This is another “saga” post. Just to kind of go back to the beginning so I can reference it later – when I forget what we did.

So the hospital started BabyHope on formula immediately both due to her birth weight and her low blood sugar. It didn’t really go very well due to the gunk in her tummy from delivery.

She had a good latch from the beginning, and she’s a good sucker. And I had colostrum from the get-go – I *did* have to take Parlodel throughout my IVF cycles to prevent my breasts from producing milk on their own, after all.

But, again, her weight was a concern along with her blood sugar. So the lactation consultant set me up with a Supplemental Nursing System and a pump. The SNS is the thin tube that you tape to your breast – it delivers formula (or expressed milk) as baby is latched and sucking on the breast. BabyHope did much better with this system than the bottles. And I pumped for 15 minutes after each feeding. The idea was to get my milk to come in as quickly as possible – as well as to prevent BabyHope from losing too much weight. We were successful on both points – she ended up losing only 7% (5 ounces) of her birth weight. I really do believe that if we hadn’t supplemented, she would have lost more than 10% (only 8 ounces) – which they really don’t like to see in small babies. And though her weight may not sound small in when compared with preemie weights, it was very, very low for a baby at 38w2d. Like 1st percentile low. Like one of the quints that was born last year at 34 weeks weighed the same as BabyHope.

So we went home with the SNS and a hospital grade pump. While the system was working well, and BabyHope’s weight loss plateaued the day after leaving the hospital, the process was brutal on us. We had to wake her for each feeding – it’s very difficult to wake a sleepy newborn and keep her alert for an entire feeding. It could take as long as 30 minutes to really get her going. Then Mr. Hope would measure the formula (20ccs – about 2/3 of an ounce) into the SNS, and we’d prop the whole system up – I couldn’t move during the feedings at all. Then latch her on, hoping to get the tube in the right place the first time. You have to get the tube and the boob in her mouth in the right position – otherwise she either doesn’t get the stuff from the tube or doesn’t get the stuff from me. Then wait for her to drain the SNS. Then switch sides. Then pump for 15 minutes. Then wash everything. Oh – and then a diaper change in there somewhere – usually with a wardrobe change for all those involved. And burping the baby and putting her back to sleep. Which typically left about 30 minutes for us to do laundry, pee, sleep, etc. Then start all over again. That lasted 4 days at home – I think I got an hour of sleep each of those days.

Then BabyHope started screaming during feedings and refusing to latch on. I was in tears, she was in tears, so I had Mr. Hope give her a bottle twice I think. I finally figured out that she’d latch on beautifully without the tube, but putting that tube near her resulted in screams. So we stopped using the SNS and went to a supplement bottle of 20-30ccs. By 1 week after her birth, we were totally done with formula and the supplement bottles were expressed breast milk only. She had also gained weight at that point, and was one ounce shy of her birth weight at 1 week of age.

Then BabyHope figured out how to plug the nipple of the bottle with her tongue. So she’d happily take the bottle and sort of suckle without actually eating anything. Smart girl. So at about 10 days old, we started cutting back the feedings at which we’d offer the bottle. She occasionally would take some of the milk, but most of the time did not. I think by 12 days old we gave up entirely.

By 15 days old, BabyHope weighed in at 6lbs, 2.5 ounces. That’s 1 lb, 1 ounce heavier than her birth weight, and 1 lb, 2 ounces heavier than her weight a mere 8 days earlier. We now do one bottle per day – Mr. Hope does one middle of the night feeding so I can get more than 2 hours of sleep in a row.

I was still pumping, but now I actually had an oversupply problem. So I cut back drastically, and only fed her off one breast per feeding – and continue that pattern today. I know she’s still gaining weight, but I don’t think it’s quite as rapid as her initial “catch-up” weight gain.

I am trying to figure out at this point whether or not she has a reflux problem, or if we are still dealing with “oversupply colic”. I change my mind daily.


~ by Larisa on February 11, 2008.

No Responses Yet to “feeding”

  1. I have an over-supply/fast-flow issue and while Anna had reflux (screaming during nursing), Sarah did not (she would choke from getting too much at once in the beginning). If BabyHope is screaming during nursing, I’d lean toward it being a reflux issue. I’d go to a lactation consultant and have her help you out; she might be able to better identify the problem than your pediatrician.

  2. I had the oversupply problem too. Like you, I switched to one breast at each feeding. Worked like a charm, and we did it that way until two weeks shy of his first birthday, when he weaned himself. Feeding from both breasts was just too much for him, he’d throw it all up. Also using one breast at each feeding ensures that the baby is getting the good thick stuff that comes last.

    You’re doing great, Mrs. Hope! And you’re lucky to have Mr. Hope to help in the middle of the night. (My boy would not take a bottle, ever, despite trying every type of nipple/bottle ever made. So it was all mama, no sleep, all the time, for a year.) Kudos for hanging in there!

  3. Shoot, Mrs. Hope. This is an ask-for-assvice-post if I ever saw one. 🙂

    Sounds like the oversupply vs reflux issue is hard to determine (maybe a little of both?), but if anyone has the best answer, it’s you.

    I’m so sorry BabyHope seems to be so uncomfortable. I wish it could be easier for her. I really, really hope the best solution finds its way to you both soon.

  4. It sounds as if you’ve done amazingly well with the supply issue, congratulations. I hope it settles down a bit now and that BabyHope becomes more comfortable. It’s all hard, isn’t it?

  5. It sounds like an over-supply problem and that you are handling it beautifully. There is a spike in crying around 2 months, look out, and the first major growth spurt with hormones and glands developing (that’s why many babies get horrendous achne at this time). As long as BabyHope is gaining weight, she can have days of eating less and eating more and it’s all normal. Oh, icing the breasts AFTER feeding can help with the over-supply issue, but do it carefully so as not to reduce the milk too much.

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