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Wonderstruck

SCN tips for a newbie

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Wonderstruck

I never expected to find myself here especially after my first was born bang on 40 weeks and there was no flags for early labour but here I am. 

My second was born at 34 w 6 days after early labour was kicked off by a suspected placental abruption. This was supposed to be a planned c-section after my last was an emergency c-section with massive blood loss to try and make things less riksy and less successful. 

Bub is in SCN. She was born at 2am on Thursday. She's doing well I am told. She was 2.49kg at birth. Had crib oxygen for the first 2 days and a glucose drip. She had UV for slight jaundice. She's on an NG tube fed with formula and expressed collostrum/EBM. Yesterday her drip was removed and she no longer needs the UV.

Looks like our main battle is feeding. She was offered practice sucks at the breast yesterday and basically fell asleep after a few sucks. I'm expressing breast milk and my milk is just coming in. 

We've been told to expect around 2-3 weeks in SCN. I suspect it will be mostly feeding. 

Any tips appreciated. We are still feeling shellshocked as I hadn't finished work, we were about to move house and have a 3.5 year old. 

Also any tips for not falling apart when I am discharged on Tuesday.

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null
Posted (edited)

Sorry to hear your little one rushed into this world early. 

My boys were born at 32 weeks and were around 1.5 kg each.

I was able to convince my ob to keep me in hospital until I had expressed enough milk to keep them going overnight.

I recommend hiring a hospital grade double breast pump if you can. Expressing is  faster with the double pump. I also took videos/photos of my bubs so I could watch them while I was expressing at home; it helped me get good amounts from pumping. 

I visited each day with a little esky of milk but I also had a backpack with my pump in it. If they didn't feed well I made sure I pumped what I could after they fed while holding them.

They were very sleepy but I tried to be there for as many feeds as I could during the day. I would feed them skin on skin unwrapped to try to keep them awake and tickled their cheeks when they got sleepy. When they were to tired, the nurse would tube feed them but I would still hold them skin on skin.

At around 36 weeks I stayed overnight in the hospital for 2 nights to show they could feed all night. The first night was terrible and they didn't feed very well but the second night they fed more enthusiastically and we could take them home.

Moving house with a scn baby and a 3.5 year old is hard work. Ask friends/family to make frozen meals and entertain the 3.5 year old if you can. Use child care if available. Keep your friends and family up to date if you are struggling - they need to step up and help.

I did have trouble bonding with my babies because I was separated from them but keeping photos of them handy and regularly watching videos of them helped when I was separated from them. Lots of skin on skin contact when I was with them helped too.

Please take care of yourself. It's a tough journey. 

Edited by null
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Jenflea

I don't have any advice sorry, but I just wanted to say congratulations on the birth!

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Bethlehem Babe

Congratulations on your new baby. 
The aba has some great info on expressing and feeding premature babies. The booklet is really detailed. 
https://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bf-info/premature

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Kaz83

Congratulations on your little girl!!

Our third was born at 29 weeks after two previous uneventful full term pregnancies. I had a PPROM at 20 weeks though so I was in hospital before my eventual emergency c section.

In regards to feeding, our hospital encouraged us to pump every four hours to keep up supply. It was very hard to wake up for the overnight expresses, an alarm is a lot easier to ignore than a crying baby!! But she is nearly two now and still has the occasional breast feed so it paid off, once she was discharged she was almost exclusively breastfed. 

For us having a routine helped, I would go in at the same time every morning, do her cares, give her a feed (when she was a few weeks old) put her down for her arvo nap and leave around lunchtime. As she got closer to being discharged Id come back in the evening for another feed. Obviously if we didn't have the older two I wouldve been there a lot more and at our hospital siblings weren't allowed into the NICU/SCN.

Leaving our DD in NICU when I was discharged was one of the hardest things Ive ever had to do. Dont be surprised if you find it hard to concentrate on other things, I would often find myself just staring off into the distance. Go easy on yourself and get as much help as you can.

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Riotproof

Congratulations on your daughter! 
No advice on not falling apart, it was close to the most broken I’ve ever felt. 
Did you end up with another c section? Making plans for how you will visit can be helpful. 
Also, looking at photos and video of her can help a lot with let down and milk production. 
 

