Yassy’s note: Liam in NICU; day 1- day 7

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 35th week – 37th week“, I wrote Liam came to our family about 3 weeks early and he has spent next 3 weeks in NICU.

Since he was in NICU, after delivering our son, as long as room is available, I was allowed to stay 3 days maximum at the hospital.

Back in Japan, usually, mother stays at the hospital for 1 week and nurse comes to check the mother every so often and provide aftercare and tips on how to care the newborn babies for mothers.

I was surprised that mothers delivering babies here gets discharged so quickly compared to mothers back home in Japan.

Anyway, on the day Liam was born, I was very tired, but I remember I could not sleep that well in the room.

Now and then, I heard babies cry from next room or on the same level and I kept wondering how our little Liam was doing at that moment at NICU.

We were so close each other where we were, but I could not see him on my bedside. Therefore, I got extra excited when we visit him in NICU to nurse him.

Visiting Liam in NICU..

The very first day I visited Liam was next day.He was so tiny and so frail looking and I was very nervous about holding him.

I had never hold babies before, except once my sister’s kid was on my lap when we visited my family in Japan. Therefore, right from the basic holding, it was the new thing to me to learn.

At the NICU, Liam was very sleepy boy, and he had poor feeding.

Since he did not suck well to nurse himself, plus he looked sleepy all the time, he usually did not take milk much on his own.

Usually he took about 10ml or so and done with it to take on his own,and rest was fed via feed tube.

We hold him taking turn between me, my husband, and my in law mother while he is being fed. It was our routine during the feeding time.

We really did not see him opening both eyes until later.

Liam 1 day old feeding time NICU  July 15 2014 blog

Liam 1 day old opening one eye a little….

When eyes are opened, often times, one eye was opening more than the other and looked sleepy.

At first I thought his eye color looked like ocean blue color but, now, he is more like  green.

I wonder if his eye color,hair color would change later on.

After 3 days stay at the hospital, I was discharged without Liam.

Next day after discharged day, me and my husband visited him everyday, and fed him at least one or two feeding time out of 8. Then went home without him in our car.

Back and forth between hospital and home for the feeding Liam was somewhat tiring for both of us but, when we sees Liam in NICU,all the tired feeling went away..

Now and then,he was more awake than other days and when that happens, we enjoyed bonding time with him.

When he is more wake, he is more alert and do better luck with opening mouth wide.However, most of the time, he got sleepy soon and it was a little difficult for me to wake him up and then make him open his mouth wide.

Liam 4 days old  Ultraman pause b July 18 2014

Liam 4 days old.. fell asleep with ultraman pause after milk time…

I was being patient and over time, he mastered the sucking skill.

Each NICU visit, we started off by changing diaper, try nursing him by breastfeeding and if that did not work. sometimes, we could try  bottle,then if that did not work, feeding tube for him to grow.

I remember when I was trying to changing a diaper one day in NICU, I wiped his butt clean and nice, he started producing more poop:-)

Sometimes, he only did poop when diaper change but as soon as he was ready to be on the new one, he gave my husband pee pee fountain and my husband had to shield himself with wipe.

When we went to NICU, me and my husband was changing diaper in turn so both gets it right and understand how to change a diaper.

We also learned how to take Liam’s temperature each day.

Each day, we learned one new thing at a time there..

One time during Liam’s NIU stay, I was told he got chilly over night and got cold and he was sick with big throw up..

It got worried me but the nurse told us that the temperature came back to normal by the next morning and he took good amount of milk that morning. Plus, he was more alert,responsive and he had been doing good.

However, the NICU doctor wanted to check nothing is going on like infection and ran the blood test and urine test and all came out fine and we were relieved.

I am glad that he had medical specialist nearby so they can respond to his illness right away.

After the feeding time, we both attended breast feeding class,which was quite helpful.I was surprised that there were many August due date couples. We were the only one who already gave birth to with August due date then.

Other than the breast feeding class, we took baby care classes where we can learn how to bathe the baby to how to change diaper etc;things that needs to know for daily routine stuff to care for the babies.

Then,we also took another class where you get to learn how to bathe babies,baby’s sick time care, and more along with infant CPR with baby doll.

The class was informative, and it was good class to take.

I think it was great opportunity to learn about infant CPR most because I did not know how to CPR for infant.We learned what to do when babies got choking as well.

Babycenter website has a good illustration and instruction how to CPR infant younger than 12 months old here, and how to CPR babies older than 12 months old here.

However, I think we will be more comfortable putting what we learned in the class into practice with supervision of elders (mother in law or possibly my parents if they come) for knowledge/keen eyes to pick up subtle cue for maybe 1 week or so at home at first and then, we wanted to try on our own.

My mother in law was with us for longer than a month but,she flied out the states for the family trip right around when Liam was about to come home.

If Liam did not decide to come out earlier than my original due date, she would not have been here with us since she flied out around my original due date.

I remember I worried and nervous thinking what if I got my water break when I was alone after my mother in law went to annual family trip around early July when Liam was still in my belly.However, he chose the good time to come and even though my own mother,father were not with me when  he was born, my mother in law was with me along with my husband.Maybe he heard my worry in the belly and decided to come early:-)

Because Liam was  in NICU, we had opportunity to take preemie care class. We stopped by NICU to feed Liam after the class and I saw him sucking his pacifier like a champ!

