Monday, March 9, 2009

Max's charm offensive begins

Early in graduate school I read a Wall Street Journal article about how low-income parents, responding to common folk wisdom, would add oatmeal flakes to bottles when feeding their infants in order to soothe them. The article quoted several authorities saying that this sapped infants of important nutrition and decreased their chances of success later on. The article made a big impression on me, and I thought of it when the HSC team today started adding rice cereal to Max's bottle. Perhaps the folk wisdom was right all along? The HSC team assure us that Max continues to get proper nutrition.

When Carolyn arrived today she found nurse Y. bottle-feeding Max. He did extremely well. Indeed, he bottle fed three times while Carolyn was there, getting at least 20 ccs each time, and in one case more than 40 ccs (the limit of his bottle). Max's main problem is that he gulps down his food too quickly; anything faster than 2ccs/minute inflames his reflux, usually causing him to vomit. The previous solution had been to use a slow-flow nipple on the bottle. But now the HSC team recommended adding rice cereal to the formula in his bottle as a way to force him to work harder to get his food and slow it down. (The slow-flow nipple has been dispensed with: the combination of slow-flow nipple and rice cereal "is like drinking a milkshake through a coffee stirrer"). More broadly, Max's reflux continued to bother him today; he is in obvious pain while food goes in to his stomach and for some time afterward.

Max's charm offensive began in earnest today. He was smiling at Carolyn and other visitors quite a bit. Nurse C., a severe judge of babies, decreed Max to "a good boy". One of the unit's techs dropped by to say that he'd passed Max very early this morning and that Max had given him a huge smile. Finally, the attending mentioned, approvingly, that Max's crib was in a prime location.

When Carolyn left tonight Max was struggling with his reflux, as he had all day. It's particularly difficult to leave him when he's in obvious discomfort. However, at our nightly phone call nurse C. reported that he kept most of the feed down, only spitting perhaps 5 to 10 ccs (which quite restrained for Max). Given that his circ site is healing well, Max may move back on to his wedge tonight and be allowed to sleep in his favorite prone position.

Finally, during a diaper change today Carolyn and a nurse got to see the golden rainbow so familiar to parents; it's kind of messy but an improvement over the weak dribble that Max had managed until now.