I have been very blessed in the kid lottery. Every pregnancy you pray that your child will be healthy, and for the most part I have four extremely healthy, smart, gorgeous kids (do I sound biased? Because I’m totally not biased…)
Having been an active participant on several “mommy boards”, in the past five and a half years, and having mom friends IRL (“in real life” for those not up on their message board slang) though, I’ve experienced a lot of grief for my mommy friends who are going through health issues, sadly sometimes even death of a little one. I have one friend (whom I’m still trying to convince to write for this site) whose kids have such bad food allergies that she homeschools them, just to keep them safe from the allergens that could kill them.
Then here’s me: not a care in the world – complacent even. Baby number four arrives, beautiful, healthy and big. He’s what I refer to as “the world’s easiest baby”: he eats well, sleeps well and loves everyone to whom he’s handed.
I notice, however, that he has some rather raunchy, LOUD gas after his nighttime bottles. He lies there and grunts and moans for about an hour after his middle of the night feeding. I decide to try Enfamil Gentlease, to see if it will help. Almost immediately the late night gruntfests stop. Although he had never been particularly fussy, he just seems to be happier.
By the time he’s about six or seven months old he suddenly stops sleeping through the night. He starts waking up in the middle of his naps. His drool is so bad that he could fill a swimming pool. I assume that it’s teething, except that no teeth are cutting through. Finally he starts vomiting a little bit, with a strong smell of stomach acid. I assume a stomach bug and try to wait it out for a few days, but he’s waking up more and more often from sleep, so I take him in to check for an ear infection.
I’m lucky: in the middle of the doctor’s visit, after the doctor had noticed the “excessive drool”, Joshua threw up, right there. Not a lot, but enough that the doctor had an “aha” moment, and diagnosed him with reflux. I was shocked. He was happy, and he wasn’t a spitter by any means. Projectile spit-up was something I had never, thankfully, had to deal with. However, within 48 hours of his first dose of Zantac he was sleeping again. It was miraculous.
And life went on.
A month or so later I was happily feeding him breakfast – apple raspberry baby food. As I went to get him dressed about 20 minutes later I was shocked to see dark red splotches all over him: hives. I was certain it was an allergic reaction, but to be certain we rushed over to urgent care. Since applesauce had been one of his first foods, we knew it had to be the raspberries.
So let’s see: regular milk-based formula – no; raspberries – no. Okay.
Our next experience was an accidental exposure to egg whites (accidental since he was less than 12 months old and we knew he wasn’t supposed to have them). At least, that’s what we’re still assuming it was. More hives. Then white chocolate. Hives.
Occasionally I tried going back to the regular milk-based formula. No go. He could handle cheese and yogurt, but not plain milk, apparently. I started wondering what on earth we were going to do when he hit 12 months old. With every baby it was this exciting moment: NO MORE FORMULA! Now I was terrified instead. What on earth was I going to give him? Was I going to have to give him formula until he grew out of whatever problem it was that the milk caused?
We decided to try and move him on to soy formula, to see if he could tolerate that, and then move him on to soy milk if it worked. It seemed all right, so soy milk it was.
Except that the soy milk, unlike the soy formula, didn’t seem to agree with him, either. He started having liquidy stools almost immediately. Not diarrhea, but definitely not normal for a toddler, either. (Oh, the things a parent has to think about…)
Our family doctor, God love her, has never really known what to do with Joshua’s milk issues. She didn’t really know what the Gentlease formula was for (in her defense it’s still new to the market in Canada), and she was suspicious of him possibly needing soy. This week I described the problems that we were having, and she wanted me to try whole milk. I was hesitant, but I agreed.
I haven’t even been able to give him an entire bottle of whole milk yet and already I’m seeing problems. Back to the BAD gas, and his diapers are even worse. I’m honestly so frustrated right now that I don’t know what to try next. I may try rice milk, as a friend suggested, but other than that I don’t know what to try. Other than that all he drinks is extremely diluted apple juice. I’m so frustrated I feel like just giving him the gentle formula again for a few months, but the extra expense is such a pain.
I know that what I’m dealing with is so very minor compared to what many parents I know have gone through. As I said, I know that I’m very lucky. Still, after four kids you have a tendency to feel like you’ve seen it all. Other parents ask you for advice and you’ve almost always dealt with something similar. This is new territory for me.
I’ll take any advice that my readers have to give! What kind of health issues surprised you as a parent?