Breastfeeding a One Pound Micro-Preemie – Sarah’s Story

Milky Mommas interviews member Sarah E.Β 

 

Milky Mommas, Inc.
Hello Sarah! As we saw you share in Milky Mommas private Facebook community, you have an amazing story to share with us this World Breastfeeding Week about your little boy!

Sarah E.
I am so proud of my son. He was born at 23 weeks, the doctors told me he probably would never breastfeed. I have been breastfeeding him 16 out of the 20 months he’s been alive. I pumped the whole time he was in the NICU. Now, I don’t think he is ever going to stop. He will be 2 in November and I don’t see him stopping anytime soon. He was 1 lb 13.5 oz and 11.5 inches long at birth and he’s about 30 inches and almost 20 lbs [now]. Micro preemie strong πŸ’™ πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™

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Skin to skin “kangaroo care” between Sarah and her micro-preemie son, Dane

Milky Mommas, Inc.
Is he your first breastfed child? How did you find yourself breastfeeding a micro-preemie?

Sarah E.
I have an 8 year old and my son who’s 20 months. When I was pregnant with him I found out I had a bicornuate uterus, so I carried my daughter on my right and my son on my left. I ended up losing my mucus plug when I was 23 weeks and 2 days [and] my doctor had me go to the hospital. I got an infection in my fluid, so I went into labor and had a vaginal birth, [where] I had a C-section with my daughter.
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They told me when I was still pregnant I had a 30% change he would make it with in the first 3 days. They gave us the choice to if they wanted us to save him or let him die. He was born with R.O.P. (retina of prematurity) with his eyes, he was born with 2 brain bleeds. And then just the risk with him being so little. He was intubated for 3.5 months out of his NICU stay, they would not let me try to breastfeed him till he was only on the wall air.

Milky Mommas, Inc.
You really had your work cut out for you with breastfeeding. How did you manage that?

Sarah E.
I pumped the whole time he was in there. I had clogged ducts, at least 2 a week. I got mastitis, I ended up getting yeast on my nipple which gave him thrush. Then [when] he was finally big enough for him to try to [breastfeed] and he did awesome, they gave him bottles when I wasn’t there.

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First latch

 

But he did not like the bottles, I tried 8 different kinds. The doctors said he probably won’t breastfeed… Well, I stayed every weekend and we did weighted feeds, and he did so good the doctors could not believe how well he was doing. So, he was on the just normal wall air and I asked if they can take it off just to see how he does, and he did amazing with that too. They never had to have him back on it.Β 

I continued to breastfeed him. I would go to the hospital in the morning after my daughter went to school, then come home when she got off the bus, then [go] back the the hospital when she went to bed and stay the night at the hospital, then back to get my daughter ready for school. It was hard but I would do it all over again.

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Baby Dane’s footprint at 2 weeks old

I was at home one day setting up a trampoline for my daughter and I got a phone call from the hospital, they had to move him back to where the sicker babies were. He ended up getting RSV so we had to stop breastfeeding, and put the tube back in his throat, and pretty much just took a huge setback with everything.

He was in isolation for probably 2 weeks, then I was still trying to breastfeed. When the RSV was gone I was doing weighed feeds again. I did it for 3 days, and if he gained weight every day he was able to come home. They did the car seat test. We were all ready to come home. Everybody was so excited, and then they did his weight at midnight and he didn’t gain any weight. He lost weight. I was devastated.

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It was the worst feeling in the world. But, the next day when they came in to do rounds, the doctor said he could come home anyways. She said there was nothing that they could do for him that I can’t do, so they let him come home. I was so happy, after 131 days my baby got to come home. Our family was finally going to be together. My best friend knew he was coming home she went and put balloons all over my house outside.

When we got home I was still pumping when EBF (exclusively breastfeeding). I had a huge oversupply, I was pumping 23 oz or more every pump session. [It] was horrible, I had 2 deep freezers full of breastmilk, since he never took a bottle. So I was able to help 5 families out [with] my breastmilk.

Milky Mommas, Inc.
That is amazing, Sarah! What brought you to Milky Mommas?

Sarah E.
When he was born, even though he was early, I wanted to breastfeed. I actually posted about my oversupply and got help with evening it out.

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Milky Mommas, Inc.
So you’ve been a member for quite a while! What’s your favorite part about the Milky Mommas community?

Sarah E.
Yes, over a year.
And I just love how you can be yourself, people don’t judge and you can ask any question, and see [others] going through the same thing as you.

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Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sarah! We are so happy to have inspiring and engaged members like you in our community!

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