Posted in Parenting

Waaaay Past Annoyed

First off, I apologize in advance because I am about to launch into a rant.

Those of you who have been following this blog for the past month, will probably have an idea of the issue I am about to address.

I just got back from the pediatrician’s office.  We went back in two weeks after his previous visit because Charles has had more allergic reactions to food.  My goal was to at least get a script for an epipen in case his next reaction turned into something worse than hives.  I also wanted a RAST test (which requires blood to be drawn) to be prescribed so that I could know exactly what he is allergic to right now.  That way, I can be more certain of which foods (besides dairy) to avoid.

Here are the salient points from our appointment…

1.  The pediatrician won’t prescribe an epipen because he’s too young.  To further argue her cause, she cites that he has “only” had hives so far.   “Just don’t give him the foods he’s reacted to (duh!), keep some benadryl with you at all times (double duh!) and bring him to the ER if his reaction is more severe (triple duh!)”.  So if my 7 month old stops breathing on me after eating something then I have to drive 20 min. to the nearest hospital.  Excellent.

2.  We’re also not getting a blood test done.  I can’t really cite the reasons; by that time, I had decided to learn from her and ignore what she was saying.

3.  When she asked me to repeat which foods he’d had a reaction to, I recited them again.  Mentioning that I was certain about an allergy to dairy, tomato and cantaloupe and was still unsure about wheat, eggs, fish and blueberries.  She nods her head and asks me how old he is (what, you mean you didn’t take a few minutes to read his file before calling us in?!?).  7 months.  And then she goes on to scold me because supposedly he’s too young to be having fish, eggs and dairy.  WTF?  Since when?  It’s not like I gave him nuts.  And it’s not like I had any idea that he’d have a reaction in the first place because neither my partner or I have any food allergies.  Besides, I didn’t know when I started solids that his eczema was most likely a sign that he was reacting to something that was in my milk (more on that in the next point).  In her opinion, my son should be on cereal, fruits and veggies.  Good thing she doesn’t know we’re not doing purées!  Also, the introduction of solids, much like every other aspect of parenting, has many many many schools of thought.

4.  I told her that I’d read that his eczema might be a result of an allergic reaction to the lactose he gets through my breastmilk because I eat dairy.  I went on to add that I was meeting with a dietician tomorrow so that she can help me with an allergy elimination diet starting with the removal of all milk products from my meals.  The pediatrician tells me that I should definitely be removing not only dairy but anything else that my son has reacted to so far as though it was the most obvious thing in the world (let me remind you here that the last time I went – two weeks ago – she had asked me if I’d had to remove anything from my diet since giving birth and when I said ‘no’ she didn’t suggest that dairy was one of the things that was probably causing my son’s bad eczema).

5. As seems to be the case with our recent appointments, she kept focusing on his eczema.  So, I ended up getting a prescription for a moisturizing cream, another prescription for a cortisone cream for his body, another one to control his itchiness and a reminder that the cortisone cream we already have at home is for his face…

Basically, we’re going to be treating the symptoms instead of the cause until our appointment with the pediatric allergist comes up in October and hoping that his hives stay “just” hives to avoid a trip to the ER.

I’m really hating our health care system right now.  I know that the grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence and that no matter where I’d go, I’d have to face different challenges, but the grass is looking pretty yellowish to my eye on my side of the fence right now…

OK, rant over.

Posted in Parenting

Nursing A Teething Baby

A couple of weeks ago, I encountered on of the many bumps that come along with breastfeeding: nursing my teething son.  Now, you see, I’d already gone down the road of having a teething baby at the breast, the difference is that last time around, my son hadn’t already cut teeth.  This means that while he was nursing (for comfort or for hunger) and gumming down quite hard, it didn’t really hurt.  This time around, though.  Oh.  My.  God.  Ouchies!  He would be happily nursing when all of a sudden…pain.  Two little daggers digging into my tender skin (and I had the teeth marks to prove it!).

I would break the seal forcing my son to unlatch and say “no, don’t bite mommy”.  Then, I would wait until my son realized what was going on (meaning, I would wait the few seconds it took him to get frustrated because he wasn’t attached to my breast anymore) and then let him latch on again.  I did this every time he bit me for three days.

