Pumped About New NICU Equipment

Foundation helps moms provide their babies the nutrition they need

Story by Kerri Robins; Photo courtesy of Alice French

When Jan Plumb gave birth to triplets at just 27 weeks into her pregnancy, she feared for their health and well-being.

“It was scary giving birth so early and I worried about everything from their health, to how I would nurse them, and how we would manage,” says Plumb, who gave birth last Christmas Eve at the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, part of the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.

“I know the benefits of breast milk,” adds the 33-year-old part-time physical therapist. “I really wanted to nurse my babies to give them all the nutrition they needed for healthy development, and just to get a really healthy start.”

ns-nicu-pump - Jan PlumbThanks to the Thatcher Fund at the St. Albert Community Foundation, a donation was made to the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation to buy two state-of-the-art breast pumps for premature babies for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

With 19 pumps now available in the NICU, the new breast pumps are helping more moms feed their babies when they can’t suckle for themselves.

“The babies are fed mom’s milk through a feeding tube until they are able to nurse on their own,” says Alice French, an Alberta Health Services lactation consultant.

“Mom’s breast milk is vital to give babies all the nutrients and calories they need, including much-needed antibodies for a healthy immune system and protection against infection.”

At a cost of $2,235 each, the pumps enable double pumping so mom can express milk from both breasts at the same time.

“With 65 moms on the unit at any given time, we’re really fortunate to have two new pumps,” says French.

Plumb and her babies — Nolan, Declan and Alina — are doing well. After an extended hospital stay, the triplets are now at home and getting to know their big brother, five-year-old Liam.

“It was really convenient having the use of a pump at the hospital because it was just one other thing I don’t have to think about each morning when packing up to go to the hospital,” says Plumb.

Andrew Otway, President and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation, says he’s pleased with the equipment.

“I have children of my own and know how important it is to provide the best nutrition we can for our little ones,” says Otway.

“We are so fortunate for all the community donations that continue helping us provide the care babies need for healthy development.”

(Alberta Health Services)