Neither do baby scales!
Those scales keep telling us that Verity isn’t taking in even half of what she needs, in spite of how well she seemed to be breastfeeding. Her nurse today is also (providentially!) a lactation consultant. She explained that Verity is still using some of her available energy to heal, and that it is not uncommon for babies to go home from heart surgery with an NG tube. So the little rosebud is actually doing very, very well to be breastfeeding at all. ‘Specially considering how long it had been since she had nursed, and how very little of it she did before her heart repair!
Now I can understand how a breastfed baby could fail to thrive without anyone noticing for a while. For most of her nursing sessions, she was rooting, latching, working hard at swallowing, and signaling “done.” To all outward appearances, she was getting what she needed. But baby scales tell the truth, and no getting around it!
What it has come down to, is that before she is approved for discharge, Verity must show that she is well on her way to getting enough by mouth that she will not be dependent on the tube feedings. For the past day, she has been alternating bottlefeedings and breastfeedings. She hasn’t gotten much from breastfeeding, but the amount she’s getting from the bottle, with a slow-flow nipple, is gradually increasing.
Dr. Chowdhury is on duty today, which pleases us very much. She is the cardiologist who will be seeing Verity over the long term at the Clinic for Special Children. She said Verity’s number one goal is to get all her milk by mouth, so she can be rid of the feeding tube. She should reach that goal quickly with the bottle. Then we can work from bottlefeeding to the ultimate goal of breastfeeding. One thing at a time!
But she knows that we are experienced in giving the tube feedings at home, so she is not requiring Verity to reach her first goal before she is discharged. So, in order to get home this evening, we are feeding Verity whatever she will take by bottle, and putting the remainder through the tube.
We think it may be more profitable to work toward breastfeeding at home, anyway, where there are no wires and leads and monitors and shift changes and blood draws and assessments. (Beep, beep, beep, beep, where’s the BB gun, beep, beep…)
It’s hard to believe that tonight our family may be all together at home again! We can hardly wait to show this new baby girl to her big brothers and sisters!