Feeding Liam is a marathon sport.

So, you’d think that whomever created man (well woman in this case) would have also made it mandatory that when said woman delivers a baby, that is dependent on her milk supply to sustain it’s own life, that said woman would have such milk supply at the ready on the day of delivery of said baby.

Um… that is SO not the case.

This past week has been a fight.  Liam was born at 8lbs 4oz.  The goal of all new mothers is to feed her baby to a level whereby this weight is either sustained, or does not drop below 10% of its value.  A drop of 10% is considered a big deal by the healthcare field and is a warning bell to do something drastic. A 10% loss from 8lbs 4oz is 7lbs 6.8oz.

Friday Liam was born.  By Monday, Liam weighed 7lbs 12oz.  On Wednesday he was still 7lb 12oz. Our Midwife asked us to start supplementing formula to try to get Liam to pack on some weight.  On Thursday he was 7lbs 2.5oz.  Alarm bells rang at a deafening volume.

A call went in to the hospital Lactation Consultant.  No appointments available until the following Monday.  Let’s do the math….

Liam has lost weight at a rate of almost 10oz in one day.  If we wait until Monday to see anyone about it, he will weigh 4lbs.  Ya, not going to wait that long!  Panic sets in.

We are very blessed and lucky and grateful to have a woman in our life that knows the answers to all these problems.  We are even more lucky that she has made herself available to us ‘after hours’ to help sustain Liam’s life and we are forever in debt to her for caring enough to be at our home until midnight making sure we have a plan in place to save his life.

Her name is Rhonda.

They say in life and business it is all about your network.  It’s about the people you know, who know people.  If this isn’t proof of that theory – I don’t know what is. Thank goodness for Air Traffic Controller’s wives!  If Kev didn’t work there, and if his Dad didn’t chum around with Rhonda’s husband on the lake we would have been in quite the pickle this weekend.  And by pickle I mean… we could potentially be mourning the loss of our baby.  I’d say that is more than just a pickle.

Rhonda showed up here Thursday evening with her baby scale, some reference materials, feeding tubes, syringes and a plan.  OMG a plan.  We need a plan!  She taught us how to finger feed Liam so that the variables of boob to mouth and positioning and nipple confusion and all those other things where ejected from the equation.  She showed us how to keep him alive. It may seem like I am being a little dramatic about this – but the look on Rhonda’s face when she first weighed Liam lead me to believe – this is a big urgent deal.

Now – let’s just back up a bit.  I should let everyone know that at no time was Liam ever NOT being fed in this.  Saturday, Sunday and Monday evening I spent sleeping with Liam at the boob sitting in the nursing chair feeding him as often as he would let me.  The problem being – the energy it took for him to suckle the milk I had to offer over the small amount of milk he was getting was not enough to give him the energy to keep sucking.  I did not know this at the time.  There is no empty and full line on a breast.  I assumed the milk was there for the drinking.  Clearly – I was wrong.  One should never make assumptions that their body is doing the things textbooks say it ‘naturally’ should.  I should know better by now….

Back to the plan.

So, Rhonda set up us with a feeding plan that involved pumping breast milk, mixing it with formula and feeding it to Liam via a tube while he suckles on your finger.

It’s not the most graceful of ways to eat, but it gets the job done.  So this method every 2-3 hours all day and night and weigh him again the next day.

So, Thursday evening Liam weighed 7lbs 2.5 oz and by Friday at 3pm he was a whopping 7lbs 5.5oz.  Rhonda checks in and says keep working the program … it’s working!

Saturday 4pm weigh again 7lbs 6oz.  Half oz gain is what babies are supposed to gain daily when they are healthy.  So no freaking out about it not being a whopping 3 oz again. Deep breaths.  Rhonda tweaks the system to exclude the formula, and get Liam back to the boob to feed.  We work on latch and positions and Liam fights his way through it.  Seems he is very particular about the exact location of things in his mouth.  Rhonda helps us understand the mathematics of feeding.  How much needs to go in to get what you need out.  New plan is 20 minutes latched and active sucking equals approximately 30ml of milk, plus 20+ml of pumped breast milk fed via the tube = enough milk to gain weight and have energy to nurse at the boob.  Plan B if active sucking fails… formula through the tube.  Total amount of ml intake for each feeding should be between 40-60mls each and every time.  Check.

Sunday 12:30pm, weigh again 7lbs 8oz!  IT’S WORKING! Happy dance, happy dance!  The lack of sleep, sore back, exhaustion and endless amounts of worry are all worth it.  Our baby is literally nursing back to health!

So we stick with the plan until further notice.  Monday we go to the Hospital to see a local Lactation Consultant (Rhonda isn’t local) who will hopefully do as wonderful and hands on a job as Rhonda does.  Another week or so, we should have Liam back up to fighting weight and feeding without any aides or complications.

Fingers crossed.


One response to this post.

  1. You're brillant parents Laura. I'm sorry it has been such a struggle, but over joyed that progress is being made.


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