Sunday, July 22, 2007

:: Feeding Frenzy ::

Evan turns four weeks old tomorrow, and things are going great so far. He's growing (has gained exactly one pound total since birth as of Friday morning), getting stronger (he can lift himself up onto his little arms when you lay him on his tummy to play), and beginning to follow things (his mobile, his daddy) with his eyes.

But the feeding thing still has us completely confounded. We're all very happy with the decision to switch to formula. But in the last week since we made the switch, we've struggled to figure out how much to feed Evan. The books all say to let Evan dictate how much and when he needs to eat. We're supposed to watch his hunger cues, feed him before he cries, and feed him until he stops eating. But he seems to be giving us cues all the time. We know that babies have growth spurts, so we know there will be days when he eats like crazy, but still...

Being who we are and all, we have spent quite a bit of time seeking a definitive answer: how many ounces should Evan eat each day, and in what increments. But even armed with an answer (the American Academy of Pediatrics gives a rough guideline: multiply baby's weight in pounds by 2.5 and this is approximately the number of ounces the formula-fed bay needs each day), we're still feeling a bit helpless. Sometimes Evan seems too full and spits up what looks like half of what he just ate, and sometimes he cries even after a feeding and seems to need more. Yesterday and today, he has awakened early from every nap begging to be fed. For the last several days, he had 7 feedings and ate about 20 ounces. He had 9 feedings yesterday and is on track for the same today, consuming more than 25 ounces on each day, which is 20% more than the amount dictated by that AAP guideline. We don't want to starve him but we also keep wondering if he's really hungry. Could he be giving us signals without being hungry? Could it be something else that he's trying to communicate to us?

The not knowing, not having an answer, is the hardest part of being a parent so far. Harder than soothing a crying baby, harder than waking two or three times a night, harder than getting all three of us ready to leave the house for a doctor's appointment.

Although I guess if that's the hardest part so far, then we're pretty lucky. Which we are. Like I said, Evan's growing, getting stronger, learning new things. He must be getting what he needs; it's just hard on both of us not having a rule to follow. While we're both pretty go-with-the-flow when it comes to a lot of things, but something about raising this little boy makes us want something more rigid to follow.

I guess we want what all parents joke about: an instruction manual. Surprising that we can't find one online. Oh wait. Yes we can.


Christina July 22, 2007 at 6:21 PM  

We fed Cordy formula, and in the early days there was no way to tell how much to feed her. We'd give her 2-4 oz. to start, and if she stopped, we didn't push it. If she seemed to want more afterwards, we'd give her more.

Sounds like he might be going through a growth spurt at the moment. They do eat incredible amounts during those periods. And if he was eating too much, you'd see a lot more spit up.

(Oh, and the whole bit about "watching for the cues and feeding him before he cries"? Yeah, we never saw those cues. Cordy generally went from happy to starving in the blink of an eye. Crying was our cue.)