3 month weight check & distracted nursing

After some issues with Aviana taking the bottle when I went back to work (High lipase issue) and Aviana becoming more and more distracted at the breast I was worried that she was not putting on enough weight.  When I took her for her weight check at 3 months I was fully prepared to be told to supplement her again.

Aviana weighed in at 10lbs 12oz (4th percentile) at 3 months and 13 days old and 23″ tall (14th percentile).  Although she is still off the charts for her height/weight ratio, the pediatrician was pleased at her continued weight gain along the curve so told me she wasn’t concerned.  Looking at Aviana she is getting some nice little fat rolls on her thighs which the pediatrician was happy with.  We count her rolls of fat!  So no more weight checks until her 4 month wellness visit!

Aviana has become distracted and fussy at the breast noticeably since she has learned how to grab things…it was like she has become awake to the world.  Sometimes she latches and pulls off quickly to look up at me, then re-latches, pulls off, smiles at me, re-latches etc.  Which is actually sometimes so darn cute, I’m trying really hard not to encourage this behaviour!  But of course she pulls off hard sometimes and that hurts!!! Then she gets frustrated she can’t re-latch quick enough and cries. Also I have not been able to feed her in public because she gets distracted and pissed at noise.  I have resorted to feeding her in the car or under a nursing cover (which she HATES and I equally hate!).

2017-04-12 10.55.38

Aviana’s weight progress  – she is following her own curve nicely 🙂

I went to my local la leche league breastfeeding support group to ask about all of this.  Apparently this is very common at this age – it’s called distracted nursing.  There is no telling how long this will last for, but many of the women in the group have experienced this!  Phew…so it’s kind of normal! Their tips included: nursing in quiet places (ok i got that one!!), using a comfort toy or blanket at the breast to distract them from the distractions, singing to her and rocking. Yesterday I was out and about and needed to nurse in public, I sat outside in the shade and I tried rocking/bouncing, that seemed to work quite well.  I really hope this is just a quick phase because I want her to be able to feed anywhere! I feel soooooooo guilty and bad when she won’t nurse properly.  She is not the kind of baby to make up for it at other times, she will easily skip a meal if she isn’t happy.

It is good news that the doctor is happy with Aviana just following her own weight curve.   I enjoy breastfeeding Aviana (when she isn’t distracted) and I hope I can keep it up for at least 6 months is my goal – my stretch goal is 12 months.  But this distracted nursing issue and having her low weight on my conscience has made me feel like giving up at times.  They say to never give up on a bad day…and I’ve kept that in mind, it’s helped me to keep going. Plus going to the support group meetings and being a member of a facebook breastfeeding group has also kept me on the path to my goal.  Breastfeeding is not easy, and I have had a pretty easy time of it compared to some people I know.

Silent Reflux

Aviana became a different baby the day of her 4th week birthday – overnight she went from Jekyll to Hyde.  I have already written about how tough that week was until we learned that she might have silent reflux. Poor girl couldn’t help it and we felt helpless until we went to our pediatrician.  She confirmed that the symptoms we had seen in Aviana were indeed silent reflux and that it sounded like the medication she was going to prescribe would work a treat.  Aviana was prescribed Zantac (an antacid), she was weighed (a staggering 7lbs 8oz – remember she was 5lbs 1oz at birth! I apparently have super calorific -ex-pi-ali-docious milk!) and her dosage calculated because it is determined by weight, not age – which worked out at 0.6ml twice daily.  We picked up the prescription and earnestly waited for the right time to administer it.

That evening Aviana slept very well, and we slept a little better.  It wasn’t until two days later I noticed a new baby.  Our happy baby was back.  I got several smiles during the day, she slept well and ate well.  She can now lie happily on her back.

She still has gas and struggles to get the poo out, waking herself up after a few hours and trying hard to let it all out (which is apparently very normal in newborns as they learn to use their bowels) – considering she is an IUGR baby, this isn’t overly surprising that she finds it particularly tough to get the poo out (she’s not constipated though).  Hoping this changes soon!

Unfortunately, we have noticed the past few days when it comes close to giving her next dose you can hear the reflux gurgling away in the back of her throat and she starts to get wheezy breathing again.  So back to the pediatrician again on Thursday to discuss change in dosage and frequency.

It’s all certainly manageable, but it is so tough to see Aviana cry when she is clearly in pain and there is very little I can do to help her.  I discussed this with my doula yesterday – what do parents do with babies who live in countries where they don’t have access to medications like we do?  Do they go insane from the psychological torture?  I always wonder what our diets are doing to breast milk and the impact it has on our babies guts…

A tough few days

Last Wednesday evening Aviana decided that she didn’t want to go to sleep and rather fuss, and this trend then continued through the day and night Thursday, Friday and today.  What I mean by this is that she no longer wants to lie down in her crib, she wants to be held.  When we finally do get her down she will eventually wake up screaming the house down because she either wants to poo, fart and more often than not, shart.

