Won't Eat, please help my baby girl wont eat

Emily - posted on 03/17/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Does anyone have or ever had a baby that won't eat, she was 9 weeks early and now she is 2 months 2 weeks, can anyone give me some tips on how to get her to eat. i am so worried she will end back up in the NICU

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Karen - posted on 09/16/2012

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Hiya did any of theses help just iam goin through it just now my baby girl is 10 weeks ?

Amy - posted on 03/26/2009

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I honestley honestly feel fo you because i am going through the same thing with my 11 month old premmie he was 11 weeks early.  He has always taken the bottle with ease.  I breastfed him till he was 5 months old and he had to use a nipple shield as he couldn't hold on properley.  Since we only just started solids 6weeks ago he hates them he gags pretty much the whole time he feeds and has also dropped his bottles to just 3 5oz bottles a day.  It is so frustrating and i don't know how to get him to eat but i will persist  and i know u will too hang in there hopefully it will get better for both of us!!!

Jillian - posted on 03/25/2009

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I had problems with my twins and eating. My dr. suggested making sure they were warm - they use up so much of their energy trying to keep their body temp regulated. I was told to check their temp every couple of hours. It seemed to help plus we fed on demand but never let them go more than 4 hours. I hope you will find something that works for you. Good luck.

Jennifer - posted on 03/25/2009

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My son was a 29 wker and feeding was a huge issue!!! He has a sensitive gag reflex and so even when we did get him to eat often it all came back up!!! Basically we just jumped in for the loooonnnggg haul. We did 2 oz of high calorie formula every 2 hours for MONTHS! But any more at a time was just too much work. We also were able to get the breast pumped bottles like they used in the NICU and used silicon nipples (aversion to the rubber), the smaller bottle made it less work. Another thing we did was encourage the pacifier to build up the sucking muscles. A feeding therapist had us keep them in the freezer, somethig about the cold making them want to suck better, we also gave him his formula cold (from fridge to bottle). I even switched peditritions because I was frustrated with lack of help in my concerns for his eating. The new peditrition was better at relieveing my anxiety and giving me practicle ideas to try. She helped me stay on track with giving him the right foods (high calorie & protien) so that what he did eat made all the differance. Remember that eating for these little ones is ALOT of work!!! It is frustrating & exhausting (for you both). Maybe your pedi can refer you to a feeding therapist, who can at least give you some ideas and help you not feel as anxious. My son will be three in May and eating is his only remaining sign of his preemieness, and it could be worse. He is VERY healthy & strong, he just has some texrure adversions and ocasional episodes with his gag reflex. I hope you can find some good support, I know that's what helped me the most!

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I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. It's one of those things that's so frustrating b/c we, as parents, have very little control over their eating - they're supposed to self-regulate! But preemies often don't.

I don't have any easy answers. What does your ped say? Is it time to add cereal to the bottle? (That's usually not the answer, but in some cases, docs recommend it for more effective weight gain when a baby isn't feeding much.)

Once a baby comes home from the NICU it's even MORE stressful in many ways. No safety net, no experts to run to at the first sign of trouble. I just wanted to offer my sympathy and support. I hope you're able to solve this one quickly so you can breathe a little easier.

Holly - posted on 03/24/2009

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My son was a 27 weeker and the first months home were horrible.  I won't sugar coat it.  We fed 2 oz every 1/2hr and more often than not he would vomit after that tiny bit.  And my hubby worked nights and wasn't able to help much.  Keep your chin up.  Try different formulas, different nipples(I liked the Playtex brand), call your Dr, call the NICU(they might actually have a peds feeding specialist), call other Drs.  It may help to visit a feeding clinic in a pediatric hospital.  Don't be afraid to ask or just call different hospitals.  The formula change helped big time along with a antacid type drug.  After we got through that first rough patch things started to get easier.  The feeding clinic really helped us finally put some weight on Tom.  Then came the rice cereal, then cherrios, then eggs.  It's still hard to get Tom to eat but we made it through the worst.  Keep trying and pushing for answers.  Good Luck

Meghan - posted on 03/24/2009

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We switched formulas...alimentum similac which was finally recommended by the doc. We have a new child. We have twins born 26 weeks and I had to stop pumping breastmilk, and she wasn't tolerating the formula, even though she had been on supplements of it being that I wasn't making enough for two, and had done fine then. But, it was an instant fix, now she has a hunger cue, she WANTS to eat 4 1/2 ounces every 3 hours, and before we had to force every drop of 2 1/2 ounces, I mean full body rejection of the bottle.

Ambra - posted on 03/18/2009

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Ours was also very difficult to feed (32 weeks).  She's now 8 months and eating fine (most of the time) but it was constant effort to feed her when she was small.  First thing that we tried was to switch bottles (we were using silicone nipples which we found were more rigid and harder to suck than latex ones so switched to those instead and we also went from Avent bottles to Playtex nursers) which worked much better and the second thing that we found was that she preferred different formula.  If she is breastfed and you are truly desperate (we were because she just wouldn't take a full meal from the breast-- she was bottle fed in NICU and got used to it) then consider bottlefeeding.  If you do this, though, keep in mind that you will likely not be able to go back as the bottle is easier and your milk will dry up much faster.  Last thing was that we found out that she was very anemic which can reduce appetite (among other things, like reduced energy, etc.) so if you haven't had any blood tests recently and you think that might be it you may want to test her iron levels (even if you are giving iron supplements).  Good luck!

Julie - posted on 03/17/2009

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My LO was a 26 weeker + 5 days, he came home from the NICU on 9 different oral meds, all of which I put into an ounce or two of formula. Until he was off those meds, I felt like I was force feeding more often than not. Once things weren't so rigid, I fed on demand. Well, every doctor we saw said he was too skinny and to offer the bottle on a more regular basis. I now offer (or try to) at least a few ounces every 2 hours. Sometimes, he'll shut his mouth and turn away, but if I put the nipple into his mouth, 95% of the time he will take at least 2 ounces--every calorie counts! Sometimes, he has insisted he didn't want to eat, but once I put the nipple in, he sucked down 6-8 ounces! I sometimes wonder if he doesn't really know when he's hungry yet (and he was a year old last week). You don't want to force too much and cause an oral aversion, but sometimes a little persuasion helps. Also, if your daughter is on formula, you can ask your dr about mixing it up to a higher calorie, so that way, every sip counts for more. My son has been on 30, 27 and 24 calorie/ounce--he is currently on 27 calorie and doing well. Good luck!



PS Unless she is sick, they probably wouldn't put her back in the NICU, but they'd strongly consider a feeding tube (which I'm sure you also want to avoid).

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