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Very stressed about starting my micro-preemie on solids

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Well, my 25.5 weeker is almost 7 months adjusted and we are starting to think about solids. For some background: my kiddo had a rough time in the NICU and a lot of feeding difficulties. He finally got discharged after we started thickening his formula/breastmilk with Simply Thick. We were never able to breastfeed We were seeing a speech therapist for his feeding issues and we like her a lot, but she is very mainstream. She mentioned the "window" for feeding solids is 6-9 months and you don't want to miss the window etc. I always planned to skip cereal and purees...but when I mentioned that I got a lot of resistance. (I also talked to his developmental therapist and she was sweet but seemed weirded out that I would feed a baby chunks of food instead of spoon feeding) Anyway the speech therapist thinks it is really important to get him used to the spoon etc.
Having had a micropreemie who was in the hospital for 4.5 months makes this all so different from having a FT baby. We had to rely on experts to keep our baby alive and teach him to eat etc. Our baby has/is at high risk for oral aversions etc. I don't always know when/how to trust and use my mommy instincts...I also want to pick my battles. We see so many specialists, I don't want to clash with all of them. They have helped us so much. Any thoughts or experience?
post #2 of 5
When you say that you want to feed him chunks do you mean that you'd give him some avocado or banana (for instance) and let him learn to feed himself?

Assuming that...
Is it possible to try both? I think it's good to have him learning to feed himself from a young age. For a long time Erin would only eat if she was in control but her skill level just wasn't there. She enjoyed finger food but would eat soooo slowly that she'd get bored before she was finished even a quarter of her portion.

That said, I also think it's probably a good thing for you to be able to feed your son with a spoon as well. In a completely no pressure way. Maybe start off the meal with you feeding him some pureed fruit and let him take as much as he'd like before giving him something he can handle himself.

Self feeding is one of the things I spoke with our speechie about. She said that it's usually much harder to get a child who feeds themself to eat then one who is still spoon fed by a parent (etc). So maybe that's why your speechie is hesitant?

Either way, one thing I really wish I'd done with Erin from day one was to make feeding time so much fun that it was something she really looked forward to. Instead I stressed because her weight gain was so poor and made feeding her way more tense then it should have been and in turn made her aversions and learned behaviors worse. We're working on it now, but it's been 12 of the hardest months of my life, including having her in the NICU for five months.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks Le Bec. Yes, I think you are right. We are still feeding our babe 30 calories per ounce in an effort to get him to gain weight. I guess it makes sense that we want them used to the spoon so we can guarantee that we can get food in them. It is hard with preemies, I can't follow the mainstream advice at all. For instance, my babe won't drink enough milk if we only fed on cue and stopped coaxing him when he acts done. Thanks, your experience helps. Did you do cereal at all? My only thought is that rice cereal mixed with milk would TASTE familiar and that might help the transition? Or did you start with fruit? Also, when did you introduce sippy cups? I planned to exclusively breastfeed, so I wasn't going to use a sippy cup But the speech therapist recommends sippy cups too. (but I couldn't figure out if it was for therapeutic reasons or parent convenience reasons...) Thanks!!
post #4 of 5
Oh! How I hear you on the mainstream advice! There are SO, so many things I thought I'd never do with my child before Erin. I wouldn't give her juice, no chocolate and things like that until she was much older, but somedays the "bad" foods are the only ones I can get into her so all that went out the window.It is different with a premmie in more ways than just eating, but I like to think that having and nearly loosing her has made me more attuned to her - I don't miss a thing and we celebrate the little things she does for the first time unlike I a lot of mums with healthy (I can't think of a more appropriate word...) kids that I know who totally miss them.

We did start with rice cereal but she wouldn't have a bar of it - even now she still hates a lot of cereals so we moved on to fruit fairly quickly. In the beginning though she was very keen on veggies. She loved sweet potato and carrots, but the sweetness of fruit was a little too much.

As far as sippy cups...we only started trying to get her to drink from a sippy cup at about 8 months or so corrected, but she wouldn't have it. I spent a small fortune on sippie cups trying to find the right one with no luck. The funny thing was, she'd sit in my lap and drink a few sips from an open cup or even an open bottle no problem.

It's only been fairly recently that she'd take, hold and drink from her own cups and in about the last month she's started drinking from a straw cup : . I really wanted/needed her to drink from her own cup for convenience. It was already taking me an hour to feed her each solid meal three times a day and then there was clean up which usually meant a proper bath because she wont let me wipe her face with a wet cloth, plus bottles which she wouldn't hold for herself (before she started to refuse those) so my docket was pretty full.

Don't feel bad about needing to make things a bit easier for yourself - if you do. Having a child who has eating problems is a marathon, you need as many pit stops as you can find.
post #5 of 5
I should probably add that things for us got a lot better. We've been working with a speechie for the past 8 months and have done intensive therapy with her which has helped as HUGELY. There is always a chance that your son may not have issues at all so *fingers crossed*
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