My son, John Patrick was born 7 weeks premature. Before he was born, I had every intention of breastfeeding and even went to breastfeeding classes in order to be totally prepared. After he was born, he spent the first seven days of his life in NICU and the first 3 days on feeding tubes. Once he learned how to “suck” they immediately put him on a bottle so that they could monitor exactly how much he was eating.
So began the pumping.
I was lucky that my milk came in pretty fast and I had a good strong supply. I kept pumping every three hours and storing up all that milk for his bottles. At the same time I was doing “kangaroo care” and I would literally drop his tiny body into my hospital gown and have direct skin on skin contact as long as possible. (Side note – I do believe this is how he got so strong so fast and was able to leave the hospital so soon.)
I wouldn’t do any of those things differently, and honestly I didn’t have a choice either way. But here is the result of that first week experience……. My son still doesn’t breastfeed and prefers, no actually demands, the bottle. So here I am 8 weeks later, still pumping.
People love to give me advice about it, “try harder”, “call a lactation consultant”, “don’t give up”, “don’t give formula”. And hey, I love advice, so I’ve tried all those things. But as you may remember from my first post, my son was quick to show me he’s the one calling all the shots.
I’ve heard of lots of mothers who had no problem breastfeeding their premature baby. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience and now I am forced to pump as much as possible and supplement with formula. It’s definitely challenging but I am trying to give him as much breastmilk as possible.
I guess another thing I’ve learned through my experience is that premature babies come with their own challenges. You just have to put aside all your expectations and go with the flow (so to speak).
And on that note, I’m off to the pump……..