Love that dog

img_5812I had been told while pregnant that I may feel differently about my dog after having a baby join the family.

Everyone who said that was right!

I love that dog of ours even more!

Now I should probably say we have a strange dog. Anxious, shy, aloof – loving but with his own clear “don’t pet me too much” boundaries.

But he has changed.

This beautiful baby is his baby and his responsibility. He is eager to be near him. He wants to protect him. He wants to kiss his toes (as that is all he has permission to do). He comes to notify us when the baby is crying (as if  we can’t hear him) and paws at us if he thinks the baby needs something. He is our baby’s caregiver and he seems to have a purpose in his new role.

I couldn’t be happier. My dog was my best friend before our baby, but now he is even more.

I am so happy to have him here to help me during the day and keep us company.

So this is my thank you to Mugsy Dog for stepping up and being such a good big brother.

🙂

 

 

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Holding My Breath

Today marked the second attempt at reintroducing breast milk to my infant son.

This was already a stressful prospect during the anticipatory conversation with our Family Doctor about this plan back on Monday. Actually doing it today = even more so. This was compounded by the fact that yesterday afternoon we stopped seeing visible blood in his diapers. What a relief. But I went ahead with the trial today and I continue to hold my breath.

Actually doing it today = even more so.

This was compounded by the fact that yesterday afternoon we stopped seeing visible blood in his diapers. What a relief. But I was committed to the reintroduction plan, as risky and torturous as it felt. And so I went ahead with the trial today. I continue to hold my breath.

I continue to hold my breath.

So far, so good. We are about 10 hours into the reintroduction and a couple of dirty diapers. Let’s hope this progress continues for the sake of our baby and for the relief of knowing with certainty we have figured out the problem.

Tomorrow we see the Neonatologist about all of this. Hoping that will help.

Fingers crossed.

Sticking with it

Yesterday, 48-hours post-elimination of cow protein and soy from my diet, we reintroduced expressed breast milk to our baby. The outcome was horrible. Early on things seemed to be okay but then blood started appearing again. Later afternoon/early evening there was a pretty terrifying diaper full of blood. The diapers that followed resembled those we have become accustomed to over the last few days. That being so, we decided to stop giving him my milk and return to the hypoallergenic formula until we could meet with the doctor.

Early on things seemed to be okay but then blood started appearing again. By 5:15 pm there was a pretty terrifying diaper full of blood. The diapers that followed resembled those we have become accustomed to over the last few days. Which are not to celebrated, but certainly a relief from the 5:15 pm one off. That being so, we decided to stop giving him my milk and return to the hypoallergenic formula until we could meet with the doctor.

The doctor and I spoke first thing this morning and she has assured me that from what I am telling her, and despite how terrifying it looks, this is how this allergy displays in infants. It is strange that that should be a relief.

We have decided to stick with the formula until Wednesday when I will reintroduce my milk again. We are heading to see the Neonatologist on Thursday again, so the thinking is this will allow us more information.

It may be true that this is how the allergy presents, but my goodness is it ever difficult to see the pain my baby is in. I hope that we are able to resolve this for him so that his tummy can mend and he can be at ease. Sticking with this plan will be hard to do but hopefully will pay off.

 

Finding Food

Eating foods that are Cow Milk Protein- and Soy-Free is trickier than one might think but definitely doable. I will also add that I can’t eat any nuts, with the exception of peanuts… so protein sourcing is in the forefront of my mind (dairy was my previous go to).

The good news in all of this is that I LOVE to cook and I love to eat good food. I have been compiling recipes for a homemade cookbook – inclusive of only those that I have actually made, often tweaked and love.

So here are a few tasty recipes that I enjoyed today and will continue to eat down the road.. even when I am free to return to eating whatever I choose. Cookbook update required.

High Protein Pancakes 

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts (subbed for 1-2 scoops of protein powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flax meal

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Use 1/4 measure to form pancakes over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (can coat with coconut oil, if desired). Add blueberries, if desired. (I used frozen blueberries and raspberries). Serve hot. Top with real maple syrup and/or peanut butter.

Makes 8-9 pancakes.

(adapted from pinchofyum.com)

Green Hemp Smoothie 

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 – 1 1/2 handfuls of frozen spinach (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 cup hemp milk

Blend on smoothie setting in a high-powered blender.

Serves1-2.

Homemade Hemp Milk 

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 4 cups cold water

Blend. Use low setting in a high-powered blender. Strain using cheesecloth. Store in covered jar in fridge for 3-5 days.

