Well, yesterday’s on-demand feeding trial was basically one giant failed experiment. While E was definitely taking in larger feeds, he wasn’t getting enough volume to make up for mostly going the maximum four hours in between feedings. He was also starting to show signs of exhaustion, which is one problem with letting him get too hungry. So around 6:00 this morning, back on the feeding tube he went. It’s disappointing, but I’m glad we gave it a shot, since all along I had been wondering if he’d eat more if we actually let him get hungry. Now I know.
I will say, knowing we can gavage him after letting him try a bottle or nursing first helps take some of the pressure off our feeding sessions. It also lets me celebrate the above-average feed volumes instead of fretting that they’re not enough. It’s clear this kid is just going to take some time to get feeding down, which everyone tells me is so common for a baby born this early and with as much of a respiratory history as he’s had. I go back and forth between being okay with this — after all, he’s doing phenomenal for a baby born more than three months early (perspective!) — and feeling completely beat down, because at this rate we will be in this hospital until he goes off to college.
Feeding went a little better today. A friend came to visit while we were nursing this afternoon and I think our conversation kept him awake because he didn’t get as sleepy during the feed and managed to take in 44 ml! Of course, the next feed he was so zapped he took nothing and wouldn’t even wake up for me. We still have a long way to go on endurance, but we do seem to slowly be inching upward. He’s up to 7 lbs 6 oz now.