Preemie Nipples

Are you part of the NICU club? Do you have a child who is still struggling with the effects of being born too soon from preeclampsia? Share your concerns and stories here among parents who have been there.
heather100
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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby heather100 » Thu Nov 01, 638001 9:49 pm

I'm not even sure what kind of nipples Paige had on her bottles in the NICU. Hmm. I do know she had to take bottles (of the milk I pumped) before I could nurse her just because she wasn't breathing on her own. And then I had to use a nipple shield because her mouth was so small. My hospital had a NICU lactation consultant and she really helped. We continued to use the shield at home until she was maybe 5 weeks old or so and then I weaned her off of it. She also had paci's at the NICU to help her learn to suck, swallow, and breath (while she had the tube in her belly to eat). She never had nipple confusion at all.

I think each babe is different. All of the nurses in the NICU said nipple confusion does not exist. But I know of babies that did have it, so I guess it just depends.

Hold out hope that maybe little Anna Grace will be breathing on her own and you can nurse right away (you may still need the nipple shield). I hope that is the case!!! If so, I'd then introduce a bottle around 3 weeks since she'll need one while you work. Many babes will not take a bottle if you wait past 6 weeks. Then again, many will!!!! :)

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby kara » Thu Nov 01, 638001 11:33 am

Our 2.5 lber went directly to regular nipples...no preemie ones. The LC warned against preemie nipples because they are so small, that switching to the breast might be awfully confusing. THey used regular (thin nipples...not the "breast" shaped ones) in the nicu. We were not allowed to bring bottles because they used sterilized ones for the little tykes to ward off all germs. They are all sealed in little plastic wrappers. Plus, they have very exact measurments on them so they know how much baby is eating. When they are first born they are feed through a gavage tube in the mouth or nose, and then switch to bottles when they are strong enough.

I felt really good about breastfeeding as long as I did for her...even if it was only 2 months. Mostly I pumped which was a total pain, but necessary because she was so small. Every little bit og immunity they can get from mom, as well as extremely digestible breastmilk so their systems don't have to work as hard. You can always try and switch later. We had no problems with breast to bottle switch, and vice versa. I also used a breast sheild to feed her for awhile because she wasn't strong enough to keep up a steady flow, and swallow. You'll do whatever seems right at the time. I'm hoping you are still doing well, hanging around in the hospital. Sending hugs!

mommyboo
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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby mommyboo » Tue Oct 09, 638001 6:07 pm

Pumping sucks, both figuratively and literally.
With each of my babies, they did different things. Nipple confusion is real but it seemed to be worse in my older baby (35 weeks) than my younger babies. If you decide to breastfeed, just make sure they allow you to do that first and you get a good nursing relationship going before they introduce a bottle. I nursed for a few days and whatever my babies didn't take they would give in a feeding tube until they were ready to try bottles. That way, they knew what to do first and didn't have nipple confusion.

We tried all sorts of nipples. They never tried preemie nipples because they figured the baby should be on a regular nipple before coming home. I was allowed to bring in different nipples but to tell you the truth, it didn't seem to make a difference. With all of my kids, we just had to pace them when they ate. We also had to request a slow flow nipple from speech therapy.

I'm hoping you will make it long enough that you can decide for yourself what you want to use and can just take the baby home with you.

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caryn
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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby caryn » Tue Oct 09, 638001 4:37 pm

quote:Originally posted by griffin042504

I figure that she will have to take a bottle regardless at least part time because I will have to go back to work when she is 6-8 weeks.

I went with exclusive bf at first because I was worried about my supply -- I basically didn't let down for the pump at all, for days and days. That may have been because of the PE and the section. Oscar gained well but he also nursed All The Time and my guess is that it was because I just didn't make all that much at first, but he was constantly getting the little bit I was making.

No problems when I was switching between breast and bottle, though, once he figured out how to latch on both. I imagine Anna will be fine.

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby missgamecock » Fri Sep 28, 638001 9:18 pm

As far as preemie nipples, neither of my girls were in the nicu. However, they tried to start them off on th eregular similac nipples. They were too big and they didn't have the sucking reflex yet. So they tried switching them to the red similac preemie nipples. Again, it didn't work. Both times, we switched to the Gerber preemie bottles and it worked like a charm. They went right to the regular gerber nipples when they were bigger. We didn't attempt breastfeeding so don't know how that works with nipples.

