Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago this brand new daddy was fighting for every ML that my new son would eat. I watched him using his NG tube then finally start taking bottles of breastmilk. When James graduated to the Simple Ward in the NICU and I was finally able to feed him we were barely finishing bottles of 30ML. It would take as long as 30 minutes to try and get through those bottles. Then the nurses started making the bottles at 40ml. The feedings seemed to take forever. At the time my wife was fighting for every drop of breastmilk expressed. I really mean that, every single drop. I would sit with her and watch while she tapped each precious drop from the valve.
In the beginning, breast feeding was just an enjoyable activity for my wife and son. It was their time to start bonding. In many ways it was the transitional bridge taking us from the NICU islolette to the bassinet in our home. It was not precisely either of those places but merely had a foot in both. The railings of that bridge were the bottle feeding attempts. They were not to sturdy when we started. In fact there were evenings when my wife and I would sit in silence on the bus ride home wondering if we would ever be able to get James to eat enough to come home. They were very emotional and tiring. I am really glad those days are behind us. It now seems as if they happened to someone else.
Fast forward to the present. Yesterday was the first day we passed the 100ml point. It was an important achievement. It also helped to finally banish those old difficulties with bottle feeding. Maybe it is in part that he breastfeeds for most of his feedings. The bottles are for when his mother cannot be there because she has to run to get results from a test or just needs to have her one long (you know, 5 hours) sleep period. I'm not really sure if it is because he started out not being strong enough to actually be able to eat from the breast and had to bottle feed but we have had no trouble (knock on wood) going back and forth. This will be very important once my wife is able to get back to her studies. Being able to use the bottles to supplement breast feeding (with expressed milk) is a huge benefit.
So it has become a matter of scale. The bottles we use for him are only 120ml Chicco glass bottles. It is the same type that they used in the NICU. We did recently pick up some replacement nipples with a higher flow since it seems James is reaching the capacity of the ones that came with the bottles. At least I think that is the case. He tends to collapse the nipple while eating lately. Of course I am no expert. In fact, I'm barely an amateur when it comes right to it. Of course we didn't quite expect him to reach the top of the bottles so soon. Just another one of those things that new parents don't understand until it happens. Like realizing that these number one diapers aren't going to make it more than another week or so...
For those non-ML folks that work in ounces and pounds (or as my wife says, "ohzzes and labbs,") I can give you perspective so you don't have to do the annoying math. This could be helpful if you like to come here to read not to try to figure out another set of measures. I suppose I could add this to my calculator. It could be handy. I will put it on the list of thing to do when I have time. Maybe I can dig up the Round Tuit my pysics teacher gave me in high school.
- 30 ML - about 1 oz.
- 50 ML - about 1.75 oz.
- 100 ML - about 3.5 oz.
- 120 ML - about 4.25 oz.
I thought I had more to say. Isn't that often the case. What have I learned from all this. Our son is getting bigger FAST. Ever since reaching 4 kilos it seems that he hasn't stopped eating. I mean literally. The fact that we still have frozen breastmilk boggles my mind. The female body is a pretty amazing machine. Every time my wife says, "There is no way I can keep up with him," I notice that sooner or later a bag of milk goes into the freezer. I also notice the only time we take them out is when they get close to having been in there for a month.
It seems we crossed that bridge safely. I just didn't realize we had gotten back to solid ground. For me, being a new dad keeps reminding me of how much attention is freely given to the kid. That is a big part of why I keep coming back here to share thoughts. So I don't forget that I still am me, the guy that loves to write and is really looking forward to when James gives me more stories.
Until then, I'll keep spinning my own tales and hope you enjoy them...