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Category Archives: Learning

Bon appétit, bébé! {Myth Busters}

Welcome back to our series on feeding Baby! If you missed the other posts, you can click to read the “intro” and “how and when to feed baby.” If you’re all caught up…read on! =)

making real food

The Munchies

When thinking through how you’ll begin feeding your baby, you may want to take a look at which produce is the “dirtiest.” The EWG has an excellent list of items ranging from the dirtiest to the cleanest. (If you’re unfamiliar with why organic is often super important, you may want to read my recent post documenting how our food has become a literal science experiment of nastiness!)

Once I knew what was in our food, I just couldn’t see how putting that into their bodies made any sense: chemicals, viruses, unknown DNA strands? Yeah, this is a recipe for disaster. A recipe spelling: ADHD, asthma, allergies, organ damage, autism, sterility, etc.

Of course, I can’t control everything about my children and certainly not every particle of their food, unless I grew it myself. So I simply did the best I could in making choices today that will affect their tomorrows. And I trust God to give me both wisdom and help me to walk in peace for decisions like these.

So there’s kinda a lot of food out there – what should I start with?

Glad you asked! Actually, I do hear this question a lot. There are so many contradicting voices, blogs, moms and books, aren’t there? Here is some of what I have learned:

Pass on the Grains

Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal or some other type of grain. But recent research has been shown that this is not necessarily the way to go. Babies actually don’t have the ability to digest grains until after they turn two!

What?

I know, right? I was shocked. I thought everybody fed their baby SOME type of cereal from the get-go. And baby formulas are chock-full of grains. The Weston A. Price Foundation (which I looooove!) explains why this shouldn’t be the case:

Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby’s small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.)

Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood GMOsof allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby’s immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction.

Can anyone say gluten-intolerant? Yup. This is often the result of feeding grains so early, albeit years down the road.

My babies got small amounts of formula during the months I was working to bring my supply up to breastfeed all three of them. And I’ve spent the past year protecting them from having to work overtime to digest something with which they don’t know what to do. And you know what? I don’t miss it! No need for goldfish crackers, Cheerios or toast! There are plenty of whole, real food options to feed babies, instead! Eventually I’ll start them on sprouted grains, but…that’s a topic for another time. =) Suffice it to say, grains are not only not necessary as first foods – they can be very harmful for babies!

The Chicken or the Egg

The most allergenic properties lie in the egg white. However, it is very, very, very beneficial for babies to eat egg yolks. If your family has a history of egg allergies, it would be wise to hold off till at least a year in giving your baby the complete egg.

The recent dismissal of eggs as a super-food due to high cholesterol levels is easily explained away: cholesterol is vital for babies’ development. Seriously. Studies also show that babies who eat egg yolks also have higher levels of iron! So there should be no need for nasty, hard-to-digest and bottled iron supplements

But, please consider farm-fresh, pasture-raised eggs over store-bought eggs. The difference is really quite massive. Eggs from the store are laid by hormone-shocked, grain-fed chickens who spend all day in a tiny crate laying more eggs per day than they were intended to. Sounds yummy, right? Eat up, baby!

The Better Butter

Our generation has been brain-washed to think that fats are bad. Well, this is partly true. The processed fats we typically consume on an, sometimes, hourly basis are bad. True. But there are several good fats that serve many purposes in a baby’s growth and development.

Coconut oil is one of these. It is personally my favorite because of its versatility (lotion, toothpaste ingredient, cooking oil, conditioner, etc.). It also is high in good fats and is a stable saturated fat. It is recommended to give small amounts to smaller babies to help them gain weight. And it helps with digestion, as well. If your baby is on formula it can be especially helpful. Add a ½ tsp of coconut oil to the bottle and you should soon see constipation disappear!

Spice of Life

saltThis one will really throw ya. Are you ready? Positive? Here goes:

Salt is good for babies.

