What the Reflux?!

RefluxWhen Baby E was 4 weeks old he turned from a contented, happy, peaceful baby into a writhing, screaming, thoroughly unhappy little guy. The cause was reflux. Sounds fairly innocent but I can assure you it is not. Between 4-7 weeks was its worst and those few weeks were tough.

Baby E cried inconsolably, it was relentless. The wriggling, arching backwards, thrashing around as if to get comfy and the tears would begin towards the end of a feed. He gained this contorted expression which became known to Mr W and I as his ‘acid face’. When I thought of reflux I always thought it would be productive, or to put it more bluntly I expected to get covered in vomit. However, Baby E did not always bring anything up with his reflux. I soon learned that there was also such a thing as silent reflux, even more innocent sounding – again, don’t be fooled, it is not. You could visibly see his little body heaving and could almost hear the bile rising ending in his ‘acid face’ and yep, you guessed it, tears.

To begin with we tried infant Gaviscon, a powder that we added to his normal feed. This worked to an extent but needed to be given by prescription and it ran out pretty quickly. Also we often found that despite meticulously following the instructions, we would find an unappetising globule of the stuff at the bottom of the bottle.

We also turned our attention to the bottles we were using and tried just about every bottle and teat on the market. We eventually found the Haberman Suckle Feeder. This transformed Baby E’s feeds into ones that were well paced and more comfortable and enjoyable for us all. It gave good control of the flow speed and did not overwhelm Baby E due to the formula only being released when he sucked rather than it constantly dripping into his mouth.

Another strategy was to feed him in a more upright position and tried to keep him upright for 15-20 minutes following his feed. In addition to this we tried to tilt his moses basket slightly so that he was not completely flat while sleeping.

Probably the biggest help was changing Baby e’s formula. We had a bit of trial and error but went with Cow & Gate’s Anti-Reflux formula, which we still use. It is a thickened feed which decreased the likelihood of reflux and regurgitation. We noticed a difference after the first day and along with our other strategies we knew we were on to a winner. It is not the most convenient, it needs 7 minutes to thicken which with a screaming baby it quickly turns into the longest 7 minutes of your life. Also there is no option of those handy pre-made cartons for when you are out and about but obviously these downsides are a miniscule price to pay for something that worked for us.

 

So this is how we fought the reflux monster and won. I believe it was a combination of all our strategies that finally got it to reflux off!

Mummascribbles

Little Weekly Wonders 6

Little Weekly WondersPlaying with Jelly – This week we had a go at some good old messy play. I had been noticing that Baby E was becoming very aware of any of his food getting on his hands and fingers and while I don’t resign myself to utter destruction I do want us to have fun and get a bit messy. So out came the jelly, we just put a couple of different colours on his highchair and let him explore it. To begin with he was a little apprehensive but soon an excited giggle was released and he really got into it, swishing it around and playing with it in his hands. He did look at me a few times as if to say ‘is this okay?’ it is like he already knows that I am a clean freak! He loved though and we will definitely be trying more activities like this.

Waving – This week Baby E began purposely waving. I did my usual cheery ‘hiya!’ and waved at him and he did it back. He looked as surprised and pleased as I did, carefully looking at his hand thinking what is that doing? He has also started waving at his dad when he gets home from work, which is extremely cute.

Supermarket Chat – On one of our walks this week Baby E and I popped into a supermarket. As usual the tills were packed but never fear, Baby E was there for everyone’s entertainment! He smiled and giggled and ‘chatted’ to everyone gathering up all the admiring glances and compliments. It is lovely to have people say your baby is beautiful but it is even better when they comment on what a smiley, happy and sociable your little boy is.

8 Month Summary

8 Month summaryAnother month has passed and Baby E is 8 months old! Here is what he has been up to this month.

Milestones – The quest to crawl continues! Baby E has made some good progress this month and has figured out that smooshing his face along the floor is getting him nowhere fast. He is now making more use of his arms and holds himself up very well while tucking in his knees and rocking back and forward. By doing such ‘big boy’ movements it somehow makes him appear smaller and never fails to produce an ‘aww, look at him’ moment from me. Baby E has also mastered the art of scooting backwards which is quite comical to watch him manoeuvre himself around his nursery in this way and he appears confused when he is trying to get closer to a toy but ends up further away from it. Last week we had a routine visit from the Health Visitor who was very pleased with the progress Baby E was making and he breezed through all the checks. He now weighs 18lb which is a touch under average for his age and is in the 75th percentile for height, not sure where he gets that from! He demonstrated excellent transfer between hands and pincer grips, looked immediately for items when they were put out of sight, responded to his name, held himself up and showed strength in his arms and sat up by himself (only to be gently pushed by the HV to see if he did the correct response, which he did). All in all a very successful visit which the HV summed up as Baby E showing the perfect examples of all the checks and he was a happy, smiley, chatty little boy with gorgeous eyelashes! Good work Baby E.

