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Old 07-15-2011, 10:40 PM   #1
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Getting DS to nurse for longer

DS2 was born with a heart defect and was in the NICU for 6 weeks. He ended up having some vocal chord paralysis from the breathing tube from being on ECMO and having surgery and wasn't able to eat by mouth for a while because of this. He had surgery to place a gtube while in the NICU and came home on tube feedings. We were able to do some non nutritive nursing (right after pumping) and he has always latched well. He has since had another swallow study since his vocal chords have healed. The swallow study showed no aspiration so he has been cleared for oral feeds. We are trying to wean him off of his tube feeds, but i need help getting him to nurse for longer. He nurses for about 5-8 minutes on one side max usually. I am going to find an LC locally but was hoping for some advice/tips in the meantime. Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-15-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

Hugs to you, mama! It's great that your baby will latch, in fact amazing. I know of a couple of kiddos who were tube-fed and they still don't eat by mouth at all.

Have you determined how much he is transferring while nursing (by weighing)? Speed and efficiency varies greatly between babies. That would give you a good idea of how long he would need to nurse to get his full feeding. Some babies need 20+ minutes at the breast, and others can do it in 5 mins.

Also, it's not clear to me, but does he nurse each side 5 minutes (total 10 mins), or 5 minutes on one side and then done?

I can't think of any good suggestions right at the moment... The only thing I can think of is nursing while sleepy...maybe that would encourage him to hang out longer.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:10 AM   #3
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

Well my girls have always been fast eaters. They both ate on one side for about 5 mins. without eating to often or snacking. Some people told me that my baby needed to eat for at least 20 mins. but that wasn't true. Just make sure you offer the other side at each feeding and that he's not distracted.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:31 AM   #4
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Thank you so much.

I just ordered a scale today and it should be here next week. Hopefully that gives me a better perspective at what hes getting.

Maybe he is just an efficient nurser.

And its only one side not both. I offer.the.other but hes rarely takes it.
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Old 07-16-2011, 08:14 AM   #5
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

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Originally Posted by Catherine R. Hasselbring View Post
Well my girls have always been fast eaters. They both ate on one side for about 5 mins. without eating to often or snacking. Some people told me that my baby needed to eat for at least 20 mins. but that wasn't true. Just make sure you offer the other side at each feeding and that he's not distracted.
Same here. After the first few weeks they both started to finish in less than 10 minutes. DD will "hang out" longer at the last feeding before bed, but other than that she is just quick.
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Old 07-16-2011, 10:19 PM   #6
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

When you get your scale, if it turns out he is not an efficient nurser, then he is probably just wearing out and getting tired after 5-8 minutes. Sucking can be hard work for a little guy who is not too used to it yet. Did he use a pacifier for sucking in the nicu or since then? This is my gut feeling of what is going on with him given his surgery and recovery history.
I would recommend discussing this with an occupational therapist or speech therapist who is skilled in treating infants with oral motor issues. Are you able to have early intervention services. They vary from state to state, but it would likely be free to you and they would possible even come to your house. Your pediatrician should know how to get it started but you could also call your county and try to refer him yourself. This is possible in my state (I am a pediatric physical therapist and I work in early intervention in NY.)
If his latch and suck are good, he might just need some more practice to keep going longer. His endurance for sucking just might have to be built up over time, much like I will need to build myself back up to being able to jog a full 30 minutes.
Good luck! I am excited that he is latching for you and I hope you will be able to get him completely on oral feeds soon. Congratulations on your new little son!
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Old 07-16-2011, 11:35 PM   #7
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

Congrats mama! My little guy didn't take any oral feeds, even at 23 months old after being in feeding therapy from 3 months old. I would talk to an occupational therapist or speech therapist with training in feeding therapy. Good luck!
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:22 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by aept
When you get your scale, if it turns out he is not an efficient nurser, then he is probably just wearing out and getting tired after 5-8 minutes. Sucking can be hard work for a little guy who is not too used to it yet. Did he use a pacifier for sucking in the nicu or since then? This is my gut feeling of what is going on with him given his surgery and recovery history.
I would recommend discussing this with an occupational therapist or speech therapist who is skilled in treating infants with oral motor issues. Are you able to have early intervention services. They vary from state to state, but it would likely be free to you and they would possible even come to your house. Your pediatrician should know how to get it started but you could also call your county and try to refer him yourself. This is possible in my state (I am a pediatric physical therapist and I work in early intervention in NY.)
If his latch and suck are good, he might just need some more practice to keep going longer. His endurance for sucking just might have to be built up over time, much like I will need to build myself back up to being able to jog a full 30 minutes.
Good luck! I am excited that he is latching for you and I hope you will be able to get him completely on oral feeds soon. Congratulations on your new little son!
Thank you. He did get a paci in the NICU and still uses it. I tend to feel like you and that he is just tiring. We do see occupational therapy, but we couldn't really push him until he had the swallow study. We go see her tomorrow so I'm definitely going to tell her my concerns. Hopefully my scale will be here tuesday so I can know more of what's going on.

Thank you for the encouragement
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by luvsviola
Congrats mama! My little guy didn't take any oral feeds, even at 23 months old after being in feeding therapy from 3 months old. I would talk to an occupational therapist or speech therapist with training in feeding therapy. Good luck!
Thank you.
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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Re: Getting DS to nurse for longer

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Originally Posted by MamaSarahMay View Post
Thank you. He did get a paci in the NICU and still uses it. I tend to feel like you and that he is just tiring. We do see occupational therapy, but we couldn't really push him until he had the swallow study. We go see her tomorrow so I'm definitely going to tell her my concerns. Hopefully my scale will be here tuesday so I can know more of what's going on.

Thank you for the encouragement
I am glad you are already set up with an OT. Please keep us posted on how you two are doing!
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