No, really! However, don’t reach for the salt shaker on the table to season your baby’s food. Most likely you and I grew up similarly – eating chemically processed and super-refined salt. And this is where it gets a bad rap. There are virtually no health benefits from this kind of salt. The unrefined salt, though, provides our babies with much needed nutrients for brain development.

If it still makes you nervous to salt your baby’s egg yolk, stick with me and I’ll show you how. =)

And as far as other spices and seasonings? Go for it! As long as there’s no MSG or other fake ingredients, sprinkle away! My babies got a whopping amount of hot and spicy foods while I was pregnant and nursing – why stop when they are the ones eating the food? Herbs? Yes, please! A little cayenne? Why not?

Out with the Old

If it seems like everything you are reading here is new, it really isn’t. A generation or two ago, this was just a way of life! There were no baby cereals or Cheerios or mini hotdogs (gag) on shelves in the General Store. There was only real food. The kind we really do want to feed our babies – if we think about it.

Next week I’ll be discussing how I got the babies started and with which foods. Oh, and I’ll share how I skipped past having picky eaters!

photo credit: atmtx via photopin cc

 

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Parenting is…

large_3566194663 (2)Incredible. Overwhelming. Exhausting. Terrifying. Challenging. Rewarding. Tricky. Testing.

In a word…hard.

What parent hasn’t felt desperate for help, answers, and wisdom in knowing how to raise their child(ren)?

Which of us hasn’t watched a screaming baby who’s been fed, changed, and burped and yet refuses to be calmed or cuddled…at 3am?

What parent hasn’t wondered what in the world to do with a toddler who refuses to go near the potty…and considered how bad it would be for him to actually go to college with Huggies?

Who hasn’t stared back at an 8 year old with an attitude the size of Texas and wondered how she got you to argue back with her for the past five minutes?

Which father hasn’t doubted his ability to lead his daughter through the murky waters of dating relationships?

And what mother hasn’t dreaded the learning curve of not overstepping her married son’s new role?

Exactly.

So since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d let you know about this two-day event coming up about which I am super excited:

Redemptive Parenting

428538_477135709027855_805128574_nJoin Benny and Sheree Phillips, a pastor and wife with seven children, eleven grandchildren and authors of five books on parenting and related topics, as they host “Redemptive Parenting”, a free two-day event that will equip and envision parents of kids of all ages.

“I remember being a young parent and drawing on the wisdom and experience of other seasoned parents. Now that Sheree and I have grandchildren, we believe more than ever that parents need to make use of good counsel and effective resources to be successful. This seminar is designed to equip parents to embrace the task God has given them. We want to model and communicate the grace that God has shown us through the gospel to our children,” — Benny Phillips

The seminar will take place Friday night and Saturday morning, June 14-15 and will feature a session for women by Sheree Phillips, who homeschooled seven children, co-authored two books with Benny and wrote three books of her own on the topics of womanhood and motherhood. The schedule also allots time for an bennypreachinginteractive period of questions and answers. The seminar promises an opportunity for interaction with seasoned parents who have experienced the full range of parental failures and successes.

About the Speakers: Benny Phillips has been a pastor for 33 years and married to Sheree for 40 years. Benny and Sheree co-authored Raising Kids Who Hunger for God and Walking With the Wise. Sheree also authored Mothers At the Heart of Life, A Royal Calling and The High Calling of Motherhood.

So pretty much this is an event for anyone who is a parent, right? No matter how you got your kids, when you got them, why you got them (ha!) or where…this is for you. And me. For us!

You can register here for this free event, hosted by Redeemer Church in Lake Nona.

Whether or not you’re local, this video will hopefully encourage you. Weary parents, take heart: there is grace for us and God is at work!

photo credit: hapal via photopin cc

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {How and When to Feed Baby}

In last week’s introduction to this series (Bon appétit, bébé!), I shared some of the questions I am most frequently asked with regards to feeding babies. So, I’ll begin by letting you in on the little journey I have been on for…oh, about 15 months now.

making real food

Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…

I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?

