Gay Dad Life

How to Care for a Premature Baby: Learning As We Go

So much information floods your mind when you’re preparing to bring home your new baby. No matter how many books you read, how many videos you watch and how much advice you get, you still won’t know everything you need when your baby is premature.

If you’ve already been through this, I’m sure you agree. But if you’re just starting out: Take a deep breath and have comfort in knowing that we all learn as we go.

It's hard to wrap my mind around where Douglas and I were mentally at this time last year. We brought Alli Mae home on December 4, 2015 and our lives have been in hyperdrive ever since. Our minds were bombarded with anxiety about knowing everything we needed before she came home. But as I look back, I realize that that was simply, and quite humorously, impossible.

Douglas is in medical school and he loves to read. We had that avenue covered. There are so many books about the first few months and books about parenting in general. Later on, I will list a couple that I feel really helped us.

If books were not enough, it seems like everybody has something to say about how “their babies were." They list off so many situations that they went thru and what they learned from. Each and every person that opens up to you about their experience is coming from a place of love. They want you to succeed. It may seem like a brain overload right now, but listen to each and every person. They all have an opinion about the way they raised their children. With that said, know that every baby is different. All the information you have been cramming for and all the stories and advice you have been told lead you up to this moment in bringing your baby home. All of the information you have learned in the past few months needs to have a filter.

Use your own personal judgment whether to use this knowledge. I personally had a chain of command when it came to our decision-making process. I first would talk with Douglas, my husband, and we would usually come up with an answer for our next step. Our pediatrician would be the next person we consulted with. After the doctor we would talk to our parents. Sometimes the parents would or wouldn't agree with the pediatrician, but at the end of the day you are making the best choice you possibly can for your precious little one.

The books we read and stories we were told about did not touch on what we were about to learn.

Our daughter, Alli Mae, was born prematurely at 30 weeks. She was born so delicate and tiny, 3 ½ pounds. But although itty bitty, this baby girl could eat! We quickly found out that we needed to really figure out our food intake schedule. She was on a two-hour feeding routine.

We started out with the traditional glass bottles. Our formula was Similac Expert Care Neosure Baby Formula for premature babies. We quickly found out that our sweet baby had digestion issues. It was so hard and sad to see her in pain. It was almost unbearable to know our baby was hurting. We really needed to get to the bottom of what was causing her belly to hurt.

We quickly switched the bottles that we were using as we felt she was taking in too much air. They were causing  a lot of gas. So we chose to switch to Playtex BPA Free Ventaire Bottles.

Though she did not have colic, she did have gas and a hard time digesting the high-calorie formula that we had to give her. These bottles really helped. The nipples come in, slow, medium and fast flow. You are able to change them out as your baby grows.

We had to keep feeding her the Neosure formula because of her prematurity. So, although we had fixed the bottle problem, her tiny tummy was still having a hard time digesting this powerful formula.

A couple of remedies that we found helpful while we were using Neosure formula was different gas medicines. If you just walk down the aisle in your pharmacy you may become overwhelmed at all of the choices. We wanted something all natural and that really worked. Little Remedies Tummys Gripe Water really helped most days. It is also pretty cheap.

Gripe Water didn't help all the time, and in those situations we had to use gas drops. We found that Pediacare Infant Gas Relief Drops knocked the pain out most of the time.  We didn't want to use these drops often because they are not all natural.

We were able to get a prescription from our pediatrician that was able to help with the rest of our time on this powerful formula. Baby "Zantac" is given twice daily before the bottles. It takes a few days for it to start working but we stayed on this medicine for about three months until her belly was strong enough to digest without it. We found that pouring the medicine into the nipple of a bottle rather than putting the medicine dropper in her mouth served more effective.

There really are so many different books out there to help you learn. A couple of our favorites are:

Just remember that every baby is different. You will find this out if you have not already. Just know that parents, friends, and neighbors all have stories that they feel may help you. At the end of the day, use your own judgment and do what you feel is best for your baby.

I would love to know some of your tips that you used with your baby or maybe still do. Comment below and tell me!

We would love for you to follow my family’s journey on Instagram @nolapapa

Feature image credit: BSA Photography

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Life

Cooking with Kids: An Interview with David Burtka

David Burtka sits down with us to talk about his new book "Life is a Party."

