Preemie Weight Gain And Brain Development

by Grandma K

Our twin grandchildren were born at 31 weeks. The boy came home after a month in the hospital and the girl came home after two months but is having to go to the doctor every other day (can you imagine with two other babies at home - and 3-4 shared custody elementary school kids at home half the time?).

The medical community has not been particularly helpful or understanding. When the dad and mom told the doctor (not their regular doctor who is on vacation) that it was VERY inconvenient to go 30 miles one way to the doctor every other day (not to mention $4/gal gas) they were told that they were concerned that the lack of weight gain in the girl would cause diminished brain development.

She was 6'15oz when she came home 2 weeks ago. She has gained 1/2 lb since then. She has also developed thrush which has bothered her eating duration each feeding. They (the docs) have upped her calorie intake with her formula to help her gain weight.

I would recommend a second opinion but it is my experience that the medical community tends to watch each others' backs. The county is also covering the medical bills so it makes me wonder if the medical people are milking it because those aren't watched as closely as private insurance.

I would appreciate any suggestions or input on this. To me - at this point - it seems like much ado about nothing. The only thing the doctor does when they take the girl in is to weight her, check her vitals, etc.

Thanks to each one who will help put a grandmother's mind at rest.

Comments for Preemie Weight Gain And Brain Development

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Boy twins
by: Coriene

I have boy twins that were born at 31 1/2 weeks. They spent 11 days in the NICU and were able to come home. Now, they are a few days over 6 months old. My first twin weighed 4lb 9oz at birth and only weighs 12lb 4oz as of today. My second twin weighed 4lb 10oz at birth and is an even 15lb today. My first twin is not even on the growth charts. They are concerned about him. He was gaining weight just fine in the NICU, but started slowing down after being home for a month or so and now is barely gaining.

He is on special preemie formula and is eating the exact same amount as his brother who is NOT on the preemie extra calorie formula. My first twin only gained 10oz in the past TWO months. I do not want to scare you, but I feel like they are doing the right thing. Hopefully the visits will begin to be less often, but it is important to keep track... it is VERY important! Even now at 6 months and a few days old, my son is dealing with unexplained weight gaining issues.

Infants cannot talk and they cannot tell you what or how they are feeling. They are just trying to keep a close eye and make sure everything is going well. I am in that boat and it is not fun. I also have a 17 month old daughter at home so I feel how stressful it is to have to be going to doctors appointments all the time. It is difficult, stressful and definitely not fun, but it is for the sake of your child's health and well-being. The constant appointments will be over before you know it and will be a good story to tell the children when they are older. Hang in there (both to you and your family)...things will get better!

Twins weight gain
by: Anonymous

One reason I can understand your concern is that half a pound gained in two weeks is not a lot. Mine were 30 wk b/b and they gained half a pound in less than a week. She should be blasting off on weight gain as soon as she reached her birth weight. An ounce a day is minimum. I had to go in every day to see my boys in the hospital. I think wanting to track her weight gain bi-daily is smart because they need to make sure she is not losing weight. Mine are getting checked weekly and one of them is gaining like more than an ounce a day. They are just taking care of her. It is hard and it is not cheap, but you can never be too careful protecting your little miracles.

Preemie Baby Tips
by: Aida

No doubt tender love and care are number one for all babies, whether they are premature babies or not. Still, I find it worth mentioning 5 very important premature baby tips I've learned.

- Breastfeed for as long as possible, over the first year if possible. Breast milk contains proteins that help fight infection and promote growth. The importance of breast milk is still underestimated by many people.
- Hold the baby skin to skin as often as possible. Human contact has a huge impact on babies. Both psychologically and physically. Make sure he or she can hear your heart.
- Massage the baby once or twice a day. It is a scientific fact that massaging preemies makes a huge difference during the first year.
- Talk softly or sing to them even when they sleep. Try reading aloud (softly) if you enjoy reading. It soothes babies to hear their parents' voices.
- Limit visitors at home. Well intentioned and heartfelt people are very much exposed to germs and diseases. People are in contact with too many other people and things. A preemie's system is not fully wired, let alone developed.

Tips for mothers of premature babies:

- Consider taking a course in infant CPR.
- Make sure you're comfortable caring for your baby. If not, get the information baby asking and reading a lot.
- Acknowledge your emotions. Expect to feel overwhelmed. You're under a tremendous amount of strain. Take a break when you need it. Accept help.
- Seek support. Never mind anything else. Your baby and you are number one right now. Take time to heal. Both physically and emotionally.

Regarding doctor appointments:

- Ask as many questions as you need to. Nothing is silly or unimportant when it comes to caring for your baby.
- Follow-up visits with your baby's doctor are never to be taken lightly. Things may seem normal to the human eye, but doctors can hear things within we don't know about, see things in the eyes or skin that are tell tail signs of a problem on the rise. Before a baby has reached full term, anything can be of great consequences. Don't risk it.
- Find out whom to call if you have questions or concerns at all times.

My heart goes out to all preemie parents. Hang in there.

Maybe Something More Than Baby Development?
by: Courtney

To me, it just sounds like the doctors are more concerned about the money than about weight gain and brain development. My daughter was 5lbs 9oz when she was born. They thought that she was going to be a small baby and they had us going to the doctor's office before she was even born.

We were going every week, which isn't right. Everyone I talked too said that she was not too small and that there was no reason why she should be going every week, but the doctor still thought so.

To me it seems as if sometimes the doctors are more concerned about the money or they may even be uncertain. And in your case, I think this is true. Too me, I don't see that weight gain and brain development would have anything to do with it. Like I said, my daughter was 5lbs 9ozs when she was born. I believe, that as long as she is developing well and proportionally that she would just be fine.

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