Monday, May 11, 2009

Secrets of the baby whisperer

Last week I was concerned that Max's run of record-breaking bottle feedings were part of the cycle described by the speech therapists, where babies do well for a few days but then suffer severe reflux pain and eschew the bottle. And we got almost nothing in Max by mouth over the weekend--maybe 20 ccs in total over two days. But the other variable was the absence of our friend D. ("the baby whisperer"). Today D. came back and Max took four bottles, for 35 ccs, 50 ccs, 50 ccs and 25 ccs. I think this marks a new personal best for Max.

Obviously, the reflux cycle isn't at work. Instead, operator error is to blame. Carolyn watched D. give a bottle today and noticed the following secrets to getting a recalcitrant, refluxy, tube-fed baby to take a bottle:
  1. Keep it fun! D. sings, tickles and otherwise "gives him input" (e.g. pushing his legs)
  2. Wrap him up--some babies enjoy being swaddled, and it increases their sense of organization.
  3. Take plenty of breaks. Max took his feeds at the same (very slow) rate delivered by his pump on average. Getting there, however, he would eat fairly quickly, lose interest, play with toys, and then come back to the bottle.
  4. Look him in the eye. My crackpot theory is that babies are attuned to faces, and it's comforting to have a big friendly face looming at them.
  5. "Let him know who's in charge". (Presumably D. meant that she was in charge, but when she's not here, Max totally has us running at his beck and call.
In other news, Carolyn put Max in his bug socks in honor of the visit by the pest control man. These socks have big fun felt bugs on them and, as with anything connected to his feet, Max found them hilarious and fascinating. He spent a lot of time with his legs sticking out examining them. When Carolyn put a blanket over them he wailed inconsolably until the blanket was removed and he could again see his feet waving around.