My wife and I are first time parents of a 5 week premature boy. He was in the NICU for 10 days with respiratory distress. He was bottle fed with formula until my wife started pumping (every 3 hours). Then they used her breastmilk whenever they had it. Within a few days (3-4) they were using almost exclusively breastmilk. At that point, he was on a 3 hour feeding schedule.
The last few days before he went home he was breastfeeding for his entire feeding. Typically 20-30 minutes per session (3-4 of the 8 sessions per day... the rest was bottle fed breastmilk from my wifes pumping). Just before he went home, they moved him from 3 hour feeding schedule to "on demand" schedule (with no more than 4 hours between feedings). He typically "demanded" it closer to 3 hours than 4, but never less than 3 hours.
When we took our son home, we imediately switched to full-time nursing. He would take the breast for 20+ minutes every 3 hours that day (noon, 3, 6, 9, midnight).
Then from midnight to 8 am, he started feeding about every 30 minutes for about 5-10 minutes each time. That was an exhausting night!
The next morning/afternoon, he seemed to return to a 1-3 hour sleeping/feeding demand schedule and nursed about 15-20 minutes each time. That second night, he slept about 2 hours between feedings and nursed about 15 minutes.
His third day was much like the first two... very normal (sleeping about 2 hours between feedings). The third night was back to waking up every 40 minutes and nursing about 5-10 minutes.
Some (many) of the nursings are hard to accomplish even what seemingly little we are getting from him because he falls asleep after about 5 minutes of nursing. So we try all the standard tricks (rubbing his cheeks, changing his diaper, etc). It takes about 30 minutes to get 10 minutes of feeding in.
I'm expecting another fussy night tonight.
We bought a scale to make sure that he's gaining weight. He's from 6.16 pounds to 6.25 pounds to 6.40 pounds with each weighing. And while about 1 in 3 diapers has poop, it seems to be a smaller amount than at the hospital.
The fussy nights are very, very stressful. Thankfully my wife has 6 weeks leave to get things worked out, but she only has 4 weeks left at this point. I'm hoping we are able to get him at least sleeping in longer blocks at night (every 3 hours would be a blessing at this point) during this time.
My questions are as follows:
Should we be worried? Is any of this related to the hard transition we made from bottle feeding 5 of 8 feedings a day in the NICU to nursing all his feedings at home? What should we do to get him back up to his previous levels?
Thanks for any and all help and feedback and have a fantastic Christmas tomorrow to everyone who celebrates it!