First, let me say how truly grateful i am that this forum exists especially for moms of preemies. It's so nice to have a place to turn to where there are other moms who are going through/have gone through the same thing as me!
I've posted in the newborn forum, but thought I should try here as i'm not sure if my BF issues are because my LO is a preemie or just regular newborn stuff. (I suspect a bit of both)
My LO was a 32 weeker and is now almost 42 weeks. We were in NICU for 5 weeks, home for almost 3 back in PICU for 1 week (where he lost all the weight he had gained at home: 10 oz) and now home again for 5 days (back to his pre-second hospital time weight) During all of his hospitalization he spent a total of almost 3 weeks on no feeds and another week on very small feeds working up to full feeds. He was born at 4.5 and is now 7.2 He has also spent a LOT of time with a paci as it was his primary source of comfort (besides being cuddled of course)
i should also say that he is getting lots of wets/dirties so I know that he is getting milk, but I still have concerns.
Here are my concerns:
1) Maybe I'm just wrong about this but i feel as though his suck should be stronger. It usually starts out pretty vigorous and strong and then just fades down to small movements. Does this improve with time/practice? How can i improve it?
2) Since we came home from the hospital this second time he is RAVENOUS. or maybe not? he always wants to eat, at least he is giving signs of wanting to eat.I mean he would probably nurse constantly if i didn't eventually make him stop. He will fall asleep after nursing for a while but if he wakes up when being burped or moved he gets very upset and i have to put him back on breast. is this a growth spurt? Is he making up for lost time? Does he just need to be comforted? I can distract him most times by walking around, bouncing him, but my desire is not to avoid feeding him if he needs it, i just want to know what's up. He does LOVE being in his little soft carriers and falls right asleep, so i suspect maybe he just want to be near mommy? When we first got home I had an OS (due to pumping for so long) he would eat for 5- 15 minutes on one side only, every few hours or so, way more often in the evenings.
3) He really fights me to go on the breast and almost always has. He will flail his arms and fuss and i really have to work at it. Ok sometimes maybe he isn't really hungry, but he does this even when I KNOW he is hungry. He pushes his head back and sucks on his fist.
4) I am CONSTANTLY concerned about my supply. With his eating so often My breasts almost always "feel" empty. am i losing milk? Is he maybe just starving?? I should say that i don't pump anymore. I pumped every 3 hours during his NICU stay and had a good supply (usually between 3 and 5 ounces combined depending on the time of day) But when he came home I was of the mindset that if he wasn't eating it then he didn't need it right then and my supply would adjust to his needs. My supply has since gone down (I can tell from pumping during this last hospital stay)which is not necessarily bad as I've noticed he spits up less But with a lazy-ish suck could he not be transferring enough and could my supply just be diminishing every day?! This REALLY worries me. Have any other NICU moms abandoned the pump once home?
5) is it time to actively work on increasing my supply? I thought supply and demand would take care of it, but maybe he jumped ahead of what I can keep up with?
Gosh, I know all of that was long. My husband doesn't understand why I worry so much about all of this. But After not being able to mother my little boy properly for so long I am obsessed to distraction that I BF him the best I can! it's the thing that I can do for him, you know? I know you ladies can relate!
I do think that I will see about a session with an LC to put my mind at ease, but could use some advice in the meantime.
PS we do cosleep as I have a hard time sleeping without him right on or near me. I feel more at ease that he won't just stop breathing on me while in his little bassinet. I also can't stand to let him cry for even a minute!