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Freddie'sMum

Congratulations on the arrival of your little girl !  When I had DD#1 (many years ago) she was born bang on 36 weeks and weighed 1.7 kgs.  She was in the SCN and in an oxygen crib for the first couple of days, also had jaundice.  The main issue was feeding her - she did have a tube and a combo of tube / breastmilk and formula.  The problem / issue was that when she tried to breastfeed she simply fell asleep on me and didn't want to feed. In the end (after much trying) I went with formula.  She was discharged from the hospital at 2 and a half weeks old.  

Do you have anyone who can look after the toddler?  I spent all my time driving back and forth to the hospital - expressing milk, trying to get her to breastfeed, then bottle feeding then driving home.  Your little one is a good healthy weight and hopefully she will put weight on in the SCN and you can all go home.  You mentioned moving house - any chance you can delay this for a while ? or get someone to help with the move?

Best wishes.

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DQMission

Congratulations on your beautiful baby. xxx

I dont have lots of advice to offer as with both of my prem babies I remained in hospital with complications for the whoel time they were in SCN. 

My youngest was born at 35wk due to ruputred placenta and was a similar weight. He was very unwell and we came close to losing him. He was also very sleepy which made feeding really difficult. I did go on to successfully breastfeed him for six months though. We were also told it would be approximately a 3 week stay, but he was home after about ten days, and this was after serious illness including sepsis. Babies can surprise us in how well they bounce back. I hop your baby does too. 

I also relate to not having left work in time for the birth. I worked with my first right up until I was diagnosed with PE. I took time off to rest before the birth but was induced that weekend. It was a real shock to my system having had no time off work to rest before baby, plus hvaing a PPH really knocked me sideways. 

I can only imagine that combining both of those plus adding in moving house would be an enormous stress. I think the usual advice of resting whenever you can, accepting any help offered and giving yourself a break if you fall apart every now and then are still good bits of advice. Communicate your thoughts and worried with the nursing staff and if they offer a social worker or other support services, I'd accept them. 

Thinking of you and your family. x

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Wonderstruck
Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the wise words. 

I have a spectra pump which I'll use at home. I actually hate breastfeeding and didn't enjoy it with my first. That was complicated by a 2.5L PPH so this time I've bounced back quicker. 

Normally I'd happily stay in with her of there was space but due to covid restrictions my 3.5 year cant visit so is finding this all hard. 

She's in day care 3 days and week and grandparents help. 

We can take the move slow as we were living at my parents in between but haven't set up for her there so will ideally get the essentials in before she's home and take the rest slow. 

Hubby is finding this so hard. He gets really anxious about every beep and is too scared to hold her. I can see him struggling with it and don't know how to help. 

Social Worker engaged with me before all of this as I have all the risk factors, previous traumatic birth, PND, reflux allergy baby etc. She saw me briefly on Friday. Not sure if I'll see her until Tuesday as it's a long weekend. I'm also engaged with Gidget House for the same reason.

Edited by Wonderstruck
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lucky 2

From what you've written it sounds like your baby is doing really well, perhaps having the nurses reassure your dh, repeatedly, may help.

She's already in her 4th day, she is now 35.3 weeks, her jaundice is resolving and her birth weight is great!

You'll probably have much more milk this time, it would've been hard for your breasts to perform well after your first birth, a first baby, emergency c/s and a 2.5 l pph!

I wouldn't expect her to bf (too sleepy!), she might try if she's skin to skin, maybe just snuggle in, sleep, lick, open her mouth etc.

Is she up to taking a bottle yet? A special needs feeder might be helpful.

I hope you get a chance to sort out your new house before she is discharged and that she continues to have an uneventful stay in SCN. 

Congratulations 😊

 

 

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MumsyToBigOnes

None of mine were prem but one had their first surgery immediately after birth and was in hospital for several months after with numerous surgeries and health issues where they nearly died on several occasions. 

While leaving them at the hospital is not great, it’s much easier if you have toddlers/little people at home you also need to spend time with. I found the people who were really affected were first time parents who went home to an empty house (kid wise) as opposed to those of us who went home and were distracted with wants and needs of other little people. 

