I’m going to take a guess that most dads (and probably some moms) haven’t spent a lot of time around infants. Toddlers perhaps but infants not so much. This is me and I could add the toddlers to the equation as well (so this is where I’m coming from..I’m sure you’ll get a laugh out of my adventures).
Yesterday I took off of work early (after a panic of locking myself out of the house) and headed to the hospital to see baby boy. I hadn’t seen him since Sunday afternoon and was really looking forward to it. I must have been pretty excited because I got there a bit early, so I sat around and dinked around with my cell phone while waiting to do his duties. We’ve been doing the duties (temperature, diaper changed, and move the oxygen meter from one foot to another) for awhile now so I was pretty comfortable with that stuff. The duties went well and the nurse took a few other measurements. Then she asked me if I wanted to do skin to skin (also known as kangaroo care I’ve found out). I said sure.
So I get all settled in and she hands little boy to me and we begin to get ready to feed. At first she was going to use a syringe (through the nose) but I questioned it and she remembered that he was bottle feeding (I can’t say this enough…speak up if there’s something they are doing that you know differently!). And this is where the amateur in me begins to come out.
I’d fed baby boy before but we are learning a new method called pacing. Pacing allows them to feed on the bottle, but at a slower rate. And he’s in a new position. This didn’t go so bad, but I need more practice. When things got bad it was with the burping. She showed me on position for burping and I did okay…I think! Then he ate some more and she told me to burp him while she went to attend to another baby. Panic. She told me to put him on my shoulder, but I’d never done it before. Infants have no control of their head so I wasn’t sure what to do other than support his head. Was I supposed to throw him over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes? Long story short he drank all of his milk (he did have to be reminded!) and M tells me that what I did for the shoulder burp was good.
So guys you’re going to feel way out of your element with an infant and especially with a premie. I’m sure there’s going to be more times of panic and not knowing what to do, but I’ll learn and move on with it.