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby amanda » Fri Sep 28, 638001 1:23 pm

Thanks for the replies!
I have only seen the lacation consultant once - when we talking about BF and whether or not I should based on the meds I am on. I'm still sort of on the fence about that but I figure that she will have to take a bottle regardless at least part time because I will have to go back to work when she is 6-8 weeks.

You know, they won't let you have a tour of the NICU before the baby is born (which I think is stupid) because of privacy laws - I guess I understand its a law and you might not have to actually be there so I guess they are preventing privacy issues. They do have an IBCLC and I'm sure the one that I talked with was a NICU one so I think I've seen them. I never had any problem BF my girls but, then again, I didn't have the medication concerns at the time, so it wasn't really an issue.

Caryn - I think you are right, it's really going to depend on a number of variables that I won't know until she is here and decides whether or not she's interested in eating. However, if there is one thing I am sure of, if she is like her dad or her mom she won't have any problems with it! Plus, the NICU said that a lot of IUGR babies come out and they are starving - eating sometimes isn't a problem for them! LOL

I'm 33 weeks and 2 days today (I never knew that I would be so obsessed with days). So, if I can get to 34 weeks (we should know Monday when I get the result of my Monday AM labs - if they are good then, from that perspective, I think that they are going to be 'good' for one more week unless the situation changes and/or the ultrasounds/NST's change)hopefully she'll have the suck thing ready to go and be able to at least eat some of her feedings rather than just all NG feeds.

Everyone's babies are so cute - I'm getting to where I really want to see if she has cheeks that are as pudgy as they look on the ultrasounds!
-Amanda

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby aundapenner » Fri Sep 28, 638001 12:56 pm

Caryn's post reminded me to say that our NICU had "special" NICU lactation consultants. They were more specialized in all the difficulties of preemie bfing. Maybe you can see if they have one there and meet with them? Ours also had an interesting manual that I still have - lots of great info.

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caryn
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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby caryn » Fri Sep 28, 638001 12:35 pm

Amanda, Oscar was all about the milk, so not as enthusiastic about nursing as eating from the preemie nipples, which are high-flow.

So once he was eating reliably from a bottle and occasionally latching and nursing, I switched to low-flow nipples, and over the course of about a week after discharge from the NICU I'd transitioned him to full-time nursing. The idea was to make the bottles less appealing, since you had to work harder at them to get milk...

The most important thing with the little preemies is to get them to eat reliably, but that was not a problem with Oscar -- he was born at 4lbs 14oz, discharged a week later at 5lbs 3oz, and weighed in a week after that at 5lbs 12oz, so he was obviously getting enough to eat. I'm saying that to emphasize that it'd depend on Anna and how fast she's gaining, more than anything.

Does your hospital have an IBCLC? I imagine that, if you ask, one could come see you now, before delivery, and talk to you about how they'll manage Anna's feedings.

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby aundapenner » Fri Sep 28, 638001 12:31 pm

I'm with Cindy - pumping was the worst part of it all.

At Henry's NICU, I think they used regular nipples. I did ask and did bring in some Dr. Brown's bottles with preemie nipples for the last 2 days, when I knew he was coming home. But it was a pain in the tookus.

But Henry is definately a boob man. I didn't nurse for the first 3 days, but then only sporadically. Once home, we'd nurse both sides, then I'd pump while DH gave him a bottle of milk.

How far along are you???

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Re : Preemie Nipples

Postby cindyh27 » Fri Sep 28, 638001 11:18 am

Amanda,

So glad to see you’re still hanging in there... I know how "not fun" it is on bed rest in the hospital and how much you miss your family... I'm sure it's even more difficult around the holidays! ((hugs)) to you...

We were not allowed to bring bottles either... Carson was bottle fed for 7 weeks until I could exclusively breast feed him... he caught on just fine... it was the pumping that was the pits... but in the end it was all worth it... have they given you a tour of the NICU yet? Maybe you could speak with the Nurses there or the Neonatologist on staff…

Sorry to here that your Dh is fussing… Just what you need right? Ugh!! Hang in there mommy!


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