It was taking us a couple of hours of soothing her in anyway possible before she would consider to stop crying.  Of course, the more tired she gets, the harder it is to get her to stop crying.  There is no one way to stop the tears, but generally requires her falling asleep upright in our arms.  I have also been spending all day carrying her and trying different ways to console the tears (thankfully I discovered the wrap works sometimes to help get her to sleep which saves my back).

sling

Moby wrap to the rescue!

The cries aren’t continuous, but rather they would stop after a minute or two, then she would fuss again, I’d get her into another position, calm down, then she’d fuss and so on.  Each day she will have an hour or two of good sleep because she has exhausted herself from crying.

Yesterday Chris called me from his work to say that someone he spoke to recognised this as potentially being a sign of silent reflux.  All of Aviana’s symptoms match.  She has been doing other things over the past few weeks that individually didn’t concern us, but when they add up together they could be silent reflux.  We don’t have a diagnosis yet, we need to see our pediatrician next week about it before we are sure.

She is in pain when she poos/farts, arching her back, screwing up her face crying and then stops crying once it has been released.  Sometimes she will stiffen her whole body out straight as if she is a flying superwoman.  More often when she is breast feeding she will cry and cling onto my nipple and pull her head away fighting my boob – it’s very difficult to explain to a newborn not to do that, it happens so quickly that it is difficult to unlatch her in time – and it bloody hurts, she actually has a very strong neck for a newborn.  She rarely spits up, and is difficult to burp.  She gets incessant hiccups, it happens roughly 3 in every 4 feeds, and they are exhausting for her so she gets frustrated at them and cries more.  Sometimes a pacifer gets rid of them, or even getting her to drink a bit of breastmilk can help.  She has a slight wheeze and congestion that is noticeable when she sleeps. At first we thought it was just newborn-ness and was endearing, we even nicknamed her little goose because she sounds like she is honking like a goose.

Even right now as she sleeps in her bassinet that we have tilted upright I’m listening to her cough, splutter and cry for a few seconds,  then she goes back to sleep instantly.  It’s upsetting to hear her like this.

She was such a happy easy going baby until now.  Today we went to a baby massage class (despite us only getting about two and half hours of broken sleep last night) and lets just say it was very noticeable how cranky and upset she was compared to the other newborn babies.

So until we get some answers from the pediatrician we are keeping her upright after her feeds which is helping a bit, letting her sleep upright as much as possible so she does get some sleep and not get too overtired which then perpetuates the problem.  I am also going to arrange a after we see the pediatrician a consult with an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) to have my latch checked and get advice on what we can do to help her when it comes to breastfeeding.  We also have the name of a specialist doctor in the local area referred to us by a friend just in case we don’t get answers from our ped.

Whatever is going on with our baby girl she really isn’t comfortable right now and it is tough watching her feel like that, and tough on us, especially as Chris has gone back to work.  Fortunately, we have a post partum doula to help us out a bit more next week.  We may need her for more help than we originally thought, but we shall see!

Mom – were you on drugs?

At our two week wellness visit to Aviana’s pediatrician, Chris asked the doctor about something strange he had noticed Aviana do a couple of times. He noticed a few times that she would have a shudder/tremor/shake in her arms for a very brief moment, almost looking like a mini seizure. 

The doctor looked at me and asked ‘mom, do you drink much caffeine?’ I said no. I have one or two cups of black tea a day (British tea of course!) and the occasional decaf coffee at Starbucks. I gave up coffee when we started trying to conceive a few years ago!. 

‘Hmmm- were you on any medications when you were pregnant? Because babies can get this reaction from withdrawal?’ I said no.

Then we could all guess what the next awkward question that the doctor was going to ask, but then she looked at me as if to say, well you don’t look like the kind of person who is a druggy or alcoholic, and she paused….so awkward.

But then the doctor quickly said it was probably just a benign infant tremor and that we should keep an eye on it if it keeps happening as an indicator of something to look into with her nervous system.

It can’t be easy being a pediatrician when it comes to working with parents!! They have a duty of care to the child and many problems with a child can be caused by the parents and they have to deal with that factor as well. We just watched an episode of greys anatomy where the intern thought munchausen by proxy was causing the child to be inexplicably ill.  It was very awkward when the intern brought the psychologist in to do an assessment on the parent…until the parent figured out what was going on. So awkward. When in fact what really was the problem was a very rare disease that was missed because of a false positive test result.

Taking our baby to the doctors is going to be a whole new skill for us to learn as parents. When we are ill, we at least can describe what we feel like to the doctor, how much it hurts and where. A baby can only communicate to us by crying (or not crying), and we can only observe and monitor changes in her physical appearance and her behaviour. The trouble is, determining what is and isn’t normal when we have never done this before!!!! Overly cautious is probably where we stand with our little one. Poor doctor is probably going to get lots of questions from us on the phone 😂