5 Weeks in NICU and counting

Patti - posted on 05/17/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My baby boy was born on 04/06 at 5.5 lbs and he was 34 weeks. He has been in the NICU now for 5 weeks. Thankfully no longer on any IV or meds. He has a tube for feeding and wont take more than 20 cc's from the bottle. He does show signs of rooting and he wakes on his own most of the time. He has spells once in a while when feeding on the bottle but mostly resolves on his own. he was on the caffeine med for while. The doctor is telling me that he is now showing an abnormality of not eating from the bottle as he should be. He is also saying that he isnt showing good eye coordination when responding to light. they are saying that this is most likely coming from being premature and that eventually he will come around but it is not that common for him to NOT be feeding. However the next option is now possibly putting a tube in his abdomin and sending him home to give him more time. He weighs almost 8 punds and everything else seems to be okay. I just can't help but feel as though there is an underlying condition or something around the corner that is more serious. It is so frustrating to have a baby in the NICU but going on 6 weeks here soon wtih probably another 2-3 is just heart wrenching. We are about to try another baby bottle like Dr. Brown . Is their anyone out there who has gone through the same problems?

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Michelle - posted on 05/20/2012

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Hang in there. The eye and feeding issues seems to be pretty common in preemies. Just remember, your child is in good hands...yours. Staying in the NICU can be extrememly frustrating, but taking your child home to only return is also troublesome. Try to get some rest now because when you do take him home, it will be a different experience.

Michelle - posted on 05/20/2012

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My daughter was born at 29 weeks, 3lbs 1 oz and spent 9 weeks in the NICU. She had very similar eating issues. She was on the feeding tube from birth. Around 34 weeks we started bottle feeding, she was taking in only about 20cc's per feed. Then we would have to feed her the rest of the feeding by tube. She was always too tired to take anymore and even feeding her the 20cc's would take 20 mins. Around 38 weeks she started taking around 40cc's but it would take 30 mins or more. They felt she could go home at this point, but looking back we had such a hard time in the first few weeks with feeding that it may not have been a bad idea to have her in hospital still (not that I would ever trade her coming home!) It would take about 40 mins to feed her each feeding, had to try and keep her awake and sucking. Sometimes holding your middle finger on one cheek, thumb on the other and your baby finger under the chin while resting the bottle between your thumb and pointer finger worked to keep her sucking on the bottle and awake. You can add pressure to the cheeks if he is drifting to sleep or stops sucking - try it on your own face and you can feel the pressure needed. This helped A LOT for the first few months. We used a smaller nipple on a bottle called a snappie that's used for collecting pumped breastmilk for around 3months then switched to playtex bottle. I think it took about 3-6 months for me to feel confident about how she was eating, but what helped the most was weighing her - I went to a walk in clinic and used their weight scale in the beginning every day, and now weekly. As long as she was gaining even slightly (an ounce or so) I knew whatever she was eating was working. When I calculated how much she was 'supposed' to be eating each day, she was always short at least one bottle amount - but she was gaining everyday and I had to let go of the preconceived ideas of what a 'typical' baby should eat. She is a healthy 17lbs 11 1/2 month old with chubby thighs and cheeks, crawling all over the place and very happy. Be patient with him, and try not to let the doctors scare you too much. They have to be extra cautious that every little thing 'could' be something which is good to be preventive and on top of any issues, but also it's not always the case - sometimes preemies just need a little extra time and help to reach milestones. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but try and be patient as babies are very aware and intuitive of our feelings of anxiety. If you are relaxed, he will feel relaxed around feeding and hopefully that will help too. Good luck - let us know how you are doing!

Emily - posted on 05/19/2012

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the eyes are normal. my 27 weeker was constantly cross eyed til around his 1st birthday. (he even came home after 6 weeks of being in NICU and was still 6 weeks from his due date) But all his tests were normal. they just didnt have time to strengthen. Im not sure about the eating. But mine did have problems spitting up til again his first birthday. I would keep trying and trying. He will catch up sooner or later.

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