Boys: How long did it take to nipple all feeds? — The Bump
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Boys: How long did it take to nipple all feeds?

My boys are 7w3d old and gestationally 37w.  The very last requirement they need to meet to go home is to consistently be nippeling all of their feeds.  They get 2oz of breastmilk every three hours.  It seems we'll have one or two great feeds then they'll have to be gavaged the others in almost their entirety.  We've been told boys just mature slower and one day they'll suddenly do it.  Was that your experience?  Any tips for helping them nipple?  I do put them to breast once a day but weighed feedings show they get very little.
Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
Married 9/22/07, began TTC 8/10
Diagnosed with DOR, LP defect, mild endometriosis and cysts
BFP #1 EDD 9/10/11, natural miscarriage at 6w
BFP #2 Medicated cycle, twin boys born 4/4/12 at 29w4d
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Re: Boys: How long did it take to nipple all feeds?

  • ashk7ashk7
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Comments Photogenic
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    Well I don't have a boy, sorry, but I can tell you my dd did the same thing. For me it was the most frustrating part of our NICU journey! I tried everything I could think of to help her, stayed 24 hrs so I could be the only one to feed her and work with her, brought in bottles from home, nurses used different nipples, everything and anything! I hated the weighted feeds because at times I knew she was transferring more tgebn the scale would say, then the nurses would NG the rest and she would spit up everywhere because she was being overfed. I know this was the hardest thing for me to hear but just like nurses said it really does jus click one day! DD pulled out her NG tube one morning I asked if we could leave it out for her next feed, which was in like 10 mins drs agreed, she took every bottle after that and was sent home the next day!! She was almost 38 weeks, hang in there they will get it, my best advice is to take some time to yourself right now because your boys will be home soon!!!! Also, don't get frustrated if they do great and then all of a sudden stop, dd did this and I would be devastated, took it as a step backward which was not the case, she knew what she was doing! She even took 6 in a row, they started to get her papers ready and then she would only take like 10-20 cc and stop! Itssll normal and very frustrating!!! Good luck it's amazing what a difference a day can make!
    Code snippet: HTML, Used for some forums. Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
  • Missa_gMissa_g
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
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    image ashk7:
    Well I don't have a boy, sorry, but I can tell you my dd did the same thing. For me it was the most frustrating part of our NICU journey! I tried everything I could think of to help her, stayed 24 hrs so I could be the only one to feed her and work with her, brought in bottles from home, nurses used different nipples, everything and anything! I hated the weighted feeds because at times I knew she was transferring more tgebn the scale would say, then the nurses would NG the rest and she would spit up everywhere because she was being overfed. I know this was the hardest thing for me to hear but just like nurses said it really does jus click one day! DD pulled out her NG tube one morning I asked if we could leave it out for her next feed, which was in like 10 mins drs agreed, she took every bottle after that and was sent home the next day!! She was almost 38 weeks, hang in there they will get it, my best advice is to take some time to yourself right now because your boys will be home soon!!!! Also, don't get frustrated if they do great and then all of a sudden stop, dd did this and I would be devastated, took it as a step backward which was not the case, she knew what she was doing! She even took 6 in a row, they started to get her papers ready and then she would only take like 10-20 cc and stop! Itssll normal and very frustrating!!! Good luck it's amazing what a difference a day can make!
    Thank you!  I trust the doctors and nurses but it's so nice to hear a parent's experience.
    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
    Married 9/22/07, began TTC 8/10
    Diagnosed with DOR, LP defect, mild endometriosis and cysts
    BFP #1 EDD 9/10/11, natural miscarriage at 6w
    BFP #2 Medicated cycle, twin boys born 4/4/12 at 29w4d
    BFP #3 EDD 8/8/14, D&C for missed miscarriage at 8w, baby boy with triploidy
    BFP #4 June 2014 CP
  • DrRxDrRx
    Tenth Anniversary 2500 Comments 100 Love Its Photogenic
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    I have a daughter, but what made the difference for us was that when we would feed her, she didn't need to be fed through the tube.  However, the nurses would say that she "looked tired" (and wouldn't even ATTEMPT a bottle) or would only feed her part for like 10 or 15 minutes, and she would again "look tired", so they would gavage the rest. 

    It turns out that our Adalyn is very particular when she eats.  She likes to be burped, does not like crap on her chin, and just needs someone to be patient to feed her.  So, we decided that one of us would always be there for her feeds, and we were able to get all her feeds via bottle for 48 hours.  This allowed them to take out her NG tube, and therefore the easy out for the nurses was no longer there.  We still continued to stay there feeding her because, well, a nurse, no matter how sweet or nice, is just not going to have the same love and patience as you to feed your child. 

