October 10, 2003

Ken Feeds Kate Today

The lactation consultant stopped by to see how Jean-Marie was progressing with breast feeding and they had a discussion about using a breast pump in the future. Jean-Marie wanted to give the pump a try so the hospital set her up with a machine to use. We did not want to waste the milk that was pumped, so the lactation consultant used a feeding technique they commonly use on NICU babies.

Since babies are very impressionable, introducing a bottle this early could have a very negative effect on their ability to breastfeed (bottles express milk without the need to suck very hard and can train babies to give up on breastfeeding since they are used to not working as hard to get milk). The alternative to a bottle is to feed Kate using a syringe and small plastic tube. The tube was attached to the tip of my finger and as Kate would suck, I would depress the syringe to squirt milk out of the tube. This technique let us (a) help Kate stretch her jaw muscle to get around my finger (pseudo-nipple), and (b) let us control the flow of milk so she has to work hard to drink.

After feeding Kate this way, I can say without a doubt that I have a renewed respect for women who breastfeed their babies. For a baby only a few days old, Kate could create an unbelievable amount of sucking-pressure on my finger. Her suction was so strong, that pulling my finger out of her mouth was very difficult! I can only imagine what this must feel like to a woman while feeding! Wow, ouch!
Posted by Ken at October 10, 2003 05:25 PM
Printer-friendly version