“Will Harper take a bottle?”
“When will she be able to start taking a bottle?”
“Why doesn’t she drink from a bottle?”
Harper was born with a tracheoesophageal fistula. The first three days of her life she had a suction tube down her throat to keep her from swallowing her own spit or she would aspirate. She was given dextrose through an arterial line that was placed in her belly button. On her fourth day of life, she had surgery to fix the fistula. During the surgery, the doctor noticed tracheomalacia. Her esophagus was also only 3mm in diameter which is half the size of the average baby. The doctor also placed an NG tube so she could start getting milk.
They waited a week to do a swallow study to make sure the surgery was a success ( which it was 🙂 ) A few days later the nurses began giving her small amounts of milk to see if she could handle it. After a week, she was able to tolerate full feedings of milk through her NG tube.
So, why can’t she drink from a bottle? Well, there’s a few things to consider…
1. For the first two weeks of her life she was not required to take a bottle, therefore, she never had the opportunity to learn the sucking motion with her lips. As of today, she won’t even suck on a pacifier.
2. Tracheomalacia is a very serious deal. She could aspirate while feeding.
3. Her esophagus was only 3mm in diameter. The NG tube was 2mm in diameter.
Well, when will she be able to drink from a bottle?
During her G Tube surgery, the doctor dilated her esophagus to about 5mm in diameter, his ultimate goal is for her to be around 7-8mm. She had surgery on April 24th to do another dilation. The surgeon was able to get her esophagus to about 6-7mm. It is possible that she will need to have another dilation in the next couple of weeks to reach the goal of 8mm. Why is this necessary? The risk of aspiration goes down.
Harper will also begin to see a speech therapist to help her learn the sucking motion. That could take weeks, months, or even years.
So, to answer your question, we have no idea when Haper will take a bottle. She may never take a bottle. But what is important, the G Tube allows her to get all the milk she wants. I mean, look at those rolls in the pictures above 🙂
Harper currently gets about 2oz of formula, over an hour, every three hours.