Today was Jason's first day back to work and thus my first day 'alone' and going to the hospital on my own. I had an appointment in the morning, so I was able to make it to Meorah's noon-time feeding (the girls' schedules are an hour apart: Tzelia gets care at 8, 11, 2, 5, etc., while Meorah gets care at 9, 12, 3, 6, etc).
New nurse today who was lovely (they all are). She asked if I had done any non-nutritive sucking with either of the girls, and I said no, but I was told I could start that soon. Well, no time like the present!!
Non-nutritive sucking is a way the girls can 'practice' breastfeeding. At their early age, they can't breastfeed: they don't have the coordination needed to suck-swallow-breathe, which is why they are fed through an NG tube. Non-nutritive sucking allows them to 'play' around and see if they can at least get the sucking motion down. I pump first to be sure that there isn't anything (or much) to get so there is no choking danger and they are then introduced to the breast and...well, you just kind of see what they do. It has been shown to decrease time in the NICU, helps the babies learn how to breast feed, and it great bonding time. At MGH they encourage it during the feedings so the babies associate being full with being at the breast.
Meorah actually figured it out immediately. Human instinct is pretty amazing. It takes an hour for the feeding to be complete, so for that hour we sat and rocked and she tried to figure things out. After about twenty minutes she konked out. Hard work. Tzelia also got into it pretty quickly, although she played around for almost 45 minutes and didn't actually go to sleep until close to the end of her feeding. Both girls smile when they sleep, and Meorah actually looks like she's laughing. Really amusing. It was a very nice afternoon: both girls were so alert (hey, what is this cool thing???) and I was able to spend a fair amount of quality time with them. Diana (the nurse) said they would like me to try to do that every day so the girls would learn quickly. Well, sure.
Was exhausted after that, but stayed and drove Jason home (stupid Storrow traffic!!!!). Got to spend some time with Zev in the evening, which is always fun. And then I crashed.
Rinse, repeat, for tomorrow.