I'm pumping for my little girl, Ella, born last week at 33 weeks, currently being tube fed in hospital every 2 hours. I'm expressing more than double what she needs right now. The staff at the hospital are starting to freeze some of my milk but I remember from expressing for my son (now 2) that the composition and nutrition of breastmilk changes with the age of the child being expressed for. So I'm wondering if the milk I'm producing just now will be any good in a few months time if I run into supply issues then? Would be grateful for anyone's thoughts on this. If there is really no point in keeping it, I may look into donating it.
Also, as I have a backlog of milk in the hospital fridge, they like to give her it in chronological order so as not to waste any. That's fine with me, however I've been asking that the milk I express in the afternoon when I'm visiting her be given to her at her proceeding feed, so that she is getting at least one 'fresh' feed every day. I'm thinking that with all the colds and bugs going around at the moment it will help for her to be getting at least a small amount of the latest of my milk. But I'm wondering, will a day or two in the fridge make any difference really? I'm not that clued up on the science of breastmilk and how long it takes me to produce antibodies to the latest viruses etc circulating, and between visits to the hospital, looking after my 2 year old and expressing all the time, I don't have enough hours in the day to do any research! Any info at all would be much appreciated.
It's absolutely fine. There isn't really an awful lot you can do about it and although there are loads of "facts" doing the rounds about breastmilk and freezing it etc, the reality is, your BM, defrosted or fresh, is absolutely the best thing for your LO.
Our unit tended to take fresh milk from the fridge every day, if it was there. And if there was none, they went to the freezer. I'd put fresh stuff in whenever I came in but if there was more than a days worth, I'd put some in the freezer. I can't remember how long they kept it in the fridge for, but I'm thinking it was 24 hours. You can keep it for longer in the fridge at home, but as their fridges tend to be open and closed a lot they keep it a shorter time.
But if you want fresh milk to be given in a feed, let them know you'll be taking some in. Your LO will soon catch up with your milk production. At one point I had a freezer full of milk in the unit. By the time I took her home at 6 weeks I only had a few hundred Mls to take away.
They used mine chronologically also and after about a week some needed to be frozen. She still went through it all quickly though because they continually uped her feeding amounts. I did have a lot in the NICU freezer at one point, but by the time we went home there wasn't that much of a back up. If you feel better having her have that one fresh feed a day, then that's fine, the frozen milk is fine also though and she'll catch up to your supply soon. (I hope that makes sense).
Sophie was in the same NICU as 25 weeker's LO, so it was the same for us, they used the oldest first.
I BF Sophie when she came home as well, and she has always had a fairly good immune system (touch wood) - a couple of ear infections last winter but any time she has a cold, she's pretty much over it in a day. xx
Any BM would be fine I think. Yes fresh would be best. My daughter got only IV fluids for her first 3 weeks of life, during which time I expressed and froze the BM. I continued to express till she was 10 months of age. I gave her the frozen milk (in addition to fresh milk) when the fresh milk was not sufficient upto when she was 6 months old.
Congratulations on the birth of your little one. You are doing such a great job of giving nature's best medicine to your little one.
Hi, I had a 33 weeker that I pumped for, too. Same thing - produced about twice as much as she needed. I decided ultimately that I wanted them to feed her the fresh milk, based on the idea that my body was producing whatever it was that she needed at the time. It was just my gut feeling. She was fed every three hours, and I skipped one, so I brought her 7 fresh feedings and she had one frozen (or however that works out). The nurses preferred it, because they didn't have to waste any time getting it to temperature, just put it in the syringe and push the button, done. You can tell them to use whichever you want, sometimes the nurses have to reminded that it's YOUR baby in the NICU, not theirs and YOU get to make the decisions.
I do now have a ton of milk in the freezer. "Preemie" milk is very much needed by milk banks, as it is different than term milk, in some way, if you do decide to donate. My LO used an ounce of donor milk before my milk came in, and I loved that she didn't have to get formula thanks to someone's generosity.
Now I occasionally have DH give her a bottle and he picks from the oldest stuff first, and I freeze whatever I pump (always gotta pump every time she gets a bottle) so it rotates the supply... my plan is to use it for mixing with cereals, etc once she starts solids, instead of cow's milk. I think it will may be milk meant for a tiny baby but still would be world's better than milk from a different mammal altogether.
Good luck with your baby, it will be over and she will be out before you know it.
I froze tons of milk before my daughter came home. I'm having major issues keeping up with my supply now and I'm using my frozen milk. I've used almost all of it. It's definitely good to have because if I didn't have it then my daughter would have been switched to formula weeks ago.
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