Snappis and prefolds and wet bags, oh my!

Well, this is pretty embarrassing. It’s been 10 days since our last post. To be fair, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind and K and I are both doing our best to hang in there.

K is sick and it came on really quickly. I think he has a sinus infection turned bronchitis. His poor cough sounds pitiful and none of the pregnancy-approved medications seem to be much help. We’re headed to see the OB today and I’m hopeful she’ll have some suggestions.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to steadily check tasks off of our to-do list. I’ve made a deal with myself, as a hopeful barrier to exhaustion, that I will only do one home management task (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc.) and one baby-related task (hanging artwork in the nursery, assembling the laundry bin, setting up the new touch-free garbage bin with wet bag for dirty dipes, etc.) each week day. It’s worked out quite well, though I am pooped and am very much looking forward to the weekend.

As a follow-up to my allergy freak out post, I visited my allergist this week to try to strategize about the recent realization that my major allergen is an ingredient in every formula on the market. My doctor didn’t do a very great job at listening to my concern before immediately chiming in to try to solve a concern that I didn’t even have. It took one of the medical students who crammed into the room with me to relay my concerns to him. He admitted that he’d never considered my concern as a possibility for his patients, so once again, I’ve left him scratching his head (he’s never found anyone with my allergy before, either).

The truly horrible news is that my only option is avoidance of the allergen, as there are no medical interventions that can treat or prevent this allergic reaction. His suggestion was to mix up a small batch of each of the formula brand samples I have at home and give myself a makeshift patch test. He said that I might not have as strong of a reaction to one type as I do to another, and that different formulations of tocopherol might impact me differently. I mixed up four different formulas and applied them to my arm with labeled bandages. One of them immediately made me start itching, but I’m telling myself that it’s a psychosomatic response, as my allergy usually flares about 24 hours after I encounter it. This isn’t the most scientific of tests, as I know which brands are located where and I inherently have my own biases against each (this one’s cheapest, this one’s website doesn’t list nutritional information, this one’s company gives out TONS of coupons!), but it’ll have to do. Here’s my lovely test:

arm patch test

The patch test needs to stay on for two days and cannot get wet, which led to a hysterical contraption I created to try to keep my arm dry in the shower: a wet bag with prefold on top, both wrapped tightly around my arm and held together with three Snappis. I figured Falco wouldn’t mind me borrowing these items.

I’m really hopeful that I can find a solution with these commercially available formulas. I’ve decided that I’m too nervous about creating my own formula and milk banks (very rightfully) prioritize incredibly sick babies due to limited supply. I’m also hopeful that some of my fears were perhaps premature. One of my largest fears about becoming a parent was that I would be emotionally distant and cold like my parents were, and I’m petrified that a medical barrier like this sort of allergy will leave me both emotionally and physically distant from Falco, or worse, that I will resent Falco for an approximate year’s worth of itchy, burning misery. Envision this, which is an actual photo of my neck when I was having a pre-diagnosis reaction to tocopherol:

terribly itchy neck

Please keep your fingers crossed!

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13 thoughts on “Snappis and prefolds and wet bags, oh my!

  1. I don’t know where you are located, but have you connected with Eats on Feets and Human Milk For Human Babies on Facebook? You can locate local milk donors who are willing to supply their over supply of milk for no cost, or the cost of milk storage bags. We used donor milk for our daughter for a good 6-9 months.

    It is not based on need. People simply post what they need and people respond. Or people with a supply post what they have and you can ask them for it.

    Goid luck! Feel free to contact me with any questions!
    dontlicktheferrets.com

    • Thanks for the resources. I’ve considered local milk donors and I’m not sure it’s really right for us. K and I are fairly anxious people and what appeals to me about milk banks is that the donors are screened and the milk is pasteurized.

  2. Hmm, if one of the formulas doesn’t give you a reaction and you use it, then what’s to say they don’t change their ingredients/formula and then you do have a horrible reaction?

    Have you looked into person to person donation like CJ suggested? I am hoping to be able to donate because I think it’s really important to make breast milk available to more babies.

    • Honestly, that is a risk I run with every single product on the market, even those I’ve identified as tocopherol-free. I have to be constantly vigilant, reading and re-reading labels on products, and being on guard for reactions. At least with food products, the levels of tocopherol seem to me significantly lower than that found in beauty products.

      • I have a hard enough time keeping track of trace gluten in foods, your vigilance is impressive. That’s good that it’s lower in food products but wouldn’t it be nice if it just weren’t there!? I hope one of those formulas are safe!

  3. Good luck with this test! It could turn out to simplify things tremendously. I will keep my fingers crossed it works. If it doesn’t, let me know if you’d like a direct connect with my friend who made her own formula. And you should talk with our mutual friends about co-nursing and milk sharing, because they have accumulated a of information about it. Hopefully you won’t have to even look down that road, though.

  4. Wow, that sounds like a lot of stress! I hope the patch test gives you some useful information. Have you looked into some of the ones for babies with sensitive stomachs? I wonder if they might have different formulations that didn’t include tocopherols. Our little guy had reflux and a really sensitive stomach when he was little and we ended up using a couple of different ones. They were super expensive (we joked that they must have gold flakes as one of the ingredients) but made a big difference for us.
    So sorry that this allergy stuff is also causing anxiety about bonding with Falco. The fact that you’re already thinking about this stuff suggests to me that you’ll find ways to be close with him/her, no matter what happens with the allergies.

  5. There is one formula that is supposed to be “Hypoallergenic”…or something. Not an expert, just generally speaking out of my ass now. But I remember seeing some…Alimentium (I think that’s the Similac version)? Probably misspelled. I think it’s hideously expensive, unfortunately.

    Some other thoughts (if you can’t find a formula that doesn’t cause a reaction): instead of keeping the formula scoop inside the canister, keep it on the bottle drying rack. My fingers get covered in that powder every time. Sticky annoyance for me, much bigger issue for you…

    They also have little formula mixers that you can stick down in the bottle instead of shaking it with a finger over the nipple hole. And I’ve even seen formula measuring dispensers that sit on the counter and you pre-set it so you just hit a button and it dispenses the powder into the bottle for you. I think Bebea makes one and Amazon had quite a few different types. Expensive-ish, but if it can help you avoid contact with the formula, might be worth it! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Allergy update | The Falco Project

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