Life-saving resources for premature babies

Special Reports

One in 10 women in the Valley will deliver a baby prematurely.

Those babies face multiple complications. On top of that, they are unable to breastfeed, something doctors say is important to their survival.

Now doctors at Valley Baptist Medical Center are using a method that is new to the Valley to make sure those babies are getting what they need.

CBS 4’s Samantha Mesa has the story.

Jessica white

“I knew nothing about premature babies. I knew nothing about what was going to happen.” Just everything was scary.”

Jessica White is a fist-time mom, and she is especially grateful for her daughter Jaylan’s health. Now almost one year old, Jaylan was born three months premature, and almost didn’t survive.

Weighing just one pound, 10 ounces, Jaylan spent 36 days in an incubator.

Jessica says those days were filled with anxiety.

“I wasn’t able to have that bonding time,” Jessica recalled. “It was very hard. Not being able to carry her or hold her. Not the normal pregnancy that entails when you have a baby and you’re able to latch them on, and nurse right away. I had a lot of depression the first two, three weeks.”

Doctors at Valley Baptist Medical Center say caring for a preemie can be incredibly difficult for parents.

For babies that cannot suck, swallow, and breathe independently, breast feeding is not safe. Those babies need to get their nutrients a different way.

Dr. Fernando Soares, a neonatologist, and medical director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Valley Baptist, says every minute counts when caring for premature babies.

“Being in newborn intensive care is like being on a roller coaster ride,” Dr. Soares said. “Sometimes we cannot prevent a premature birth but this is what we have in case they need us.”

So Valley Baptist nurses are now using a method called ‘breast milk swabbing’ to try to get the babies the important antibodies in their mother’s breast milk.

A few drops of breast milk are put on a swab similar to a Q-tip and it is used to coat the inside of the baby’s cheeks with breast milk.

This method is just one thing Jessica says helped her and Jaylan get through a fragile time.

“Reach out to nurses, and know that there’s unexpected things but just hold on,” Jessica said. “It’s a roller coaster ride but in the end, Jaylan is living proof of a miracle.”

To learn more about Valley Baptist NBICU, visit: https://www.valleybaptist.net/our-services/womens-health/maternity/neonatal-intensive-care-unit-nicu 

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