Finding the sweet spot

So, after the 3 day hospital visit which turned all of us on our heads, I have to figure out a way to get back to predictability.

The thing was, Veronica wasn’t gaining weight. She wasn’t getting enough to eat. That’s basically the good answer, because it is an easily rectified situation. She hadn’t been getting enough for quite some time, and all her little baby fat was used up. So, not only do we have to get her back to the normal weight gain of a healthy growing baby, we actually have to catch up a little.

THAT MEANS: we feed her as much as she will possibly eat. Every time she opens her mouth, we are supposed to stick a bottle in it.

I was visited by so many doctors in the hospital–come to think of it, I don’t think the same doctor visited us more than twice. NOT ONE of these doctors gave directions about how she was supposed to be fed.  Just that she needed to gain weight.

Since I wanted to get sprung of the institution I adopted the stick-a-funnel-in-her-mouth-and-pour methodology. I estimated that the best way to get her to eat was to give two hours between feedings so that her tummy could digest and make room for the next installment.

Of course I feel bad that she wasn’t getting enough to eat, and I want to get her back to stable health. But we had a system before. We knew what to expect. And long ago, she had decided that sleeping through the night was more important to her than eating. MONTHS ago she just stopped asking for food in the night.

it was wonderful

But it’s possible that her hunger was being short-circuited. She didn’t tell me that she needed more food; not exactly. But now that she’s on the 24-hour all-you-can-eat buffet, she remembers that she wants to eat in the middle of the night. And because we need her to get chubby again, we want to feed her as often as she’ll take it.

To make things WORSE, the hospital gave her a cold. So she’s all snotty and not feeling good.

After that hospital visit 2 weeks ago, her world is totally topsy turvy. She doesn’t really know what to expect (other than formula). And neither do we.

Chris wasn’t really part of the schedule establishement before. He didn’t do the hard labor of setting it up the first time. He seems to think that magically it will “get better” after Veronica’s cold goes away.

That would be nice.

But in the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how to make this take shape. One cocky little dietician came by to “talk” to me in the hospital. Her goal was to insist that if Veronica didn’t start eating solid foods really soon her life would be ruined.

I pointed out that since our baby was underweight, and we wanted her to gain weight, our choices in what to feed her should be the most nutritionally dense. “Solid foods are not as nutritious as Milk.”

“Well, yes, that’s true. But if she doesn’t start eating solid foods her tongue and her mouth will not develop the necessary skills and it will be a problem.”

I was getting tired of all the “problems” that every choice I made in raising my daughter created. Since all the reading I’d done about feeding solid foods said that she should start somewhere around 4-6 months, and she was only 4 months old, I figured I had some time to play with.

I verbally wrestled the little dietician to the ground and got some rules of thumb out of her:

caloric needs for infants for healthy growth:  102 calories per kilogram of weight

But Veronica needed to gain wieght, so she said 150 calories per kilogram of weight

“But…don’t…these aren’t..” she obviously wished she hadn’t given away her secrets. Too late!

So, okay. If Veronica were to gain weight at a regular pace, she’d need 530 calories. That means 26 ounces of formula. So if we feed her 5 times a day, 6 ounces each time, we could get all her caloric needs met in the daytime.

But she needs to gain. That means 780 calories, which is 39 ounces.  We’d have to feed her 6 and a half times in a day. That’s assuming she’ll take 6 ounces each time, which is really hard to achieve.

The thing I don’t know is when we can go from super-weight-gain diet plan to regular growth plan. I don’ think she’ll ever be an average weight baby. But I’d like to stay above the 5th percentile, you know? if she ever gets sick and hits a patch where she can’t eat enough, we need some play.

I’m pretty sure that if we go to a more regular schedule where she knows she’ll be eating (and sleeping) at certain times, she’ll fell secure and once again be able to sleep through the night. I’d like to pick a time to begin the day, and then feed her maybe every 3 or every 2 and a half hours thereafter up until bedtime.

Then bedtime will happen, and she’ll be all full and happy and SLEEP through the night. We all could use the rest.


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