Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tube Wean: Take Two

Two weeks ago Baby A's SLT (speech language therapist) and nurse visited. I mentioned that A was taking slightly better volumes of milk. The nurse suggested taking her NG tube out and trying another wean for a week.

I was reluctant. Mostly because I was still quite raw from last time (two months ago) when we tried and epicly failed. I had thought we wouldn't try again till the new year. However, when I thought about it, giving it a go was totally worth it, for Baby A. I needed to put my feelings aside for her.

So out the tube came. And almost instantly (literally) her grizzles went away and she became a smiley, happy baby. Since then people have not stopped commenting on what a happy, social baby she is. She is SO much happier, and that alone is worth it.

My smiley girl

As for solids, I used to dread feeding her, because it was such hit and miss. But in the first week of the trial, she has doubled or tripled the amount of food she eats!

One lunch time she ate a whole sachet of baby food when we were out and about and I almost cried. Another dinner she ate heaps of puree, then finger food, then pudding, then a snack. I can't tell you my disbelief and joy at this. Now, she has ups and downs with her eating, and I just remind myself that this is normal for an 8 month old (corrected) baby.

As for her milk intake. It has increased SO much. She used to take about 300ml orally with the tube in. The first week of the trial she took 500-650ml a day on average. And in the second week she has taken 600-750ml a day- the amount a 'normal' 8 month old baby drinks!!

Not to mention that she only used to drink up to 30-50ml at a time before tiring. Now she drinks about 100-150ml a go, so her stamina has increased.

Clever clogs

It seems that this was the right time to try a wean. Taking the tube out and really stimulating her hunger has allowed her to bloom and take control of her food intake.

Food and drink aside, she has gone from strength to strength developmentally in these two weeks. Apart from being happier, as I mentioned, she has cut 2 teeth, she has started practicing being on all fours and she has started sitting.

And her weight. It's normal for babies and kids to lose weight when they try a wean. Last time she lost about 300grams in four days. So I was prepared for loss. In the first week she GAINED 30 grams! It was more than I could have ever hoped for! And today the nurse has been again and she GAINED 200 grams!!! I can't explain to you what a true miracle this is. This is over the amount a 'normal' baby would gain week to week.

Taking the tube out has allowed her to thrive, both developmentally and weight wise. It all seems to be going well and I'm tentatively (ok, very!) confident.

The nurse started talking about referring us onto Plunket, and last appointments, and giving the tube equipment back, so she is confident too!

This goes to show, that for a Baby like A, it does just take time, for them to mature and grow. I am thankful we tried the first wean attempt, and even though it didn't work then, it just showed us that she really did need the tube. In a way this means I will never look back and question if she truly needed it, as that showed us she did.

We're not out of the woods yet, and I don't know when I will feel confident enough to declare her 'tube free!' But everything is starting to fall into place, and I couldn't be prouder of her. That light that seemed so far away at the end of that tunnel is edging closer.

She will have a compromised immunity and lung issues till she is a lot older, but this is 'normal' prem stuff. But my beautiful girl, with her rocky start, is beginning to grow and thrive and shed the last vestiges of her early arrival. She's turning from a sickly baby into a thriving, energetic, bouncing girl. She is a joy to be around and I can't wait to see how she continues to grow.

My darling

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