    Some other ladies on this board have said that they just let their child get bottles in the NICU so that they can get out and then started breastfeeding at home.  Like PP said, sometimes those weights aren't right.  Also, I found that Adalyn won't take the same exact amount at every feed at home.  Just like a person, she is hungrier at times than others.  As long as she gets what she needs in a 24 hour period, and is gaining weight, it doesn't matter whether they get exactly 2 ounces every meal.  I would ask to see if you could do a minimum amount required in a 12-hour period, for example, to see if that makes a difference. 

    GL and I hope that you'll be able to bring your boys home.  Feeding is one of the last hurdles to get through, and you'll find that sometimes something that has been working will stop working and you have to try something different (ie, different bottle, nipple, etc).  

    TTC Since July 2008.
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  • I just went back and looked at pics.  It was 17 days from his first nipple feed to discharge.  It is so hard when you get to the last stage of the NICU.  Time seems to stand still.
    Born at 31w3d due to severe IUGR & Placental Insufficiency--2lbs 3ounces
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    We'll miss you sweet Debbie Girl (4.21.12) and sweet Cindy Girl (8.9.12)
    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

  • I don't have a boy but nippling was our last and biggest hurdle in leaving the NICU.  Not to be discouraging but C had to stay 2 weeks past her due date bc of it.  She did develop pretty severe reflux and had a delayed swallow so these factored heavily into this.  Everyone told me that the light would turn on and all the sudden she would get it.  After we controlled her reflux and thickened her formula, she did.  GL, I hope your boys get to go home soon! 
  • DS had an issue with feeding as well.  He was 2 weeks old, gestational age of 35 w 5 d  when he came home. Honestly, I tried to push him because DD came home five days before him and it was hard to go see him as they didn't allow us to bring DD but he just did it when he was ready. He got his tube out on Friday and came home Sunday, it just clicked for him. We also found that it did depend on the nurses, some had more patience than others with him. He continues to be a slower eater than his sister but he is gaining weight which is important.
    ttc #1 since 7/10 Dx - PCOS and LPD chemical pregnancy 6/11 IUI #1 9/5 & 9/6 9/19 - BFP, beta #1 149 (15 dpo), beta #1 (17 dpo) 370 1st ultrasound 5 w 6 days -- TWINS!!! It's a boy and a girl! Born April 15, 2012. Baby A - 4 lbs 11 ounces, Baby B - 5 lbs 6 ounces Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
  • It was a full month between first bottle feeding to discharge. Feeding was the WORST and the only thing keeping him in. Although in the end we found out that it was because he had severe reflux. 

     

    You can ask for "on-demand" feedings to see if that helps. Ty wouldn't take his full amount every 3 hours (again due to the reflux) but would take his daily full amount by eating every 2 hours. So we just watched his cues and fed him when he was hungry. We also tried different bottles, nipples, and switched him to allimentum formula (instead of BM) to rule out MPI. 

     

    Good luck... and hang on... he will be home soon!  

  • I kinda pushed them on this with Henry. He kinda stunk at the bottle and never took 2 full feedings in a row. He did do pretty well at the breast (we weren't doing weighed feeds though). He came home at 35 weeks adjusted, but again, I was pushing the envelope (since I had been a resident there I think they were more willing to let him go home on the early side)

    Some tips

    1. Breathe... it feels like they will NEVER get home, but they will. This was the hardest part of the journey for me.

    2. Ad lib feeds... if you think they have some good feeds and some lazy feeds, or maybe they would eat smaller amounts more frequently, ask to try this. Give them 24 hours, you try to be there as much as possible (ad lib is harder for the RNs) and then see if they gain a little weight. Henry definitely did worse when we were waking him to feed and was more "with it" when we let him set the schedule.

    3. Nipple shield... ask your hospital LC about this if you haven't tried it yet. It helps them get better suction at the breast. It made a huge difference BF for us and we didn't need it for long.

    Good luck! Hang in there and keep us posted!