 

Noting my opinion:

these protein pancakes are best eaten immediately. I do make the whole batch and refrigerate the extras, which I eat like bread the following day, but they taste better day 1 hot of the pan.

the smoothie is tasty. I find it quite sweet, but not over-the-top. I prefer the hemp milk made using the low blend setting and then strained, as the taste is milder than when I have used the higher setting (i.e., there is more is to strain out)

Bon appetit!

Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)

 

img_5785

All this expressed milk and anymore I pump today goes down the drain. As does the just-opened $26 tin of formula.

Seriously.

It made me want to cry (again) that here we are again with a complex feeding challenge. Not so much out of sadness but out of frustration and generally feeling pretty crappy about the whole thing. But, probably like any new parent, I will do what I have to make sure my baby is happy and healthy. So say goodbye to all that hard work. And onward and upward. Thank goodness I am truly a determined optimist 😉 It looks like I will make it to one month of breastfeeding….as that is Monday!

So what is my personal coping strategy for this latest feeding obstacle? (also a latest emotionally draining experience)

I am having a glass of red wine. Ahhhhhhh. A big one.  Pretty sure I have earned it. And it is of no consequence or risk to my amazing baby because all my milk is garbage until 10 am tomorrow morning. So red wine, a chicken breast and plain Lay’s potato chips for supper!? I don’t see why not!

Yes, I am serious.

We are fairly certain that Grayson has Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA). No, no not lactose intolerance. Totally unrelated, actually. This is not a remove or augment the dairy food group issue. This removes a whole lot of foods from my diet and replaces our formula with a specialized hypoallergenic version. The list is extensive of food items that include milk protein and/or soy. The soy removal is an additional precaution until we revisit the specialist from NICU next week. Apparently, soy is second to cow’s milk as the likely culprit of the symptoms we have seen in our little guy.

So I am eliminating dairy and many other foods from my diet while I breastfeed my baby (see this link if interested: https://goo.gl/iaDWV1). Lay’s Plain chips are the only indulgence left….and indulge I will! (they happen to be my favourite anyway. ha!) In addition, I bought the new formula at the drugstore. Crazy how inflated the costs are for this formula compared the previous one. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – there is no alternative so I will pay what I have to.

For the record, though, the markup on this specialized formula compared with the one we were using is $6. On top of that, this container has a cool 561 mL to the 765 mL of the former. So, the regular formula was 3 cents a gram, while the one we now must buy is 6 cents a gram. TWICE AS MUCH. Oh, and they are made by the same company.

So our journey continues. I hope that this dramatic change to our eating will resolve the feeding difficulties once and for all. Our poor little guy could do without any further challenges. And to be honest, so could I.

I am taking the evening to review the document linked above in order to figure out what I might eat in the days ahead. I must confess that milk protein seems to have been a staple in my diet. It probably is in most people’s. For me, the one upside is that it was primarily through the dairy food group.

Wish us luck as we venture forward. And to the evening and weekend ahead, cheers.

cheers

Photo retrieved from https://liquormart.co.nz/blogs/news-liquormart-co-nz/red-or-white-wine-which-wine-goes-better-with-your-meal (Feb. 10, 2017)

Feeding Obstacles Continue

Who knew feeding could pose so many challenges!?!

I am trying not to feel down about this again, but really I think both Grayson and I could do without any further feeding drama. But here we are.

There have been tiny bits of red blood showing up in our baby’s dirty diapers on and off since Tuesday evening. We saw the doctor for a scheduled visit Wednesday and she indicated this could be a sign of cow’s milk intolerance. Just so any reader is aware, I did promptly take Grayson’s temperature after noticing the blood. His temperature was normal and so I monitored the situation as we had the upcoming appointment the following mid-day. At the time of the appointment there had been two diapers with obvious blood. So we decided to see if it would continue and have a follow up phone call scheduled for tomorrow. It has continued. To be clear – when I say there was blood, I mean a few flecks. But I also realize that any blood is not a good sign.

I suppose the doctor may be right. But the weird thing is that he doesn’t seem to have the same issues when he eats the formula, which is also a cow milk base. The other thing is this seems to get worse as the day progresses, which corresponds with the times he eats expressed milk, rather than formula. The upset peaks from about 6pm through 11pm. This time consists of periods of inconsolable super crying,  accompanied by a very red distraught face, the drawing of his legs up to his chest, gas, and a gurgling tummy. He also seems to have a bit of a rash on his face. But it is hard to say when he is so upset and also has a bit of baby acne. I know his digestive system is new. I know babies cry. But I think this is more than that.

I can accept and will certainly adapt if this is a cow milk intolerance. I just don’t get why it is inconsistent.

I just hope that eating will get easier for this little guy. I am so amazed at his overall health and perseverance as such a new human with all these obstacles.

