A plucky Jonah Angel Suleman, who weighed just 1 lb., 8 oz. at birth, proved to doctors at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower, Calif., that he’s healthy enough to be released.
“Jonah had to travel a longer road than his brothers and sisters,” said Kaiser spokeswoman Socorro Serrano. “He had to basically triple his birth weight.”
Besides the weight gain, Jonah also had to demonstrate that he could maintain his body temperature and bottle-feed. Earlier this month, doctors thought the tiny infant, who now tips the scales at 4 lbs., 10 oz., would need to stay at the hospital for at least another week. But Jonah’s progress was so steady that he was released early.
“This is an historic and a joyous moment for all of us,” says Kaiser neonatologist Dr. Mandhir Gupta. “The birth of the octuplets on Jan. 26 was a special moment for each of the 52 doctors, nurses and other caregivers who brought them into the world. [Jonah’s release] is the culmination of that dream – eight healthy babies who are strong and ready to thrive.”
Jonah, who at birth had pinkie-sized arms and could fit in the palm of a hand, quickly garnered a reputation with Kaiser neonatal nurses for his outgoing disposition. “He’s an alert little guy, very responsive to voices and being touched,” says Serrano, who adds that the infant’s cleft lip hasn’t interfered with his ability to latch onto a baby bottle.
Neonatal nurses from Kaiser will visit Suleman’s home in five days to make sure Jonah is gaining weight and his digestive system is continuing to develop.