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No One Said It Was Easy

Today's entry is cut and pasted from an e-mail to a friend, The ER Doctor. Simply don't have the energy to type it all over again. I know she won't mind because earlier this year she gave me a button that says, "I am blogging this."

Believe it or not, things have gotten worse before getting better. Kung Fu Panda developed terrible, chronic gas after my milk came in, and whenever he wasn't nursing or sleeping, he was grimacing, farting, belching and crying, seemingly getting no relief from our efforts to comfort him. We tried different positions, massages for colitis, patting and rubbing. We were grateful to get him calm and comfortable enough by morning to catch a couple hours of sleep.

This morning we saw a pediatrician at our pediatric practice, and I'm glad there are other doctors there or we would find a new practice immediately. When we described what was going on, after examining Kung Fu Panda and assuring us he was healthy, he addressed us (and me in particular), in a very condescending manner. My status as a first-time mother was apparently all he needed to hear. Clearly, I must be completely clueless, and that was the tone he assumed throughout the visit.

He told me to eat a bland diet for two days, and when I asked him what would be on such a diet, he said, "If you would just let me finish..." and volunteered only bread products and chicken; along with a list of things I mostly wasn't eating anyway, including "greasy pizza." He advised me to gradually work in other foods and note the reaction. Not bad advice, but his tone was unbelievably acid whenever I'd ask a question.

Then the capper: "Doing this won't turn him into the perfect baby. Babies cry." Oh, REALLY? I had no idea!

Oh, and when he found out Kung Fu Panda's rectal temp had been 100.4 last night after a crying jag, before The Gryphon called the office's night number, he said, "What???" in a way that put all the blame on us. We told him that the night nurse had said it was OK given the conditions (babies heat up when they cry), he said, "She should have called us immediately," again in a way that implied we should have known enough to tell her that.

Once home, The Gryphon made me some lunch from what we believed was safe food, and he dug out the breastfeeding resources sheet from the breastfeeding class. I left a message with a local breastfeeding support group, and when she called back, she had lots more ideas, as well as tips on soothing a fussy baby (her 4-year-old daughter was one, too.)

After speaking to her, I fed Kung Fu Panda, who was much calmer, and we were able to put him down for a nap lasting long enough for me to have lunch and a nap. I've been typing this one-handed with my Kung Fu Panda curled on my chest.

Any tips on dealing with gassiness and/or fussiness are appreciated!

I should add earlier today I had a great moment with him after a feeding. He was lying on the bed, calmly, so I got down to look him in the face. On his own, he stuck out his tongue, a game we started on his first day. I had learned in our baby prep class that even newborns can imitate simple facial expressions, so I stuck out my tongue several times until he did it back. We had done it again earlier this week during "tummy time." Today when I got down there he met my eyes and deliberately put out his tongue. We spent 30 minutes making faces while I repeated the word "tongue." I'm looking forward to many such moments.

Some pediatricians are nicer to kids than to adults.

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( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 17th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
I really love our pediatrician--he's a talker, but it's the kind of talk that teaches in a respectful manner, and he's a really nice guy. On our first visit, his first question was about how I was doing and adjusting, which made me feel like it was OK to be a first-time mom, you know?

I'm sorry that your ped is a condescending person and hope that you find someone better to work with in the practice!

On the subject of gassiness, I have little to offer; LittleZ had a pretty bad time of it in the evenings, mostly, and after talking to my sister (who's a ped and a mom) and our doctor, we kinda came to understand the science of newborn gastrointestinal systems is a long way from perfect; regulating mom's diet might help if there's a food allergy or to ease things in, but the baby's system is just so NEW that the road can be rocky.

*hugs* and hang in there! You're doing great and I LOVE the tongue story--wonderful moments, eh?
Jun. 18th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
Considering that this pediatrician practice was recommended by two people in my water aerobics class, I'm certain there will be somebody there who will suit us better.

I'm willing to try the restricted diet, to see if it will help. Evenings do seem to be the worst for some reason. But I also remember that during my third trimester, that's when indigestion hit me the worst, too.

The "tongue" moment made my day.
(no subject) - theafaye - Jun. 18th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Jun. 18th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)

I wish I had something more encouraging than this to say,
but be glad you're not a welfare mom.
Jun. 18th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
That's true. There's always someone out there who has it worse. It does help to keep things in perspective.
Jun. 17th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Chamomile is generally considered safe to give infants and can do a great deal to relieve persistent gas and colic. You make it as you would for an adult and then dilute it 1 part original solution to 3 parts water.