To be honest, at the end of the three days, I was sore, afraid to nurse and pretty much ready to give up on breastfeeding because it didn’t seem like the message was getting through to my son.  Remembering, however, reading about someone else’s woes regarding her breastfeeding situation where someone suggested that it was never a good idea to decide to quit when you were feeling annoyed, I decided to see if there was something else I could do to help things along.  I figured that I would make up my mind when I felt rested and relaxed and could really think through the pros and cons.

I therefore turned to the wonderful ladies in the breastfeeding support group of Baby Center.  They offered many suggestions which I would like to share with you!

1.  Once you say “no” and latch your baby off, give him something to chew on for a couple of minutes.

2. Give her something to chew on 10-20 min before nursing.

3. Don’t act like you’re in pain because some babies find that funny.

4. Put him in his crib or on the floor when you gt him to unlatch and walk out of the room for 30 sec or so that way he doesn’t associate biting with getting extra attention and a fun reaction from mommy.

5. Be consistent with what you say and do when she bites, chances are she doesn’t even realize that she’s biting the first times.

6. Instead of breaking the seal yourself, bring his face close to your breast so that he unlatches himself.

I suspect that what works depends on your baby’s age and personality.

Ironically, since posting that thread, my son has stopped biting (and his top teeth have finally cut today!).

How did you handle nursing a teething baby?

Posted in Parenting

The Waiting Game

This morning, I dialed the number that my son’s pediatrician had jotted down on the post-it she stuck to the allergist referral she gave me yesterday.  I did not hold for a very long time on the line before hearing the receptionist’s greeting.  After a brief exchange of formalities, I explained why I was calling.  She then proceeded to ask me quite a few questions to open up a file on my son for the hospital.  Among the questions, she asked what my son had had a reaction to.  I told her, specifying that Little Dude had only been on solids for three weeks.  The lady, then gave me some instructions to follow.

For our appointment, I need to bring all of the fruits and vegetables my son has had an allergic reaction to in separate ziploc bags, taking care that there is no cross-contamination.  This means that I am really going to have to give my son just one food item at a time for a given meal.  The rest of the food, they have at the hospital.  I was also instructed to make sure that my son is not given any anti-histamines for a whole week prior to the appointment.  This includes benadryl and means that I will only be feeding my son food that I know he won’t react to for that whole week (no introduction of new foods in that period of time).

Then, she gave me the date of the appointment.  It’s going to be on the 30th…

…of October!

Yeah…that means I get to play detective for the next five months or so.

Good thing I have my blog to keep track of everything he ate and everything that happened.  I also decided to start a spreadsheet so that I could log my son’s reactions to different foods.  I have a tab per month and have a column for each date.  I programmed it so that if I write an “o” (as in OK) the cell will turn green and if I write a “n” (as in No) the cell will turn red.  This will help me greatly in discovering the offending foods and will allow me to see a pattern emerge (if any).

I’m actually hoping that by the time the appointment comes around, there will be no allergies to be seen and the allergist will chalk it up to me being over-worried.  But I’m not holding my breath…

Posted in Infant, Parenting

How To Stump A Pediatrician

For those of you not following my blog on BLW, here’s a small recap of what has gone on so far.

We started BLW when my son turned 6 months old – nearly 3 weeks ago.  Seeing as neither my partner or I have any food allergies, we dove right in and avoided only foods that had a high risk of triggering an allergic reaction like nuts.  Things were going really well until I noticed one day that my son had a pretty gnarly rash on his lower face and forearms.  At first, I brushed it off as being an eczema flare-up, a decent assumption given that I only noticed the redness the following day after an overnight change of temperature from cold to hot.

The thing is, though, the next time I gave my son some yogurt, I wiped him down, sat him on his playmat and, when I turned around to start cleaning the table, he started screaming.  I looked at him and immediately noticed this his lower face, cheeks and the inside of his arms were bright red with little white bumps all over.  Enter Benadryl…  Eventually, I put two and two together and realized that my son was reacting to dairy, or, at the very least, yogurt.  Reading up on it, I found that it wasn’t uncommon for babies to have trouble processing lactose and that this reaction could just be the result of his system not being mature enough to handle it.  ‘No matter’, I thought, we’ll just wait a few months before reintroducing dairy.

