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Feeding Your Baby in the RNICU

Many babies in the RNICU receive their first nutrition as special fluids through a needle placed in a vein.  This is because some babies are too immature to breathe, swallow and suck all at the same time.  The intestine may need time to adapt to the new environment.  When your baby is ready, he or she may be fed breast milk or formula through a tube inserted through the nose or mouth into the stomach.  As your baby can tolerate, he or she will learn to breastfeed and/or drink from a bottle.  You will be kept informed of your baby's feeding progress and schedule.  We encourage you to participate in the feeding and care of your baby.

Breastfeeding your Baby

Breast milk is the preferred form of nutrition for almost every newborn.  It contains a unique combination of substances that will help your baby to grow and develop.  In addition, breast milk is the only food that contains substances which can help protect your baby from infections and strengthen his or her immune system.

Your decision to breastfeed your baby will require a commitment from you, as well as support from your family and friends.  Our healthcare team is dedicated to assisting all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

Even though your baby may not be ready to breastfeed immediately, it is recommended that you begin to use an electric breast pump as soon as you have sufficiently recovered from delivery.  This will ensure that you will eventually establish a sufficient supply of breast milk and will also help with breastfeeding.  A nurse will assist you the operation of the breast pump, as well as with breast milk storage.  Books on breastfeeding are available in the Parents Resource Room.  We also encourage you to watch the breastfeeding programs on the Newborn Channel #75 in the hospital television system.