yeah, it can kind of wake up their bowels, you know, like in the morning when you drink that first sip of coffee and you’re like, God, I have to poop already. Like, it’s not really the Stimulant in the coffee yet. It’s that your digestion has been activated starting in your mouth.

So your baby might actually pass their big Meconium plug because you’ve had those two amazing drops. Yeah, so when you know that you’re going to have a preemie Say you go into labor and you’re like, Oh gosh, it’s too early. I’m going to have a preemie. Immediately get through your head that this is now not normal.

So you don’t have to force yourself to do all the normal things that we normally tell you to do. You are now in a zone where it’s okay to do things a little differently just because you have to. So for example, we tell people not to pump immediately. not to pump for a while after they have a baby. So in your case, if you’re going to have a baby that goes to the NICU, that’s no longer true.

If you are separated from your baby, we need you to pump within the first two hours after birth and then every two to three hours around the clock. After that, I mean, that’s overnight and everything because we are simulating having a baby there. If your baby’s not there, we need to pretend that we have one with your pump.

And if that doesn’t happen, then we just don’t see a good supply coming in. And it kind of starts you off on a, on an even weirder foot. Yeah, and I think sometimes very well intentioned nurses will say, Oh, you know, pump every three to four hours just when you can, because, you know, they’re feeling bad for you, and you’re tired, and maybe you had unexpected surgery, and you know, who knows what happened.

However, if it’s really important for you to be breastfeeding your baby and exclusively giving them breast milk, then that’s not setting you up for success. Right. And it actually starts even before that. So if you’re having a premature baby, you look directly at your provider and say, I want delayed cord clamping.

And they should say, okay, because this is pretty, pretty standard now that we delay cord clamping with all babies, but especially preemie babies, because they more than anybody need that extra volume of blood. because when they go to the NICU, they’re going to get blood draws frequently, probably, and they have a much less risk of having a blood transfusion or needing a blood transfusion if they had delayed cord clamping.

And it also prevents brain bleeds and it’s just prevents anemia and they get out of the NICU faster if they have had delayed cord clamping and also. Of course, babies that are not anemic and babies that have that blood volume are going to breastfeed better. So, please make sure that your provider is on board with delaying that cord clamping, even if you’re having a premature baby.

Yeah, and you know, the reality of delayed cord clamping in a hospital is usually 60 seconds. But 60 seconds is better than nothing, you know. I still say if you can advocate for more, advocate for more because most placentas are going to keep having blood transferred to the baby through that cord for several minutes after birth.

I’ve felt some cords pulsing 25 minutes postpartum. But that, you know, usually within the first five minutes, most of that is transferred. Yeah, I mean, and they might tell you no if you’re in the OR and you’ve had to have a c section just because it’s so cold in there, you know, they can’t keep a teeny tiny baby in such a cold environment for too long.

But definitely, you know, they should be able to do 60 seconds. And then we want to make sure that you are getting to do skin to skin as soon as possible. So if you are able and the baby is able, then you can advocate for that, but there’s a chance that you might not. So just understand that it’s normal to be told no to do skin to skin.

They have to get that baby stable first, but that is always going to be one of the. Goals that you’re shooting for like as soon as we possibly can let’s get that baby on your skin to do kangaroo care in the NICU and they can do their procedures and their vital signs and a lot of their assessment while they’re on you during kangaroo care.

So don’t be afraid to ask. Yeah, and you know what, for a lot of NICU parents, that might not happen for a week or two if things are really severe with baby, but don’t think that then it’s not worth it to advocate for that. Any amount of skin to skin with your baby at any age is going to be beneficial for both of you.

And not even just to feed, just having them skin to skin stabilizes your stress hormones and it stabilizes their stress hormones and their vital signs. And it’s also going to stimulate your nipple, nipples. Yeah. So even if, even if they’re not, you’re just, you’re one big nipple right in the middle of your chest.

Well, who knows? Maybe. I haven’t seen, I haven’t seen every nipple in the world. Yep. Not yet, but we’re on our way. If Facebook doesn’t shut us down first for violating community standards, God, that’s pissing me off. Anyways. It’s pretty funny. Even your baby just nuzzling your nipple is going to help stimulate your nipple.

So don’t think it’s not doing anything. It’s definitely doing something. Yeah. And if, you know, if you can manage it, doing skin to skin care while pumping is going to make your pumping output better, you know, and yeah, that’s sometimes it’s hard. Pumps, baby, I don’t know, but if you put on one of those hands free bras and kind of tuck the baby in up top, because they’re usually pretty small, you can, you can manage both sometimes or even just like just do one breast and have baby on the other side, you know, cause that’s just gonna hopefully help your hormones really line up.

