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Sia’s Story – Breastfeeding A Baby In ICU

This post is an excerpt from Sia’s Place, and is being reposted here with permission.  Sia is a passionate Thermomix Consultant, a professional blogger and a mum of two.  You can read Sia’s original post here.

I’ve been feeding my toddler for a total of 20 months now. So you could say that I have some experience with breastfeeding.

However when I gave birth to Nia breastfeeding was the most challenging and most stressful experience I have ever had.

Nia was a premi baby. Straight after my emergency caesarean she was taken down to ICU because she could not breathe on her own. I didn’t get to cuddle her or breastfeed her for days. With my first baby, they placed him directly on my chest for skin on skin contact time he found his was down to my boobs and had his first feed/suck seconds after birth. These moments are so important for mother and child bonding and to establish good breastfeeding with your baby. It is a magical experience.

NICU Equipment For Newborns

For Nia, breathing was more important than any type of bonding experience. Instead of the warmth from my chest and skin on skin contact, my little girl was warmed in a special heating bed. She had an IV needle in her arm feeding her glucose and I wasn’t allowed to touch her.

That was hard.

Once she could breathe, the next stage of her recovery was to establish feeding. She needed my milk – it was extremely important for her survival and recovery. I had to express colostrum into small syringes and it was fed to her through a feeding tube.

There was extreme amounts of pressure to produce Nia’s milk.

At first I though I’d be fine. I’ve been feeding my toddler for ages… I considered myself a pretty good breastfeeder so surely it would easy to express a few small syringes.

I was wrong.

This was the hardest thing Ive ever had to do.

My body reset itself.

Apparently after the placenta is detached, your body starts to produce the milk required for the newborn.

So my body automatically changed from making fast flowing milk for my toddler to making small amounts of colostrum for my baby. It’s so amazing!

Breastfeeding A Baby In ICU

The difference was, this time I needed to build my supply while sitting in an empty hospital room connected to a big yellow machine that made me feel like a cow, whilst my baby was down in ICU waiting for it so that she could live.

Talk about pressure. Wow.

It took me hours to hand express one little drop of colostrum. Nia’s first feed was just 0.3ml and it was given to her through a feeding tube.

I was so proud of those 0.3mls. I worked really hard to get that. I guess that’s why they call it liquid gold!

Then I continued to express 8 times a day to build my supply and to keep up with the doctors schedule. It was either my milk or a formula top up.

Nia needed her milk every 3 hours and I was determined to give her what she needed.

The doctor increased the quantities each day and so I had to keep increasing my supply too.

It was not easy.

But we did it. In fact, Nia impressed everyone with her amazing fast recovery. We were told that she would need to stay in special care for at least two weeks to establish her feeding etc.

However, together Nia & I kicked all the goals that the doctors set for us and we were home on day 6.

The milk was a huge part of her recovery.

I believe that the reason I was able to get through it all was because I had the confidence to do it. My baby needed this milk and nothing was going to stop me from trying to make it for her. I needed to stay positive and it took a lot of patience and persistence but in the end we got there.

It was friken hard. It still is.

But we are doing it. One day at a time, one feed at a time, one boob at a time.

My Breastfeeding Mantra

This is my new breastfeeding mantra:

“One day at a time, one feed at a time, one boob at a time…”

Inspired by the movie Creed – one step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.

Feel free to make it your bf mantra too!

This information is general, and does not replace the advice of a medical professional.  If you have concerns about the health of your breastfed child I would encourage you to seek the support of an IBCLC.  You can also call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 MUM 2 MUM

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2 thoughts on “Sia’s Story – Breastfeeding A Baby In ICU

  1. Great post sis 👍🏽🤗

  2. Made me cry reading your story… I can only imagine how hard the whole process would have been. well done Sia, Keep strong x

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