Twins Camilla and Valentina Rodriguez were born 10 weeks early, weighing just two and three pounds. “The whole time I was there I was just praying that they were ok,” said their mother Luissanna Rodriguez.
Health experts say premature babies have different needs, particularly when it comes to nutrients. “We do everything we can to make sure we meet those needs,” said Beth Futral, a milk lab technician with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Before feeding premature babies, lab technicians take either donor milk or the mom’s breast milk and add in additional nutrients for the baby. “We would add calories or protein anything else that the baby might need to help them grow,” said Futral.
Different recipes are created for each baby, based on their needs. The goal is to bridge the gap with human milk until the mom can actually breast feed the baby. “Human milk is an amazing anti-infective agent and because of that we want to make sure these babies are receiving this milk. This is not just their first feed but also their first medicine,” said Futral.
This medicine makes a big difference in the baby’s growth and development. “Every little ounce was an accomplishment! We got to weight them every night and we were excited to see them gain weight little by little,” said Luissanna.
After eight weeks in the hospital, Camilla and Valentina were able to breast feed. “I think they were a little over four pounds when they left. It was wild. And now they are finally over 8 pounds,” said Luissanna.
The milk lab at Golisano Children’s Hospital is the only one of its kind in Southwest Florida.
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