Newborn not swallowing - might need tube feeding

My baby boy was born on April 15 via c-section at gestation age 38 weeks and 2 days. Immeditalely after birth, he was brought to the nursery since his APGAR score was with a normal range.
An hour after being at the nursery, my husband went to take a look at him and found that he was suffocating on mucus and amnoctic fluid. He was then iimeditaltey brought to the NICU for observation. Over the next 3 days, he was coughing up more amnotic fluid. Doctor told us this was normal for a newborn via c-section.
Unfortunately, once his secretion cleared, by the 3rd day, the nurses were trying to bottle feed him and notices that he wasnt swallowing - sucking - breathing properly. His respositiory is irregular and he keeps gagging on his salivia, he just wouldnt swallow.
Its now been almost 2 weeks since hes at the NICU and the doctors ran all different type of tests, MRI, cardiac, blood and etc and found nothing wrong with him.
The next step is the swallow test, but they are refusing to conduct it since his respiratory is irregular. I spoke with the doctor regarding that and they all mention his respiratory is irregular even when he is sleeping peacefully, but he is not struggling to breathe so its fine. They are afriad that the test will not indicate much since he simply wont even swallow salavia and that he might aspirate due to his iiregular respository.
Im not sure what to do at this point. Anyone gone through similar issue with their newborn?
Im still thinking its a behavioral issue - he was tramatize from the suffocation and relates all liquid as a foreign agent which will suffocate him.
Im really hoping he doesnt need tube feeding. He is able to suck and breathe, but he just wont swallow.

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I'm wondering if the doctors have looked into a cleft pallet issue. My younger brother (now 30 years old) couldn't eat when he was born, and it turned out to be a cleft pallet on the inside (not on the lip where you can see it). He was never tube fed, but did have feeding difficulties which required my parents to feed him via syringe, then later a special feeding bottle with milk thickened with rice cereal. At 2 years old, he had the cleft pallet closed, and most of his feeding issue were resolved by then. He eats and drinks just fine today.

I know that babies learn to swallow amniotic fluid when they are in-utero, so that by the time they are born, they already know how to swallow. This is why I'm wondering if it's a mechanism issue.

Hope he's better soon.

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I remember when I was in a similar situation. Our baby was being NG fed and we were not allowed to give her anything orally. When we asked about a swallow study we were told it couldn't be done. They need to do a swallow study to make sure your baby can swallow, but wont do a swallow study because they aren't sure if the baby can swallow properly.

I remember being so frustrated. I was afraid that she would forget or loose the ability to suck swallow and breathe.

Let me tell you something I've learned. When your baby is ready to eat orally, your baby will let you know. It is better to be safe and overly cautious. You can't undo an aspiration that may cause pneumonia (been there, done that, baby got septic, not fun) but you can prevent it.

We have gone 8 months with an NG tube. We will probably go for a GButton after her next open heart surgery.

I've learned from speech language pathology that if it is a trauma related aversion it is best to wait until the baby has goten over the trauma. Babies forget things quickly. Ask to see a speech language pathologist or an occupational therapist. They will be able to give you the best advice. Even if they only spend a few minutes with their child, trust them. They know their stuff. (I didn't trust the SLP at first because she seemed to spend a short period of time with our baby... how could she know?). All they deal with are feeding trouble. An SLP will give you the best advice for this situation.

We learned she has a submucous cleft palate. It cannot be seen without putting a camera in their nose by a well trained ENT.

I remember where you were. There is a lot of great support on this site and I'm shocked at the advice I just gave you. Just 2 months ago I was pushing so hard for a barium swallow study that they would not allow us to do. I'm now thankful that they never did the swallow study. We would have learned the hard way that our baby would have aspirated barium.

Here is a link of things seasoned "tubie" parents have learned.
http://www.popsiclecenter.org/mothers_wisdom/behavior_feeding_medical.asp

Good Luck! Talk to an SLP!

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Thank you for your respond.

I'll definitely ask the doctor to look into that possibility.

Right now we're just praying that a light will click in him sometime soon. We want to believe that he can swallow.

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