Yeah. And you know. Mentioning that, they’re probably not going to let you sleep at the NICU, so when you go home… Well, in the USA, most facilities won’t, but a lot of other countries have started implementing rooming in with baby as a norm. Wow, that’s amazing, and I wish we could get there. Yeah, I think that at the Perinatal Partnership Summit two years ago or something, there was someone presenting from a hospital up in the northeast where they had just renovated their whole NICU, so everything was rooming in, and it was so awesome.

So, those changes are happening in this country, they’re happening in other countries, so it’s absolutely worth asking if it’s possible for you to room in with them. But if you can’t and you still have to pump at home around the clock, remember that like if you miss those middle of the night pumps, you will have supply issues most likely.

So when you go home and you’re trying to pump in the middle of the night, try to look at a video of baby. If the NICU doesn’t have live video feed. of your baby that you can get on an app. You can take videos of your baby throughout the day while you’re there and then watch them while you’re pumping.

It’s going to help your milk let down much easier and get your hormones where they need to be to get this milk out. I’ve even heard of people getting a weighted toy and like cuddling it while they pump, which is like, you know, we all love cuddling stuffed animals. It gets your oxytocin flowing for sure.

Gosh, what else was I gonna say? Oh yeah, I was gonna say if you don’t live near your hospital, at least in the United States, you usually can find a Ronald McDonald house or another similar organization that provides housing for NICU parents. Yes, I think the rule is you have to be 40 miles away from the hospital to qualify.

Yeah. And you don’t have to be like in need or anything financially. I think if I think you qualify if you are 40. Yeah, I think it’s distance based. Yeah. Yes.

Let’s take a minute to thank our sponsor, Happy Tummy. Wait what’s Happy Tummy? Maureen, I’ve told you about this. Well, I forgot, so tell me again. Okay, so a happy tummy is a heating element combined with aromatic and therapeutic herbs. Okay, okay, I’m listening. And you slip it into a fabric waistband with a separate pouch insert, and you put it directly against your baby’s tummy.

And it provides nearly immediate relief of most common symptoms of fussiness and gas. Hmm, that sounds really nice. Well, it is really nice because, I mean, I used to get really bad cramps myself. And I had a lavender heat pack that I would put on. And it just makes sense that you would have one for babies.

Yeah, I was kind of just thinking like I could use this for my own self. Yeah, I mean, it’s got a mixture of lavender, chamomile, lemongrass, peppermint, and spearmint. Oh, I love that. Yeah, I mean, how great is that? Yeah. If I had gas and you came over and just tied that around me, I would love you for You’d be a happy baby.

I would be one. I’d have one happy tummy. Yeah. We have an exclusive offer for you, our listeners. If you go to Happy Tummy’s website, you can enter a promotional code. Milk Minute 10 for 10 percent off. Yeah, and they have way more products than just that. That just happens to be my favorite one. Yeah, so we’ll put the link in our show notes.

Yes, and don’t use gas drops. Just get happy tummy. Yes. Again, it’s promo code Milk Minute 10 for 10 percent off.

The important thing to remember with these NICU babies are their biggest issues. Because if you can understand what their biggest issues are, you can understand why the feeding is going the way it’s going or not going. So, their biggest issues are their ability to coordinate, suck, swallow, and breathe.

Which is very difficult for them. Just neurologically, they don’t begin to get… a sucking reflex until 34 ish weeks. Yeah, like all of the reflexes that we check for in the newborn exam that are going to help them coordinate those movements just are not there. Yeah, their little neurons are just like freaking out when they’re trying to suck and then they choke because they can’t figure out how to swallow and breathe at the same time and then they will have a spell.

You know, we call it spelling in the NICU, where their O2 saturation start to dip and their heart rate starts to slow down and they turn blue and it’s really scary. So if you are home at any point in time with any baby and they do this. I want to make sure you know what to do. So someone is going to call 911 because regardless of whether or not the baby pinks up again, they still have to go to the hospital.

If they’ve had a spell, they need to be monitored for 24 hours to see why and what happened to make sure it doesn’t happen again. So somebody is calling 911 and somebody else is stimulating the baby. We don’t shake the baby, but you can take your hands up and down its back and just rub its back forward and away from yourself and you can flick their feet and just kind of help them come to set them up.

