My daughter Heidi from about 4 weeks old was only taking in about 30-70mls max and falling asleep at the bottle (was very sleep baby). I was told by Plunket that this was a concern as she was not taking enough milk and was concerned about her sleepiness. We were transferred to our local hospital and was admitted for a week. They observed Heidi’s feeding and told us she was not taking enough fluids and to encourage her to take more waking her every 3 hours. I did this over a month (slowly gaining) but was still falling asleep at bottle, they were concerned so sent me to two bigger hospitals (one that deals with feeding/sleeping problems).
The nurses at the feeding department from one of the hospitals force feed my baby, Heidi was arching, crying, and they were trying to jiggle, hush, and push her chin up so she could swallow more milk!! Distract her with toys so she wouldn’t fall sleep and also wrap Heidi, so her hands couldn’t move. The nurses called this encouragement and said to me Heidi is being “fussy” I cried watching my poor baby getting fed like this... I thought they knew best as they were the “professionals”. Heidi after this feed power chucked everywhere! They pressured 170mls down her at 2 months old. (90mls she did happily herself) Heidi never vomits her feeds up. Heidi then started to repeatedly vomit after her feeds and fuss a lot! This then led them to place a NG tube as they were concerned of dehydration. The nurses told me Heidi also had reflux, so they put Heidi on 2x reflux meds, Gaviscon which made her constipated plus another med to help with the constipation. (4 meds all up!) They also did MRI, tummy scans, bloods, urine tests all normal. After Heidi’s tube was placed they showed us how to feed Heidi with the NG, patted us on the back and said to us “she’ll grow out of it” and sent us home!
Heidi got worse from here. They told us to bottle feed first then top up with anything Heidi doesn’t drink via tube, Heidi vomited a lot after every tube feed. She even was starting to lose weight! They ensured us that it was reflux... and also tried Heidi on neocate saying Heidi could have CMPA (which taste horrible!) and to carry on but do slower gravity feeds and also gave us a machine to hook Heidi up on that slowly drips milk into her per hour.
It was from here I was at breaking point. I would cry every day. I hated that tube... it was taking over our lives. I knew my daughter could feed properly if she had the chance...
Heidi wasn’t increasing via bottle. She got use to feeling full for free! It was from here I reached out to Rowena Bennett and did a consult with her to wean Heidi off the tube. Rowena had told me Heidi developed a bottle aversion due to pressure and force feeding from nurses and was a behaviour issue, also told me that Heidi does NOT have reflux or CMPA. She explained to me about catch down growth which Heidi was experiencing before her aversion started and why her volumes were low back then. She explained it all very clearly. It all made sense and I started Rowena’s tube wean plan straight away!
I first met Lindsay through Rowena’s FaceBook support group - Lindsay manages the group and we began chatting right after we completed the rapid tube wean with Rowena.
With the support from Lindsay following Heidi’s aversion, Heidi is back on track. She enjoys what she drinks and what is even better... with no meds and no vomiting!!! I am still working on her, but I am so much happier following my baby’s lead.
I would like to thank Lindsay for helping me get through Rowena’s program. Lindsay has been such an amazing support answering all my questions and reassuring me that Heidi would get through this aversion. What is even better is that Lindsay has gone through this herself, so she understands from the bottom of her heart the hurt, stress and fear us mothers are going through. Truly amazing.
Words by Jamie, New Zealand