Saturday, May 26, 2012

Breastfeeding A Twenty Five Weeker.

There's not many things that I'm proud about when it comes to how I dealt with /am dealing with the whole NICU experience.

Three months in intensive care is a long time, it's a very stressful place and one can only sustain one's good manners, gratitude and grace for so long.

However, if there is one thing I am secretly just a tiny bit proud of, One thing I look back on and think 'I didn't make a complete pigs ear of that ', it's leaving the NICU breast feeding a baby born at 25 weeks gestation.

Smidge finally started to take from the breast at around fifteen weeks of age, weighing four and half pounds at the time, but until then I was a slave to the breast pump. Imagine having your boobs yanked at by hissing green box every three hours, day and night for fifteen weeks! 

The Great Green Mean Machine

Luckily I'd had a week on labour ward leading up to delivery which gave me plenty of time to think about weather I would like to express or not. 
As it turned out, expressing milk was pretty much all I could do because you see, my baby she didn't want be touched and she didn't want to be held. She frowned upon stroking and as for rocking, well, at best it was considered GBH and at worst attempted murder.

Because I'd breast fed before, my milk flow was plentiful and, to be honest, if I'd have had to work half as hard as some of the first time Mum's I met, I'm not sure I would have been able to keep it up.

I was also very fortunate to have the support of One-day Hubby, which just makes a MaSsIvE difference in these situations.

Ironically, despite my pumping for Britain and managing to stock two freezers full to the brim, Smidge was largely disinterested in my milky goodness.

Much preferring the TPN drip feed, she would literally vomit green bile if you so much as mentioned real food.

Getting Smidge to tolerate Milk through a nasal gastric tube was a long and turbulent process with many, many set backs. Establishing real and actual breast feeding was a whole new challenge and seemed a million miles away at times.

Still, I'll never forget the first time she was put to the breast, rooting around wanting me! Needing me! Me I tell you! Me!

Ahem...excuse me nurse..but would you mind removing those wires and tubes, I've got myself a 'newborn' baby!

*Beams with Pride*

Initially, Smidge's attempts at suckling had to be managed very carefully.It was a real balancing act trying to make sure she didn't burn more calories than she gained trying to get her grub, but it the end we worked out together and Smidge carried on breast feeding until she was a little over a year old.

Was it hard work getting to that point? Yes.

Do I get slightly annoyed at Mother's who say they wanted to breastfeed their term babies but their baby 'wasn't interested?' Er yes.

Would I do it all over again if I had to? Absolutely and a hundred percent yes.


  1. That is definitely something to be proud of. Unfortunately I never got to breast feed gemma, she loved tpn far too much then high calorie milk by NG for a long time.
    I pumped like you for 3 months then realised no hope of getting her onto breast milk. Heart breaking that my freezers full were thrown out.
    I too get annoyed at mums who don't try ans even more so at health visitors recently who are saying to top up with formula for better weight gain which then pushes mums into full formula feeds as 'don't have enough milk'.

  2. They threw out your milk? Unbelievable! Did they say why?

  3. As gemma didn't need it and taking up space. I didn't know about milk banks, there isn't one in Edinburgh but regret not looking into if somewhere could take it. Hours spent pumping and so many mums whose supply dried up with the stress.