This post is sponsored by Prolacta Bioscience; all opinions are my own.
This week is an exciting milestone in our house. Mary Catherine had her first birthday!! As every parent knows, this is a very special time, and we celebrated with a fun birthday party with friends and family this past weekend. There was something else we were celebrating as well but didn’t share with friends and family. You see, when you have a preemie baby, there are all kinds of milestones that are unique to your baby. According to the America Academy of Pediatrics, 40% of babies born weighing less than 1500 grams will be re-hospitalized during their first year. We made it through our first year with no trips to the hospital and only a few sick visits to the doctor’s office for run-of- the-mill things. So, we are very excited and thankful to have reached this accomplishment. I look back and I wonder about all of the things that we have done in the past year to prevent illnesses in our house. We wanted Mary Catherine to have the best chance of staying healthy after she came home from the NICU after her 45 day stay. We do A LOT of hand washing, not to mention I use a cart cover when she is in shopping carts and most high chairs that are out in public. I carry hand sanitizer in every bag, and we all use it all the time. During this past flu season, which was more severe than in years past in our area, we spent many days at home. We stopped going to regular weekly events, passed on playdates, and did a lot of online shopping to keep us out of the stores. For the most part, we were able to stay pretty healthy over the Winter.
One of the things that I feel has been a huge benefit to Mary Catherine has been breastfeeding. With big brother, we nursed until he weaned himself at 17 months old. I’ll tell you that he was rarely sick. I wanted Mary Catherine to have that same benefit from breastfeeding, but when we ended up in the NICU 9 weeks before my due date, I was scared that nursing might not work out for us.
I was so happy when I found out Mary Catherine could receive donor milk in the NICU until my milk came in. I couldn’t sign the permission form fast enough! As I started to get the routine of the NICU down and was learning more about the ins and outs of it, I found out that not only was she getting donor milk, but also that the nurses were adding a Human Milk Fortifier to the donor milk. NICUs add this fortifier to give preemies the extra nutrients, protein and calories they need, because breast milk alone isn’t enough for their growing needs. But, I’ve discovered that just because the product is labeled “human milk fortifier,” that doesn’t mean it’s made from human milk!
Many preemie parents aren’t aware that most fortifiers are made with cow milk, which can cause serious complications for preemies, like sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), one of the leading causes of death for preemies. That’s why I’ve partnered with Prolacta Bioscience to bring awareness to expectant and new parents about how a human milk diet, including a fortifier made with 100% human milk, can help more babies in the NICU. Prolacta is the maker of the only 100% human milk-based fortifier. Check out this infographic, which breaks down the details about human milk versus cow milk fortifiers.
Today Mary Catherine is a happy and healthy 1 year old. We are thankful she left the NICU after 45 days of wonderful weight gain and growth.
Are you a preemie parent? Want to know more about Prolacta and how its fortifiers made from 100% human milk can help your little one? Check out Prolacta Bioscience!