In the NICU
Breastfeeding your baby in the NICU
If you are going to breastfeed, get all the help you can from the hospital's lactation consultant and your baby's nurses before your baby goes home. Pump your milk when you are not with your baby to keep up your milk supply.
Some babies leave the NICU breastfeeding only. If you are not able to provide any or all of your baby's nutrition by breastfeeding, don't feel bad. Your baby will benefit from any breast milk you can provide. Use the combination of breast milk and formula that works best for you and your baby.
Is the baby getting enough to eat?
Breastfeeding mothers often worry that their baby isn't getting enough to eat. That's because they can't see exactly how much their baby is eating. One way to know if your baby is getting enough is to count the number of wet and dirty diapers she has each day. Typically, a baby who is getting enough to eat will have at least six wet diapers and two to five dirty diapers in a 24-hour period.
Having trouble breastfeeding?
Some moms have a hard time breastfeeding at home. Before giving up, ask for help from:
- A lactation consultant
- A breastfeeding support group
- Your baby's health care provider
You may worry that you're not making enough milk, even though you're feeding your baby on demand or pumping. Try to increase your milk supply by:
- Getting more rest
- Drinking more water
- Getting enough nutritious calories
- Pumping after or before feedings
Ask a lactation consultant about supplements you can take to increase your milk supply. With a little effort, most women can build up their supply. As your baby grows and thrives, your efforts will be rewarded many times over.
A breastfeeding Web site sponsored by the American College of Nurse Midwives
American Academy of Pediatrics
International Lactation Consultant Association
La Leche League International
An online community of mothers and nursing professionals
See also: Share your storyAugust 2009