By Jacob Hedgespeth-
When Conor was born my wife had made the decision to nurse Conor, which I backed 100%. So we started pumpingsoon after birth, Guys I say we because it is a team effort. If your wife is going to be successful at nursing in the NICU you have to be a helper. Anything from cleaning pump parts to making milk runs to your little blessing. I was on milk runs every three hours while Taryn was admitted in Norton Hospital for 9 days. Sleep? Are you kidding me, that’s a thing of the past while you as a new father and husband are trying to keep your family afloat in a NICU!
The hardest thing I can remember were the 3AM trips from our room in Norton Hospital across the street to Kosair NICU. Just because by that time you had made several already, and the lack of sleep really catches up about that time. But I always think of the footprints in the sand poem. There were many nights I know God was carrying me from hospital to hospital, hallway to hallway, and from my wife to my son. This isn’t easy, but it can be done fellas! I say all that to get back to my big point here. If your wife is on the fence about breastfeeding or has made her mind up to nurse, just do one thing HELP HER!
You have no idea the amount of impact your words and actions have on a woman whom has had this important decision thrown her way most of the time unexpectedly. We nursed as long as we could, HELLP syndrome did a number on my wife’s body, I felt we were lucky to have been able to nurse as long as we did. We came home and a month after that we made the choice to put Conor on Similac Neosure which as most of you will know is a high calorie formula and is very expensive. We just got the news at Conor’s one year checkup that he can be taken off Neosure and placed on whole milk. Believe me, my wallet enjoys it but there is a big part of me that hurts to lose that little baby that I held for so long during those late nights at the NICU.
But seeing him hit the 50th percentile in weight for his age was amazing. Here comes the full circle of this post and I credit his awesome milestones, his gains, and all that has been in his story on the great start that me and my wife gave him by nursing. Remember fellas, always be helpful, if your wife thinks she is not making enough milk, research milk enhancers, and call the lactation nurses in to help. Be more than a husband and father in the NICU. Be a hero.