We started our journey at 5 lbs 12 oz; already small enough to curl up and fit into one hand. My baby was diagnosed with IUGR despite being born at 40 weeks gestation. I will never forget my hospital experience and how horrible some of the nurses were. She was born at 5:30 am and the nurses pushed and pushed us to breastfeed her. While I kept trying, my baby would weakly latch and suckle a few times then become exhausted. We continued to offer her the breast every hour for 24 hours and nothing was working and no one was concerned she wasn’t eating anything at all. I trusted everything was going to be ok.
On day two a nurse comes in and tells me my baby is hungry and I’m not making milk…but by then it was too late. She lost almost a pound over night and she was too weak to take formula orally. We were rushed by ambulance to a NICU unit one hour away from where I delivered her.
After she was stabilized for severe dehydration and starvation with IV fluids and dextrose, she was fed with a tube. We basically had to teach her how to suck. Squishing her little cheeks together. We were syringe feeding her when she tolerated it. It was 14 days before she finally “latched” and sucked her first bottle down!
We spent 28 days in the NICU before she was able to bottle feed with an NG feeding tube. If my baby was supplemented immediately she never would have endured a horrific admission to the NICU. She could have easily been taken care of at our local hospital but because she was not supplemented and breastfeeding was pushed at all costs, we are left with the financial and emotional burden of breastfeeding no matter what! Please don’t let your baby go without feeding, even if your hospital nurses and lactation consultants say your baby will be fine. This is not true.
For more information on how to protect your baby from feeding complications due to early exclusive breastfeeding, please read and download the Fed is Best Feeding Plan, a way to communicate your feeding choices to your health care providers.
In addition, please read and download the Fed is Best Weighing Protocol to prevent newborn dehydration and failure to thrive.
Lastly, for more detailed information, please watch our educational videos on Preventing Feeding Complications.
Our full list of parent resources can be found on our Resource Page.