If they’ve got milk kind of like draining out of their mouth when they are staring at you, like they’re shocked, pat them on the back pretty hard trying to clear any milk that might be in the bronchioles that they’ve inhaled by accident. And just so you know, breast milk that’s inhaled into the lungs is actually, it’s obviously not great, but it should not cause aspiration pneumonia like formula would.

So if your baby inhales breast milk, it’s okay. We just need to get them breathing again. So that’s what you do if your baby has a spell. And of course, those little Owlette socks are great to have, especially if you’re bringing home a NICU baby, if you’re ever scared about that. Yeah, sort of. I don’t know.

We don’t, the, the, like, actual data we have on those is really, like, do they actually help that much? I don’t know. I don’t know if they help, but they, they can help anxiety. They give you peace of mind. Yes. Yeah, yeah. Maybe we’ll have to do a whole episode on those because I have thoughts. Anyway, I got a lot of thoughts on that one.

So many thoughts, but then the other biggest issue that they have is maintaining their energy to finish feedings. Yeah. Without burning too many calories. Yep, it’s really hard for them to stay warm enough and active enough just to complete normal tasks that babies do. And, you know, breast milk isn’t very high in calorie and digestion requires a lot of calories.

It takes up a lot of energy to actually digest the food. So we want to make sure that they are positive on the side of calories, you know, for what they’re digesting. So, you know, just we’re not eating celery here, right? So some options that you can advocate for in the NICU, we wanted to go over these.

Cause I think a lot of people just don’t know what to ask for to make your breastfeeding journey easier. You can always ask if your baby can non nutritively. suck on your breast after you pump. So some babies are not ready to take food by mouth in the NICU. So for whatever reason, maybe they’re getting food through an IV.

It can happen for a number of reasons, but the option to have them suck on your empty ish breast is an option for some babies, as long as it’s not going to cause them to burn too much energy. Yep. Always, every single day you’re in there, ask your NICU team when you can try regularly breastfeeding, and just remind them like, hey, I want to do this.

I understand that it may not work this time, may not work next time, but I want to try it. Can we try it today? You know, and there’s no rule that says babies below X age can’t breastfeed. Babies who are 27 weeks have been able to successfully breastfeed. Babies who are 34 weeks have been able to successfully breastfeed.

It’s just, it entirely depends on what their state of health is and what their specific health problems are at that point. And you never know when it’s just going to work. Right, exactly. And I’ve seen it so many times where the team is rounding on the babies and it’s pretty subjective. They round with the nurse and they say, how was the baby last night?

You’re like, Oh, pretty good. Stable vital signs, blah, blah, blah. That’s the perfect time for the nurse to advocate or the parent to advocate for. Hey, since the baby’s doing okay. Like when can I start direct breastfeeding? And sometimes they’ll stare at you and they’ll be like, yeah, let’s give it a try and they’ll let you do it maybe like once a day.

You know, because they don’t want to burn too many calories for the baby, but they’ll be like, yeah, let’s see how it goes. It’s super important. So just remind them. It’s fine to remind them. And then something else you can advocate for is asking for a room to room in in the NICU for a few nights before you’re discharged.

So even if you have one of those hospitals that’s not that bougie where you can’t stay in the NICU all the time, they typically have a couple rooms. that they will allow parents to room in before you’re discharged. So just ask you for an extra night if you need it. You know, they might standard I think is one, but there are times where if you’re just really anxious about taking home your preemie or you need to work with the lactation consultant they have on staff there a couple more times, ask for a couple more days.

The worst they can do is say no. Yeah, and just, you know, never forget that any amount of human milk that you’re giving your baby is beneficial. Even if they are mostly supplemented with other foods, even if you’re never going to fully be able to exclusively breastfeed, that’s okay. You know, NICU babies that are fed breast milk are discharged sooner than their formula fed counterparts.

And we just see this again and again and again. It reduces the chance of so many different complications that we see NICU babies have really commonly, especially the GI stuff. Yeah, like neck. Oh, the yes, when neck is our short, shortened form of just basically bowel death. where their bowels just start kind of slowly turning black and dying and breastfed babies just don’t have that as much.

So that’s a huge perk. And then as far as just like the day to day babies living in the NICU, remember that there are other options other than bottle feeding. So I’m not saying the nurses are going to agree to cup feed your baby every single time, but you could. You know, if, if you are alone and you don’t want your baby to associate bottle feeding with you because you want to breastfeed, you can try cup feeding your baby and that is fine because the research actually shows that.

