Thursday, February 4, 2010

All you can eat

Theo is doing fine. He showed up 3 weeks early but was in no way a preemie. Thirty-seven weeks is considered full term, and he was very nearly there. The only thing we had to keep an eye on was a mild case of jaundice, which is common among any birth, full term or not. We had a pediatrician appointment when Theo was only 3 days old to make sure this was handled. The doc (whom we immediately took a liking to) recommended small amounts of sunshine and a ramped up feeding schedule. His body gets rid of the bilirubin through diaper changes, and the more food, the more messy diapers.

Even though the jaundice is gone and he's past his birth weight, he's still a little guy and still needs his regular meals. Every two hours, we have to wake him up and get him to eat. Feedings last about an hour. During that time, the baby will feed for approximate 10 minute bursts and need burp breaks. He almost always falls back to sleep within those breaks. He's a good sleeper, and it always seems a shame to wake him. Nursing tends to put babies to sleep anyway and there are long lists of ways to keep them awake during a feeding, most of which involve annoying the baby into wakefulness. Over the last couple weeks I've figured out a rhythm to the methods. During a regular feeding, I usually have to take his clothes off, rub his stomach and back, dance him around, change his diaper (easily, the thing he hates most in the world right now), and put his clothes back on, all of which bother him just enough so he will eat. It can be frustrating, but it's necessary.

The stay-awake game can be wearying on its own, but when you got yourself up at 4 am to do so, it's a whole other world of weary. The pediatrician has cleared him to sleep up to 4 hours at time at night but Theo's internal clock is set at 2.5 hours maximum. Doesn't matter if it's a noisy room or a quiet room, morning or night, he's never asleep for much longer.

As soon as a feeding is done, it's as if someone shoots a starter pistol and the clock counts down to my next feeding. If I want to go out, or do some chores, write online, or take a nap - I need to get to it. It's quite often that a simple time waster such as watching a random daytime TV rerun eats up a huge chunk of my time, preventing anything else I meant to do.

I just began using a pump and Greg is now on bottle duty for one of the nighttime feedings. Theo is having no problem switching between breast and bottle. Getting the pumping timing right is complex as well, since I need to be ready to feed him again after the 2 hours are up and it takes time to make that milk. The pumping itself is easy, though admittedly a bit strange, hooking oneself up to a milking machine.

Breastfeeding was a bit of a challenge (and still has its pitfalls) but my milk came in fine and Theo gets his nutrition, and that's what's important.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it crazy what a time suck all that is? Nurse/pump, feed, burp, change start over again ad nauseum. Don't worry, though, eventually they start to settle out and find a routine, although the breastmilk always does digest faster than formula. So you really are under the gun to get stuff done - and going out takes a mountain of planning. Can't do it unless it's right after a feeding and changing,and even then you only have like an hour or so tops to get something done before you start worrying about getting back and doing more feeding before the baby cries.