Then, he was looking more alert that day, and I had a bit of high hope he would be able to suck to nurse. However, when the time comes, he did not like to be breastfed and bit later, he was out like a  light…Therefore, he was fed via feed tube again.

When I found him sucking the pacifier NICU was providing, I remembered the breastfeeding class taught us that not to offer the pacifier until you will establish good breastfeeding.I wondered if pacifier was preventing him from sucking the real thing?Good thing about learning to nurse at the hospital was that  now and then,we got lactation nurse coming and tried to teach me how to nurse him.

The hospital had two lactation nurse.One of them came for me two times but both times, Liam was fussy, crying loud trying to stretch backward away from breast while consultant put her hands over my hand to guide through;both time did not work out.

However, when the other consultant who taught the class for the breastfeeding came, he took the breast like a champ even though each side was simply for a few seconds just enough to gives me an ideas as to “how”.

It was good improvement. That pacifier champ day,Liam was more awake one of the feeding time and more alert and, he showed wanting to suck my pinky finger,hold my hands and bring my finger close to his face,as if he is asking something to suck on..but breastfeeding itself did not work out then.


We both needed more practice to master the skill of breastfeeding.As for nursing, I got lactation nurse coming to help me once again next day visit.

This time, he sucked my nipple pretty good and, the lactation nurse gave me a little tip; support his chin with finger.The lactation nurse noticed that he stoops sucking if she let go the finger underneath his chin and put her finger back on to support his chin and he starts sucking again.

It was strange to find that but it seems to be a little trick I needed to notice for the nursing issue.

After the nursing time, the nurse let us learn how to bathe him so, we had to try bathing practice and it was quite informative learning day for us.

We are the first parents and having visual guidance to learn from was such a big help.

Liam 6 days old NICU July 20 2014 with cute hat blog

 Liam 6 days old with cute knitted hat at NICU..

I still have the hat. Every time I see it, I cannot help thinking how big he became over the year. He or babies for that matter grows up so fast right in front of our eyes.

So I do not miss any precious moment of his *First* everything, I am trying to take pictures when he mastered new thing each time.

One small ordinary thing we adults do in regular basis is what babies learn a little by little. When Liam gets it and master something new, I get super excited. It puts a huge smile on my face.

NICU doctors told us that goal for Liam was that he should gain his weight and could take milk via mouth not via feed tube for 2 days back to back and then he could come home with us. Until then, he had to be monitored in NICU.

I gave birth to Liam but not having him at home was strange feeling. Every day,we could go see him and very first thing that I always asked nurse was  how he was doing. He seemed to be very good baby who does not fuss and easy one to take care of.

He was well cared by NICU doctors and nurse.

At NICU, I could ask questions  regarding baby care which we had never experienced before. Therefore,it was a good opportunity for us to learn the baby care basic one vs one at NICU.

I think learning from the nurse there gave us some good guidance and some confidence to be a parent.

Our feeding choice; Breastfeeding..

From the day 1, my preferred method to feed him has been breastfeeding.

It was a natural choice for me because breastfeeding sounded more natural to me and better choice to give Liam better nutrition possible.

Not only that, since my sister was breastfeeding all of her kids in Japan, and I did not think of other way to feed our son

We  mothers can have control of those things to some extent since breast milk is ultimately made from mother’s blood and what ones had for breakfast,lunch,and dinner effects the breast milk quality. Therefore, if you eat healthier, it is not only good for you but also goo for the little ones as well..

Only problem for me was that I could not produce enough milk Liam needs, and I had to feed formula,which was not my first choice to feed him, to catch up with his demand..

The benefit of breast feeding includes..

1. better health; the more breast milk the healthier the babies would be

2. less risk of prolonged/heavy virginal bleeding

3. helps uterus to shrink back to normal size

4. can loose pregnancy weight easier

** After a year since Liam was born, I lost about 2-3 lb or so from pre pregnancy weight.

5. reduce the risk of uterus,virginal, breast cancer

6. improve bone thickness and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture in older women

7. creates special skin to skin relationship

8. can save you money in feeding cost

** Formula is expensive!

9. Breastfed babies does not get sick easily

**surprisingly, Liam did not have fever or cold or any other illness so far except the one he had at NICU

10. Breast milk contains over 200 nutrient plus antibodies that protect the babies from the illness

11. Breast milk changes to meet the needs of a growing baby

12. easier for babies to digest compared to formula

** Liam had gassy/burp/spit up problems when he had formula back to back.His main food was breast milk so he did not have formula all day long

13. reduce the risk of food allergy, asthma, colic, and eczema in infants with a family history of allergic disease

However, one thing that I learned was that breastfeeding is actually harder than I had imagined.

For me, I had to learn proper holding from lactation nurse who came to help us in NICU and for Liam, he had to learn to suck properly.

Breastfeeding does not come easily and both mother and babies needs practice and patience.

For Liam, he was born 36 weeks and 2 days and he was not quite acquired the sucking skill which babies acquire in the week of 37th week.

Lactation nurse told us that Liam would probably become good at it right around the original due date and she was right.

Right around the original due date, he could master sucking skill much better and he became better and better each time.

If you are a mother, did you / do you breastfed your baby?

If yes, why did you decide to breastfeed your baby?

What benefit do you think breastfeeding has besides the benefit written above?

More NICU story continues. Stay tuned….

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Aug 04, 2015 | 0 | parenting

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