When I talked to one of the coaches in Austria via Skype for a consultation before we decided to move forward, she told me that Lillian would eat like a newborn at first. That made sense. Newborns are just learning to eat, so they’re slow and inefficient at it. So they eat all day long (and night too). That was our Lillian today. She was a non-stop eating machine. But, hey, we’ll take it! She was practically eating all day long on the feeding pump too.
Today Lillian started eating in the morning with tastes of mango (her new food introduced yesterday). Then throughout the day she also polished off half a jar of sweet potato puree (seems to be her favorite), more mango puree, a mashed up slice of avocado, and a few bites of pear puree. She also let me and then Dave drip milk on her pacifier throughout each of her four bolus feeds and beyond. It’s a tedious process that requires an awkward sitting position for Dave and I. My back and neck are killing me, but I am so happy to see Lillian drinking her milk. This is a baby who, a little over a week ago, sometimes wouldn’t swallow her own saliva she was so wary of letting anything go down her throat. This is a baby who at times wouldn’t even suck her pacifier because it gagged her. This was a baby who, just days ago, was hungry but had no idea what to do about it, who cried when I put her in the feeding chair. If dripping milk on her pacifier is what it takes right now, I’ll keep dripping one painful little drop at a time. I estimated that we got about 2.5-3 ounces in her total throughout the day using that method, and some of that ended up dribbling back out or dripping onto her shirt instead of her mouth. Like a newborn indeed! I’m trying to not think about how long it would take to get 24 ounces (the daily minimum the literature says a baby her age typically drinks) into her.
But I am holding out hope this is just a transition. I tried to sneak the bottle into her mouth directly several times, but each time she sucked a few sucks and then turned away searching for her pacifier. That’s progress over the screaming she was doing last week when I tried to offer the bottle instead of her pacifier. Plus, I have a secret weapon on the way. After all the times lamenting that Lillian only wants to suck the pacifier and wishing there were a way to get milk to her through it, I did some research and discovered Gumdrop, the brand of pacifier the hospital got her addicted to, does actually make bottles with the same nipple shape as their pacifier. Who knew? They’re pretty obscure, probably terrible bottles, and have been discontinued by the manufacturer, but they do exist, and after paying three times the retail price to a third party seller through Amazon.com, they are going to be delivered to our doorstep tomorrow. We’ll see what Lillian thinks. Some way or another, with the voracious appetite she is developing, she’s eventually going to want to get her milk more efficiently.
Lillian may be like a newborn at eating, but she is also catching on incredibly fast. Whereas yesterday eating required all her attention, today she was relaxed as she ate, looking around, playing with the straps on her chair, even dozing off while she sucked and drank milk. She also tried out a new sippy cup–she understood how to use it right away and liked it! She held the handles in her little hands, tipped the spout to her open mouth, and took several sips. Throughout the day, I found she liked using the sippy cup to wash down some of the solids she was eating. She did not, however, want to take large quantities of milk from it. There’s a bottle girl somewhere inside this baby, I know it.