April 8: We Survived a Nursing Strike
I can’t lie; I could not wait until March was over and done with. I know we aren’t suppose to wish away our days; however, March was filled with too many stomach bugs and colds for my liking. Anyways, with April’s arrival, we also welcomed our first nursing strike. I can’t even begin to explain how emotionally draining and stressful this strike was.
NURSING STRIKE DETAILS:
– March 28:
– I was diagnosed with an ear infection and put on Amoxicillin for 7 days against my will.
– My son started to only nurse for 1-3 minutes, and if he got to 3 minutes, that was a lot! Typically, he nurses between 3-5 times a day for about 8-12 minutes. However, he would barely even wait for a let down. However, he would still drink from bottles.
– He also started to drool a lot and bite everything from his toys to his crib to his bottles to my boob several times. Ouch! One of the first times he did this with his SIX TEETH, I instinctively yelled and startled him. He also had a cough and was getting over a cold. Because of all of this, my son was also super fussy and clingy.
MARCH 28-APRIL 4
– Nursing strike continued. I would attempt to nurse and he would only stay latched on for about 1.5 minutes at a time. Based on the fact that my breasts were still full afterwards, I knew it could not be that he was just super efficient and quick with it now. So I would offer and attempt to nurse. When he would refuse or only latch for a minimum amount of time, I would then go and pump to keep up my production. I was worried about my production dropping and us not making it until next month when we know more about his food allergies and all of the ones that he has outgrown. Therefore, I emailed pediatrician and breastfeeding friends to find out anything at all about what was going on. I was feeling so emotional about all of it, wondering what was causing it since it could be sooo many things.
Was this all because of his cold?
Was this teething? Getting molars a little early? I did notice swollen gums on the top.
Was it the cough/cold plus teething?
Was it that he preferred the bottle over nursing now? (I was worried about this one because I already pump two to four times a day. Now, I was pumping about 6 times a day. It was very difficult to keep up with.)
Was he becoming more efficient or did he need less milk and feedings?
Was it my medication?
And the question I was worried the most about was…
Was he weaning himself from breastfeeding before we had a new plan of what he would drink at a year?
– I was an emotional wreck inside all week while trying to hold it together on the outside. I kept praying for strength and would stay so strong all day until the evening when I would finally have a meltdown about everything. I needed to figure out something, a solution to all of this. Therefore, on the 8th straight day of this, I finally stopped panicking and looked for answers instead. During his nap, I searched online read a lot of websites and blogs. Some of the ones that I found most helpful are these three.
– With these links, I came up with a new theory. First of all, I learned that most babies don’t wean themselves from breastfeeding until closer to 18 months, definitely not at 11 months. Reading that was a major relief to me because I feel like I had recently taken for granted how amazing nursing and breastfeeding was. Hopeful that this was not weaning, I felt confident that we could get back on track so I devised this theory. I think that originally this nursing strike all started because his gums were bothering him badly because of teething. Then, he bit me and my reaction startled him. Therefore, I had to make nursing a comfortable, relaxing, stress-free environment again. I, myself, had become extremely anxious when feeding for the past 8 days, worrying about everything and anticipating getting bit again. Therefore, I had to be the one to change this back.
When he woke up from his nap, I went right in when he was still drowsy. Singing a song and rocking him in the glider, he nursed for 11 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other! What an amazing feeling!
APRIL 7 ( A RASH IN THE MIX TOO)
– Day care called me around lunch time and sent a picture of my son’s smiling face with a red rash eczema flare up! Ugh! We had been doing so well! However, after going to inspect this rash out, I was quite proud of my reaction. He drank his bottle then played in a toy where he started to rub his face, irritating it and causing a eczema flare up. Within fifteen minutes, the rash mostly disappeared. Instead of freaking out about how it must be something I am eating or a food reaction, I stayed calm. I believe that this was a contact reaction due to his dermographism or maybe he is fighting off a viral thing again. Regardless, this is a long way from where I was in December/January and how I would have reacted.
