Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Feeding a Preemie

Food, feedings, bottles, jars, and spoons....all things I have come to dislike.  Please forgive me while I vent...

As I've mentioned before, bottle feeding is just a nightmare.  We were feeding him every 3 hours but now we are trying 4 now.  We aren't going to get in the 30 ounces a day that he needs since he's only averaging about 5.5 ounces each time he eats.  I've practically tried every bottle/sippy cup on the market and he doesn't want anything to do with them.  We have to pin him down in our arms, force him to keep the nipple in his mouth (despite the gagging and screaming), and make him clamp down on it.  I lose a handful of hair every time I feed him.

He was doing well with baby food but just the last few days has decided that he doesn't like it anymore (gagging and not opening his mouth included.)  I'm only giving him a 1/4th of a jar two or three times a day.  When my mom asked me the other day, "What do I do if he wants more?"  I thought to myself "More?  What would that look like if he wanted more?"  It's not like he leans in toward the spoon or opens his mouth wide.  He just sort of passively takes it.  I would just wait another month and try baby food again, but if I did that, we would really be behind on the calories.....

I want to snuggle him close to me and give him a bottle and think, "Gee, this is so sweet..." instead, I dread each time I give him the bottle and the fight that ensues.  I want food to be enjoyable for him - like it is for his momma.  I've had numerous people tell me to make sure that I'm relaxed when I feed him because he'll sense that I'm tense or stressed.  I've tried to make it fun....but how many ways can you stick a bottle or spoon into a little mouth?

His weight gain sort of comes and goes.  It's not consistent like it was.  Last time the nurse had weighed him, he had gained only 3 ounces in 10 days.  That's pretty lousy.  However, the week before that he had gained 7 ounces in 7 days...I never know what to expect.

I need someone to come live with me feed him and see if I'm doing something wrong. Maybe someone else could figure out his 'hungry' signs better than Michael and I can. Maybe someone else knows exactly what he needs to enjoy food. I really think that someone isn't me...


  1. Hey Sarah, I'm so sorry samuel doesn't like eating. I cant imagine how frustrating it must be to try give your son one of the most basic human needs and he intensely resists you every time!!! I was thinking as I read this post, could it be a food allergy? I know babies can be very sensitive, especially preemies. And it just sounds (to me at least) like an allergy? Maybe even an allergy to the soap that the spoons or bottles are washed with?? I'm not sure, just shooting out some ideas. Anyway, I love reading your blog and following all of Samuel's progress. He is such a sweet boy!!

  2. I am no expert on feeding preemies, but every day at WIC, I explain to Moms to not give up feeding their babies. It sometimes can take up to 15-20 offerings of a single food before a child decided if he really likes it or not. The best thing it to keep offering. Have you tried offering the food to him with your finger instead of a spoon? Sometimes the new food and new food is a little overwhelming to the baby. I don't know if you guys are accustomed to putting your fingers in his mouth to help soothe him, but Hallie always preferred it to a pacifier. And I know our situations are a bit different, but if it makes you feel any better, Hallie doesn't really like eating, either. She'll take a few bites, then refuse to open her mouth and turn her head. Another suggestion we give moms is to feed their children at family meal time. Let them get used to being a part of this time with the family--make it a social norm for them. Maybe if he sees you guys eating, he will want to be a part of the eating, too. There are just a few things that came to mind. I'll try to think of some others. I hope something helps! Please feel free to call me. I counsel moms on how to feed their children all day long. Maybe we can find something taht works for Samuel.

  3. Gee know me...I keep saying my kid popped out at the age of 16 cuz, far...I had no idea what I was doing...I just hope when I get a grandbaby in the next century...something will come back to my memory...I love ya are a amazing young lady and wonderful mommy and Michael an awesome dad:)

  4. Sarah,

    You are the best person in the world to be there for Samuel and offering him these things. As stated previously, continue to offer to him. Mix things up. Blake is a walk and play eater. He does not like to be restrained while eating, but instead eats a few bites then runs all over the house. Maybe Samuel just wants to be stubborn and give you a hard time. I hope you are able to find a solution soon. Just keep offering and feeding him. See if he will eat those little puffs that kids like so he can pick them up with his hand. Maybe he wants to do it?

    I do not think any baby gains weight on a regular basis. Blake has always been up and down because of growth spurts. Do not doubt what you are doing or the position you have in his young life. You will overcome this because you have already overcome so much! Be positive about feeding and the days. You have come soooo far already.

    Also, do not beat yourself up. I feel like sometimes you just do not think you are doing it good enough. A momma knows what to do and what is good enough. Being a mom is the best job in the world, as I am sure you have learned. Continue to cherish that and feel like the best and most rewarding mom in the world!

  5. Thanks everyone. Alexis - you are certainly right about the allergy thing. We've been trying to switch formulas for that very reason but have been very unsuccessful. What a fantastic idea about trying a different soap. We'll give that a try.
    Danielle - thanks for the tips. We've tried giving him food off our finger and he has always done well. I guess we can try it again - I was just so pumped that he was finally getting used to the spoon (but apparently he's not completely used to it yet!)
    Jessica - Thanks so much for the encouragement. You're often I feel like I could be doing a better job at this mommy thing - mostly because I so badly want this best for him. I so badly want him to be happy and healthy. Haha you are also probably right about the stubborn thing (I've been thinking the same thing the last couple of weeks.) He might be a bit strong willed like his momma. :) Being a mom IS very rewarding. I couldn't love him more.