It didn't take long to figure out whether that lactation consultant was worth it. Luke is taking the boob!
It really has been an amazing turnaround, from not wanting anything to do with my nipples to breastfeeding pretty much like a normal baby. I guess the one visit with the consultant made him realize that milk really does flow in them there fleshy hills, and now when I put him on, he sucks like mad. The only problem now is that for Luke, "sucking like mad" isn't really much of a suck. It takes him much longer to get a significant amount of food from the breast compared to what he can do with a bottle. But that's simply a matter of working with him to get stronger. In two days, he's already improved -- I know because of the handy dandy scale in my kitchen that tells me exactly how much breast milk he's getting. At first, he'd need about half an hour to get an ounce, and then I'd give him the rest of his food by bottle because I don't want to tire him out. Now, he's picking up speed, and in 40 minutes, he can pretty much suck out two ounces of the good stuff. That's close to a full feeding!
I'm amazed at how quickly he's caught on. Another answered prayer, no doubt.
We also had our first visit to the cardiologist on Thursday. They did an echocardigram of his heart, and everything still looks great. The biggest things moving forward will be for him to continue gaining weight and for his blood pressures to stay even throughout his body. About one in 10 children who have had his surgery need another procedure because the coarctation -- the narrowing on the arch of his aorta -- reoccurs, usually in the first year. The way to watch for this is to take a blood pressure reading in the arm and one in the leg. They should be pretty similar. If the pressure in the lower half of his body drops, it could be a sign that something is happening with that arch because that's what delivers the blood to the bottom half of the body. Yesterday, his number in the leg was indeed lower than the arm, but not significantly. Still, it's something we will have to pray about through this first year.
Otherwise, Luke is doing so well. Everyone has been amazed by his recovery, especially his feeding success. It's just not that common for a baby who has been through what he's been through to pick up both bottle feeding and breast feeding so easily. The only thing I worry about is his gas and reflux. He spits up often and it seems no matter how much I burp him, he's still troubled by gas. This happens especially at night -- he'll eat and I'll burp him and then he'll proceed to grunt as if he is in pain for the next two hours. It makes sleeping quite difficult -- for me. Maybe for him, too, but really, it looks like he's sleeping right through all the noise-making. I'll wake up to burp him and won't get anything, then I'll lay him down and the whole thing will start again. Maybe I just need to work on my burping technique? Or maybe he just like to make really loud, painful-sounding animalistic noises as a means of entertainment? I'm stumped.
Stumped, but overall, quite blessed to be mothering a boy who is doing so well.