Baby Update No. 5 – Feeding and Breathing and Trusting

I am happy to share that Louise is doing well and is now five pounds, six ounces! I’ve neglected to post a big update on her because I haven’t had time to sit and reflect on all that has happened, but I know so many of y’all have been faithfully keeping her in your prayers so I wanted to share what she’s been up to lately.

Louise is such a joy. She loves to be held and just looks at us with her big blue eyes as we sing and read to her. She has the sweetest disposition. She doesn’t crying a lot like the bigger babies in the NICU (although I promised my older girls that will come!). We are still in awe that she is here and we get to hold and care for this precious blessing.

Louise’s biggest issue right now is her breathing. She still requires a lot of oxygen, which is a bit concerning to me, but her doctor is not worried at all and is confident she will be home near the end of the month. (Yay!)

Besides the breathing, we have been working hard on Louise’s feeding. And when I say “we” I mean Louise and myself. For moms who want to breastfeed, our NICU recommends spending two weeks exclusively trying to nurse before nurses introduce the bottle (because studies show that doing so leads to higher success rates of breastfeeding). So I have been at the hospital multiple times a day these past few weeks trying to do just that.

I think breastfeeding is always frustrating in the early days but y’all it’s a whole different ballgame with a preemie who is connected to multiple tubes and wires. Inevitably as soon as she gets going it seems I accidentally pull off a lede and her heart monitor starts blaring throughout the room. (The nurses are so patient with me!)

A few times while I have been nursing she has even stopped breathing and turned purple. This is absolutely terrifying, but the nurses just tap her and she remembers to breathe again.

Most of the time during our feeding sessions Louise just snuggles up to me, but lately she has been latching on and nursing for a few minutes. She still seems a long way off from nursing for a full feeding (or finishing a whole bottle), but the lactation consultants and occupational therapist keep saying that all this hard work will be worth it in the end.

I sure hope so. Deep down I have this fear that she will have the same feeding problems as my second daughter. She was also a preemie and didn’t eat enough to grow at a healthy rate (i.e. failure to thrive). Around six months old she ended up having to get a feeding tube in her stomach. For some reason, that had some horrible effect on her little body because from the moment she got it she started throwing up everything that went in her mouth. Within a few weeks stopped eating altogether and didn’t eat for several years.

I know that’s an extreme case, but perhaps it explains why I am a tad anxious about this whole feeding thing and willing to do anything I can to make eating a success for her before she comes home. Even if it means my older children clinging to me and complaining that I am gone all the time!

And although I want to be successful at breastfeeding (selfishly it’s easier on me not to have to deal with cleaning bottle parts all of the time!), I will be so grateful for her just to eat and thrive, whether it’s by breastmilk or formula or a combination of both. I just want a heathy baby and I want her to come home.

P.S. I just shared my favorite lactation cookie recipe (a batch makes a great gift for a new mom) and you can see more photos and videos of our NICU journey on Instastories.

Thank you for your continued prayers for our baby girl!!

 

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8 thoughts on “Baby Update No. 5 – Feeding and Breathing and Trusting

  1. Lee, thanks so much for this update! Now I know better how to pray for your sweet Louise! Love and hugs to your whole family. xoxo Suzy

  2. Good luck with nursing! Sharon Mattes with Natural Beginnings helped me a lot in the beginning. Congratulations again!

  3. So happy for a positive update! Though not a premie, our baby has had feeding issues (NG tube followed by G tube, currently in the vomit stage and relieved to hear both that we’re not the only ones and that it gets better!!) , so I can relate to all the anxiety and eagerness for her to be PO. Keep up the hard work; you’re both doing great!!

    1. I am so sorry you are having to deal with that, too. If you ever want to chat let me know. I am happy to share my personal blog from back then where I share what worked/didn’t work. We ended up having to make homemade blended formula and that helped so much with the vomiting .

  4. What a great update! Those breathing issues are a tricky and frustrating thing. It’s almost like a switch gets flipped and they get it! It took our preemie almost 9 weeks before be got it figured out — and you do reach a point where you wonder if it’s ever going to happen. Slow and steady is the name of the game in the NICU — but you are getting closer to the finish line!

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