35 wk preemie at nicu for learning to eat

I am desperate for someone to share that they are familiar with what we are going through. My daughter was born at 35 weeks and was admitted to the nicu. She does not seem to have any medical issues; she just has not figured out how to breastfeed or bottle feed. Tomorrow she will have been in the nicu for one month. She paces herself pretty well on the bottle and she seems to prefer nursing but she will only do either for 5 minutes each time. She is being ng tube fed 63 ml every 3 hours. She typically takes 10-15 ml by bottle so she isn’t even close to reaching that goal of 63 ml. Sometimes it is because she is so tired and falls asleep, but not always. Oftentimes she will be awake but just stop at 5 minutes regardless. Maybe from being worn out?  Everyone here says one day it’s like a lightbulb goes off and she will just get it. One month out and I’m struggling to feel optimistic. Tell me someone else has experienced this....

Re: 35 wk preemie at nicu for learning to eat

  • Preemie born at 25 weeks and currently learning to bottle feed. We’re going through the same thing. One hour she’s doing really well the next hour she’s very tired. The nurses and others say it’s common but I agree it’s pretty daunting. Trying to stay positive that they’ll get there, they always do
  • edited March 2022
    I’m going through the same thing, mama. My son was born at 34 weeks and thankfully has very little medical issues but just can’t figure out how to eat. He usually only takes 5-10 ml each feeding, but I got him to 15 ml today. It was a lot for him and he had a little spit up afterwards. We are holding off on breast milk right now until they figure out whether he has a milk protein allergy but he seems to be doing better on formula than he was on my milk. I keep holding on to the advice of one of the nurses - she told me that most often one day it just clicks and they figure it out. That helps me through the ups and downs thinking that maybe tomorrow could be the day it just clicks. Good luck, you aren’t alone.
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  • medp87medp87 member
    I have a 34 weeker who was in the NICU for about 1 week and has been in the progressive nursery working on feeding for the past 2 1/2 weeks. Mine is also inconsistent with both bottle feeding and nursing and tires quickly. Trying to be patient but definitely starting to feel frustrated and discouraged. Hoping he’ll be home by his due date (April 2). Hang in there! 
  • My preemie was born 35 weeks and same thing, we were just waiting around for him to be awake enough to eat. Breastfeeding him was essentially making it worse because they have to use up so many calories/energy to breastfeed that they fall asleep and need to be tube fed for the rest. I started only breastfeeding him once or twice a day for a couple minutes at a time and topping him off with the tube until one day he was able to breastfeed for a few minutes and then be topped off with a bottle instead. After a few days of this, he was taken off of the tube and just bottle fed. I stopped breastfeeding him but once a day because I felt like it would tire him out too much and was afraid they would put the tube back in. So once he was eating on his own via bottle for a few days, he was able to go. (He was in for 18 days) when we left, he was a COMPLETELY different baby. He refused the bottle and only breastfed from the moment we got home. He lasted for each feed without tiring. 

    One piece of advice-try your best to have someone there for as many feeds as you can. The nurses are absolutely amazing and wonderful but they are not going to put in the same effort as a parent does as far as attempting to feed, they will much sooner finish off on the tube if they are struggling instead of waking them and trying again and again. My husband and I were there as much as we could and thankfully had a mother in law who did opposite shifts, bottle feeding and waking and patiently waiting as long as possible and trying again before just going to tube. 
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