Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
I was afraid of this. Emmett is becoming a barfer. AARRRGGGGHHHH. Fia had the worst reflux. But I thought I dodged the bullet with Emmett. Reflux usually shows up around 2-3 weeks. Each week that passed with Emmett I felt more and more hopeful. I mean, he was a spitter. But not a barfer. There’s a difference.
Then, about 2 weeks ago, just shy of his 3 month birthday, more and more milk kept coming up. I knew I was in trouble when Cleo, our nanny, walked in with 3 changes of clothes. Damn.
Here is the weird thing. He only barfs up my breast milk. Not formula. Fia was the exact same way. I took her to 3 different pediatricians. I even took a saturated barf cloth to one. “Here, feel this. This is from one feed!” I sobbed. We’re talking cups of barf. They all told me the same thing: since she was gaining weight, it wasn’t technically reflux. Therefore, they wouldn’t treat it as such. But wait, the reason she’s gaining is because I have to feed her all the time. She is also in terrible pain, constantly scrunching her body up. And all the barfing certainly can’t feel good on her throat.
Their stance was to keep her on the boob and deal with it. I’m still resentful.
I ordered some herbal concoction that–no kidding–was black as tar. It is supposed to help reflux. Um, okay, well, if it doesn’t, guess what you get? Black stains all over your furniture. Genius. That lasted all of one feed. I experimented with other things too, but I finally just gave up.
At 4 months, overwrought with lack of sleep and full of misery, I gave up breast feeding. I drove to the store and bought formula. It was an instant game-changer. I had a freezer full of breast milk that I would try to get down week after week. Same thing every time. Copious amounts of barf. I don’t think it was an allergy either. I had experimented with eliminating dairy, citrus, eggs–you name it–from my diet. Nothing worked. My mom said I was the same way.
With Emmett, I am determined to not give up breast feeding so early. I took him to our doctor here and explained what was happening. (I picked a specific doctor at the practice because she’s not old school like some of them.) After hearing my story, she theorized that maybe since breast milk isn’t as heavy as formula, both he and Fia needed something with more weight–or less acidic. It’s exactly what my mom and I had talked about 2 years before.
This pediatrician, unlike others I’ve had, prescribed Zantac. She also gave me some probiotics. Instead of discounting me, she listened. For that, I am incredibly grateful. She believes that it is worth staying on the boob with a little medicine rather than switching to formula. Or at least trying to see if it makes a difference. Whew.
We are on day 5 of Zantac and so far his spitting up has greatly diminished. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers. He also isn’t crunching up in pain as often. My goal is to boob feed him for at least 6 months, maybe a year. He’s my last baby. Plus, there are some major advantages (besides the medical aspect) to breastfeeding. I’ll save that for another blog.
I wrote earlier this week about trusting your mom instinct when it comes to studies and diagnoses and all that jazz. I’m glad I get a second chance on this one with my little guy.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Newborn Care
Saturday, November 27th, 2010
From the beginning of her bottle life, Fia took it like a champ. So much so, that even after she turned one, I was apparently feeding her too much formula. Truth is, the bottle became my crutch. If she didn’t eat enough real food I’d get nervous that she would be hungry, so I’d give her one. It was quite enlightening when I recently took her to the pediatrician for her one-year appointment.
Here’s how the conversation with Dr. TJ Gold began:
“How’s her appetite?”
“Well, I’m still giving her about 32 ounces a day of formula. Real food is kinda hit or miss.”
A stern stare. I continue.
“She gets picky at the table and I worry that she’s not eating enough, so I fill her up however I can.”
Dr. Gold nods knowingly, as if saying, yeah, I’ve seen this before.
“And do you also run around while she plays trying to put food in her mouth?” she asks.
“YES!” I exclaim, thinking she “gets” it. She understands how picky babies are. I continue: “I run around the exersaucer chucking cheese into her mouth. I run after her through the living room, shoving saltines in. Anything I can get her to eat and any way I can do it.“ I beam, waiting for the sign of approval.
Dr. Gold clears her throat and she says something to me that was a game changer for me.
“Terrible Two’s happen because of parenting choices made during the 1’s.”
She continues, “And it’s much harder to reverse bad behavior than to just begin with good behavior.”
Look, I feel like I’m a fairly reasonable, somewhat smart and aware person. And I’ve read the range of babybooks—from Dr. Sears to Babywise. But in this scenario, for whatever reason, my mom instincts were off. I’m sure it stems from my primal need for sleep and my irrational fear that she’ll start waking up in the night hungry if she doesn’t get enough during the day. Whatever the cause, I’m so so so glad Dr. Gold stopped me cold in my tracks and reversed my behavior. It immediately made a difference, and continues to nearly a month later. Here is a recap of what I learned:
You feed your baby broccoli one day, the next day she flicks it off her tray and refuses to eat it. You try pasta, which you know she likes. And oops, there goes the flick again. She isn’t interested in any of the usual staples. Desperate, you scour your fridge. Yogurt and applesauce. The sweet stuff. You pull it out, try it on her, and voilà, she eats it. Guess what? You’ve just been had and your baby just won a major battle. Continue like this, and soon she’s the master. And you’re the servant, scrambling to find food she’ll eat.
“Picky eaters are formed by this exact scenario,” Dr. Gold tells me. They know if they flick food off, eventually mom will come running to their rescue with something sweet.
Then she gave me a very healthy warning. “This is also how you end up with a 2-year old who can’t sit still at a restaurant. And it’s how you start to lose your edge as a parent. “
“But, what do I do?” I say, wringing my hands. “If she won’t eat, then she’ll wake up in the night, and next thing you know, I’m dealing with a newborn schedule again!!”
Not true, says Dr. Gold. Mealtime is very specific. You put her in the highchair, TV off, time to focus and you feed her. If she flicks her food, you stop feeding. Take her down. Wait 30 minutes. Try again. She’s not going to starve. When she’s hungry enough, she’ll eat.
She also told me to switch to whole milk and cut down to 16 ounces a day max.
At the visit, Fia was in the 10th percentile for weight, 48th for height. While Dr. Gold wasn’t a bit worried, I swear Fi fattened up within 3 days following her instructions. It was a remarkable shift. And now, she literally eats everything. And lots of it. When she sees me setting her food out, she toddles up to her highchair and throws her arms in the air, begging to go in it. A far cry from me running around in circles, chasing her while shoveling bits of food in her mouth.
Every baby is different, so this might not work for you, but I just thought I’d share my own experience. My new and improved routine goes like this:
7am – She wakes up. I give her a 6 oz bottle of whole milk.
8:30-9am – Breakfast. Yogurt, toast with peanut butter, banana, etc. Sippy cup with water and a splash of OJ.
11am – Lunch. Chickpeas, rice, chicken, mac and cheese….whatever I’m eating. I just cut it up in small pieces.
1-2pm – Small bottle. Snack.
5-6pm – Dinner. Again, whatever we’re going to eat.
6:30pm – Bath time.
7pm – Book and 6 oz bottle. Baby sleeps through night.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Tricks and Tips