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Weaning my small, prem baby

(7 Posts)
TheFowlAndThePussycat Tue 10-Nov-09 20:36:32

Dd2 was born 36+2 so not v prem but went from 7lb at birth to 5lb 10oz 2 days later. I battled & battled to bf her but she has not really been gaining weight for a couple of months (1.5lbs in that time). I have managed to put off weaning her until now (6 months) but she really isn't ready imo. She still has the tongue thrust reflex, doesn't sit very upright even when supported & can't get things into her mouth very reliably. Anyway hv is v insistent that we do it now & I am worried about her iron levels.

I did blw with dd1 because she wouldn't eat off a spoon & was v happy with it, she has never eaten much but eats a good range of things & has grown well. Because of everything mentioned above I don't feel confident to do this with dd2. So I've started with a bit of baby rice/purée, but she just pushes it out of her mouth with her tongue.

I don't really know what I'm asking! I suppose I was just wondering if anyone has any insights or similar experience, presumably most premmies still have the tongue thrust reflex when they are weaned? Also, how do I get enough down her to help her gain weight?

Bit waffly sorry! Grateful for any advice!

TheFowlAndThePussycat Tue 10-Nov-09 20:40:49

Sorry, should have said she currently weighs 13lb 7 and is just under the 9th centile.

anjlix Tue 10-Nov-09 22:46:11

Prem babies is a tricky one. I found that most HVs are a bit clueless and I have had 3! My DTs were born at 34 weeks and 4 lbs (now 20 lbs at 11 months). I started weaning somewhere close to 6 months. They were not ready until about 8 months. I never really bothered with BLW at that age. Just gave them fruit/veg purees and baby rice. I treated food as tasters for nearly 2-3 months. Also I made sure not to replace milk with meal until they were having enough. Even these days I will give them milk 1 hr after lunch if they did not have enough food for a variety of reasons (overtired, ill etc). I am a strong believer that milk is the first source of nutrition until the age 1. I also did top up with formula when I BFed in the early days. I think a lot of prem babies have latching troubles and they tend to not be efficient feeders. So IMO offering top up is quite a must. I also gave them abidec vitamins (still do). I don't think Iron should be an issue if your baby is having any formula at all (My paed assures me).

I think with prem and low birth weight babies a lot of commonly done things just don't apply. It's a huge difference when you have a baby who robs your plate at 6 months vs one who still has tongue thrust at that age and doesn't quite understand "food" until much later. Good luck with it all.

Essie3 Wed 11-Nov-09 13:48:51

I had a very small overdue baby. hmm 6lb at birth. So, whilst developmentally he didn't have some of the problems prem babies have (eg tongue thrust reflex) his weight was a worry, and he refused to take a bottle at 4 months and never did again.
BLW wasn't really an option for us, because he didn't care too much about eating, only bfing! So I spoon fed him, and made sure he was getting dairy in his purees. (He was still bf, obv.) Letting an underweight baby play with food etc is fine, but you need to ensure that she is actually eating, and with spoon feeding you can keep an eye on things. (By all means let her play with food, BLW style at the same time.) smile

TheFowlAndThePussycat Wed 11-Nov-09 19:56:07

Thank you essie & anjlix, your answers have helped me work out what my question is! What I don't understand is how weaning is going to help her weight gain if she pokes all the food out again with her tongue because she's not developed enough to eat it. She has one bottle of formula a day at about 10 pm so maybe I should increase to a second bottle. Do you add the dairy for extra calories essie? Do you use cows milk stuff?

She is happy/interested/active etc etc so I try not to worry, but it has been going on a while now & hv is concerned. (sigh).

Essie3 Wed 11-Nov-09 22:54:37

DS is now 17 months. But from 6 months I spoon fed him, and made sure that one of his 'meals' was weetabix/porridge made with milk (cow's milk, but I also had a load of ebm - that's another story, oversupply! shock) and yoghurt, because I was concerned about him not getting enough milk. Looking back, it was pointless paranoia because he was fine. smile

With weaning, it's on top of milk feeds in the beginning - and not much will go in! With my DS he clicked at 7 months when he went to nursery and ate like a horse until quite recently!

anjlix Thu 12-Nov-09 17:40:26

Weaning IMO is supposed to be on top of milk in the beginning. Later on I assumed that it would okay to give a baby 3 meals (like adults) and 3 bottles in between meals (6-8oz 0r 180 - 240ml). I still give an extra 1/2 bottle if they don't feed well for lunch. This way I make sure that they get all their calories. Also I switched 2 bottles to cows milk at 8 months and now it is mostly all cows milk at 11 months. I know this is contrary to popular advice. But I think formula is overrated for older babies. Also I never switched my formula from Stage 1. I think it is easiest to digest and best for prem babies who any ways tend to have tons of digestive issues.

I know a friend who had 8 weeks prem baby at 4 lbs as well. She started weaning at 7 months. Now at 8 months the baby is having 5 x 150 ml bottles and 2 meals (sometimes 3 if there is fine steak [wink) and she is about 15 lbs. So you can see these things wary a lot. Also go with your gut.

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