K has been taking the majority of the middle of the night feedings and sleeping longer in the morning while I get up with Baby E for his first few morning feedings. My body has gotten used to being “on” at around 5 a.m., but for some reason, baby’s feeding schedule was slightly off last night, leaving me with no official reason to be awake as early as I am right now. I figured it was one of the few opportunities I seem to have these days to post an update.
We convinced the pediatrician to “try” Zantac for a month for E’s reflux, which has gotten increasingly worse. She said that it typically takes about four days to notice an improvement, but several other sources I’ve ready indicate it could take up to two weeks. We’ve already noticed about a 50% improvement in symptoms, especially as it relates to spitting up, but he still has long stretches of inconsolable crying/fussing about every other day. It’s exhausting to watch our baby be in such discomfort and not be able to do anything about it, and the constant need is also draining, leaving us as not our best selves (ok, mostly me. K is a gem). I ordered a hazelwood necklace yesterday, which many say has the ability to improve reflux symptoms by absorbing acid from one’s body. Let’s just say I’m desperate enough to try anything, evidence based or not.
Everyone in our lives, sans the pediatrician, seems to think we need to try E on a different formula. I think part of this stems from the commonplace assumptions in the late 70’s through the 80’s that babies had dairy problems if they showed even the slightest sign of gastrointestinal issues, promptly switching kiddles to lactose-free varieties. Couple that with increased current awareness around food sensitivities in general (which is a great thing, really), and you have the perfect storm for unsolicited advice around what we should be feeding our child. Sadly, not much of this advice is based on anything scientific I’ve researched, as our baby shows zero symptoms related to dairy sensitivity, unless these symptoms happen to be shared (or are even MORE commonly exhibited) with reflux issues. So reflux it is.
On a more upbeat note, Baby E is starting to show signs of social smiling (vs. the common early infancy gas/poo-related smiles). It’s as though he knows the exact right thing to do with his exasperated parents, who want nothing more than to see their baby happy and comfortable… and he truly is most of the time. Even when his reflux issues pop up, he can go from being smiley one minute, to a full on reflux-related meltdown, and back to smiley. I really feel like he’s a happy baby trapped in an unhappy body. His gummy, lopsided grins make my heart melt.
I think we’ve gotten past the point in which the skeptics in our lives, who thankfully held their tongues, had assumed we’d have long since given up on our hippy idealism as it relates to cloth diapering. Sorry, haters, but I’m even more invested in it than I was when it was all still a theoretical plan. Baby E is starting to fit into more of his pockets, which have way cuter designs than anything else in our cloth diaper stash, and it’s fun to try to pick out which diaper to put on him at every diaper change. I think even E likes them – and I can’t imagine a baby preferring a wad of absorbent chemicals next to their body instead of something so soft and fluffy. Even the laundry has been a breeze! I’m sure it’ll get slightly hairier as I make my transition back to work at the beginning of June, but perhaps not. I was handling it just fine when I temporarily suspended my leave to deal with a much more stressful work pace and project than I’ll be facing upon my return.
K and I earned another new parenting merit badge this week when we went on a date without E for the first time. He stayed with his grandparents (K’s parents), who fed him and changed his cloth diapers without incident. Wouldn’t it figure that he also didn’t really exhibit many reflux signs while with him. (I swear this kid wants to make us look like hysterical new parents who are exaggerating his symptoms!) A good time was had by all and it increased my confidence around carving out the very crucial time for K and I to continue to have an adult relationship that doesn’t entirely revolve around our roles as parents.
As I am anticipating a hunger wail pretty much any minute now, I should probably conclude for now. At some point, I will have to update you all about our recent visit to my parents’ place, which was, at many times, stressful and infuriating.