Charlie’s feeding strike lasted exactly two and a half days.
Yesterday, she was examined by her pediatrician to rule out illness. Charlie did not have an infection or a virus. I was ambivalent about the news. If she was not sick, why was she not eating? Her fast had started to frighten me.
There were many outcomes that I did not want to face if the strike continued. There were two in particular that I loathed. I did not want her to end up hospitalized again. Moreover, I did not want her to have to deal with a G tube again.
While I was worrying, Charlie’s pediatrician had constructed a plan. She compiled a list of causes to individually eliminate. At the top of the list was Charlie’s old foe… reflux. Charlie had a brief battle with reflux in the first few months of her life. Around six months (actual age), her reflux medication was discontinued. Apparently, she still requires it. It seems that the reflux treatment worked. It has only been twenty four hours since she has restarted treatment (over the counter stuff) and she is once again eating.
Just as it had begun, the feeding strike ended quite unexpectedly. We were at a community event. Charlie, my husband, and I were seated at a table under a tent. Charlie signed that she wanted to eat (she uses the “more” sign to indicate she is hungry). After I quickly (and excitedly) mixed up the bottle, I cradled her and tried to feed her. At first, she refused. She wriggled around until she was perched on the edge of knee. Finally, she opened her mouth and gulped the entire bottle. I was thrilled.
She has been eating consistently following that bottle. On Monday, her pediatrician will write the prescription for her reflux medication. Much to my relief, the feeding strike has ended. It was a terrifying reminder that our preemie life is far from being “over”.