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Sunday, September 5, 2010

3 months & making progress (Thurs 2-11-10)

Yesterday was Raya's 3 month birthday. In some ways I can't believe she's already 3 months old but at the same time, the last month with her has been so busy that I feel like we've been doing all this for ages. She's kind of high-maintenance. :)
She had a check-up with her GI doctor yesterday and weighed in at 9 lbs 14.2 oz., which still puts her somewhere around the 5th percentile. (makes me feel bad that Kaida weighed exactly that much at 4 months & now I'm just glad she turned out ok anyway) Since she's been on the new formula, she hasn't been vomiting and now she just spits up like a normal baby. :) There seems to be less of this:

and more of this:

She's more content & seems to be a lot more comfortable in general, which makes everyone's lives a lot more pleasant. :)
We are figuring out how to do everyday things like give her baths & change her clothes without the tube getting in the way:
(good thing I have a smart friend who suggested taping the tube to something because I wouldn't have thought of it on my own.)
She's getting some meat on her bones too. Check out those thunder thighs! :)

Now for my random ramblings. **Disclaimer: This will be long and opinionated so feel free to skip it since it's mostly for my own journaling purposes anyway, but if you disagree with my opinions don't bother giving me crap about it because I'll just delete your comments. :)
No offense to anyone who has fed their babies formula, whether it was a choice or a necessity, but I hate formula. I've never used it with any of my kids until it became evident that in spite of everything I eliminated from my diet, Raya still wasn't tolerating it, let alone actually growing. I hate the way formula smells (especially the first kind she was on), I hate the idea of spending money on something that my body is supposed to supply for free, I hate how much it makes their poop stink, I hate that it stains clothes (theirs and mine)/the carpet/the couch/etc., I hate that feeding the baby at night requires getting out of bed and making a bottle, and what has surprised me is that the thing I hate the most about it is that it made my baby stink. Not just smell bad like formula, but it made it so that I couldn't recognize her by her smell and she just didn't smell like my baby anymore. That was the 1 thing that has made me really sad the whole time she's been on formula. I found myself avoiding snuggling with her just because no matter what we did, she smelled bad except for the first 5 minutes after a bath, and that was a horrible feeling. It's not just that I hate formula, but I also love nursing my babies and when that's what you've always done, it's hard to be told that your "unhealthy, malnourished baby" will continue to get worse if you don't switch to formula. I've always taken it for granted as just something that you do several times a day/night for the first year or so of their lives, but I have missed that closeness so much since Raya's doctor told me I had to stop when we were at the hospital.
The selfish part of me resents the fact that when you nurse a baby, they need you and they depend on you but when it's formula, it doesn't matter who holds the bottle. I've been pumping since then with the hopes of someday (soon) going back to breastmilk, but the bottom line is that she doesn't grow well on breastmilk. Even though I eliminated everything I could possibly eliminate from my diet and still be getting adequate nutrition myself, she was still vomiting, spitting up (yes, there's a difference), and pretty much miserable on breastmilk.
Now that she's been on the hypoallergenic formula, she's getting back on the right track and her doctor told me yesterday that if I make the changes to her feeding regimen that we talked about at her appointment, I can start reintroducing breastmilk once a day this weekend but only if she tolerates it. If she goes back to throwing up or gets irritable like before, then that's our cue that it just isn't going to happen. (At which point I'll have to figure out what to do with the approximately 3 gallons of milk in my freezer, but that's another post.) Now I feel like I'm at a point where I need to make a decision. Her doctor told me that even if she is able to tolerate one or 2 feeds per day of breastmilk, it has to be in a bottle (she swallows too much air if she drinks out of anything but the slow-flow preemie nipples) and it has to have calories added to it.
So now I have to decide whether it's worth it for me to keep pumping when we still don't know when or if she'll ever really be able to go back to breastfeeding, especially since we still don't know exactly what foods she's sensitive to. Now that she's been on the new formula for almost a week, she's over the initial adjustment (which was not pretty, let me tell you) and I have a feeling that this stuff will work for her, so a part of me wonders if it's worth it to mess up the good thing we've finally got going. In a way, it would have been easier if the doctor would have just told me to forget about it completely because then I wouldn't have to make that decision, but in a way I'm grateful that I do get to decide myself.
Okay, now all that being said, I have to say how grateful I am for formula even if I do hate so many things about it. If you read the back of a formula can, it's just amazing that it takes such a complex product to attempt to replicate nature. I can't even imagine how many thousands and thousands of hours of research and trial & error have gone into making the hundreds of different formulas that are on the market, and even more so the kinds that are made for babies with special needs. We would have a miserable baby still (and a miserable mother) if it wasn't for Raya's new formula and for that I'm grateful.
I'm also grateful for the fact that the new stuff doesn't smell nearly as bad as the last stuff and Raya smells much better. I guess you have to experience the bitter to appreciate the sweet, right? :) The new stuff doesn't seem to stain clothes as bad or smell like vomit when she spits it up like the other formula did. It kind of smells like instant potatoes. I can handle that. And of course, I'm grateful for the fact that it seems to be helping and that's the most important thing. So that's my ramblings for today. The end.

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