And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)

I discovered two major things:

  1. Babies don’t need solid foods for the first year of their lives.
  2. Cereal (aka, grain) is empty, nutrition-less and potentially harmful for babies at this point!

We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).

Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).

Signs of Readinessfirst meal

So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:

  • The baby can hold her head up and can sit unassisted. This is very important because there is much less likelihood that the baby will be able to handle and control the eating process safely.
  • The tongue-thrust reflex has disappeared. If this reflex is still present, the baby will be unable to swallow foods and could potentially choke. This reflex is God-given to protect the baby from choking hazards and usually disappears between 4-6 months.
  • The baby is able to chew. Yep. This most likely will mean a delay in the eating-adventures… again, probably after the six month mark.
  • The baby has a decent “pincer” grasp. Can the baby pick up small objects or food with his thumb and forefinger? Or is she still trying to pick items up with her fingers and the palm of her hand?
  • The baby tries to eat food off your plate. It is actually not uncommon for the baby to watch your every move at a mealtime. But, remember, the baby is curious about everything and may not be showing actual signs of readiness for eating.

All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)

Not Signs of Readiness

Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:

  • The baby is waking up more during the night. There is no proof that feeding the baby solids will enable him to sleep better (or longer) during the night. The baby is simply not yet consuming enough solids (ever fed a baby and watched how most of the food ended up everywhere except in the baby’s tummy? =). The baby may simply be going through a growth spurt (which will end, mama!) and need some extra time breastfeeding.
  • The baby has reached X amount of weight (sometimes it’s recommended by the time he’s doubled his birth weight). This is especially untrue for babies born prematurely! If I had followed this recommendation, my 3 lbs. 12 oz. babies would have been eating solids at six weeks old!!! Even for infants born full-term, though, this recommendation makes no sense. KellyMom states, “It’s the maturity of the digestive tract and baby’s developmental readiness that makes the difference, not baby’s weight.
  • The baby is too small. Nope. Solid foods are quite inferior to the calories found in the same amount of breastmilk! Food simply cannot compare to the quality of nutrients she is receiving from breastmilk…even into the toddler stage!
  • The baby needs more iron than is found in breastmilk. Possibly. An easy way to determine this is through the blood test done at most pediatricians’ offices around six months. If the baby is, in fact, iron deficient, there are wonderfully iron-rich foods that can be given to the baby. But most breastfed babies do not have low levels of iron until well past the six month mark!

At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!

Baby-led Weaning or Purees?

A yummy lunch with Granny!

A yummy lunch with Granny!

If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.

I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.

What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)

So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!

The poll on making babyfood is currently still open: :nom, nom, nom:

Sources: KellyMom, Wholesome Baby Food

Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.

 

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Mother’s Day Is…

Mother’s Day Is…

Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.

However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

Breakfast with my three fave M&Ms ever!

wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
getting snuggles.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
midnight-waking babies.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
changing diapers.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.

Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.

Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

Ohmysoul, I love their sticky, cranky, smiley, giggling faces!

My sweet girl!

My sweet girl!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

Baby Girl can whistle. Oh, yes she can!

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

The babies began passing out the cards to the mommies.

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Baby Girl took her job very seriously. =)

Apparently Noah is confused...

Apparently Noah is confused…

Who knows? =)

Who knows? =)

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

Oh, how I love the three who made me a mommy!

How do you see your children honoring you on this Ordinary Day?

 

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Bon appétit, bébé! {overview}

One of the topics I receive questions about most frequently (besides “are they natural?” =) has to do with how I made baby food for the babies. Now, I’ve only been feeding the triplets for about a year, but during that year I have made a lot of baby food. A lot. And, if you know me, I’ve done more than a little research on this region of parenting – nutritional aspects, cost analyses, time efficiency, product reviews, etc. So, I am happy to finally be able to share my efforts and experiences with you!

making real food

Some of the most frequent questions I hear from you are:

  • When did you first give solids to the babies and what did you give them?
  • How did you decide what to give them?
  • How did you keep them from being picky eaters?
  • Did you do baby-led weaning or puréed baby foods?