Then, he had a reaction to tomato – the second time he ate it only.  I thought that it might be because the second time around it had been in contact with an acidic dressing, but I still decided to err on the side of caution.  Henceforth, I would only introduce one new food at a time.  I made some fishcakes.  New ingredient: panko bread crumbs.  I did not want to use the other breadcrumbs because I read in the ingredients that it had been produced in a plant where they also use milk ingredients (yeah, you can say that I was overcautious…).  The first time he ate some, he was fine.  The second time he ate some, he was fine.  The third time…the third time he had an allergic reaction.  His lower face was bright red again and some bright red patches with little white bumps had crept on his back as well.

Damn.

So…where did that leave me?  I had (read: have) no idea what my son can eat.  I mean, seriously, why is he fine one day and not the next?  So, I rang up my pediatrician’s office this morning to see if I could get an appointment and perhaps a referral to an allergist.  Her office was very accommodating and found a spot for me today!

Well, after spending about a quarter hour in her office, she was stumped.  At first, she thought I might be mistaking an allergic reaction with eczema.  I suppose, however, that after asking me the same question about five different ways and getting the same answer from me, she realized that I actually was able to distinguish the two (don’t fault her for asking in so many ways though, she was being thorough!).  What also confused her was that I hadn’t changed my diet since giving birth.  She told me that, according to what she knew, my son shouldn’t be reacting to food because he hadn’t had any reactions to the proteins that were in my milk.

Eventually, she took out her prescription booklet and a post it and told me that she would be referring us to an allergist at a children’s hospital.  I’m calling tomorrow to get an appointment.

In the mean time, we are going to continue solids and I will be jotting everything down.  That way, I will have a mine of information by the time we are able to see the specialist.

Posted in Parenting

Note To Self

1.  You are not perfect, but you are perfectly capable of taking care of your son.

2.  Parenting life is like a bouncy ball: what goes up, must come down…and back up again!

3.  You are allowed to cry.  In fact, you will cry.  Embrace the tears when they come instead of holding them back.

4.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.

5.  Life would be boring if your son was happy 24/7 😛

6.  If you’re tired, TAKE A NAP if your son is napping.  Screw the chores!

7.  Parenting can be the most thankless job in the world.  Thankfully, it can also be the best job in the world.

8.  Get out of the house.

9.  Just because you can’t see the sun on a rainy day, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

10.  By all means read up on parenting, but keep listening to your heart.

11.  You love your son, unconditionally and he loves you in the same way.  That’s all that matters.

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Posted in Infant, Parenting

What Do You Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed?

Because that’s how I’m feeling right now.

I don’t know how to go about writing this.  I don’t want this post to seem like I’m wallowing in self-pity, but something needs to come out and this is one of the only ways I know how.

I just got off the phone with my partner who announced that he’d be home around 7.  I wasn’t even able to finish the conversation in a civilized manner; I hung up quickly and burst into tears.  I don’t remember ever being so emotional, but these past few days (or weeks, or months – honestly, I don’t know) have been trying.

I feel as though I can’t catch a break.  When my son was a newborn, I was nursing for hours at a time, then he hit a growth spurt, then we started having problems with gas, after that we entered the “wonderful” world of wonder weeks.  Then came sleep deprivation due to prop dependency (where I was getting up 10+ times a night for a month just to put the pacifier back in) followed by sleep training, a tendonitis for me, teething, a growth spurt/wonder week combo and now, teething again.

I feel like all I do all day is try to function.  My son has taken to screaming at different moments; I never know when it’s going to happen.  Sometimes it’ll be for naps, or at bedtime or when he wakes up in the middle of the night.  Other times it’ll be when I sit him down on the floor or when I change his diaper.  It’s maddening because it just goes on and on and on.  And then, I have people around me asking me how are things.  All I can say is “good” (that *is* the correct answer, right?).  What do you want me to say?  I have no idea what an easy baby and what a difficult baby are like.

