Behavioral Feeding Problems

Jcparedes2011 - posted on 12/19/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have a former 24-weeker who is now 2 months adjusted. A week after his NICU discharge he was diagnosed with reflux. It never came up at the NICU because he was being bottlefed for only a week before discharge and he was mostly on breast milk still. My breast milk supply ran out a week after discharge and so he went on to formula 24-7. He went from Neosure to Alimentum and was given Zantac for the reflux. Although he would spit up and vomit at times, he still drank his bottle. Here is my current problem: As of 5 days ago, he has begun to refuse the bottle. He started with only taking 30-45 ml, burping, then refusing any more. Two days later, he moved on to not wanting the bottle at all, despite his hunger. As soon as the nipple hit his mouth, he would scooch down, swat my hand away, turn his head, cry, fuss, etc. Sometimes before the milk even his his tongue (so I doubt it's the taste). The feeding specialist says he's too young to have lost his reflexive sucking but I'm convinced this is purely behavioral, even if he IS too young for that. Example: he has resigned himself to the fact that he can't stop me from getting the nipple in his mouth so what he is doing is simply not sucking. He'll let the nipple sit there and he will stare at the wall or at me and simply not suck. After beginning to add rice cereal, he started to do somewhat better though he is still being a litte brat about drinking. We saw the feeding specialist today and he took 75ml for her in one sitting without a fight. Three hours later, I tried to feed him at home and he took 30ml and fought the whole way. I'm at my wit's end. How can I get him to take more milk without making the behavioral problem worse? Is it okay for me to let him have only 30 ml? He hasn't lost any weight and is at 10lb 5oz as of today. How can i snap him out of his behavioral problem with drinking? I smile, laugh, play with him before sitting down to feed him. But 9 times out of 10, when the nipple hits his lips, he'll pull away and then the battle is on. I don't have the energy or strength to deal with it at times. It's become very frustrating and I do NOT look forward to feeding him, dreading the anguish that awaits me almost every time. Help!

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Jcparedes2011 - posted on 12/22/2013

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I do use Dr. Browns. I also heat it up initially and then again after he refuses to continue. Reheating it helps him to take a little more (sometimes).
I switched him from a level 1 to a level 2 nipple a week after discharge because it was taking him way too long to finish his bottle and he was frustrated. It helped at the time. Now that I am adding rice, I have had to go between a level 2 and a level 3, depending on his mood.

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