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Preemie Chats — Special Event

Tuesday June 14 — 12pm - 1:30pm EST

Caring for the Smallest and Most Fragile Babies

Caring for micro preterm babies to optimize their outcomes - including handling, feeding, and what parents can do.

Hosted by: Fabiana Bacchini & Leah Whitehead

Sponsored by:


The care of extremely preterm babies has evolved greatly over the last few years. Survival and outcomes have improved, and infants born as early as 22 to 24 weeks that were previously considered non-viable are now surviving. NICUs around the world work tirelessly to improve overall care and yet there is so much to be done, not only in research and QI, but also in the inclusion of parents regarding decisions made throughout the NICU stay which may affect their infants’ outcomes.

In this webinar, we will discuss a different approach to care for these tiny babies by having a small baby unit/ program, the golden hour, and the science of the exclusive human milk diet with Dr. Michael Narvey and Terry Johnson. We also have 3 parents of micro preemie babies to talk about their experiences of shared decisions, feeding challenges and successes, and what life looks like after the NICU.

Watch recordings here:


Dr. Michael Narvey

Terry S. Johnson

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Dr. Michael Narvey:  Are Small Baby Units the Future of Neonatology?

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It wasn’t that long ago that 24 weeks gestation was considered the lowest gestational age that viability could be achieved.  With time this line has dropped to 23 and now in many places 22 weeks.  As more and more such infants come into NICUs questions arise as to how we can achieve the best outcomes for these vulnerable infants.  What can we learn from these smallest infants and how may it impact our care at older gestational ages?  Lastly, will small baby units become a standard of the future and what barriers to their development may hinder that path?



Dr. Narvey is Section Head of Neonatology in Winnipeg, Medical Director of the Child Health Transport Team, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health Investigator in the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.

He is Chair of the  Canadian Pediatric Society’s Fetus and Newborn Committee since 2019. His interests predominantly lie in the use of non-invasive technology to minimize painful procedures during an infant’s stay in the NICU and neonatal nutrition.

Heather Radford:  Caring for Micropreemies – A Mother’s Perspective

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Heather is the mother of three children, all born too soon. Her first was born at 35 weeks in 2011, her second at 22 weeks and 5 days in 2015, after fighting for the team to provide resuscitation at delivery, and her third at 29 weeks just over 16 months later.

Since having her children she has been working hard to raise awareness about advocating for preterm children, especially around informed decision making and the limits of viability.  She has volunteered on the family advisory committee and the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation to bring the parent voice to the table.

She was honoured to speak at a Neonatal Conference in 2019, educating medical professionals on the parent perspective of making informed decisions and being in the NICU.

Jessica Lampman:  A Mother’s Experience with Twins – Challenges and Milestones

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Jessica Lampman is a mother of twin girls born at 24 weeks. Each girl had their own set of complications, setbacks and milestones.


One of them had struggles with feeding. After 152 days, both girls came home on low flow oxygen, with various teams still following them and lots of appointments. They are now almost 3 years old; sassy, silly, and wild little girls. They’ve done extremely well hitting all their milestones and are almost signed off by every team.

Abha Mapara:  A Mother's Perspective on the Pressures of Feeding in the NICU

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Abha is a first-time mum to a baby girl born at 25 weeks. Baby Dia was born via C-section. She spent 75 days in the NICU. She will soon be 6 months old and 3 months corrected.


She received her nutrition through NG/OG tube during her stay in NICU, which was a mix of breastmilk with human milk fortifier and liquid protein. Although medically necessary, the diet caused Dia to be severely constipated on some occasions, so much so that she had to go back on supplemental oxygen on the days she didn’t have bowel movement. Abha wanted to exclusively breastfeed baby Dia, however, she felt like there was a push for early discharge and thus bottle feeding. Baby Dia is now exclusively bottle fed.

Terry S. Johnson:  Caring for the Smallest of Babies: Grow Baby Grow!

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Human milk has been called “A source of more life than we can imagine”. This presentation will provide an overview of the rapidly, emerging research in human milk science and the broad spectrum of benefits it provides to the premature and sick newborn infant. We will also discuss the benefits of an “exclusive human milk diet” and how health care providers can provide support for parents on the antepartum unit as well as in the NICU.


  • List three benefits of human milk for the premature infant

  • Describe how human milk reduces the incidence of BPD and NEC



Terry is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner with 40 years of experience in a variety of neonatal clinical settings. She was a National Patient Safety Fellow and is a member of the Society of Professionals in Patient Safety. A nationally known educator, Terry is a frequent presenter at national and international nursing and multidisciplinary conferences. She was a clinical reviewer of the 2018 edition of Infant Feedings: Guidelines for Preparation of Human Milk and Formula in Health Care Facilities, by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Her clinical interests include the immunobiology of human milk, strategies for the use of human milk in premature and low birth weight infants, evidence-based nutritional management of preterm infants. Terry is an active member of numerous professional organizations including NANN, ANN, AWHONN, ASPPS and is a current board member of the National Perinatal Association. She received the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses.

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