Most people associate the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) as a place where premature newborn babies go after birth. Although the majority of newborns admitted to NICUs are premature babies (“preemies”), interestingly enough, if you walk around any NICU you will see plenty of babies who are full-term, and even some who arrived a week or two after their due date! On average, 360,000 newborns in the U.S. need neonatal intensive care after birth each year. Some only need to stay in the NICU for a few days, while others may be admitted for several months based on baby needs. Level 2 NICUs provide health care for preemies who are about 32 weeks’ gestation or older and do not need a lot of breathing support, Level 3 NICUs can care for all sizes and ages of preemies, and Level 4 NICUS provide care for all preemies, including the smallest and most sick, as well as critically ill full-term newborns who need surgery, have birth defects, and other medical conditions requiring a care team of neonatologists and multiple pediatric subspecialty teams.
On April 11-17, we celebrate Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW). According to the CDC, black women are currently three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. This article will review the current state of the U.S. maternal mortality rate, recommendations for pregnant families and healthcare providers, and how to be an advocate for maternal and reproductive health.
Being pregnant and becoming a new mother is an exciting time that is often filled with questions and decisions you will need to make. What can you do to be as prepared as possible for birth and meeting your lactation goals? Let's take a look at some essential tips for birth and breastfeeding.
The following weeks after giving birth you may be concerned about whether or not your baby is being sufficiently fed. Even though babies can’t say what it is they need, they rely on and use different sounds and movements to signal when they need to be fed long before crying begins.
Having a new baby is a huge life transition. The holiday season can add a lot of additional stress while you are busy taking care of your newborn. This is because what’s best for mother-newborn dyads (to rest, stay home, focus on breastfeeding, not have too many interruptions with visitors, etc.) is the opposite of our societal expectations of what parents of new babies should do during that time of year (traveling, family traditions, bringing babies to large holiday gatherings, entertaining guests, meeting family members, etc.)
Late premature babies, also called “late preemies,” are born between 34 to 36 weeks. Although babies born between 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy often look like full-term babies (only smaller) there are major physiologic differences. As a result of immature brain and nervous system development, late premature infants have an increased risk of low birth weight, feeding difficulties, and breathing struggles. Let's take a closer look at FAQs about breastfeeding late premature infants.
The reality is that we do not pump in an ideal world, and oftentimes find ourselves pumping under less than ideal circumstances! For many reasons, it’s not unusual to sometimes have to combine breast milk from different pumping sessions for your babies’ supplemental bottles. Let's take a look at some breast milk storage guidelines and how to combine pumped breast milk.
Donor breast milk is human milk that is used as a substitute or supplement for mothers’ own milk. There are many benefits of supplementing full term and preterm babies with donor human milk including helping the immune system to help babies fight infections, forming a healthy and diverse microbiome, and improving vision and developmental outcomes. Contact your nearest milk bank to find out about breast milk donation.
Breastfeeding in the NICU can be challenging. Many babies who go to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after birth are born prematurely (before 37 weeks’ gestation), but NICUs also admit full-term babies. In the NICU, most breastfeeding preemies’ diets consist of direct breastfeeds along with supplemental feeds of milk or formula via a bottle or feeding tube (or both). No matter how your NICU graduate gets your breast milk, whether it be directly from your breast, in a bottle, and/or through a feeding tube, remember you are an incredible breastfeeding mama!
Newborn babies should have their first doctor's appointment with their pediatrician within one to two days of coming home from the hospital, or within 24 hours of being born via home birth. Here's what you can expect at that first appointment.