Sleep – Baby E continues to sleep well and is sticking to his night time routine of bed around 7pm and waking around 6am. A few nights he has needed a little comforting through the night, I think this is down to another round of delightful teething but he just needs a cuddle and settles pretty well. His morning nap continues to be his favourite and he gets a story between 9.30-10am and settles to sleep with the help of our trusty musical little friend Scout. Morning nap continues to be the longest at anywhere between 1-2 hours. Baby E seems to be dropping one of his shorter afternoon naps and tends to only show signs of needing one, this is usually between 4-4.30pm and can last 30mins to an hour.

Eating – Baby E is now taking something to eat 3 times a day. Morning is a 7oz bottle followed by porridge, which he loves, if he is off his porridge it is a sure sign he is a little under the weather. After his morning nap he will take a 5oz bottle and around an hour later he will take lunch followed by another 5oz bottle at around 3.30pm then dinner at around 5 and finishing with a 7oz bedtime milk. We have started introducing more finger foods as Baby E seems to like being independent with his feeding and does not seem keen on being spoon fed anything with texture, although he still enjoys smooth purees. Finger foods he has been trying include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, chicken, toast with homemade humus or homemade vegetable purees spread on it. He is also still loving his mesh feeder and tends to have fruit such as pear, mango, banana, plums and peaches as desert, yoghurts are also a hit as are any fruit puree. So lunch and dinner are a combination of any of these items and we normally go for one spoon fed meal and one finger food meal a day.

Favourite Things – The Jumperoo is still a firm favourite and Baby E is continuing to explore the activities on it. He has discovered that he can turn the elephant to look at him and can push the button to make the tiger pop up…and thinks this is hilarious. Stacking cups are also getting a good play with lately, such a simple thing but Baby E can sit and bang these, chew these and knock down my carefully made towers with great delight. Baby E also continues to enjoy story time and is getting more interactive with them. He is enjoying books with flaps and knows exactly where to lift on the pages, even to the point where if he gets a book without flaps he will try to find the bit to lift! Favourites include, Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler and Where is Spot? by Eric Hill. While Baby E is not plonked in front of the TV for hours on end there are a couple of programs he enjoys. Ra Ra the Noisy Lion and Bing never fail to get a laugh and Baby E smiles and chatters away to them, he has even started laughing at all the right places!

Let's Talk Mommy

Little Weekly Wonders #5

Little Weekly WondersFaceTime with Granny & Papa – Baby E was treated to his own personalised little TV show this week starring his Granny and Papa. As we live over 4 hours away we don’t get to see as much of our family as we would like so things like FaceTime are a great invention for us! Baby E smiled and giggled as he watched his Granny and Papa talking to him, making silly noises and faces and playing peek-a-boo. In return he treated them to his latest trick of trying to crawl.

 

Health Visitor – This week Baby E had a routine visit from our Health Visitor and dazzled her by completing all the tests she threw at him with ease and a smile. She was very happy with his progress and commented that he was providing perfect examples of all the things she was looking for. This included transferring items hand to hand, pincer grip, looking for items when they are dropped, putting his hand out if he fell over and responding to his name. Well done Baby E!

 

Swings in the Sunshine – This week brought some beautiful sunny weather to the North East of Scotland again so we have been enjoying our afternoon walks even more than usual. Our local play park has recently been refurbished so Baby E and I decided to make a pit stop here and check it out. It was Baby E’s first shot of a swing, he sat on my knee on the ‘big’ swing so it was also my first shot on a swing for a long time! He seemed to enjoy it but was probably more interested in getting a good look at the bigger boys and girls running around and wishing he could join in!

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I stay or should I goI made the decision last week and acted on it. I decided to leave my job as a secondary school teacher of 10 years to become a stay at home mum. I wrote my letter of resignation and posted it…its official.

This was a decision that has long been in my and Mr W’s thoughts and conversations. It is not one that we took lightly and our thoughts and conversations always came back to what would be best for our family.

I loved my job, easier to say now that I am not doing it! But it is true, I enjoyed interacting with the kids, watching them develop and helping them understand things that they previously did not. I love the subject that I taught, Geography. It is unique and diverse, it is an art and a science and covers literacy, numeracy and wellbeing without even trying. It explores the interactions between the land, the people that live on it and the environment that surrounds us. I could go on but I think it is clear that I did not leave my job because I disliked it!

However, despite what some may think it is not a job that you can waltz into at 8.30am and rush out of at 3.30pm locking away the work that has built up through the day with the lock of a classroom door. The expectations, changes and challenges that education is going through just now meant that a typical work day would easily spill out either side of when that bell rings and well into the evening, weekend and holidays. The demands of the job and if I am honest, the demand I would place upon myself to do the job justice would undoubtedly impact on the time I spend with Baby E out with the official school day.