Resiliency. A positive character attribute.

this Breastfeeding Mom

For those of you who have been following along, you know we have had some major ups and downs around feeding.

I so wanted to be a successful breastfeeding mom. We tried everything – attempts to latch through his screaming and my pain, support of nurses and Lactation Consultants, breastfeeding clinics, tongue tie snip and a shield.

We have resolved to bottlefeed expressed (pumped) breast milk to our beautiful guy and at night we supplement with formula so that I can actually have a chance to rest a bit. This suggestion, from our doctor, really helped a lot as bottled feeding + burping + changing + settling THEN pumping doesn’t leave much time between feeds. The formula break also seems to help Grayson sleep, as he definitely goes longer between feedings of formula than of breast milk.  So the feeding is working. He is happy and well fed and getting big quickly.

I am not sure what contributes to the wave of intense emotion I feel about feeding my baby. The practical, problem solving me knows that my baby is healthy and that is all that really matters. But for some reason talking or typing about this brings tears to my eyes and sobs that catch in my throat.

Typically, I am a hybrid softie and toughie – a true Gemini. Not unemotional but certainly not openly expressive to anyone and everyone. And I am also generally positive, on the whole. Smiles and bright sides and opportunities to learn and grow. Yet when it comes to my new job as a mom, I have to remind myself that I should not be a voice of doubt about myself. Negative self-talk and put downs are not the me I am choosing to be. But I have to stay on top of myself at times to ward that self off.

In the end, I am defining myself as a successful breastfeeding mom. Just a different version than what most people might think of.

At 3w3d, I have set a goal of maintaining my breastfeeding mom role for 1 month and then I will take it one day at a time.

 

Classic Rock

After a pretty smooth day, this evening has been a little more challenging to get Grayson settled.

We ate, snuggled, changed multiple times, sang, paced, turned lights on and off, stood up, sat down, hat on, hat off…but ultimately it was the glider chair and the Classical radio station that did the trick. This time.

I know “classic rock” isn’t typically applied to nursery rockers and radio stations, but I bet I am not the only new parent that has had that gem combo work. I am crediting the point there, even if it was the longgggg string of efforts and likely him wearing himself out that eventually worked 😉

He’s sound asleep. Zzzz

Eat Well

Now that Matthew has headed back to work, I am thinking a lot about how to make the day run more smoothly while Grayson and I are at home.

I feel I have mastered using one hand to do most of the routine things during the day – wash bottles, pumping accessories, dirty dishes and fill, heat and serve a bottle. Who knew!?! So far I have also done a decent job sneaking in short naps here and there while (or better when) Grayson sleeps. And I drink a lot of water. Important things.

So what could make things go more smoothly?

Being prepared to eat well.

Easier said than done.

To make this easier in order to actually get done, I need to think ahead. To date we have been eating well – living off delicious slow cooked meals (while Matthew was home), the frozen meals my mother-in-law generously provided us with, and the groceries my mom went out to get and Matthew has since topped up. All good things. But like all good things, the frozen meals will run out and we will be solely grocery-dependent. I predict that will be by end of week! And so I am trying to prepare the grocery list.

I think we need easy food items that are healthy and ready to eat or at least INCREDIBLY FAST and easy to prepare. It is not easy to chop or cook with one hand. The time between Grayson’s feedings is short. Shorter because I need to pump milk for him to eat. And I also need to catch a nap or at least rest. I don’t really have time for multistep meals at this point.

In my mind eating well includes all the food groups. Protein, dairy, fruit and veggies and grains. Combined is even better. Quicker and more efficient. We may be able to make a few more ahead meals on the weekend while we are both home. But otherwise I am trying to gather a list of grab and go items that are healthy.

Food that will make sure I am full and Grayson is getting everything he needs from his milk!

My list so far includes the following: yogurt, cheese sticks, instant oats, high protein cereal…And if a trip to Costco happens: guacamole, chocolate milk and ???

As you can perhaps see, I could use some suggestions.

 

 

 

 

My baby steps

Yesterday Matthew, Mugsy and I took Grayson out for his first stroll around the block. That followed many discussions between Matthew and I and seeking the opinions of multiple health care professionals and my brother & sister-in-law (who have a little one, too).

Baby steps has been the recommended consensus – for me. So that I can build up my own confidence and comfort with my new role.

Today I am proud to say I took a few more baby steps.

Grayson and I strolled to the drug store and even stopped to get me a hot drink on the way.

Then when we got home I gave our baby boy a bath. My first time doing that on my own. It was a success.

I feel good about how these steps went today. One thing I do know is that it takes time to do these little steps…and there is only so much time between feedings, so small things will likely remain the norm for a while. And that is okay.