When you have a baby (or two) in the NICU, breastfeeding can have interruptions that can make meeting your goals a little more difficult. To help through this time, I am sharing 3 tips that can make it easier.
Frequent skin to skin
Skin to skin contact has been shown to be the best way to establish and even increase milk supply (1). When you are with baby, make most of your time together by spending it skin to skin. Ask for a comfortable chair and help from a nurse if needed. As baby becomes accustomed to your chest, he or she will become better and better at breastfeeding. Even having your partner do skin to skin with baby can be beneficial.
Pumping while away
When you are separated from baby, pumping every few hours will also help establish and increase your supply. My Pumping and Storing class is great place to learn how to get the most out of your pumping session. But a good place to start is with hands-on pumping. Massage your breasts while pumping to increase your output. Great tutorials in the class! Using a handsfree nursing and pumping bra like the Supermom Bra from Simple Wishes is a great tool for hands-on pumping. (Use code LLINK for 20% off.)
Find ways to reduce stress at home and at work. I have a great list of ways to reduce stress in Breastfeeding Basics. Let go of extra responsibilities such as in your church or community. Invite grandparents or other relatives to spend extra time with your older children. Embrace simple meals and a messier house if that helps you feel less stressed and able to spend more time with baby.
Lastly, remember to give yourself grace during this period. A little breastmilk is better than none. Your baby needs you right now, in whatever form that is at this time. With some effort and support, you can meet your breastfeeding goals. Helping moms get breastfeeding off to a good start is what I love best and I would love to help you reach your goals and create confidence in your motherhood.
Have you had a baby in the NICU? What was your experience like? Share in the comments.
We’d also love for you to be a part of our Confident Breastfeeding Course. Click the image below for more information.
Thanks for stopping by,
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC
(1) Bramson, L., Lee, J. W., Moore, E., Montgomery, S., Neish, C., Bahjri, K., Melcher, C. L. (2010). Effect of early skin-to-skin mother-infant contact during the first 3 hours following birth on exclusive breastfeeding during the maternity hospital stay. Journal of Human Lactation, 26, 2 (130-137).