Otherwise, you're doing everything you possibly can. Some infants are just prone to colic no matter what.
Jun. 18th, 2010 12:56 am (UTC)
We're trying. So far today, eating bland food seems to have helped a little bit. He still gets gas, but it seems that we can soothe his discomfort earlier. We're just going to try different tips out and see which work for us.
Jun. 17th, 2010 09:59 pm (UTC)
I HATE condescending doctors! Ugh!

As for gassy babies, I have a little advice, but cannot guarantee that any of it will work. Babies are so different that what works like a charm on some of them will no work at all on others, even when they come from the same gene pool!

1. Long burping sessions. Some babies take longer to get all the burping out than others, and some need multiple burps. It's always a good idea to get him into a comfy upright position (on a shoulder or close to your heart) and let him stay that way for awhile.

2. Burping mid-nursing session. I had to do this sometimes with Sal, because he would nurse for long periods, I'd stop him after a little while and let him burp and then let him continue nursing. You don't want to make the baby miss out on the hindmilk, but if he's having gas issues, this may help.

3. Baby massage! You may have been doing this anyway, but baby massages can be relaxing for both of you, and babies tend to be less fussy when their parents are calmer. They sense the fear/anxiousness! Anything that helps to sooth, like back and tummy rubs, can't hurt and might help.

*hugs* I can't promise that things will get easier or that they won't get worse before better. Both of my kids had their own little nuances to work through, but getting through them can be a huge accomplishment!
Jun. 17th, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
I concur on the burping mid-feeding.
(no subject) - amenquohi - Jun. 17th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beautyofgrey - Jun. 18th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alycewilson - Jun. 18th, 2010 01:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 17th, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
King Fu Panda is a newborn and needs nothing but breastmilk, so I would avoid the chamomile right now - he doesn't need it (heck, he doesn't even need water) and introducing something new into his system isn't going to help. What you can do is *you* drink it and he'll get it through your milk.

I don't go to paediatricians. Never have done (not that they're common in the UK/NZ). I haven't seen a health visitor since one got all up in arms about the fact that my small daughter from small parentage is small and following a breast fed baby growth patter and not the formula fed growth pattern on a chart (the two growth rates are very different, breast fed babies having plateaus where formula fed grow constantly). So that should tell you all you need to know about my opinion of medics, especially medics that probably aren't massively trained in breastfeeding (I don't know what it's like in the US, but in the UK and NZ, breastfeeding training is optional not mandatory and often comes from formula companies anyway!).

I wouldn't change your diet. Whatever you ate through your pregnancy will be fine now and you've been eating healthily anyway. You can chart his reactions to whatever you eat, but it's unlikely that this is causing the problem.

Thing is, the doctor's advice wasn't bad per se, but his manner was awful. There's nothing going on right now that isn't within the realms of normal. Although bottle fed babies tend to get more wind, breast fed babies can also suffer too and if your milk has come in, I'd argue that the cause is more likely to be that you've got a fast let down, he needs to take gulps of air to deal with it and that's what's causing the wind. Having an abundance of milk isn't always a good thing.

I'd say build up a good relationship with your breastfeeding councellor because she'll be the actual expert in this and is more likely to be useful than a doctor, especially a male one who will never have breastfed in his life. If you can get the NCT Book of Breastfeeding, which I think I've mentioned before, that's the best book on the subject I've ever read. And keep it up with the massage and winding. Sometimes it can take AGES to get the wind out (and I do mean ages) and that can be all that's at the heart of this.

Once more, I say again - you are doing everything right. Listen to your instincts and stuff the medics. The one time I consulted a doctor over a breastfeeding issue with my son, he gave me advice that I knew was absolute bunkum, so I ignored it and never saw him again. Doctors aren't always the best resource.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
I have the book in my Amazon cart, as well as another recommended today by the nursing consultant, and will be ordering both ASAP. There's a local support group for nursing moms, so if it matches my schedule, I'll start going.
Jun. 17th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
Man, sorry that Kung Fu Panda is having gas problems. Poor fellow.

How awful the way you were treated by the doctor this morning. It seems compassion was something he was not taught.