I’ve never had so many headaches in my life.  I’ve never cried so much in so few days.  My home is a mess – even by my standards – and I feel so alone – and feel guilty about it.

I’m lucky enough to be on paid maternity leave, I gave birth in November and am only going back to work in August.  My partner tries to help with a lot of things, but I think he’s feeling a little overwhelmed with how to manage work (he’s been having to put in extra hours), house chores, and this little human that’s taking up so much room in our lives.  I go out because otherwise I’d go crazy, but while I’m going out, I’m not taking care of the house and I’m not resting.  I love my son to death and I wouldn’t go back to my pre-baby life; he brings too much joy in my life.  But sometimes, like right now, I just feel like I’m losing it.

How do you stay at home moms/dads do it?  How do you working moms/dads do it?  How do you single parents do it?  Please tell me that I am not the only one.

I never thought that becoming would be easy.  But I also never thought that 6 months in, I would become an emotional mess at times.

There.  I said it.  I feel somewhat better.  I think.

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Oh S***, I Mean Crap, I Mean Poop – Yeah, It’s That Kind Of Post…

I ought warn you: I’m going to be talking about poop.

Don’t want to read about poop?  I don’t blame you.  I wouldn’t want to read about poop either.

That’s why I won’t be angry at you if you turn around and don’t read the post.

I’ll just shut my eyes a few seconds and let you back away.

*Shuts eyes*

Beep, beep, beep…

*Opens eyes*

Oh!  So you’re still here eh?  OK then, you asked for it.

Allow me to try to bestow some of the knowledge that I have scooped up so far in my whole 6 months of motherhood.

8 Pearls of poppy knowledge

1.  You’re an expecting parent?  Be ready to become obsessed with poop.  Its color, its texture, its frequency…  Yeah…seriously.

2. Breastmilk only poop smells good (can’t talk about formula only poop, is someone brave enough to fill me in on this?).  And by good, I mean a lot less stinky than the poop produced after the introduction of solids *gag*.

3.  Washable diapers are a must.  They contain the poop much better.  No blowouts!

4.  Washable diapers are a bust.  You have to start rinsing them once solids have started (because, at first, the poop isn’t solid) and that is rather disgusting.

5.  In breastfed babies (again, I don’t know if this is the case for formula fed babies), absence of poop is a telltale sign of a growth spurt.

6.  Incidentally, you’ll know a growth spurt is over when your baby starts to poop like there’s no tomorrow.

7.  You’ll be the one changing all of the poppy diapers.  Because fathers never seem to be around when one happens (this is what happens in our household anyways).

8.  It’s not abnormal for breastfed babies to skip several poopy days in a row.  Be thankful when it happens.

There.  That’s all I have to say.

But if you want to scoop up more poop – no, wait, that’s not right – if you want another blogger’s scoop on poop, check out the Gag-Free Baby Poop Color Chart over at the Incredible Infant blog.

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Getting Our Weekly Dose Of Vitamin D “Au Naturel”

Now, I don’t know what it’s like in your neck of the woods, but up here we don’t get to go out in the sun uncovered very often in a year.  Between the long Winters and the grey Falls and Springs, it’s hard to get some natural vitamin D.  Given our situation, it’s not surprising that parents of a brand new baby are given vitamin D drops to give to their breastfed babies until such a time as they can start drinking cow’s milk.

Now, in my book, there’s nothing like the real thing.  As such, I started researching how much sunlight I would need to expose my son to in order to meet his body’s requirements for this important vitamin without needing to give him the prescription drops.  To be honest, I was pleasantly surprised with what I found out.

It seems that he needs a weekly total of 30 minutes of sunlight if he’s just out in a diaper (an average of less than 5 minutes per day) or 2h of sunlight if he is fully dressed without a hat (an average of about 30 minutes per day).  Well, that’s easy to do!

Encouraged by this knowledge, we decided to catch some rays yesterday (because it was a gorgeous day even thought it was hot and humid).  Besides having some yummy “ice cream” in his diaper on the balcony, my son also got to cool off in a makeshift pool filled with barely lukewarm water.

Needless to say, he was very happy and had an awesome time! (Plus he got all the vitamin D his body needed for the whole week!)