For first-time Sturgeon Bay parents Maxamillian and April Neubauer, breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact with their newborn were at the top of their birth plan. But on June 26, April suffered two seizures caused by pre-eclampsia and had to undergo an emergency c-section. Newborn Rosalía Lupita Valentina Neubauer came into the world and turned her parent’s birth plan on its head.
“Normally with a C-section we would bring dad back into the operating room, but because April had a second seizure, we had dad wait in the nursery. After surgery we transferred April to the ICU for additional monitoring,” said Cybil Martin-Dennehy, RN, “As soon as Rosalía was stable we brought her out to see her dad for the first time. Max was immediately excited to see his baby girl.”
Skin-to-Skin Contact and Breastfeeding
Rosalía was healthy but experiencing minor respiratory distress mostly from the shock of delivery. April was unconscious and wouldn’t be stabilized for a while, explained Cybil, “Even if we attempted breastfeeding with her, we still didn’t want to risk April having a seizure while nursing her baby. That’s when we decided to do the first feed in the nursery.”
A strong proponent of breastfeeding, along with her desire to follow the family’s wishes for skin-to-skin contact and early breastfeeding, Cybil offered a creative, yet altogether commonplace solution, “I suggested to Max a supplemental nursing system, where we use a nipple shield over someone’s actual nipple and then thread a feeding tube with formula from a syringe through that nipple. That way baby can still nurse and stimulate the feeling of being at the breast.”
The first feed is crucial in helping to establish breastfeeding. Nipple confusion may occur in babies who are bottle-fed prior to breastfeeding, which can result in difficulty latching. Nipple shields feel more like teats and aid with the transition to breastfeeding. “Babies get their stimulation to suck from the roof of their mouth. It’s easy to get that stimulation at the roof of their mouth with a long bottle nipple. If we give a baby something easy like this, with a continuous flow of food, they don’t want to work so hard when breastfeeding from mom,” explains Cybil, “Skin-to-skin contact also encourages breastfeeding and helps to regulate baby’s temperature as well as heart and respiratory rates. In skin-to-skin contact, baby lays directly against a family member’s skin.”
Supplemental nursing systems are used in a variety of situations ranging from adoptive moms, moms with flat or inverted nipples, or a baby with additional supplementation needs. A noticeably proud Cybil admitted, “It’s not the first time I’ve asked a new father to do this but it is the first time a father stepped up and said yes- Max was completely game for it!”
Cradled in her father’s arms, Rosalía laid on her father’s chest and breastfed for the first time in her life. The nursing staff erupted with celebration. “It went fantastic! Baby was able to eat 8 ml of formula which is wonderful for a first feed. She was no longer in respiratory distress and everything went exactly as we hoped it would,” said Cybil.
Grandma and Great Grandpa were the third and fourth family members to meet Rosalía. Great Grandpa was initially a bit stoic and paced the room before he finally approached Max, patted him and said, “you’re going to be a great dad.”
Max, who works at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, has had coworkers joke that maybe it’s time the shipyard provides a pumping room- but maybe the joke is actually closer to reality than we realize.
“We are in middle of a movement of trying to normalize breastfeeding. I think for so long, breastfeeding has been something that people try to shame,” says Cybil, “You’re supposed to keep yourself covered in public, not expose yourself to other people. Women are speaking up a lot more about their delivery experiences, about how wonderful breastfeeding is. I think it’s important because women can feel like they’re not alone in this. There’s also this stigma with men that they’re supposed to be a man and breastfeeding is typically thought of as a woman’s thing. So when there’s a man doing it, it’s kind of a big deal,” says Cybil.
“For me, as a nurse, I really think that raising a baby is a partner effort. Even though dad isn’t producing milk for baby, he can still play a huge role in mom’s breastfeeding journey.”
Trusted Team, Close to Home
Door County Medical Center Obstetrics team understands that every baby and every birth is special, which is why we tailor our services to fit your needs.
“I work with the greatest group of nurses. All across the hospital, with it being a smaller facility, we interact with a lot of the other departments. When I started in November, I was blown away that people were on a first name basis with everyone. It really is a culture of caring here.”
Baby Rosalía went home with mom and dad on Sunday, July 1 and everyone is healthy and enjoying the first week of being a new family.
For Cybil, the offer to fulfil a family’s birth plan was straightforward, “I was just doing my job.”
At Door County Medical Center, comprehensive care is just down the road. To reach our Women’s Center, please call 920-746-3666.