Milestones look very different for NICU babies and their families than they do for typical families who do not endure a NICU stay. For a NICU parent who isn’t caring for their baby full time at home, feeding their baby that first bottle in the NICU is one of the acts of care that helps them really feel like a parent. These NICU milestones are milestones NICU parents hold dear. Read on as families share their experiences giving their NICU baby a bottle for the first time. Then keep reading to find out how you can celebrate your NICU baby’s milestones with our NICU Milestone Beads.
I remember being so happy and excited because I knew it was one step closer to discharge. I remember seeing how big the bottle was compared to his little head. When he took the bottle I was so scared because of his bradys. He would get so cozy and fall asleep. I was always afraid to feed him and would want the nurse to feed him because he would do better with her.
Lizzette V., California, mom to Jordan, born at 32 weeks, 1 day
Emma Lucille was a feeder/grower, so all the nurses thought she would finish her first bottle with no problems. She did not finish that first bottle, but she did finish all the rest after that. She just needed to practice! We still have the bottle, and of course the beautiful video.
Angela A., Texas, mom to Emma Lucille, born at 28 weeks
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We were told about the importance of breast milk for preemies, and that became the one thing I could do for Emmett. But pumping while he was in hospital was so lonely. I was happy to be providing him with something beneficial but pumping became a reminder that he was away from me and the uncertainty made it all the more painful. When I was finally able to give him a bottle of my breast milk, I was able to finally really connect with the baby we created and it was the most wonderfully amazing feeling.
Marta I., Texas, mom to Emmett, born at 29 weeks
With every milestone- big and small, there was a flurry of pics and mass texts to all the people following his journey. Now, we often look back and remember as we are reminded of the anniversaries in our Google album. I looked forward to getting his beads each week!
Lauren R., Texas, mom to Bennett, born at 26 weeks
I had always wanted to breastfeed, but with Easton coming early that didn’t happen. When your baby is in the NICU, it feels so helpless. I didn’t even feel like a mother because I couldn’t do anything new mothers “normally” do: diapers, snuggling, feeding. Feeding Easton his first bottle in the NICU was such a milestone because I finally felt like a mom!
Kassie S., Missouri, mom to Easton, born at 32 weeks
NICU parents already don’t get to do a lot of things for their babies, but NICU dads get to do even less. They didn’t carry the baby, they can’t pump for them, or nurse them. But they can bottle feed them. So Keaton got to do the first bottle feed for Esmé, and he still cherishes that memory.
Kailee H., Texas, mom to Esmé, born at 31 weeks
It gave me hope for going home, and being able to care for him all on my own. I celebrated by continuing to talk to him about every step we were doing. I reminded him how loved he is and how his big sister can’t wait to meet him. Each little thing I will never forget!
Malia E., Oregon, mom to Ryker, born at 34 weeks, 6 days