You asked, I’ll answer. =) Additionally, over the next several weeks I’ll be tackling the following topics, as well. Topics like:

  • Organic vs. non-organic
  • Cereal – why it’s not so good for Baby
  • Baby against mommy – how to deal with a picky eater
  • To season or not to season – is salt really bad for babies?
  • Coconut oil – what’s the big deal?
  • The egg question
  • The only equipment you really need (skip the Baby Brezza!)

And of course I’ll share a meal plan, shopping list, baby-friendly recipes…and how to prepare two weeks’ worth of food in two hours. That’s right. Two weeks’ worth or 45 meals…in two hours.

So join us each Wednesday as we dive into the world of feeding Baby…real food.

Did I miss anything? What would you like to see discussed?

 

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A Little Bitty Garden

Garden

Maybe someday my garden will actually look like this!!!

That’s what I have now! I actually am really excited and feel so super grown-up! I have always hated anything to do with yard-work, much preferring to be in the house accomplishing something. I guess I just hate bugs and dirt and…the unknown?

But now with three little mouths to feed (that really can eat more than I do!), I am desperately looking for ways I can decrease our costs while still serving up wholesome, real foods. So, I turn to the world of gardening. Did you know it’s far more difficult than planting something in some dirt and watering every day??? There’s a whole science to it. Ok, so I really did know that, but I didn’t know as much of the science as I know now…and there’s a lot to learn.

Last  year I attempted tomatoes. No good. Snails got every single one. Or the birds. Or the deer that roam in our neighborhood. (Yes, neighborhood. We also have several black bears, racoons and lots of other wildlife!) This year I’m attempting just a few things: lettuce and spinach and tomatoes (suuuuckerrrr) and some herbs. I really don’t see how the costs will decrease, though, unless I grow massive quantities (and am successful, obviously!) since the darn start-up costs were tremendous!!! These little seeds want better nutrient-dense soil than our little Florida dirt has to offer. Great. So I bought soil. Dirt. I actually paid money for dirt:

“I’m sorry, you said the DIRT is how much?!?!”

But such are the sacrifices of a gardener. Or so I hear. So this lettuce better grow. And I’m talking it better grow lots. Or I’ll have one unhappy Farmer McGregor…and I won’t be so thrilled, either! So, anyone got any tips or tricks for me? Great websites or books (preferably with pictures and one sentence per page =)? I’m not afraid to beg: pleeeeeeeeeeeease help me!

Oh, and don’t laugh at me. Or my little garden. Stopit! I can hear you!!! =)

Grow, little seeds, grow!!!....I said GROW!

Grow, little seeds, grow!!!….I said GROW!

A load of pot. Kidding.

Cilantro!

Cilantro!

The very expensive dirt.

The very expensive dirt.

Did you know that you have three more opportunities to vote before the Top 25 Moms of Multiples contest closes? Three days. Three votes. Three babies. It’s SUPER easy – click the button and scroll down till you see Growing Up Triplets and vote for us…once a day, till May 8 at 4pm!!! Thank you!!

photo credit: Distant Hill via photopin cc

 

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What To Expect – In the NICU {an interview, part 2}

Welcome back! We’re discussing what parents can expect during a NICU stay and are interviewing a couple of wonderful nurses our babies had during our stay. If you missed Part 1 of this interview, you can catch up really quickly here. All caught up? Great! Ok, let’s jump back in:

Laura and Mandy

Laura is above. Mandy is below, with the newest addition to their family: Ainsley!

So how beneficial is kangaroo-care, really?

Mandy: Very beneficial! It can contribute to a decrease in hospital stay for your baby(ies). Just ask the nurse if it is a good day to hold your baby. There are some days where it is not the best day or time to hold the baby due to medical reasons, such as excessive apnea/bradycardia spells, recent work up for infection, general instability, blood transfusion, etc., so it is important to ask the nurse caring for your baby if it is appropriate to hold your baby that day.