Invaluable advice from the kids hospital my baby was in was to let everything you could with ones at home slip. For instance unless toddlers have been playing naked in mud or have thrown up all over themselves they don’t need a bath every day, I was advised only once or twice a week would not kill them, just a quick wipe of the face after meals and make sure nappy area is kept clean (as part of nappy changes) if they were in nappies/pull-ups or give their bums a go over with a wet face washer yourself if they are toilet training and not toilet paper experts. Also, leave in same clothes as long as possible unless covered with food, poop or vomit. Keeps washing down and cuts out on chores. The hospital was spot on, we do make more work than needed in general keeping toddlers clean, they can survive very well with a fair degree of grottiness :).  Also, if your older one goes to daycare and gets a proper cooked meal there for lunch a sandwich for dinner is quite adequate. 

The other thing was a double hospital grade pump. I was loaned one from the unit they were in as it was going to be long term and just had to pay a minimal bond and purchase the consumables that went with it, was pretty cheap. So if your unit does not do this ask about hiring from the hospital. The kids hospital hired to people who were there shorter term (so bond and weekly hire fee) as it was a lot less than hiring from places externally, maybe ask your unit if there is such an option? A hospital grade double pump is SO much faster than many other commercial pumps. 

Also if you are going to be in for a few weeks and parking daily ask your unit about parking fee exemptions as the fees add up quickly. I still do this when mine who is still (just)  eligible age wise has longer in-patient stays and find if you don’t ask they don’t offer but at $30/day for us it’s worth it to ask. We then pick up a ticket from security that lasts a week that you can put in the gate without having to pay to validate it. 
 

Good luck with it all, while not a great experience and not what you were expecting it won’t last forever and soon enough you will have a cheeky little one running about who will have no idea of the drama they caused. 

 


 


 

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iwanttosleepin
Posted (edited)

My DS#1 was born at 36 weeks weighing 2050g. He only spent about 36 hours in SCN and we went home on day 4 weighing 1995 grams.  To get him to feed I would strip him to his nappy and tickle his feet.  And then afterwards I would express and he had this as a top up via a big tube in his mouth with my finger.

we did a breastfeeding clinic day stay at about 1 week old. He put in huge amounts of weight- a nurse visited daily to weight him. I hate hospitals so this worked for us.

https://www.worldwidesurgical.com/Hazelbaker-Finger-Feeder-p/100071.htm

 

 

Edited by iwanttosleepin

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Bearynice

Congratulations on your baby. We had twins in neonatal for four weeks a long time ago. ( we didn’t have other kids to care for, plus things have probably changed in ten years!) Things we found useful: 

transporting in expressed milk in a little esky/ large lunchbox ( I held onto that lunchbox very firmly after all my hard work!) 

asking for parking discount

talking to other parents in special care. They were riding the same roller coaster. Could even be good for your husband to chat to a more experienced/ long time visitor scn dad. Get your dh doing baths and care for Bub. The nurses can explain monitors etc

Taking home some clothing/ blankets when I left hospital , which I would put my scent on and return them to hospital. Then the boys had my scent with them. 

 

 

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Wonderstruck

I will ask about a bottle as I'm comfortable bottle feeding as we did it with DD. This birth was also traumatic (instead of planned c-section - went into labour at 34+6 - caused by placental abruption so emergency c section at 2am - no PPH this time) but this time milk seems to better. 

Our SCN has a room per kid so we haven't spoken to many parents but I'm trying to help him with it. I'll get the social worker tp check in with him.

This is all so Helpful. I really appreciate it. 

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Mum-mumMum

I had twins at 35.6 weeks and they both went to special care to learn to feed mainly. One took to feeding quickly and was discharged after 10 days. The other was (and still is) a lazy feeder so after 2 weeks we asked for the nasal tube to be removed to force bottle feeding. The tube can get gunky in their tummies after awhile and makes them feel full so they won’t bother sucking. After the tube was out they were discharged the next day. They were 2.6 and 2.3kgs at birth. The anti-feeder dropped a fair bit but we just found tricks to encourage them to eat as much as possible. My milk never came in even with a double pump and the drs and nurses said within a few days not to stress and just moved them to formula. I kept expressing what I could whilst they were in hospital but life with too hectic with an older child as well to keep it up for such small amounts once everyone was home.

i discharged myself from hospital after 2 nights because my older child was missing me and not coping with hospital visits. I went to the hospital by 9am each morning for dr rounds and feeds, came home during lunch and went back again around 4 and then came home to put the older child to bed at 7. It was very hectic and I always felt torn that I should be in the other place but I felt comforted that the twins were well cared for by the nurses when I wasn’t there and felt so much more support than I did with my full term first baby.

you will find what works for you guys. Take away helps. And toast for every meal is ok too.