– As I continue to rock and sing to my son when nursing, his nursing strike appears to be over! It definitely made me appreciate this whole breastfeeding journey even more than I already did. It reminded me of how fast these past 11 months flew by and how fast the next months will go. This nursing strike really opened up my eyes. Since you never know when the last time with anything in life will be, it is extremely important to live in the moment instead of allowing the everyday stresses and routines to overshadow what really matters. I think I needed to be reminded of this.
Like One Republic says in their song “I Lived,” I want to be able to say this one day. “I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”
While a nursing strike may seem like nothing to most people, it was truly a broken bone to me. However, I am owning it, living in the moment instead of my to-do lists, and of course, smiling on with my cutie because that is that gives me strength and takes away my fear. Smiling and nursing on…
April 20: Nursing Strike #2 Over but Met by Napping Strike
For whatever reason, we had another nursing strike from Tuesday, April 14-Friday, April 17. My son would barely nurse. Once again, he still drank his bottles. However, he would only nurse for 1-3 minutes tops. Friday was by far the worst of it. This time around I was much more relaxed; however, it still sucked!
Then, Saturday he decided to switch it up, doing the complete opposite! He is nursing nonstop! I’m not sure what is causing this. It’s almost like cluster feeding in the early months. I think he is getting two molars early. In addition, he won’t nap unless he is in my arms. Also, his eczema is worse than it has been for months!!!! (For once, I feel confident it’s nothing to do with food.) This is day 3 of this wacky behavior!
Is it teeth ? Molars ? Transition from two to one nap ? Is the eczema due to the stress of teething? If only babies could talk and explain their complicated behaviors and phases. However, all we can do is hope the afternoon nap is better and smile on …
April 23: The Hunt for 100% Cotton Socks
Because 100% cotton clothing and items are best for people with eczema, I’ve been trying to have my son only wear 100% clothing. It has been working as far as controlling eczema minus his feet which often become very irritated and itchy. Therefore, I felt as though it had to be his socks which, like most socks, are only 60-80% cotton. So, I thought well there’s an easy solution, I’ll just order 100% cotton socks. I was quite mistaken when thinking this would be an easy task. It is nearly impossible to find socks that are strictly made of cotton!!! I did find four pairs that I didn’t have to order from the U.K.
Two pairs were by Mudpie and I found them on Amazon! (NOTE: THESE DID NOT WORK FOR MY SON. I THINK IT WAS THE DYE USED IN THEM.)
The other two pairs I found from the following website.
Another helpful resource was the following links that provides a ton of different websites of products for babies, children and adults with eczema.
April 26: Bittersweet End to Spring Break
As a teacher, I am blessed to have off for a week in April for Spring Break. It was a week I was looking forward to spending with my son, pretending that I was back on maternity leave. I planned for a relaxing week of the usual routines with some visits and outings planned. Once again, my son reminded me that no matter how much I plan out anything, I am not the one who has the final say of what happens….
After another semi-nursing strike that lasted several days, my son started to want to nurse all the time starting on Saturday, April 18. In fact, Monday and Tuesday he started to cluster feed! This had not happened since he was like four months or so. However, I had prayed that the nursing strikes would be done and over with and I definitely got more than I had wished for.
Since that Saturday, April 18, here are some of the unusual factors going on…
1) Holy teething! I had never experienced teething like this! It was evident that he was in pain and working on some teeth. When I searched his mouth, I saw two molars cutting through on the top! Everywhere I looked and read it said these don’t come through until 13 months the earliest. However, the drool, attachment to his teethers, fussiness, eczema flare-up, and need for constant comfort, all led me to believe that this was indeed his molars cutting through. And sure enough, by the end of the week, I could feel and see both of these teeth plus another one on the top. By his first birthday next weekend, he will definitely have 9 teeth, 7 of the top and 2 on the bottom.
2) He would not nap unless being held or in a car. Before this, he had been taking two naps a day for months. One around 9 and another around 1, give or take. Due to the teething, I let him nap on me for a few days; however, it just continued and I did not want to create a habit. It was so difficult to know what to do. Therefore, I brought him to the pediatrician to make sure that he didn’t have a sneaky ear infection or something wrong. Indeed, she confirmed that this was all just teething. JUST TEETHING!
