It’s a Little Thing

It’s a little thing when a nurse helps a new mother pump milk for her baby in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  It’s just a little bit of milk she’s able to get those first few pumping sessions. The little bit hardly covers the bottom of the collection bottles. It’s a little thing when a nurse uses a syringe and pulls the milk up into it. But then, those tiny drops of milk in that little 3 milliliter syringe become HUGE! What looked like droplets in the bottle suddenly transform in the syringe to a quantified supply of milk for her baby.

It happened again tonight with a new mother. I did just that. A little thing. Pulling the milk up into the syringe, I watched the droplets turn into 1 ml, 2 ml, 2.25 total milliliters! I showed it to her, and she glowed! She said, “I did that! I made that milk for my baby!”  Pure joy!

The director of our NICU and one of their nurse practitioners attended the last Baby-Friendly task force meeting. The 22-member team reviewed two policy drafts: rooming-in and pumping when the baby goes to the NICU. It was a little thing that they spoke up and suggested we use syringes for the milk. I had no idea the impact a syringe could make on a new mother’s confidence in her ability to make milk.

Click on the links to review the policy drafts for yourself.  Your feedback is welcome!

BFHI Policy Draft #1: Baby to NICU, Pump to Breast

BFHI Policy Draft#2: Postpartum Rooming-in


About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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7 Responses to It’s a Little Thing

  1. Great story reminding us that is always about the little things.

  2. Olivia says:

    I love this!

  3. This made me smile 🙂

  4. Carole B says:

    I remember the first time I did that for a new mom. She was in SCO, High Risk OB, her baby was in the NICU. I used a syringe to collect the tiny amount of milk she had pumped. She was so excited to actually see what she was able to give her baby. A wonderful moment.

  5. Lori Bauer, RNC-OB says:

    I did it too, about 2 weeks ago, helped Mom pump and hand delivered a 3cc syringe full of fresh colustrum to the NICU. Mom said “so that’s why they call it liquid gold!” Happy nurse, happy mom, and happy baby… We all need to be proud of the “little things!”

  6. Marie says:

    I delivered my baby in the fall of 2011 at Memorial. It was overall a good experience, but I think the rooming in policy could be improved. I told my night nurse that I wanted to room-in and I don’t think I sounded very confident and she talked me out of it. She knew I was tired and my baby was still coughing up rusty colored stuff and she said she wanted to keep a closer eye on her. After the fact, I learned most babies spit up like that after delivery and they were ok rooming-in. Even though I had a c-section, my husband was staying with me and could have picked her up if she started coughing. It also seemed like an out-dated concern, babies choking on spit-up. That was the rationale for putting babies to sleep on their tummies 25 years ago, but with the whole back to sleep campaign that fear seems unjustified. I think I will be more of an advocate for myself and baby next time and room-in. Breast feeding was still well established even though she went to the nursery at night, however.

    • Thanks Marie. Your feedback is very valuable! We are continually striving to provide the most up to date practices at Memorial, always being mindful of safety and an exceptional experience for you!

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