    BFP#1 9/14/10 (EDD 5/21/11); no fetal pole 6w6d, 7w4d, d&c 10/8
    BFP#2 3/16/11, beta 138; 4/12 Baby/HB DS born 9/10/11 at 29w4d due to partial abruption and PTL
    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    BFP#3 8/19/13 Another boy! 17P, modified bedrest and Nifedipine helped us have a termie! DS2 born 4/19/14 at 38w5d.
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  • We started nippling at 34 weeks, DS came home at just shy of 38.  I'm pretty sure he had been nippling all feeds several days before then, but had a few bradys that held him back.  We gave up on BFing in the NICU 5 days before discharge (but were able to pick it up once we got home).  DS tended to respond better to some nurses than others, but I tried to stay away from blaming the nurses for him not feeding (no use in putting out negative energy knowing DS could feel my tension). I had to remind myself that many of the nurses had 20+ years of experience feeding these little guys and instead tried to get tips from the nurses that had more success with him.  The timed feeding was pretty frustrating as well but I understood that at a certain point he was expending too much energy to keep trying.  Try not to get too frustrated, it will happen! 
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  • kck329kck329
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Photogenic
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    image haziedaze:

    Some tips

    1. Breathe... it feels like they will NEVER get home, but they will. This was the hardest part of the journey for me.

    2. Ad lib feeds... if you think they have some good feeds and some lazy feeds, or maybe they would eat smaller amounts more frequently, ask to try this. Give them 24 hours, you try to be there as much as possible (ad lib is harder for the RNs) and then see if they gain a little weight. Henry definitely did worse when we were waking him to feed and was more "with it" when we let him set the schedule.

    3. Nipple shield... ask your hospital LC about this if you haven't tried it yet. It helps them get better suction at the breast. It made a huge difference BF for us and we didn't need it for long.

    Good luck! Hang in there and keep us posted!

    Ad lib feeding made a big difference for my DD too. The last few weeks are SO hard because you know you are almost home...it will happen but it really feels like an eternity.

    And out of pure curiosity--why did you page moms of boys? Did your NICU tell you this can be a boy issue? I'm genuinely curious since I've never heard that before. 

  • image kck329:
    image haziedaze:

    Some tips

    1. Breathe... it feels like they will NEVER get home, but they will. This was the hardest part of the journey for me.

    2. Ad lib feeds... if you think they have some good feeds and some lazy feeds, or maybe they would eat smaller amounts more frequently, ask to try this. Give them 24 hours, you try to be there as much as possible (ad lib is harder for the RNs) and then see if they gain a little weight. Henry definitely did worse when we were waking him to feed and was more "with it" when we let him set the schedule.

    3. Nipple shield... ask your hospital LC about this if you haven't tried it yet. It helps them get better suction at the breast. It made a huge difference BF for us and we didn't need it for long.

    Good luck! Hang in there and keep us posted!

    Ad lib feeding made a big difference for my DD too. The last few weeks are SO hard because you know you are almost home...it will happen but it really feels like an eternity.

    And out of pure curiosity--why did you page moms of boys? Did your NICU tell you this can be a boy issue? I'm genuinely curious since I've never heard that before. 

    We were told repeatedly that the reason had issues with x or y was because he was male.  They call boys (well, white boys) Wimpy White Boys. Male preemies who are not white have better outcomes in the NICU than white male, as do all females (regardless of race).

    Born at 31w3d due to severe IUGR & Placental Insufficiency--2lbs 3ounces
    image

    We'll miss you sweet Debbie Girl (4.21.12) and sweet Cindy Girl (8.9.12)
    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

  • kck329kck329
    Eighth Anniversary 1000 Comments 25 Love Its Photogenic
    member
    image katie4253:
    image kck329:
    image haziedaze:

    Some tips

    1. Breathe... it feels like they will NEVER get home, but they will. This was the hardest part of the journey for me.

    2. Ad lib feeds... if you think they have some good feeds and some lazy feeds, or maybe they would eat smaller amounts more frequently, ask to try this. Give them 24 hours, you try to be there as much as possible (ad lib is harder for the RNs) and then see if they gain a little weight. Henry definitely did worse when we were waking him to feed and was more "with it" when we let him set the schedule.

    3. Nipple shield... ask your hospital LC about this if you haven't tried it yet. It helps them get better suction at the breast. It made a huge difference BF for us and we didn't need it for long.

    Good luck! Hang in there and keep us posted!

    Ad lib feeding made a big difference for my DD too. The last few weeks are SO hard because you know you are almost home...it will happen but it really feels like an eternity.

    And out of pure curiosity--why did you page moms of boys? Did your NICU tell you this can be a boy issue? I'm genuinely curious since I've never heard that before. 

    We were told repeatedly that the reason had issues with x or y was because he was male.  They call boys (well, white boys) Wimpy White Boys. Male preemies who are not white have better outcomes in the NICU than white male, as do all females (regardless of race).