How cool about Panda making faces. I loved it when all my nieces and nephews were at that stage.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)
He does have the sweetest face, which is what makes it so hard when he's inconsolable.
Jun. 17th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
That doctor needs a smack with the clue bat. It's totally offensive that he took such a manner with you. If you like one of the other doctors at that practice, can you switch to them as your primary pede? It's so important to feel comfortable with Panda's dr - you'll be seeing so much of them ;-) and it's one of the most valuable resources, if it's the right person. *hugs*

Not too much advice from me on the gas - both my kids were pretty comfortable on breastmilk. I do like the burping mid-feeding - that really helps keep the bubbles from getting too big as they are feeding. Is he pooping ok? Becca's only feeding issue was finding the right formula around 2-3 months. Ethan was not a good nurser and had to be supplemented early, which made a huge improvement in his demeanor ;-)

Jun. 18th, 2010 01:51 am (UTC)
The nurse who gave us the tour of the practice today said that when you're new, you see different doctors and eventually pick one to be your primary. I've already made a notebook in my notepad, labeling him "do not want."
Jun. 17th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
I'm just going to add that every authoritative source, including Kung Fu Panda's discharge instructions, state that a rectal temperature OVER 100.4 is cause for concern. Hell, even the nurse at CHOP... oh, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, didn't think it was cause for concern.
Jun. 17th, 2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Mylicon! Is a wonderful product. It doesn't replace burping but it can help a grumpy baby.
We also used this stuff for Kaylee - I don't remember the name but it smelled like pickles. Both are over the counter.

I am also a proponent of schedules - not hard and fast but to provide continuity. I would forget to eat lunch or make dinner if I didn't have some type of schedule. It is easier for the child too when they have some general idea of what to expect.

There is nothing so wonderful or frightening as being a parent!
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
The doc did concede there were OTC drops to take (Simerlicon, I think), but said we should not use them this first week.
Jun. 18th, 2010 12:36 am (UTC)
Get a new doctor! Otherwise, you may find yourself getting this guy one weekend when it is his turn to be on call. I left our first pediatric practice to follow the only doctor in the practice that I liked when he set up his own shop. Shortly after that, I found out the first place had been sued because when frantic parents called and said their baby was so congested he had trouble breathing, the doctor on call told the parents to run the shower to steam up the bathroom, take the baby in and shut the door. Oh, and call again in the morning. The baby died. The kind of arrogance that refuses to listen to parents because they don't have an MD is a bad thing.

Almost forgot to mention it, but for a baby with gas, the best thing we found was Mylicon. Expensive but worth it.


Edited at 2010-06-18 12:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:55 am (UTC)
Wow. That's really scary.
(no subject) - alycewilson - Jun. 18th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:34 am (UTC)
Oh, Alyce! Joy. Joy joy joy joy joy! Maybe your pediatrician is jaded. You will find a new one. Joy joy!
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
Joy, indeed.
Jun. 18th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
There is a rather good way of holding and gently patting colicky babies but I can't really describe it -- I could show you, though, or better yet you could have my mom show you. Once you get the knack, it almost seems like magic.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
Hopefully, your mom will be at the Otakon panic meeting and can show us. We had a better night last night, so we're feeling more hopeful. It's important to remember that he hasn't even lived a week of his life yet, and all of this is so new to him, even newer and scarier than it is to us parents.

Edited at 2010-06-18 01:50 pm (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:04 am (UTC)
Oh that tongue thing is adorable! I'm sorry about the sucky pediatrician, though.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
That's OK. We reviewed the bios of the other pediatricians at the practice on their site today and feel like it's worth trying out others at the practice to see if there's one we connect with.

Also, the tongue thing was like a gift from the gods. Like a little reassurance from a greater power that we're doing something right.
Jun. 18th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
The favoriteson was a colicky baby. It was heartbreaking at the time, but it was over by three months, as somebody else pointed out. I never did find any sort of magic solution to help at the time.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
That's what everyone tells me: even if it never completely goes away in early infancy, it will pass by the time he's a little older. Of course, I'd love it if it were sooner!
Jun. 20th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
Colic and Kung Fu Panda
Hey, Alice! Congrats on the little bundle of joy! My daughter, Laura, was like your new baby. She came out screaming and didn't stop until she was about a year (heck, she's 16 now and still screams!) I nursed her for about 18 months with an "on demand" schedule. -Her demand! She actually refused a bottle. We had to carry her faced forward with her little bottom against our bellies and our arm across HER belly as she kinda hung forward slightly. The gentle pressure on her belly and our movement helped to give her comfort from her gas. But, on the down side, she never slept in her own bed. She was miserable unless she was with me. Good luck with him. I'm so happy for you both. Glad to read up on your adventures!
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