Widgets Magazine

Oct 11, 2018

Moments in the NICU: That's My Mom! by Bossy

The primary reason Skittles spent so much time at the hospital was that he was unable to take food by mouth. He couldn’t figure out how to suck, swallow and breathe while nursing. Latching issues aren’t a surprise to me.  Both Taco and Burrito had to use a nipple shield when nursing as newborns.  Taco couldn’t even figure out how to latch well with his tongue tie. Once Burrito was used to my rapid, heavy let down, he was able to nurse without the shield.

Early on, I asked the lactation specialist for a shield and described the struggles my older boys had nursing.  We had countless people come and watch him latch and try to nurse. As adorable as his cheeks are, they made it difficult to see how strong of a latch we had. He was also using his cheeks to store the milk and he would let it dribble out the sides of his mouth instead of swallowing.

With little progress being made at the beginning of week 3, I began to toy with the idea of going back to work before he was released and taking more time when he came home.  At that point it hit me that when I returned to work, Skittles would need to take a bottle and if we gave him his feeding by bottle before the tube feed, we could see exactly what he was doing when he tried to suck, swallow and breathe.

I asked his nurse, Amy, if we could get permission to try a bottle feed at his next feeding. Bottle feeding a preemie is not like feeding a full term baby. Amy showed me how to lay him on his side facing away from me so I could monitor the flow in the nipple and watch his breathing. Skittles really liked Nurse Amy; she was present at his birth and frequently checked on him when he wasn’t assigned to her.

No problems smiling now, Skittles at 3 months old.
 Skittles has always been hyper-aware of his surroundings. I watched him track a new voice across his room at 3 days old. He reacts when he meets a new person, especially if they don’t compliment his hair and cheeks. He is a very observant baby! He watched Amy intently and tried to figure out how this crazy bottle thing worked. At some point during the feeding, he became so focused on the bottle and Amy, that he forgot I was in the room holding him on my lap.

Grandma! My grandma is here! (Skittles @ 3 months)
Being on his side, Skittles was back to his old tricks of just letting the milk dribble out of the corner of his mouth Amy suggested we adjust his position to see if it would help him swallow.  As I went to adjust him, he turned his head and noticed me. He eyes lit up and he shook with joy; if he could talk, he would have shouted, “Mom, my mom is here!” 

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