When you're a young couple it's easy to order in or dine out on a daily basis, but when the kids come along, spending time in the kitchen to prepare nutritious and healthy meals for them can become a problem for some dads. We turned to gay dad and celebrity chef David Burtka who just published his debut recipe book Life is a Party, to get some advice, inspiration, and support as we take our baby steps in the kitchen.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

Philippe "Swiped Right" on This Handsome Young Dad

At first, Philippe wasn't sure he could date a man who was a dad. But Steve, and his son Gabriel, have helped him realize a "fatherly side" of himself he didn't know he had.

"It's been one hell of a ride since the beginning," said 26-year-old Steve Argyrakis, Canadian dad of one. He was 19 when he found out he was going to be a dad and the mom was already several months along in her pregnancy. Steve, who lives in Montreal, was struggling with his homosexuality but wanted to do the "right thing," so he continued to suppress his authentic self. "I was so scared about the future and about my own happiness, that I had put aside my homosexuality once again."

A couple of months later, little Gabriel was born, and it was love at first sight.

Keep reading... Show less

Ain't No Party Like a Gay Dad Dance Party

Gay dads singing and dancing with their kids is EXACTLY what you need to get your weekend started right.

Who jams to Led Zeppelin with their kids?

Who rocks some sweet moves to Kelly Clarkson?

Who sings along with their kids in the car?

Who breaks it down with a baby strapped to them in a carrier?

We all do! But these guys happened to catch it all on tape for us to enjoy! Thanks dads. 😂

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Adoption

5 Ways to Know Your Adoption Agency Is LGBTQ-Friendly

So you're ready to adopt. How do you know your adoption agency won't just discriminate against you as a gay man, but is actively welcoming to LGBTQ people?

You know what is the worst? Adoption agencies who discriminate! So how do you know your agency welcomes you? Check out our list of five immediate ways to know if your agency is LGBTQ affirming.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Gay Dads Featured in Enfamil Commercial

A new ad for Enfamil showcases two gay men talking about their daughter.

The best kind of inclusion is when you're not singled out but instead included right along with everyone else. This kind inclusion inspires others to pursue their own dreams and desires, just like any one else. As part of our popular culture, we know that brands are uniquely suited to inspire us in this way.

Keep reading... Show less

Daughter of Married Gay Couple Who Used Surrogacy Abroad Isn't Citizen, Says U.S. State Department

A decades-old law can be used to discriminate against gay couples who use surrogacy abroad.

James Derek Mize and his husband Jonathan Gregg are both American citizens, but their daughter, born via a surrogate, may not be, at least according to the U.S. State Department.

The New York Times took an in-depth look at this case in a piece that ran in the paper yesterday. While James was born and raised in the U.S, his husband Jonathan was originally born in Britain. That may be enough, according to the State Department, to deny their daughter citizenship.

"We're both Americans; we're married," James told the New York Times. "We just found it really hard to believe that we could have a child that wouldn't be able to be in our country."

According to decades-old immigration law, a child born abroad must have a biological connection to a parent that is a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible to receive citizenship upon birth. Children born via surrogacy are determined to be "out of wedlock," according to the Times report," which then requires a more onerous process to qualify for citizenship, such as demonstrating that a biological parent is not only an American citizen, but has spent at least five years in the country.

The intent of the law, which dates back to the 1950s, was to prevent people from claiming, falsely, that they are the children of U.S. parents. But LGBTQ advocates argue this archaic policy is being used intentionally to discriminates against same-sex couples, who often have to rely on donors, IVF and surrogacy in order to have biologically children, and are thus held to a higher standard.

"This is where our life is. This is where our jobs are," James told the Times. "Our daughter can't be here, but she has no one else to care for her."

Read the whole story here.


Couple That Met at the Gym Now Spotting Each Other Through Fatherhood

How two real New-Yorkers became two soft-hearted dads

This article is part of our family feature series with Circle Surrogacy, a surrogacy agency that has been helping LGBTQ+ singles and couples realize their dream of parenthood for the past 20 years.

Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

Surrogacy was always the way Byron and Matthew wanted to become parents. They chose to wait and become dads later in life, until they had established careers and the financial means to pursue their chosen path.

They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

Keep reading... Show less

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse