Presentation Information

Maxine Scringer-Wilkes

Walking with NICU Families Through Their Infant Feeding Journey

Abstract:

To graduate from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) infants are required to be adequate feeders. Feeding is a learned skill for NICU babies that is expected to “be there in waiting” after a long medical and or surgical admission. Effective feeding and subsequent weight gain in the NICU are the measures and skill to which a discharge ticket home is granted. Feeding can sometimes be overlooked in regards to its role in infant well being and parental confidence. Infants are admitted to surgical level 3 NICUs for many reasons, including prematurity, necrotising enterocolitis, intestinal perforations, gastroschisis, duodenal atresia, omphaloceles, therapeutic hypothermia, seizures, and oesophageal atresia /fistulas including genetic or metabolic abnormalities. Many of these illnesses have a very long course toward healing and recovery before oral feeding is introduced.

Lactation Consultants in the NICU are well positioned to ensure support of the family and medical team along the way, to optimize successful oral feeding upon discharge home.

This talk will look at some of the ways that parental presence and mom’s milk is therapeutic in the NICU, and how the progression of breastfeeding can be the ticket to going home.