So I am off to bed soon but I wanted to post something quickly.
When a woman gives birth to a baby one of her first mommy moments many times is feeding your new baby. We all know that breast is best of course but things are a bit more complicated when your baby is several floors away in the nicu. Studies have found that breast milk for preemies is even more important than it is for a term baby. Hours after Little E's birth a nurse wheeled in a breast pump and taught me how to use it. It would be a few days before Little E would get her first taste of milk delivered to her on a q-tip. Over the next few days E was introduced to more and more milk one ml at a time through her feeding tube. I was strongly encouraged to pump so that I could provide food for my tiny little baby. In some ways it became my mission as it was really the only way I could "mother" my baby. I could hold Ella only for a short amount of time every day and contact was limited to her care times every 3 hours. The only way during this time that I could feel connected to her between these brief moments was when I was pumping. I think is some ways pumping and my ability to make food for Little E defined me as her mother even after we were discharged from the nicu. I pumped for almost 12 months and while I would not change my decision to keep pumping I will tell you that it was hard. I mean really hard, I mean so unbelievably hard. I would never have been able to do it without the encouragement from the lactation consultants and nurses in the nicu. For that and so many other things I am thankful.
In honor of prematurity awareness month Medela is giving $5000 in pumping supplies and education to the nicu who has the highest votes in thier virtual milk drive. So please go and vote for Brigham and Woman's Hospital in Boston MA zip 02115 in Little E's honor and give the best start to a preemie born too soon and let a new preemie mom feel like a mom when almost all her roles as a mom have been put on hold.