My DD was born at 35 weeks via Cesarean and was 4 pounds 2 ounces. She was healthy and hitting all the marks, so she didn't spend any time in NICU. She is now 6 weeks and is already 7 pounds. I have a 6.5-year-old son too. He was opposite - he was born late and was 8 pounds! So, having a newborn that was born early is quite different than the experience with my son and I find myself in new territory and I would love some insight and validation that I'm not alone :)
- DD struggles with pooping or passing gas. She was totally fine for about 3 weeks and ever since then, she will strain, grunt and cry when trying to do this. I've taken her for cranio-sacral work that was amazing the first time - we had such a better night. But she still seems to have issues. I'm wondering if this is a normal preemie thing since her system is so young. Technically, she wasn't supposed to be digesting milk for this long. And, when do they grow out of it?
- With the straining, grunting and crying to poop, night time is kind of crazy. I think she could sleep well if she didn't have to digest! She has given me some 3-hour stretches, but it's mostly 1.5-2 hour ones. When should I expect this to lengthen?
- Because she was born by Cesarean, I know that she missed out on the good bacteria in her gut, so perhaps that's what's going on. I have been doing baby probiotics (put powder on my nipple before she nurses) and I have been taking probiotics and digestive enzymes. Any other thoughts? I don't get the feeling it's something in my milk. I eat a variety of things and there's not one thing that messes with her (that I can tell).
- When do they start smiling at you? One of the perks of having an early baby is that you get this yummy newborn stage for a month longer, but one of the downsides is that you have a stone-faced baby for longer too!
- Co-sleeping is not as easy as I thought it would be. With my son, we did it off the bat and I nursed him side-lying and he was good to go (after a burp). But with DD, for the first 3 weeks, she didn't even want to lay on her side. Just in the last week (after seeing the cranio-sacral therapist), she likes being on her side, but her grunting/straining keeps both of us up. Thankfully, we have the Fisher Price Rock and Play right next to the bed which puts her at an incline, but still keeps her close. We do co-sleeping when we can, but she seems to sleep best in that thing.
- Swaddling - I basically have every swaddle known to man because of my desperate attempt to make night time easier! In the beginning, we swaddled DD with hospital blankets and it was like clockwork. But then she got really into getting her hands out. So, she goes back and forth between liking being swaddled (sleeps the best), but then also waking herself up because she wants her hands out so badly. I feel like I am throwing swaddles at her all night and seeing which one works for that moment. The Woombie is great when she wants to be crashed out, but when she's grunting and struggling digestively, she will drive herself crazy trying to break out. So then I don't have her in anything, but then her arms are driving her crazy. So then I do a swaddle that just swaddles the arms, but then she is protesting - I feel like I can't win! The Miracle Blanket has been our go to and gives us the best sleep, but it's not always a "miracle." Because she's still petite, it doesn't quite fit her as snug as it should and so her arms get out and more waking happens. And, almost all the swaddles ride up around her neck since she's so small, so I spend a lot of time making sure it hasn't creeped up over her nose - does anyone else have that issue??
- My DS never cried. Ever. Part of that was because I was a step ahead of him at all times (which actually drove me insane and I'm not doing this time). But DD cries quite often - only really for the straining issue above and when she wants milk NOW, but that's been an adjustment since I wasn't used to the crying. I don't know what my question is here, just venting I guess!
Thanks for any thoughts, insight, BTDT - anything! I don't know many other people with preemies.
My twins were born at 35 5days, but they spent 19 and 25 days in the NICU, so everything was all crazy. But don't worry, they catch up, get big, enjoy nursing, and remember each baby is different.
Hey there! No advice on your specific issues right now, but sending love and light your way. My daughter was born at ~33-34 weeks (vaginal birth, induction, and a much-needed shot of barbituates!). Find all the support you can get, and if anyone offers help around the house, or taking the little one for an hour so you can nap, by all means, accept that help :)
I had a daughter born at 35 weeks, but like a previous poster she had a 3 week NICU stay. What I was told was to think of her age as if she had been born on her due date. So at 6 weeks she was really 1 week. As far as the digestion issues, I had to eliminate some things from my diet. 35 weeks is a weird time to have a preterm baby because as in your case some places treat them like full term babies and send them home and others treat them more like they are early and need intervention.
Congrats on getting to come home right away! My DS1 was born at 35 weeks and had a 25 day hospital stay. That is the worst!
Here's a few thoughts I have on your post:
1) Pre-terms lack the neck control of a full-term baby, so things like nursing lying down take more time. I'd also be concerned about having a pre-term baby sleep in an upright position since low neck control can affect there ability to breath in things like carseats and upright seats. (DS1 had to pass a car seat challenge before being discharged from the hospital to evaluate his ability to breath in that position). But your LO is 6 weeks old now, so I bet she is getting pretty strong!
2) Probiotics are essential and I'm glad you are giving them to your DD. But it's important to start very slowly with an immature gut. The probiotics might be overloading her system and causing some discomfort in her bowels. Perhaps back off completely for a week. Then you can start back with tiny doses over a week or so until you get to the full dose. I'd at least look into it.
3) As far as how long she sleeps at night, expect her to be like any other babies--it varies. DD1 never gave me more than a two hour stretch for the first 6 months. DD2 started sleeping through the night (5-6 hrs) at 3 weeks.
4) I hear ya on the crying issue. DS1 cried only when denied the boob or my arms. DS2 cries inconsolably at the same two times every day. It's awful and I can't help but feeling like I'm doing something wrong, but all babies go through some sort of fussy period in the first 3 months. For some, it's just very mild and others more severe.
Good luck, Mama!
Happily married to DH
Stay-at-home mama to DS1 (01/12) & DS2 (01/14)
Expecting our third! (due 01/16)