I need to get better at quick posts since time is starting to feel limited. Tonight I’m cramming pumping sessions, so let’s see if I can whip this post out in between.
Emmett is “nippling” (as they say) more, and he loves the breast but not the bottle. The doctors and nurses seem somewhat surprised by this, whereas this is known territory for me (Milo was the same). He’s apparently a champion breast feeder for a preemie. He still does the preemie thing: several sucks followed by long swallows, then a break to breathe (verses suck-swallow-breathe). He’s also not super alert. Usually I sort of wake him up and he almost always falls asleep after 15 min on the breast. We weigh him before and after to see how much he drinks, and the rest gets gavaged (fed through a tube). The amount is gradually increasing: today he drank 30 out of 45 mL. I’d like to see him fully awake to see how much he can really eat. He does seem to prefer the left side (just like Milo!), so I try to alternate but no pressure, yet.
Now for the bottle. Emmett drank his first bottle with Ben this past Monday (at 34 weeks). Ben was so proud, as he should be. But we haven’t had a lot of success since. He sucks on the nipple but the moment he tastes the milk, he grimaces. The nurses think that he doesn’t like the flavor, since liquid protein and calorie fortification are added to my breast milk. Last night, one nurse even tried just breast milk, and lo and behold, he took the whole thing. Today the doctor said that since he is over 2500 grams, he can be off the liquid protein, and maybe that will help with the flavor. But like all preemies, he still needs the fortification supplement to make sure he continues to grow — and not just in weight, but head too for brain development.
Emmett is growing well. He’s moved up into the 50th percentile for weight, head circumference, and length. He grew an inch since last week — no wonder he’s sleeping so much! And interestingly enough, he’s over 5 1/2 lbs, just a few ounces shy from what Milo weighed when he went home.
With the breast, bottle, and gavage feeding, weighing in between, and pumping, each feeding session can take up to an hour and half! Today we put him at breast four times, which means I was there from 8am to 7pm. It was a very, very long day, and I’m beat. The NICU stay plus the sleep deprivation is starting to wear on me. I can pass out at any given moment. And now that the end feels so near, we just want him home. We’re at 38 days in the NICU and this last stretch is starting to feel like an eternity. I’ve been preparing things for his homecoming — digging up all our newborn stuff while indulging in some preemie clothing, making space for his stuff, doing serious cleaning, even organizing closets and pantries. Is it nesting if the baby is already here?
Week 6 pictures: https://www.flickr.com/gp/nhanh/ui2201/