One of the most exciting moments for a parent of a NICU baby is when you can start feeding the baby from the bottle. Most are not able to do the breast feeding due to the difficulty latching on, but what a joy to feed your baby even if by bottle whether it is your breast milk or specialized formula. There are different opinions in the medical community around feeding readiness. My passion for the neonatal intensive care unit arose from having a premature infant myself. My son was given breast milk initially via NG Tube until he was ready to try a bottle. Initially the bottle feeding was started once per day and increased and they would leave the bottle feeding for when the parents were there to feed the baby to create that bonding experience. One day I arrived at the NICU on a weekend ready to spend the entire day with my son. I was excited to feed him several times per day, but I was greeted by the shift nurse telling me that I was doing it wrong. She took over the feeding entirely and when the rest of the feedings occurred that day, she took over stating that I was making the baby aspirate due to my inexperience. I was only allowed to hold him. When change of shift occurred she said okay time to go, I stated that we were in a private room and the nurses close the door so that we do not have to leave during change of shift. We were in a private room because at one point the baby had developed a hospital borne infection called serratia and would remain in a private room until discharge. Staying in the room was an arrangement that I made with upper management due to the fact that I worked full-time as did my husband and we did not have much visit time with him during the week. She proceeded about her business and ripped the baby right out of my arms.
I cried for days until Monday came and I made a complaint to my head nurse who assured me that this was documented in my chart right on the front that I was allowed to stay whenever I needed to. She showed me the chart and stated that she would speak to the nurse about her abruptness. The weekend nurse apologized to us a few days later, but by then my feelings were already crushed. It was later discovered that the baby was aspirating even when he was fed via g-tube it had nothing to do with how I was holding or feeding him. It was inevitable. In the end, it was decided that the baby would have a Mickey G-tube inserted surgically for feedings to expedite his discharge to home.
As nursing professionals we need to be sensitive to the needs of our patients and their families. We should always read the chart prior to walking in the baby’s room and talking with the family to see if there are any new changes since last you saw the baby. How could the nurse that was in charge of my baby rip him right out of my hands and ask us to leave.? When you look at how he was being fed here vs those those nurses that truly cared about bonding .
These nurses were Kaleb’s primary day and night nurses…sheer joy to watch nurses caring about their patients….
Written by Rosie Moore, RN, BSN, LNC