Expressing for your baby

While in NICU, I found it very hard to express milk for my girls as it all was new to me. I have never seen someone using a syringe to express in, never seen a baby fed through a tube, and it felt like I was the only one doing that. I imagine other moms might feel the same. But in reality, many mothers express the milk for their babies not only because they were born prematurely, but for other countless reasons, with a common aim, for their babies to have the benefits of mother’s milk.

I attach some of those reasons below, as mentioned by mothers who answered my question about reasons for expressing, intending to normalise this way of feeding, so mothers in NICU, and not only, will not feel lonely and unsupported, but rather part of a big picture that comprises the expressing. Thus, reasons for expressing are such as:

  • “overly sensitive boobs“,
  • “he just wouldn’t latch at all we tried everything“,
  • “high palate“,
  • “tongue tie“,
  • “cleft lip“,
  • “breastfeeding incredibly painful“,
  • “very lazy on the boob and didn’t want to suck“,
  • “trouble transferring milk“,
  • “given poor advice in the hospital I just started pumping“,
  • “severe tortocolis, silent reflux and colic “,
  • “poor muscle tone“,
  • “limited support due to COVID “,
  • “for my own convenience and so that others can help out with looking after and feeding the baby“,
  • “Didn’t want to breastfeed but wanted my son to have breast milk“,
  • “Painful and negative breastfeeding experience, lack of support, flat nipples, really bad mastitis. “,
  • “Pumped and donated after a surrogate birth“,
  • “couldn’t emotionally cope with feeding“,
  • “to keep a close eye on how much she was eating“,
  • “She found a bottle so much easier, I found a bottle so much easier“.

Lastly, I would kindly encourage mothers to seek peer support, such as Facebook Groups or Charities and Organisations that aim to support newborn infants’ parents and provide accurate information. For example:

  • Exclusively Pumping UK Mums,
  • From One Mum To Another,
  • Bliss Charity.

 Ask any questions, no matter how silly they might sound, and remember that parenting is all about making choices that work for YOU and YOUR family!

Photo source: Pinterest


A different kind of Christmas

Christmas is such a special celebration reminding about Jesus`s birth, but also about the reason for His behind it. In our culture, Christmas is about giving glory to Jesus, bringing families and friends together, about traditions and kindness. The last place someone would like to spend such a particular period is in the hospital. However, it happens.

When we found out Victoria`s and Aurora`s due date, which supposed to be 10th of December, we dreamt for a magical Christmas. However, their premature birth forced our family to be in a hospital. They were three months old, still on a lot of respiratory support, cycling between CPAP and Vapotherm, and entirely fed by NG tube. For these, we did not expect them to come home very soon, but rather hoped they would be stable, without any colds or viruses.

It was a pleasant surprise to see the staff getting ready for the celebration and about Santa Clauses` visit, with beautiful presents. Just like the other parents from that hospital, we received a book about the journey of prematurity, a Nivea cream and some soft tissues. The girls received a knitted blanket, Santa Claus toy and a sweet. For Christmas Eve, my husband was in the hospital, and I was home with Maria. We could not get together because of the winter policy. Next day, both my husband and I took the first bus in the morning and went to the hospital. When we arrived, we found Aurora sleeping peacefully and Victoria awake, like she was waiting for us. They were delighted to continue their period of sleep on our chests. Following days turned into same days before Christmas. Same routine, same sleepless nights, same desire for the girls to come home, but more painful knowing they had to spend their first Christmas in an isolation room, without even seeing outside, without a Christmas tree, but most of all, being so sick.

December 2017
December 2017

Throughout those days, we realised that we are not the only ones, that NICU was filled with other parents and their children, some of them sick, some of them too small. We realised that nobody is rich or poor, while in the hospital and that we shared the same feelings. And then we thought that it was girls` first Christmas in hospital, but we prayed and hoped for many to come at home, which was very feasible. However, some families were aware that it was the last Christmas with their loved ones. How could somebody endure that thought?

Now, after two years, Victoria and Aurora are beautiful, clever, though and playful girls, who enjoy and get involved in everything means preparation for Christmas, from decorating the Christmas tree, to cooking or singing carols with their sister. Now, we look back and see our dreams reality, our miracles filling our lives with joy. It felt like they will never get here, but they did, we all did.

Aurora, Maria and Victoria (from left to right)
December 2019

From a NICU parent to all NICU parents being in the hospital now, I would kindly ask you to hold on to your faith, to your hope, to your strength. God never gives more than you can carry. This Christmas might be sad, but it is only one of so many to come yet. It is horrible to see your children unwell, but you would never be happier than when they will get better. After everything goes, you will think that there is nothing in the world your children cannot overcome. Look after yourselves. They need you healthy and strong. Your voices are their encouragement song. Your arms are their whole world. Your smiles are their best treatment. You are all they need for Christmas!