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Breastfeeding My Preemie

By Badass Courtney


The day William was born. 

When I got pregnant with my rainbow baby (baby after my miscarriage) I was so excited and scared. I knew I wanted to breast fed. I assumed I would have a normal pregnancy and breast feeding would just be simple and easy. I mean it’s natural right? Well, on April 3rd my little boy made his entrance 9 weeks early (31weeks 4days). I was devastated. He was sick, needing oxygen to breath and IV’s nonstop. I knew this would change my whole breastfeeding experience. I had him all natural (even though he was small this still makes me proud of myself) at 8:08pm. He was beautiful, came out whining to my surprise. They kept him in the room for about 7 or 8 minutes. He was kept on his cord a little longer than typical. They told me that was good for him. I never got to hold him in the delivery room. They let me touch him before taking him away to NICU. I touched his little foot. They told me I had to wait at least an hour before I could be wheeled down to go see my little boy. When I saw him for the first time I cried. I’m not one to cry in front of others, it was so hard seeing this little boy hooked up. I never saw a preemie or inside of a NICU before him.

aetyuFirst day attempting to breastfeed William.

Around 10:30 the lactation consultant came and talked to me. I was told he was way too little and sick to breastfed or bottle fed any time soon. I pumped for an hour and 45 minutes that night. I got an ounce of colostrum. I walked it to the NICU that night. I didn’t care I was sore; I wanted my son to have it. I wanted to see my baby again. His nurse told me how great that was. They cheered every time I brought my milk in. When I would pump I would look at the first picture I have of him. The only picture I had at the time. This would stimulate me to make milk. I held my cell phone in one hand and propped the pump up. It was awkward for me but it worked. The second day I got to hold him. I help him skin to skin for four hours. I remember going back to my room and pumping 3ounces. After three days I had to go home, my baby had to stay. The NICU was 40 minutes away. My whole life literally became about pumping every two hours for him. It was something only I could give him. After 4weeks the doctor decided he was finally ready to attempt to latch. At first he would latch fine, fall asleep on my breast but then would experience Bradycardia, where his little heart rate would drop and he would turn pale. This scared me so bad.

etrWilliam today. 

After four days they decide to use the weight scale to see how much he was getting. I was so excited to see myself what my baby was taking in. He was order .50 every three hours. I was thinking to myself if he only takes .25 I will be so happy; that means he’s getting there. When they weighed him I was devastated. The scale showed .08. I went to the bathroom and cried. I felt like a failure. I rocked my son after that and told him how sorry I was. The next day I decided I wanted them to bottle feed him my expressed milk. This was the only way they would take out his feeding tube. He went home after 6 weeks, 45 days exactly, in the NICU. He went home on bottles of expressed milk. After about a week home I noticed a big decrease in my milk. I was so busy being a new mom I couldn’t find time to pump every three hours and take care of him. I decided to put him to my breast in hope that he would stimulant more milk. The nipple shield became my very best friend. We have gone from feeding tube, bottles, nipple shield to bare breast. My son is almost 4months and he has been getting my bare breast for about 2 months. He’s gaining weight like crazy. I was extremely lucky with my supply. My son has NEVER needed any type of formula. He has only ever received my milk. I’m so proud of my son today. I’m so in love with my little boy. We baby wear, bed share and breastfed.

sdthWilliam today.