Eating is difficult for little preemie babies. They have to learn to the breathe/suck/swallow cadence. They also have to use tiny mouths to nurse from rather grown up anatomy. On top of that, their tiny bodies do not have ample stamina or energy to sustain long nursing sessions.
Little pre-term babies nurse for as long as they can which may only be for three minutes and then either drink the rest of their meal from a bottle - which is much easier compared to a breast - or if they just can't stay awake, then their meal is delivered through their feeding tube.
With me staying at the hospital every day and night I had the opportunity to practice nursing with Grant every time he was awake. It wasn't long before the feeding tube was removed and he was taking all oral meals! Every meal was half nursing and half bottle. Grant just wasn't - and still isn't - strong enough to take an entire meal by nursing. But in order to leave the NICU he had to take all meals orally for 48 hours.
We worked together to make sure he could nurse or take a bottle. At first such a goal seemed impossibility far away from us. But with each passing day, Grant got a little bit stronger and a little bit better. He could stay awake longer and he had more energy to eat a full meal.
Before I knew it the feeding tube was removed! We were doing it! We were nursing and bottling but we were doing it!
Once we met the 48 hour oral meal rule, we were on the home stretch to come home. I was moved to a room where Grant and I could "room-in" together, he got a couple of vaccinations, he had a car seat study and then the preparations to GO HOME were being made.
On Saturday afternoon, April 12th, Honey, Parker, Grant, and I walked out of the NICU and got in our car - with two carseats - and drove home.
And never looked back! The search for "new normal" began and life as a family of four has never been so sweet.
Thank you for the love and support! We are so blessed with such great friends (real life and virtual!) and family!!