The title of my last post read ‘1 month and winning’.. I am having a little laugh to myself as this certainly hasn’t been the case in weeks 4-8 of Thomas’ life! Where do I start?
At our last doctors appointment we were advised by the paediatrician to double his calories by adding extra formula to his bottles in order for him to put on weight. I would diligently spend an hour feeding him in the hope he would grow. He was growing at about 100 grams a week, or less. Most babies grow at 150g a week.
For our check up the doctor was disappointed at his weight gain and said he would need to go back to hospital for tests and extra feeding through a feeding tube that was positioned through his nose and down into his stomach. So at week 6 he went back to hospital. I would go in every day and help with the daily weigh in and feeding.
Thomas stopped growing at 36 weeks and was delivered at 38 weeks so he was just too small to develop the coordination and motor skills a baby delivered at term would have. I get a little jealous when I read about other babies hitting their milestones and growing well. With parenting I have to not plan and accept every baby is different and Thomas will hit his milestones soon, albeit a little later than other babies!
Every day a speech therapist would watch me feed him and the physio would advise us on how to do things to minimise the energy he was using. After several tests the doctor concluded that he was too little and hadn’t learnt to drink properly, he needed to minimise the energy he was using in order to put on weight. All my hard effort into making him drink a bottle for an hour was fruitless as he was using as much calories drinking as he was taking it in! Letting him ‘cry it out’ -as my husband and mother-in-law would keep telling me was also using too much energy. We also had new techniques for feeding, sleeping, changing.
Each day in hospital he would put on lots of weight! We were only allowed to bottle feed him for 20 minutes and tube feed him whatever he didn’t drink. The goal being he would learn how to drink a whole bottle himself. After 2 weeks he was drinking 80% of the bottle on his own and 20% by the tube. He put on 400grams in 13 days. We were stoked.
After 2 weeks we bought him home, he promptly pulled out his feeding tube and screamed blue murder! The emergency doctor arrived and put it back in and he has been pretty good since. His first weigh in today showed he is still growing, just not at the super fast rate at the hospital.
I miss other Mums. I live in a small town in Holland and Mothers groups aren’t done here, except for the expat group in Amsterdam. It was of huge benefit for me to chat to friends at home who also had babies. One friend’s baby grew at 10 grams a day and didn’t get to 5 kilo until 7 months. My other friend had an ‘off the charts’ big baby, he was growing 400 grams a week and was 10 kilo by 5 months. Her feeding schedule was every 2 hours. When I hear their stories and how tough they did it, I will not complain about the feeding tube Thomas has!