Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting to the Bottom of Sweet P's Tummy Issues: Part 1

As I start writing this “series” I realize I have no idea how many parts there will be, because we’re still trying to figure everything out for this sweet girl. I want to write it all down not just so I remember what we did to help figure out her tummy issues, but also in case others are struggling with colic, reflux, and overall tummy discomfort or fussiness in their babies just in case it helps someone else.

From the time we brought Sweet P home from the hospital, she was sweet, but definitely fussier than I remember a newborn to be. I remembered that when we brought the buddy home from the hospital, he pretty much just ate and slept all day for at least a week or two. But, Sweet P was never this way. She was always more difficult to get to sleep and she pretty much never fell asleep taking a bottle, which I thought was so strange for a newborn. So, from the get-go, we knew her personality was different. She was more high strung and sensitive to things, so when she cried (err.. screamed) a lot at night or at feedings, I didn’t know if they were tummy issues or her personality. My first change was to get her on breastmilk instead of the high-calorie soy formula they sent us home with from the hospital. This definitely seemed to help her at feeding time and she was no longer constipated so much. But, we definitely still had lots of late night crying. Even at just 2 weeks old I remember several nights where neither Mr. Piñata or I could calm her down no matter what we did until well past 1am. This happened on numerous occasions so I thought she must have colic.

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Who me? Fussy?

I brought our concerns to our pediatrician at both her 2 week and 1 month appointment and he told us that some babies cry more than others. I explained that it seemed like she had kind of an anxious personality and wondered if that was what was making her scream, or if she was having tummy discomfort and he said they could be contributing to each other. He reassured us that babies cry a lot and that’s it. I left both times feeling like I wasn’t really listened to, but that I guess she was just a ‘normal’ baby while Little P had been ‘easy’ and kept doing what we were doing.

But, as she got closer to 2 months I just knew something wasn’t right. I read up on reflux and decided this was definitely a contributing factor to her fussiness. She had pretty much all the symptoms of both regular reflux and silent reflux, so I scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician. In the meantime I was connected to a local lactation consultant who also specializes in gut issues, so we took Sweet P there first.

I don’t know what we would have done had we not met this amazing LC! First of all, she discovered Sweet P’s tongue and lip ties and also recommended a few natural remedies to help calm the stomach acid she had going on, all of which was contributing to her reflux. I asked her if she recommended changing her diet from donated breastmilk, but she said it was better to try one thing at a time. So, we started Sweet P on Gerber Soothe, in addition to the probiotic she was already on and also added some powdered digestive enzymes to her bottles.Within a couple of days we definitely saw an improvement. She didn’t seem like she was in so much pain during feedings, but the nights were still rough.

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Ok, ok. I'll admit it. I'm fussy. (Please ignore our disaster of a coffee table in the background. ha!)
Our visit to the pediatrician was delayed because of an ice storm that closed their offices for most of the week (only in the South!), so we were unable to meet with him until a week and a half after meeting with the Lactation Consultant. So, then at her 2 month appointment I asked him about his recommendation of reflux medicine and he put her on a twice daily dose of Zantac and we waited to see if this would help as well.

In the meantime, I was very anxious to get the tongue tie procedure done to see if that helped even more with feedings and nighttime fussiness. Even though we had seen improvement, she was definitely not forming a good suction on the bottle and still taking in a lot of air. I was so hopeful that getting the tongue and lip tie procedure done would alleviate so many of her issues. But, sadly, the only specialist in town that would take our insurance didn’t have an appointment for 2.5 weeks in the future. In normal person time, that’s not too long to wait for an appointment, but in “baby days” that’s a long time to wait to see if it helps your baby’s eating and sleeping! Sweet P was still taking in so much air and spitting up so much in the middle and after each feed and I was desperate to get it done to see if it could help.

The day of the procedure we ended up seeing the nurse practitioner first who seemed confused as to why I was there when she found out I was bottle feeding and not breastfeeding. She then examined Sweet P and said that her tongue tie was so minor that “most ENTs wouldn’t even consider it a tongue tie.” I was shocked! I thought for sure that this was going to help her so much and to hear that she doesn’t even really have a tongue tie was so upsetting. We asked if a doctor could look at her as well (an actual ENT) to get another opinion before we left. He said similar things, saying that it wasn’t a severe tongue tie, that they would perform it if we wanted, but he would recommend to just give it more time and see if her feeding improved on its own. He also mentioned that if I were breastfeeding he would recommend to get it done to encourage the continuation of breastfeeding, but that since she was bottle fed that he wouldn’t do it.

I left the appointment so confused and upset. Of course part of me was relieved that our sweet girl wouldn’t endure the pain of the clipping, but I also felt less hopeful that her feeding issues would improve anytime soon. We got in contact with the lactation consultant that recommended we call another specialist in town, so that was our next step, but it left me feeling like our poor girl would continue to have uncomfortable feedings for a long time to come.

To be continued…

1 comment:

  1. I definitely feel your pain. I didn't even know babies could possibly cry as long as Garrison does. One day it was from 12:30 till 10pm only stopping to eat. How does he have the energy?!?! If I cry for half an hour I'd be so spent I'd fall right to sleep. It's amazing…. and loud. Praying you guys can find some relief and get some much needed rest soon!

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