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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Conversation with an IBCLC-certified Occupational Therapist

Vicki Brunstetter talked about her work as an IBCLC-certified Occupational Therapist with preemie babies and their families at University Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Some of her points were the following:

* It's important to help moms learn to hand express, but many don't want to touch their breasts.
* A major goal is to get babies colostrum.
* Finger feeding can cause some of the same problems as bottle feeding: hard surfaces, plastic smell, etc.
* Insurance dictates many options for pumps and length of NICU stays
* A major NICU goal is to get babies eating be it at breast or bottle.
* The U Hospital is VERY close (like maybe today or tomorrow) to being designated "Baby Friendly." This means no more free formula, no more formula-produced information sheets, and that moms have to sign forms to receive pacifiers that are locked up. They'll be the only hospital in Utah to be so designated.
* In Vicki's 16 years at this job, she's seen some major culture shifts favoring breastfeeding.
* Babies come to the U's NICU from Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and sometimes Arizona.
* The U Hospital has three nurseries: the 48-bed NICU, the Well Baby Nursery, and the "Step-up" nursery.
* The world needs more in-hospital lactation consultants.
* Moms can only stay with preemies in a chair next to their preemie in the NICU. There are a couple of beds in a separate room, but they tend to be reserved for moms getting ready to take their babies home.
* About 95% of the moms with preemies at U hospital deliver saying they're going to breastfeed, but they often have little or no information.
* Approximately half of the NICU preemies are delivered by WIC moms.

One thing this information teaches us is that getting breastfeeding support and information while pregnant is a MUST! Thank you to Vicki for coming and talking with us!

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