I just realized I haven’t made a blog post in a few days.
This is because for the last week we have felt like life is on hold while we wait for Ethan to get the hang of eating on his own. The doctors PROMISE us that one day soon everything will ‘click’ and he will take every bottle/breast feeding with no problem. Till then, we are patiently helping him take partial feeds from bottle/breast.
Weight Today: 6 pounds
Almost all the babies in our NICU room are having the same problem… inconsistent feeding. Ready to go home except for this one last (major) detail. To give you an idea of our frustration, one day Ethan will make 5 ‘attempts’ to eat by mouth—meaning he will take all or part of a feeding by bottle/breast—and the next day he will only make 2 attempts. Then the next day he will make 1. Then 6 the day after. It just all depends on his feeding ‘cues’ and how fast he wears out during the feed. This is all part of his prematurity and completely normal.
As I mentioned in a post long ago, his feeding cues include ‘rooting’ (where he opens his mouth and turns his head when something touches his mouth or cheek), putting his hands in his mouth, and being awake/alert. If he is not showing these cues near feeding time, we leave him alone because it means he’s too tired. But even when he shows all the cues, many times he poops out after 10 minutes of eating. In these cases we give whatever is left through his feeding tube.
Children’s employs two of only three pediatric Speech Therapists in St. Louis. Elizabeth specializes in feeding skills and works with Ethan once every other day or so. She has also taught us a lot about how to bottle feed correctly and safely. This means not going to fast, watching Ethan’s body language, and making sure we don’t overwhelm him and tire him out faster then necessary. Pacing is a big deal with preemies…they get too excited and forget to stop, breath, and rest while taking bottles, which makes them get tired fast.
Who knew speech therapists helped babies eat?!
While we say this is frustrating, we don’t mean we are frustrated with Ethan. We just want him home so much that it’s hard to believe something that seems so simple could be the one thing standing in our way. But he’ll get it! And this will all just be a memory…
So if you don’t see a post every day, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong or I’ve become a lazy blogger. It just means that the days are all merging together into one long holding pattern and there isn’t much to report.
Hopefully a post will soon tell you he is coming home!!! Then we’ll have lots of fun things to blog about.