What do parents do if the nurses say they can’t touch or hold their baby(ies)?

Laura helping me give Noah a bath for the first time - under the warming lights!

Laura helping me give Noah a bath for the first time – under the warming lights!

Laura: There will be times this request is made, occasionally after a stressful day for the babies, due to a medical procedure or situation. Your baby may need a period of rest. Ask when it will be advisable to hold the baby again. And if you feel the current situation doesn’t warrant a no-touch time, feel free to ask the charge nurse for another RN to check into the situation. This way, even though you may really want to hold your baby, you can feel confident that for the time being it is best that the baby rest undisturbed. While touch can be SO beneficial, there are times when it can physically evoke stress responses, visible through the baby’s increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.

Mandy: I agree – usually there is a good reason if the nurse asks you to not hold your baby that day. Most times it is still ok to touch your baby. There are ways to touch a preemie without disturbing them (talking very quietly, minimal stroking or “petting”, etcc) and your nurse can teach you how to appropriately touch. It is important to remember that they might look tiny and cute, but they are very sick and this should be respected.

If a mom plans to breastfeed, what can she do if the baby is too early to breastfeed?

David giving a bottle - before we knew what we were doing!

David giving a bottle – before we knew what we were doing!

Laura: A lactation consultant and/or your bedside nurse will work with you to facilitate education regarding pumping breast milk.  Breast milk will always be a first choice. Initially it may be through a feeding tube that is inserted through the nose or mouth that leads to the stomach. This may look and sound scary but this is very common early on in the NICU. As the baby grows, a nipple can then be introduced, typically a bottle and then the breast, as the baby is ready.

Mandy: Breast milk is crucial for premature babies to receive. In fact, if the baby is born less than 1500 grams (or less than 30 weeks) and the mom is unable to provide breast milk, we use donated breast milk for the babies! Early feedings are very important for the babies, and breast milk helps them to tolerate these early feedings much better. There are antibodies in breast milk that cannot be found anywhere else. These antibodies help premature babies, who have a very lowered immune system (think: chemotherapy patient), to fight off infections. Infections are one of a premature baby’s most common complications.

But the babies are so tiny sometimes. What can a mom do if she can’t figure out breastfeeding?

One of the nurses feeding one of the babies while David and I fed two others - it took all of us!

One of the nurses feeding one of the babies while David and I fed two others – it took all of us!

Laura: Breastfeeding a tiny baby is going to be a journey! Together with your nurse and lactation, we will help as much as we can, based on the baby’s abilities at the time. As the baby grows and you become more comfortable, the process should become increasingly more successful. This may take months. Pump as you can to maintain your supply, and practice frequently with the babies. Lactation appointments after discharge (NICU baby or not) can be very helpful in supporting this oh so wonderful, but delicate process.

Mandy: We are here to help! Premature babies have the added challenge of not having the innate process of sucking, swallowing, and breathing in proper order yet, and must also learn how to complete this task. Breastfeeding can be harder for a premature baby initially, because it is more work to learn how to latch, and they have to produce more negative pressure with their suck to extract the milk, whereas the milk from a bottle comes out much more easily. However, it is much easier for a premature infant to breastfeed, once these tasks are learned, due to the fact that they are able to regulate the flow of milk coming out much easier while breastfeeding. I have found that it is a much slower start, but breastfed babies tend to learn how to eat faster than all bottle fed babies, due to the positive experience they get from it. Be available for feedings as often as possible, as the more time at the breast, the sooner it will be learned. Initially, the baby will only be eating once a day, then twice a day, etc. as they do better with it, so be sure to tell the nurse you are interested in breastfeeding for those sessions. Bottles will be used to supplement afterward, and for any feedings where the mother is unavailable. But again, any time at the breast is a learning experience, and the more, the better.

