Everything I've read talks about how having a preemie can be more difficult than a full-term baby because they are behind the learning curve (so to speak) in that their systems are more immature than a full-term baby. I haven't really had a hard time with Jonathan with much of anything - he is sleeping almost through the night, he stares at people and books, he smiles, he does everything a baby of 6 weeks should do. Except eat well.
Feeding him is quite possibly the most frustrating thing I've ever done. The only thing more frustrating that I can think of is learning to hit a golf ball. And similar to hitting said golf ball, sometimes I hit it down the fairway with baby J, and other times I shank it, or the swing misses the ball entirely.
For example, today he napped for about 3 hours and woke up crying loudly. I knew he must be hungry because he hadn't eaten a whole lot so far, so I made him a bottle and started feeding. He usually eats about 3 oz every time he eats, but sometimes (like today) he eats 1 oz and goes to sleep. This is where the frustration comes in.
Sometimes he will keep sucking even though he's asleep. But then he starts coughing because the coordination kinda goes south when he gets in that state. Other times (again, like today) I try to re-alert him. I start by burping him. If that doesn't work, I take his socks off and tickle him. Still no luck. So I took his pants off and unbuttoned his onesie and started fanning him with a rag. No luck again. My last resort was getting a wet cloth and rubbing his head, face and torso while trying to loudly coax him awake. When he finally did wake up, I put the bottle to his lips and he pursed them so tight there was no hope of getting anything in there. So I put him in his bassinet and waited for him to wake up. That was almost 30 minutes ago. If he sleeps longer than an hour the whole remaining 2 oz is wasted because I mixed a little formula in there to get some extra calories and it isn't supposed to be out longer than 1 hour. Breast milk is a precious commodity!
I guess this all wouldn't be such a big deal if he was gaining a lot of weight. But at his last pediatrician visit, the Dr. was a little concerned because he hadn't gained but 1 pound in the last 4 weeks. We will go back to weigh him in 2 weeks. In the meantime, he'll eat when he'll eat, I guess.