Babies get less stressed out by breastfeeding than they do bottle feeding. Bottle feeding can be very stressful. It’s not the most natural experience for them. And they have more gas that they’re taking in just naturally with a bottle, which can be hard on their tinier tummies. So, and they’re trying to negotiate that with their reflexes and stuff.

So, their vital signs tend to improve when they’re breastfeeding. So just remember that. Yeah, so just remember cups, spoons, you can sometimes use a feeding tube on your finger and let them suck on your finger. And you can always try an SNS, a supplemental nursing system, but we’re going to actually do a whole separate episode on that because that can be a little complicated.

But those are, you just have a bunch of options here. Yeah. So keep pumping for your baby. Remember that cleanliness is very important for a premature baby. So when you’re pumping at home, you cannot be too clean. You need to be sanitizing your pumping parts once every 24 hours and washing with soap and water in between, air drying and making sure that they’re covered and not getting nasty stuff spilled on them.

We have a whole… Cleaning pump parts episode that you might want to go back and listen to if you have a NICU baby But making sure that you’re washing hands before you’re pumping just all that stuff. Please be very careful Yeah, and this is the time, you know, a lot of a lot of our episodes were like, okay, this is the guideline But here’s what most people do.

This is not the time to deviate from the guidelines Yeah, this is the time that we’re like, no, you really need to do everything you possibly can to give this baby and you the best shot. Mm hmm. So then there will come a time when your baby is discharged and you get to bring that baby home. And it’s always so funny when you bring a baby home because you look at them and you’re like, so you live here now.

Like nobody is going to come take you away from me and nobody makes us wake up at 726 for a feeding. And I know it’s so funny. So just mentally wrap your mind around the fact that you two are not two separate people yet. When you are bringing home a premature baby, you need to just go ahead and pretend like you’re already.

You’re like, you’re still pregnant, you know, baby, where that baby and breastfeed. And that’s pretty much all you’re going to be doing until that baby is reaches its 40 week due date. You know, so like if your baby is 37 weeks adjusted, you can go ahead and mentally wrap your mind around three more weeks of baby wearing and breastfeeding and nothing else.

Yeah, and a lot of baby carriers will say that they’re not safe for babies under eight pounds. So, if you want to baby wear, the carriers you’re gonna focus on are the, the woven wraps, the stretchy wraps, and the ring slings. Those, like, structured carriers are just not great for little babies. Right. You’re gonna want something that’s a lot more stretchy, because you want to wear that baby pretty high up.

You want to be able to kiss their head, and you want to be able to have them snugged in. Really tight, but not so tight that they can’t breathe. You can’t, yeah, you can’t get the structured ones and the woven ones tight enough to feel safe with a baby that little. Yeah, it’s, you know, some of the woven wraps I feel like just the ones that are just a big piece of fabric you can do it with, but it definitely takes a little bit more, like, practice with how you wrap your baby.

So, mm hmm, and just constantly check on them, you know, they’re right there against you, so. Using those early feeding cues and making sure that baby is nice and snugged in and that will eliminate some colic for you. It should and it can also eliminate some of that anxiety you have about bringing home a preemie.

Yeah and really encourage your partner to do that and to wrap baby skin to skin. Already with a, with a breastfeeding experience, a lot of partners feel a little bit disconnected. And that’s even more so with a NICU baby where maybe they’re only letting one parent come in at a time because of COVID protocols or whatever, you know, so make sure that your partner is included in that way.

And they really feel like I’m important. I’m an important caregiver. My body can help keep this baby healthy too, just by keeping the baby warm and all of that. Yeah, and having them do those things so you can do things like take showers and maybe catch some sleep, but you can know that that baby is warm, cared for, with low stress hormones, and that your partner is going to feel like they’re a part of it.

It’s really, really important. And they can also wash your pumping parts. We always say that. Oh yeah, we’re like, the sexiest thing you could possibly do is sanitize and wash my pumping parts. Yes. Yes. So if you’re having a preemie or you just had a preemie, congratulations on your baby. We acknowledge the fact that it’s very stressful and we hope that this episode helps you out and gets you guys back to where you need to be.

And you know, as my mother always says, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. And that baby will grow very quickly and things will be different every week. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you need anything. All right. Thanks guys. Bye guys. Bye guys. Thanks for listening to the Milk Minute. If you haven’t already, please like, subscribe, and review our podcast wherever you listen.

If you’d like to support our podcast, you can find us on Patreon at Patreon. com slash Milk Minute Podcast. To send us feedback, personal stories, or just to chat, you can send us an email at MilkMinutePodcast at gmail. com.


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