World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated each year the first week of August to promote and bring attention to providing breast milk to babies, by direct feeding at the breast or pumping and providing expressed breast milk.
Breast milk is especially desired for the opiate exposed neonate (OEN). It provides majority of all infant nutritional needs, can bring closeness of mom to baby, gives mom a sense of connection and success, may provide some physical advantages to mom, may decrease withdrawal for the infant, easier for the infant to digest, passes immunities to baby and many other positives.
Most infants may need to be supplemented the first few days due to the increased expenditure of calories because of withdrawal. Adding more calories with formula and volume is short term until her own milk increases. Each infant is unique and evaluated for a feeding plan that will suit their individual needs.
We strongly encourage mom to begin pumping as soon as possible after delivery. Infants may have a disorganized suck or a difficult time latching to breast. Or, mom may not feel comfortable with infant at breast but providing breast milk to her baby is important.
Moms that are not eligible to breastfeed or provide EBM are moms that have relapsed within 30 days of delivery or moms that are not in active treatment and do not desire to stop their drug use.
Providing breast milk to OEN babies is beneficial to mom and baby, at breast or by pumping. Supporting this particular dyad in a caring open atmosphere where mom feels she can succeed, we can help to give this mom and baby a great beginning.
Betty McDaniel-Thomas, RN, IBCLC is currently a Lactation Consultant at Vanderbilt Medical Center and Monroe Carroll Jr. Children’s Hospital, and is also an active TIPQC member and stakeholder.