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Feeding the Tiny Premie: Supporting NICU Families With Evidence and Compassion

by Christina Smillie, MD, FAAP, IBCLC, FABM
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1 CERP, 1 L-CERP
  • Handout: No

Much has been written about the challenges of breastfeeding late preterm infants, the “great pretenders” who can fool us by looking almost full-term. But what about early preterm infants, who spend their first months in hospital? Their feeding issues are very different, complicated by their severe prematurity, medical issues and necessary clinical care, as well as by their mothers’ emotional experiences and challenges as they initiate mothering, milk production and breastfeeding in the NICU setting. We’ll look at how oxytocin and kangaroo mother can help optimize maternal milk production, maternal behaviors and competency, early breastfeeding, and infant growth, specifically looking at evidence based approaches to the early initiation of breastfeeding for these tiny infants. We’ll also look at a couple of broad initiatives—the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative for Neonatal Wards and Family Integrated Care—that offer the promise of empowering mothers and improving health outcomes for their preterm infants.

Learning Objectives:

Objective 1: List at least 4 ways that kangaroo care helps regulate infant physiology, and describe a few ways that oxytocin promotes infant survival, breastfeeding, and maternal wellbeing.
Objective 2: Describe common emotional experiences of preterm mothers within standard NICU care, and list at least three ways that (1) the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative for Neonatal Wards and (2) Family Integrated Care each might improve both the mother’s experience and her infant’s health outcomes.
Objective 3: Formulate a plan for teaching hand expression/pumping and list techniques for supporting mother and her premature infant with early breastfeeding.

Presentations: 20  |  Hours / CE Credits: 19.5  |  Viewing Time: 8 Weeks