What an exciting day! First of all, a driver came by this morning to collect Owen's feeding pump, which is such a huge psychological relief. Having that thing on an IV pole in your living room just serves as a constant reminder that your-child-is-different, and I think our place looks a lot more "normal" now without it.
So on Monday the speech therapist told me it was okay to start thickening Owen's milk and giving it to him with a cup, but the promised Thick-It powder never materialised. I had shown her the new Nutra semi-solid food Neocate has created and she seemed skeptical but on board, so I was going to wait to speak to our nurse about getting hold of some. Then today she showed up to Owen's appointment with a can in hand! The woman has mad skillz. We had a really good meeting with her: I just love her and so does Owen. Since he was discharged from the NICU she's been working with us and she's very calming, relaxing and yet efficient. We usually get through Owen's business and then chinwag for a half hour - it's a lovely way to spend a potentially infuriating medical appointment.
Owen weighed 16lb 4oz naked, which is almost two pounds heavier than when she last saw him three weeks ago. Because of this, she and I agreed that it's okay to start messing around with his feeds a little bit. After she left I cracked open the Nutra can and mixed a single scoop with one ounce of his milk and spoon-fed my little boy. It thickened it only a teeny tiny bit, but that's how I've been told to start things until Owen can cope better with oral feeds. Well! The boy LOVED IT! He was surprised by the new taste but then he started smiling, kicking and smacking his little lips together and I reckon he managed about a quarter of an ounce by mouth. This is mega-huge-awesome-fabulous-can't-believe-he-did-that news, because before this week he wouldn't tolerate any milk in his mouth at all. Anyway, after all that excitement about the new sensation he was knackered and fell asleep, so I gave him the rest of his feed by tube.
I'm so proud of him. I was a bit anxious about oral feedings but he was such a superstar. He got so excited about the new taste that I'm really encouraged to keep going with him. It's also reassuring to know that I was right. I KNEW he should be starting solids, but I kept getting knocked back by the "specialists". I should have just listened to my instincts. Either that, or today was just the right day for Owen and being two weeks older has made a difference. Either way, it doesn't matter. We reached the first hurdle today and passed over it successfully. Tomorrow it'll be the same routine: one ounce, one scoop, one feed per day; then I'll up the mixture to two scoops, one ounce and then again after two days to two feeds. Eventually after about two or three weeks he'll have three feeds of full-thickness semi-solid food and two of normal milk. After that, who knows? Maybe some fish and chips...