Am I the only one wondering if Octomom is really a Reflux Mom? I know you have heard about the mother in California who recently gave birth prematurely to octuplets. While others have been speculating on the medical bills for octuplets (staggering) and calculating the cost of diapers for eight babies (thousands), I have been considering the combined spit up capabilities of eight preemies.
The fact is most preemies have significant health issues from respiratory distress to the risk of infection, heart and eye conditions. Preemies often have difficulty eating and growing due to an immature suck and swallow and of course gastroesophageal reflux. Parents of preemies are faced with round the clock feedings with special high calories formula and tiny bottles to help their preemie eat. Feedings are slow and inefficient as a preemie struggles to master the art of sucking, swallowing and breathing all at the same time. At the end of the meal, the tiny digestive system reacts to the full tummy by regurgitating in the form of spit up or bringing up the entire feeding. There is nothing worse than taking 45 minutes to get a baby to drink 2-3 ounces of high calorie formula and to see it all come up in an instant. Preemies are so tiny and fragile that every calorie consumed and ounce of weight gain are essential to growth and development. Talk to any parent of a preemie and they can rattle off the calories per ounce, calories per day, rate of weight gain and respiratory rate as easily as recalling what they ate for lunch.
As a Reflux Mom, I have talked with parents of twins with reflux and even triplets with reflux. Many of these multiples were born prematurely with the usual assortment of medical complications such as reflux along with major feeding and growth issues. I hear from a lot of parents of preemies with reflux too. Parenting multiples with reflux or a preemie with reflux can test the stamina of any new parent but combining multiple births with reflux just adds a new layer of complexity to the mix.
So here is my own calculation: Most growing babies need a feeding every 2-3 hours or 8-12 times per day. If each of the octuplets needs a bottle every 3 hours in a 24 hour day, that is 64 feedings per day. If the octuplets are like the average preemie with reflux, there will be some spit up or vomiting at each meal. So Octomom could be faced with hours of mixing formula, feeding, burping and up to 64 spit up or vomiting episodes per day. That is a lot of spit up. So is Octomom really an Octomom or is she a Reflux Mom? Let me know what you think.
Published On: February 27, 2009