Diary of an Expectant Mother

julie-day-1-2Welcome to Julie’s diary! Julie first met La Leche League when she was struggling with latch issues with her first daughter.  Those were resolved and Julie went on to nurse her daughter into toddlerhood.  Walk with Julie over the next five days to hear the story of her most recent birth and learn about the mother-to-mother help Julie received from La Leche League.

Oct 28 – Waiting, waiting, waiting… 

Just a short time ago, we had a great day at the pumpkin farm.

Now I’m in the hospital on bedrest with pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks!

The baby is in the 5th percentile for growth and they are concerned about my placenta function so we may end up delivering in the next week or two because the doctors think the baby will do better out than in. I’m trying to do some research on breastfeeding a preemie in the NICU.  I need some good resources! My first daughter was born at 41 weeks and 5 days and exclusively breastfed so I’m out of my league now with a preemie. I obviously want to avoid supplementing but am thinking that the baby’s size and condition may necessitate supplementing at least until my milk comes in and I can get a little stash pumped. I think I’m meeting with the neonatologist today, so I’m working on a list of things to ask. Lung function is going to be my first concern, followed closely by feeding. “Is there donor breast milk available?” is at the top of my list of things to ask. How will antibiotics affect feeding/digestion in the early days? Are probiotics an option with preemies? So many questions!

Julie has many concerns as she awaits the birth of her child, and she reaches out to La Leche League for mother-to-mother breastfeeding support. Several of the mothers in Julie’s LLL Group had also experienced early births which required a NICU stay. These mothers chimed in to offer suggestions about pumping, donor milk, and working with the NICU staff.

Baby arrives at 34 weeks….now what?

October 29 
We ended up with a C-section last night at 34 weeks due to pre-eclampsia. Our baby Jillian is doing great! She’s tiny (3 lbs, 5 oz), but mighty! Her oxygen levels have been steadily high all day and I’ve already pumped over two ounces!! They started trying to feed her today and we’ve done kangaroo care. Thanks to all the mommas who’ve offered suggestions and support this week!

Mothers from the Group chimed in with delight and congratulations.

October 30
I had a C-section 30 hours ago and produced about 3 oz of colostrum yesterday and got all cocky. My supply has dramatically decreased to about 4 ml per pump (which is how much they are trying to give her at each feeding so I’m keeping up and they have extra from my big pumps yesterday). I’m eating, drinking, trying to sleep, massaging, and pumping every 3-4 hours (4 hours only at night because I’m trying to get rest.) How can I get more colostrum?

Discussion with mothers from the Group included suggestions on pumping strategies, getting enough rest, information on flange fit, and pump preferences—as well as more congratulations!

julie-day-3a-1The Pumping Puzzle!

November 1
Jillian had a pretty busy day today in the NICU. She spent the day under the bilirubin light after her levels were slightly high this morning. They took out the IV and put a feeding tube in, because sometimes she gets too tired to finish eating. The feeding tube allows us to put the remainder of her milk directly into her stomach, so she gets as many calories as possible and continues to put on weight. She has passed her 3 lbs, 5 oz birth weight after losing only an ounce!

Mjulie-day-3b-1y milk came in today, too. I’m getting about 4 oz per pumping session. Jillian is taking 25 ml per feeding. The goal is to get her to 35 ml.

How can I avoid oversupply?
Should I pump less — maybe every 4 hours?
Or for less time — 10 minutes instead of 20?
Or should I just keep pumping every 3 hours for 20 minutes and let the NICU staff freeze the extra?

Mothers from the Group chimed in with their experiences of jaundice, long-term pumping, their struggles with oversupply and undersupply, and, of course, lots of encouragement for Julie.

julie-day-4a-1Getting better at breastfeeding….

November 7
Jillian is getting better and better at latching and staying awake to nurse! And I just put a lot of milk in the freezer because they don’t need it at the hospital.

November 16
Jillian is 3 lbs. 15 oz. today! Keep the good wishes coming, please. One more ounce and she’s home! ***UPDATE: She hit 4 lbs tonight! If she passes the carseat test she can come home tomorrow!!***

julie-day-4b-1December 1 
Jillian has been home two weeks now! She’s 5 weeks old, and her due date is a week from Saturday. She weighs almost 5 lbs! We’re nursing with a nipple shield for now. She is able to get about an ounce and a half in 15 minutes before getting sleepy.  I’m still “triple feeding,” giving her another ounce after every nursing session and pumping, but I feel like we should be able to get to only nursing at the breast by the holidays.

Discussion with mothers from the Group included suggestions on portion sizes for the frozen milk and getting enough rest as well as sharing Julie’s delight at Jillian’s progress!

40 Weeks!

December 9 
Miss Jillian’s due date is tomorrow! She’s 5 lbs 4 oz now (has gained 2 lbs since birth), and is staying awake and looking around a lot! 

December 27
We’ve been seeing the OT/IBCLC from the NICU for the last 5 weeks to wean Jillian off bottle supplementation and the nipple shield. Today I finally got the go ahead to exclusively nurse on demand and was so gung-ho that I tried to nurse without the shield. She did it!! She just nursed without the shield for 30 minutes until she fell asleep at the breast! Now if only we can sustain it all week and Jillian can gain good weight. Then we will have met our goal! 

Discussion with mothers from the Group included suggestions on weaning from the shield as well as sharing Julie’s delight at Jillian’s progress!

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