Something would need to give and I would be frustrated if it were the job that I took so much pride in and heartbroken if it were the precious time spent with my son.

We are very lucky that Mr W and I are on the same page when it comes to childcare and even luckier that one of us being at home with Baby E is even a consideration. We knew from the start that we wanted one of us to be with Baby E rather than go to into childcare. We also don’t have the ‘safety net’ of family living close by that could help with the inevitable times when we have meetings and other commitments outside normal working hours. Splitting the week between us so that we could both continue working while ensuring Baby E had one of us at home was a consideration. However, financially this did not make any sense for us and so was discarded and brought us a step closer to our final decision.

I want to be with Baby E…all the time. I love that I get to be with him every day and consider myself extremely lucky that I can be. From seeing his smiley face and hearing his sing-song voice in the morning through to sneaking into his room to see his peaceful, sleeping little body in his cot before going to bed myself. I want to be there for the smiles, the sulks, the meal times, the milestones, the tears and even the tantrums (don’t quote me on that one in a couple of years though!).

So while making the decision to leave teaching was difficult, doing it to spend time with my son was not. I might have regretted going back to work but I am certain I will never regret giving it up to be with Baby E. That is how I know we have made the right decision.

Are you a stay at home mum or did you return to work after maternity leave? I would love to hear what influenced your decision.

Let's Talk Mommy

Wedding & Baby Survival

KiltBaby E attended his first wedding this weekend which was his first big event. Of course this called for him to don a kilt, which he was very cute and handsome in. He wore the same kilt as Mr W in the tartan that we had at our wedding which made it even more special. The effect of an adorable baby in a kilt on people is quite spectacular and he was in serious danger of stealing the show from the beautiful bride. It also makes changing nappies considerably easier!

We were a little apprehensive about the day…it would be a long one with lots going on and lots of new faces in a busy and bustling atmosphere. Baby E would also ideally need to be polite and quiet at certain parts of the day, heaven forbid he have a total meltdown in the middle of the ceremony or speeches! With a little military precision planning, along with the help of a little boy that smiled and giggled his way through the event we have a very enjoyable, if exhausting day.

Here are a few things we did to try and make a potentially stressful day run a bit more smoothly:

  • List, list, list. This was the perfect opportunity for me to indulge in my love of lists. I made a made a list of what we needed for the day well in advance, from toys to feeding to the essentials.
  • Take plenty of the essentials i.e. nappies and wipes. The wedding venue was an hour away from home and a fair distance from the nearest town where we could get any of these in an emergency.
  • Take a back-up outfit for baby…hopefully you won’t need one for yourself!
  • Have wet wipes in an easy to access place.
  • Take a good variety of food. We took a couple of pouches that we knew Baby E enjoyed, a yogurt, rusks and little sandwich fingers so that we had few options. The finger food was a great distraction during speeches. We also took spare formula as well as what we knew we would need just in case.
  • Take a variety of small toys – make sure some are not noisy, I am sure the bride does not want to hear a little singing Mexican maraca while she says her vows!
  • We made sure Baby E had a good morning nap before going. He skipped his afternoon nap as there was too much going on for him, although I did make sure we went somewhere quieter for a little down time.
  • Take a sleep suit for the evening. This made it so much easier to put Baby E in his car seat where he fell asleep and we could just transfer him into his cot when he got home.
  • We went with the goal that if Baby E became unsettled,  grumpy…descend into raging melt down, the bride and groom would never know about it. Cue checking all rooms for the swiftest exit route!

And finally…

  • Start to leave about 45 minutes before you actually intend to. It is virtually impossible to leave an event with a cute baby quickly!

What are your top tips for taking a baby to a big event?

The Twinkle Diaries

Little Weekly Wonders #4

Little Weekly WondersSitting up – This week Baby E progressed to being able to sit up completely unaided. He is still getting the hang of it but can sit for a good length of time before the wobble starts or he sees something interesting that throws him off balance. It was not unlike when training a dog…sit, stay, stay, good boy! He looked so small and vulnerable just sitting there all alone happily playing with his stacking cups. He looked at me with a big smiley face as looked at him with that strange mixture of pride that my baby has reached another milestone and sadness that he is growing so quick. A feeling that is quickly becoming so familiar as a mum.

Wedding Bells – Baby E attended his first wedding yesterday which was his first big event and his first time wearing a kilt! He was extremely cute and handsome in his little kilt that matched his daddy. It was the same tartan that we had at our wedding so brought back some great memories and was very fitting for our little boy’s first kilt. I think I will have to have a good talk to him in the future as he drew a lot of attention from the ladies and had them all wrapped around his tiny little finger! Despite it being a long day with lots going on Baby E was so content and happy to entertain all the attention. He seemed to love the interaction with everyone and was mesmerised by the flower girls. We stayed until just after the first dance before heading home and despite Baby E getting a second wind and ready to party, myself and Mr W were definitely ready for bedtime!