Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
Your infant's admission to the NICU should not change your breastfeeding goals. Lactation consultants are available to provide you with the support you need to meet those goals.
Nutrition is critical to the development of premature infants. Most premature babies are provided nutrition through a tube (gavage feeding) until they are old enough to breastfeed. If you choose to breastfeed, our lactation consultants will help you establish and maintain a milk supply with a breast pump. This milk can be stored until your infant is ready to nurse. Lactation consultants can also assist you with the transition from gavage (tube) feeding to breastfeeding. Some premature infants need extra time to learn to breastfeed.
We hope you will consider the many benefits of breastfeeding:
- Breast milk is most easily tolerated and a preferred source of nutrition for premature and sick infants.
- Studies suggest that breast milk reduces the incidence of some infections in both premature and full-term infants.
- Many mothers tell us that providing breast milk is a comfort to them during this difficult time - it's something that only you can do for your baby.
Lactation consultants are available to you while your infant is in the NICU.
We also provide:
- Prenatal breastfeeding classes - Isis Parenting
- Support after you return home through our Lactation Support Warm Line: 781-624-8602.
- Breastfeeding Support Group at South Shore Hospital: 781-624-8332
Breastfeeding Mission Statement
Parents’ individual breastfeeding goals will be respected and all efforts encouraged and supported.
The feeding philosophy of South Shore Hospital’s NICU is consistent with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ position statement for the use of human milk: that human milk is the preferred feeding for all infants, including premature and sick newborns, with some rare exceptions.
Our NICU staff will promote and support breastfeeding efforts in a consistent and evidence-based manner. Educational information provided to parents will be family-focused, culturally sensitive, and based on current research.
- Prenatal breastfeeding classes
- In-hospital breastfeeding classes
- One-to-one South Shore Hospital Lactation Support Warm Line: 781-624-8602
- Follow-up care in our Lactation Clinic
- A breastfeeding support group
- The Nursing Mother's Companion by Kathleen Huggins
- Breastfeeding Your Baby by Sheila Kitzinger
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League International
- The Baby Book by William Sears, MD and Martha Sears, RN
- Breastfeeding Today: The Mother's Companion by Lawers and Barnard Woesner