    I know this. I just wondered if there was something feeding-specific that the OP knew about.

  • Missa_gMissa_g
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 250 Love Its Name Dropper
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    Thank you everyone!  We asked to try an ad lib schedule and the doctor agreed.  So I'm here for the next 24 hours!

    Kck- Nothing specifically related to feedings.  We've just been told time and again that boys mature slower.  We've seen two sets of girl twins and several singletons leave much quicker than boys.  Our bay has primarily been girls during our stay so that's why I specifically asked.  But I'm so glad girl moms replied too!

    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers
    Married 9/22/07, began TTC 8/10
    Diagnosed with DOR, LP defect, mild endometriosis and cysts
    BFP #1 EDD 9/10/11, natural miscarriage at 6w
    BFP #2 Medicated cycle, twin boys born 4/4/12 at 29w4d
    BFP #3 EDD 8/8/14, D&C for missed miscarriage at 8w, baby boy with triploidy
    BFP #4 June 2014 CP
  • image Missa_g:

    Thank you everyone!  We asked to try an ad lib schedule and the doctor agreed.  So I'm here for the next 24 hours!

    Kck- Nothing specifically related to feedings.  We've just been told time and again that boys mature slower.  We've seen two sets of girl twins and several singletons leave much quicker than boys.  Our bay has primarily been girls during our stay so that's why I specifically asked.  But I'm so glad girl moms replied too!

    It gets old, huh?  I was quite tired of the phrase wimpy white boy before I left :)

    Born at 31w3d due to severe IUGR & Placental Insufficiency--2lbs 3ounces
    image

    We'll miss you sweet Debbie Girl (4.21.12) and sweet Cindy Girl (8.9.12)
    Lilypie Premature Baby tickers

  • ARGHHHH!!! I just had a whole long post typed up but the Internet ate it. :P

    Basically, we were in a similar situation as you. My son was born at 29w1d. At 37w, I was wondering if he'd ever be off the feeding tube! But then just a couple of days later we started the perfect PO feeding for 48 hours that he needed to come home. He was home at 38w exactly (and those last couple of days were because of stuff like the car seat test, hearing test, rooming in with him overnight, etc.). It could very well happen for your boys very soon!

    I'm baking lactation cookies right now so I don't have time to re-type everything I had written up the first time, but I'll come back to add anything especially important.

    Oh, one thing that helped us was calling a meeting with his neo, nutritionist, feeding (speech) therapist, lactation, and the day nurse who'd had him the past few days, with the goal of coming up with a "feeding plan."

    The idea was that nurses couldn't just wing it or decide to tube him because he "looked tired"... they had to follow the plan we all came up with. This worked really well... almost immediately after this meeting the critical 48 hours started where Jack did perfect bottle feedings. (We decided to wait to transition to BFing after we got home, for the sake of getting him home faster.)

    BTW, how are you/they feeding? side-lying position, slow flow vs. regular nipple, etc.? For us, side-lying worked well and regular nipples worked better for Jack than slow-flow... he was getting too tired sucking on those slow-flow nipples. This is something that's worth discussion if you are able to call one of those meetings like I mentioned, to figure out the best course of action for your boys. Some other things they can help figure out is whether it's working out to stick with every three hours vs. every four, when maybe they'll be hungrier and more motivated to eat (and would consequently eat more).

    Julia ~ six miscarriages ~ our sweet miracle baby, Jack, due 5/3/12, was born at 29w1d on February 17, 2012, weighing 2 pounds 8 ounces Lilypie Premature Baby tickers BabyFetus Ticker
  • Oh, I had missed the last few replies and see you're moving to ad lib... great move! I'm not sure whether what we did counts as ad lib but ad lib feedings are a great plan (we still stuck with every three hours, but gave him 80ml instead of the 50 they had been giving him... and let him eat as much or little as he wanted). I bet making this change will help the boys a lot!

    And yeah... I got SO sick of hearing about wimpy white boy syndrome. Every new nurse felt a need to tell us about this. Sometimes I got the impression they didn't try hard enough with him because he was a white baby boy. For example, he was down to room air for WEEKS before they finally took out the cannula for good. He was so annoyed by the cannula, especially during feedings, I'm sure that probably slowed his feeding progress down. Oh well, he's home and it doesn't matter anymore so I'm over it (sort of)! :D 

    Julia ~ six miscarriages ~ our sweet miracle baby, Jack, due 5/3/12, was born at 29w1d on February 17, 2012, weighing 2 pounds 8 ounces Lilypie Premature Baby tickers BabyFetus Ticker
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