Our number one biggest issue is feeding. Dylan's Ped would like him to gain a half a pound a week. (I have no idea if this is normal for the regular population or not. I'm thinking not since preemies are supposed to gain "catch up" weight.) Dylan has gained every week since coming home (this week will make 1 month!). But he hasn't gained a lot. He was 8lb 3oz when we left the NICU and last week he was 9lb 5oz. Not bad, but he is no longer on the growth chart.
It sucks having a child below the growth chart. He'll probably be diagnosed FTT soon. Know what that stands for? Failure to Thrive. What a horrible diagnosis! It makes it sound like your child does not know how to live!
But although I stress about his eating each and every hour of every day, FTT doesn't really bother me because he is thriving. Just a little bit more slowly than most babies...well, 99% of babies - let's be exact.
Because of my cool Baby Connect app, I can see how Dylan's current day's total relates to yesterday's total at that exact time as well as his 7 day average. For example, it's 2:30 and he's eaten 7.8 ounces so far. Yesterday he had eaten 6.9 by this point and his 7 day average is 8.5. This feature has helped me sooo much! (I didn't realize it existed until last week.) Dylan eats higher volumes as the day goes on, peaking between 6 and 9pm. So all day I would worry whether we would reach a decent number. Now that I can see his average, I know we are just about on track. It's kind of amazing that he really does have a consistent intake. Since he's had a little less than average so far, he'll probably make it up later this evening. That's what he did yesterday!
His total volume per feeding average 1.8 ounces. Per day is a little under 18 ounces. Of course everything you read says that babies take between 19 and 30 ounces a day. But 18 is really close and I'm reading more and more stories of babies who just never took over 2 ounces and they are all fine. Dylan has taken up to 4 ounces a couple of times, but they are few and far between.
My current outlook is pretty positive. He will be small for awhile, but will eventually catch up. I don't even care if it takes 10 years to catch up as long as he's growing.
But as soon as he throws up, my mood does a 180 no matter how hard I try to stop it. We've been really lucky. Dylan used to only throw up about once a week. But he threw up Wed, Th, Fri last week! I cannot stand to see all the calories that he has worked so hard to get in come right back up! I could care less about the mess. Thank goodness the pattern has not continued and we have been puke free for the past 3 days. He is extremely sensitive after feedings so we have to be careful not to squeeze his belly too tightly (even though we need to burp him), not to put the nipple too far in his mouth to avoid a gag reflex, and no swinging for at least a half an hour. If we avoid these things, we *usually* can avoid trigger a puke, but not always.
Because of his slow weight gain we have gone up to fortifying his feeds to 24 calories from 22 (typical BM and formula average 20 cals). The BM doesn't seem to be changing anything at this point, so I'm holding pretty steady at 1/3 BM per bottle. I'm down to 3 pumps a day which feels pretty manageable so that's where I'll stay at this point. (I've also donated milk to two different friends now so my massive supply that is quickly expiring is being put to good use.)
Everything else is truly fantastic. He shows almost no signs of being a preemie which is amazing. He's smiling a ton and almost laughing. He's making all kinds of different noises. Not sure if this is truly cooing, but it seems good to me. He's tracking and showing much more interest in objects. He actually followed the itsy bitsy spider as it was climbing up the spout the other day! He also watches his mobile now.
He's been rolling from front to back for a couple of a weeks now. He rolls quickly, slowly, to the left, to the right. He enjoys tummy time for the first 10 minutes or so. Although I have no idea how you keep doing tummy time with a baby who rolls over! He's been able to left his head for forever, but he's starting to chill on his elbows every once in awhile. I think he's a bit advanced for his adjusted age in this area which makes sense since he has been "exercising" a lot longer than term babies.
D loves to sleep! I have to wake him for many of his feedings. We are feeding him every two hours during the day (I know it seems too frequent, but it really works for him) and every four at night. He would love to sleep through the night if we would let him, but alas...we can't.
The most fun things for me besides the smiles is that he discovered his tongue during the last week. He likes to stick it out and roll it around and he's sucking on his arm and fist which I find adorable. I think we are very close to him being able to consistently find his mouth and other objects with his hands (right now it's kind of hit or miss).
I feel like parenting comes very naturally to me, but I also struggle to interact all day. I feel guilty if I'm not talking to him every minute that he's awake. I google nursery rhymes and other songs because I can never remember exactly how they go. But it's hard to "play" with a baby before they are interested in toys and books! (I read to him, but he could care less.)
I find that I am MUCH happier if I keep myself off the couch as much as possible. I don't turn the TV on until the afternoon, but often I'll let him sleep on me between feedings while I read stuff on my phone. Before I know it, I've been in somewhat the same position for hours. Somehow I got away from our morning walk (I think because of feeding issues and sporadic afternoon plans), but my mood is much better when I make sure to get it in.
I am taking Dylan out, but I keep his carseat covered with a blanket at all times. No one has held him (or touched him) except family - after washing and using hand sanitizer. I'm being very careful, but am not staying confined to the house which seems to be working for us.
I LOVE being a mom, but I'm also not sure if I'm meant to be a SAHM or not. I used to think definitely not. Now, I'm not quite so sure, but either way, I'm going back for the end of the school year in May. Then I'll have the summer off and I'll decide what to do about next year.
Ok...I think I've covered most of what's going on!
* * * * *
ATTENTION MAMA BLOGGERS! If you got this far : )
I'm planning a post "Splurge or Save" post regarding baby items. If you'd like to participate, send me a list of items that you would advise to either Splurge on or Save money, the item, and give a brief explanation of your reasoning. I'll compile everyone's posts (with a link back to you) and publish next Monday, April 1st. Please send them to me by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, by this Friday, March 29th.