3) Separation anxiety during naps and nighttime started! He would scream, not cry, like a full out tantrum scream whenever we left him to nap or sleep at night. We searched and read a ton of articles online and tried a bunch of tactics, like everything in the book. Then, we started to think that part of this may be due to the fact that he did not need as much sleep as he had needed for the past 11.5 months. Leading us to another transition that happened this week…
4) Transition from 2 to 1 nap… My son went from taking a 9 am nap and a 1 pm nap to now only taking a 12 pm nap. Also, his bedtime got later from 6:30 to 7.
5) Aside from these changes, my son also learned a great deal this week. He learned to clap, wave, say Mama and a bunch of other babble that sounds closer to real words. In addition, he took his first steps!!! So far, we are up to 6 steps on his own. And the best of all was that he started to love showing affection. Lots and lots of random hugs are definitely what will keep us both smiling on as our spring break comes to an end…
April 28: The Mysterious Eczema Flare-up
This eczema flare-up will not resolve itself no matter what we do. We had such a good handle on my son’s eczema for months. However, over the last two weeks, the usual care and routines that we do to keep his skin protected will not work like they usually does! The past two days have been the worst.
What the hell is causing this? Why is it always such a mystery?
At first, I thought his feet were extra irritated due to not having 100% cotton socks. Therefore, I searched and searched for some 100% cotton socks and found several pairs. However, these new seem to be aggravating his eczema even more than regular ones. So, it is back to regular socks and/or barefoot when he can until I find another plan.
Then, we thought this was definitely due to teething with his first molars cutting through. However, all of the other teething signs are now practically gone and the eczema remains. GRRRRRR!!!
Is it food that I am eating? I started to eat a bit more raspberries/strawberries daily; however, I have been eating these foods since December with no reaction from him. Or, I started to eat a different flavor of Enjoy Life granola in my cereal, “Cinnamon Raisin Crunch.” I started this a couple weeks ago.
Or, is it seasonal allergies coming through his Zyrtec? Or even a viral thing coming through?
Frustration has set in with major confusion again, yet I am trying my hardest to stay positive with the upcoming blood work and allergy testing next week. Despite the irritated skin, of course he continues to step and smile on…
April 30: Eczema Answers?
So, his eczema continues to be bad in the same problems areas including his feet, behind his knees, his entire right leg, two spots on his back, a patch near shoulder, neck and his hands. When I picked him up from daycare on Wednesday, his eyes had crust on them so we called the pediatrician and emailed allergist as well. This eczema flare-up has been going on for 2.5 weeks now! Both wanted to see him.
VISIT 1: WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29
The pediatrician we saw was one that we never had seen before. The second he walked into the room and saw my son, he said, “this is seasonal allergies.” He explained that the bags under his eyes were “shiners” and a classic sign that he has seasonal allergies. When he looked in his mouth, he commented, “and the guy is teething his brains out working on 8 teeth right now, 4 of which are molars. Cute, great kid but a mess right now.” He suggested that we continue with his skin care like we have been and that we start putting less clothing on him. (We had been keeping longer, loose, 100% cotton clothing on him to protect his skin from items that would irritate it.)
VISIT 2: THURSDAY, APRIL 30
Now, off to the allergist, Allergist #1, who we decided to stick with. He takes a look at my son and says he thinks the flare-up is just due to heat. He also recommends that we stop using Aquaphor and just use Vanicream. One layer of Vanicream several times a day is what he believes we should do. He explained that applying Vanicream and then a layer of Aquaphor and sometimes A&D cream as a barrier is what we should do only in the winter for moisturizer. Then, he said he does not believe that this is seasonal allergies because it is my son’s first spring and he is on Zyrtec. Like the doctor we saw yesterday, he said less clothes is better. He also does not believe it has anything to do with food allergies.
While I left feeling positive, we are not convinced that seasonal allergies aren’t playing a role in this eczema flare up. However, from both appointments, we have gathered that we should dress him in less clothing, use only Vanicream, use the hydrocortisone cream for another week or so, and everything should resolve itself.
After we came home, I nursed him and changed his diaper and outfit into a lighter one that exposed more of his skin. By bath time, his eczema was the worst it has been since this flare-up started! Ahhh!!!! Fighting the urge to become frustrated and upset, I choose to have faith and confidence that we will figure this out soon, so we smile on….