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blackcat20

My daughter was born at 36 weeks and was in the SCN for three nights. I didn't see her until she was 10 hours old so the nurses had me pumping to help get my milk in. We did a breastfeed followed by formula every three hours for the first few weeks. Feeding was hard as she was so sleepy. We always did a nappy change before a feed to wake her up, and there was a lot of tummy tickling, hand squeezing etc to help keep her awake on the boob. She was almost readmitted to SCN the night before I was due to be discharged as she'd lost 16% of her birth weight but we managed to get enough into her overnight to be allowed home.

Once we had our nurse check at home we dropped the top ups and moved to demand feeding. After barely being on the curve those first few months she is a happy and healthy 18 month old now. Still on the smaller side but catching up quickly.

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Ellie bean

I don’t have any tips but just wanted to say congratulations and thinking of you 

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Redchick2

Congratulations! My twins didn’t go to SCN but were born at 37+1 and had NG tubes for the first few days for tops ups as they were too tired to feed for long. 
 

lots of great ideas here about breast pumps (I also used a hospital grade one for 3 months) but also good on you for knowing what works best for you and your family and choosing bottles and formula is still a healthy choice for your baby (particularly if it is best for you - what’s good for Mum is good for bub).

sounds like bub is doing really well. You (and your DH) have had such a rough time, get all the help you can (including support through talking to people). 
 

🤗

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Wonderstruck

Today she's been trialled out of her incubator today so we will see how her temps go. She is spewy and is having runs of bradycardia and low respiration rate so they're trialing her on some caffeine but will be watching to see if the reflux episodes are causing the low heart rate. 

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blackcat20

Another option to look at down the track if you dont like pumping (I hated it), is the haakaa. I used it on the opposite boob when I was feeding and used that milk for tops ups/bedtime bottle. I found 3 hourly feeds exhausting and got touched-out very quickly, so it was handy to be able to give her EBM without the effort of being hooked up to a pump. 

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TinyGiraffe

An obscure tip I got was get yourself some nice handcream to use when not there. Whilst we are all handwashing alot these days with covid I found the level of washing and sanitizing while at the nicu made my hands very dry and cuticles starting to split until I started heavily moisturizing when not at the hospital. 

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Wonderstruck

In was discharged on Tuesday morning. I was a mess on the Monday night and had hubby stay that night. Gets pretty lonely in the hospital in covid times without bubba.

DD is ok. She had caffine for her Brady and Desat episodes which seem to have helped. Bottle/breastfeeding still is minimal so we will keep working on her suck. They're also watching her for signs of cmpa and reflux as she is a spewer and my first had both issues. 

I'm pumping at home. Four hourly in the day is as much as I can manage so doing what I can. Still finding supply a challenge but will just do what I can.

Off to see her this morning and will try and fit in a second visit each day but it will be hard with my older daughter who asked Daddy not to take mummy to the hospital tonight - I think she found the 5 days with no visits a challenge. 

I definately feel torn between the two. 

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Mum-mumMum
1 hour ago, Wonderstruck said:

In was discharged on Tuesday morning. I was a mess on the Monday night and had hubby stay that night. Gets pretty lonely in the hospital in covid times without bubba.

DD is ok. She had caffine for her Brady and Desat episodes which seem to have helped. Bottle/breastfeeding still is minimal so we will keep working on her suck. They're also watching her for signs of cmpa and reflux as she is a spewer and my first had both issues. 

I'm pumping at home. Four hourly in the day is as much as I can manage so doing what I can. Still finding supply a challenge but will just do what I can.

Off to see her this morning and will try and fit in a second visit each day but it will be hard with my older daughter who asked Daddy not to take mummy to the hospital tonight - I think she found the 5 days with no visits a challenge. 

I definately feel torn between the two. 

My older child would cry and ask me not to go to the hospital. We would talk about how they would be home soon and then we wouldn’t need to do it anymore and we would all be at home together. Was still really hard but they hardly remember it now

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Ellie bean

I don’t know how it works in SCN but can you get a gastro paed involved in case thry want to start looking at prescribing a cmpi formula later on? If that’s the path you are thinking of (my 2 we’re no good with bf even when I was on an elimination diet but sorry I can’t remember if that worked for you first time)

Hope things get easier soon

 

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DQMission

I remember feeling torn between my kids. It was awful. Hang in there. X

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