What happens when the parents aren’t there?

Laura: This is a hard thought, I’m sure. Having to walk away from your tiny babe will be one of the hardest things, every.single.time. But my, oh my, your baby has a skilled set of caregivers…the best baby sitters you will ever have! Your baby will continue to feed every 3-4 hours, receive needed therapies, treatments, and medications. Most hospitals also have volunteers whose job is to cuddle babies when they are in need of some TLC. You are also welcome to call at any time of day for an update on your baby!

Mandy: Also, assessments are completed every six hours on your baby (blood pressure, temperature, etc.). We change diapers every 3-6 hours, depending on how stable the baby is (the less stable the baby, the less frequently we will be touching them, in order to provide rest). If anything extremely out of the ordinary is going on with your baby, we will contact you.

As a NICU mom, I think one of the biggest unspoken questions I had was “do you enjoy taking care of my babies?

My NICU Visitor stickers for nearly a month!

My NICU Visitor stickers for nearly a month!

Laura: YES! So much. As mentioned above, this is a common thread among NICU nurses. We love our babies, and even become protective over them and their well-being. We want to see them grow and thrive! NICU staff turnover is the lowest in the hospital; it’s said once you go NICU you never go back.  This is not to say you will love all of your nurses, or feel everyone is super friendly, all the time.  I hope that’s your experience, but know that even nurses I didn’t care for personally as coworkers— are still people I would still trust with my baby.

Mandy: Most all of the nurses in NICU have a true passion for what we do, and love our job (or we wouldn’t be there!). Take comfort in knowing that we treat your baby just as we would our own, and really invest our hearts and souls into the care of your baby…and you. Your bad days are our bad days (even if we have our professional mask on). Yes, we go home and cry – we feel your emotions, too. We laugh with you, cry with you, worry with you. We feel these things because we love what we do!

Lastly, what is one thing you wish you could broadcast to every parent going into the NICU?

Our First Family Picture!

Our First Family Picture! The babies were one week old!

Laura: Ok it’s more than one thing… (1) Pray hard. This is a time where you will quickly realize that any control you thought you had is totally gone. Trust your baby to the Lord. (2) I am always encouraged when I see families on the other side of the NICU, with toddlers running around. It warms my heart so much, and reminds me why I do what I do. The NICU experience can be intense, and life changing – for sure—but it is a season. It will not last forever. (3) Be cautious of what you research online and whose stories you listen to. Every experience is SO different, every baby comes with unique circumstances— and, chances are, the way things played out for someone else’s baby is not going to be your story.  Work closely with your caregivers to receive the most accurate information about your baby’s specific circumstances. Family meetings are available for further discussion and education—you can get good one on one time with the provider this way.

Mandy: Take it ONE day at a time! It is going to be the wildest rollercoaster ride of your life, but taking each day as it comes helps to deal with it better. The nurses and doctors are here for you, and it’s important to remember that we are on your side. Please ask lots of questions (write them down as you think of them) if you don’t understand anything, instead of keeping it inside and letting it upset you. We are here to help, and want to help! Be there for your baby any way you can, but also try to get away to keep yourself emotionally centered.

Wow! I hope this interview is helpful to you (feel free to share with others who are in the NICU or may be entering a NICU stay!). This has brought back a flood of memories, some good and some bad. But they are parts of our babies’ lives – parts of our lives as we learned to trust God in new ways. Mandy and Laura were two of many wonderful nurses who made our month-long stay just that much easier.

Thank you so much, ladies, for serving countless families by taking the time to do this!

The babies at Easter - 18 months old!

The babies at Easter – 18 months old!

Were/are you a NICU parent? How did a nurse affect your stay? I’d love to hear your NICU stories!!! Or do you have a question for Mandy and Laura?

Would you click the link above to vote for us? And if you want, you can vote every day (from multiple devices!) through May 8! Thank you SO much for helping us out! =)

 

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