I had my #2 on 11/22 at 32+1 by emergency c-section following a placental abruption.

Tomorrow makes 3-weeks in the NICU with no real timeline for him to come home yet. He had a very bad first several days with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and a symptomatic patent ductus.

The respiratory issues are much improved now...he was extubated 11 days ago, initially to c-pap, then high flow/high O2, then high flow room air, then low flow room air, now just wall O2 at 1/8thL. They'll send him home on O2 if needed.

The challenge we still have is feeding. In order to go home, he has to take all of his calories by mouth for at least 24h. Right now he's taking less than 20% by mouth and that hasn't improved at all over the last week. Feeds are done every 3 hours and need to be completed within 1h to "count".

They also say he needs to be able to sleep flat without having symptomatic reflux.

I'm worried that with these criteria he's never going to be ready to be discharged. At least not if he's anything like my first kid. My #1 kid wasn't born until 41+5...and he strongly preferred to eat every 1h50m (and to spend 40-45 minutes doing it) until he was about 4 months old (at which point he "spaced out" his feeds to about every 2h30m and got a little quicker).

My #1 also couldn't lie flat without symptomatic reflux until he was 6-7 months old!

I'm concerned that these feeding goals feel like they are setting us up for breastfeeding failure. They don't do weighted feeds, so, anything he takes from the breast doesn't count towards his calorie minimum. Any time I breastfeed him (which he's actually doing well at!), if he takes less by bottle afterwards then he's not counted as making progress.

This is a well regarded level IIIb NICU. Really frustrated.

Any NICU alums or staff have any advice?