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Navigating the NICU

Highlights from my recent post about my top 4 tips for aligning a NICU journey as a NICU mom/parent with breastfeeding:

As most of ,you may know I am a registered nurse with a background in the Nic,

turned Nicu mom, turned IBCLC. I was working my NICU shift, I thought about a couple things that I wanted to share. So this post and this story is for all my NICU parents, whether you're still in the thick of it or whether you're graduating. I wanna share some tips and tricks with you guys to ensure that if you want to nurse or breastfeed your baby or give your baby your human milk, that you have the best opportunity to do so.

So first things first.

The first thing I wanna go over is really making sure that for the first 40 days, yes, 40 days, you have at least eight milk removals. Try really hard. I know it's hard when your baby's in the NICU and you're separated from them to feel the need to get up and pump. But if you want longevity in it, you wanna make sure that you're keeping the simulation to your breasts.

Okay, so my second tip and trick is I'm gonna let y'all in on a little bit of secret. So first things first, most people don't know this, but I worked in a lot of NICUs. I did travel nursing before I had my own kids. So I've worked in a lot of different NICU all over the us, California, Washington, just to name a few. And most of the time the neonatologists are not checking for oral restrictions aka tongues ties. So if you feel like your baby is struggling to take their bottles and may have gotten home, but are still kind of struggling, make sure you book a consult with a lactation professional that is proficient in assessing tethered oral tissue, AKA tongue ties like myself, so that we can navigate that journey together. It may not even mean that the baby needs a frenectomy or a tongue tie release, but we might just need to make some accommodations and help the baby to better compensate and be more efficient .

Tip number three, for all my NICU parents, whether you're still in the thick of it or you're a graduate graduating NICU parent, just think about how much you came to visit your baby and they were swaddled and the older they got, they probably did not wanna be swaddled anymore because they need good movement. And so without that good movement and rhythmic movement, baby can can build up a lot of tension in their bodies.

So a little secret that most neonatologists or even your pediatricians are probably not gonna tell your baby about, but things that I definitely share of my NICU parents is that your baby can likely benefit from having body work or chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy. These are gonna help the baby to release some of that tension that is built up from being swaddled a lot while they're in the NICU and just with navigating some issues that they may have related to prematurity. So that's my third tip for you guys, and I got one more.

My last and final Tip Is one of the most important ones advocate for your baby. Don't nobody know your baby better than you. My coworkers will tell you that when I work my NICU shift at least once every six weeks, that I am the biggest advocate for those babies. That is your baby. I am being allowed to take care of your baby. Do not let anyone make you feel like you're insufficient, or don't what you're talking about, or like you don't know your baby. Yes, we work 12 hour shifts, and yes, we do get to know your baby very well. However, the intuition and the gut that parents have cannot be replaced by a professional such as myself. And so I encourage you guys to really hone into your gut and make sure that you're advocating for your baby at every, every step of your NICU journey.

Let me know if this was helpful !

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