Friday, 17 April 2015

Nine Months!

How Old:   Nine months!  She's been out as long as she was in! 
Weight:   21 pounds?? Maybe??? 
Likes:   Standing (with help), bouncing, her mini jam jar, chewing on everything, eating. 

Dislikes:  Having her bum changed, the slow service mummy and daddy sometimes offer, her formula! 
Eating:  Emma has done so well with food this time around! I've just written a post about our experience with FPIES and it was actually featured on the FPIES UK website. We have quite a few safe foods and Emma seems to love everything! Her favourites seem to be quinoa, butternut squash, red pepper and lamb!
Sleeping:   She's such a rock star. She's consistently going 7:30 - 6:00. Don't talk to me about jet lag. I don't even want to think about it! 

Routine:  We have dropped a few bottles! Much to our dismay, Emma isn't interested in her milk. She has breakfast when she wakes up follows by a full bottle at 10:00 am. She then has lunch at 12:30, a full bottle at 3:30, dinner at 5:30 and then a night bottle at 7:00. I'm not sure what we should be doing, but she won't have the bottle with her food and we are determined to keep her protein levels up! 
Sizes:  She's now a size 4 nappy and 9 month onesies. The trouser situation is another story. 12 months? 18 months? She is LONG! 
Milestones:   High Fives! What a dude. Waving Hi/Bye (when she feels like it). Rotating and making a move to crawl - although No movement yet. Standing with help. She also had her first pair of shoes bought for her!  

Mum's favourite moment:   Feed time - every day!  Emma’s reactions are hilarious - she loves food and often stops and just waves at me or tries to kiss me.  I melt…and steer clear of her dinners with lamb.
Dad's favourite moment:  B has a few this month:  while packing boxes for the move, I asked B to pack everything he didn't want to take on the plane. Emma ended up in a box surrounded by clothes. He also likes the fact that Emma's babbling is more along he lines of dadadada and not mama mama. 

In other news, things are slowing progressing with the big move to the USA!  Moving when you have a baby (or are pregnant for that matter) really stinks.  Moving to a new country when you have a baby is downright rotten.

Let's look at my life:


There is SO much to think about when moving abroad.  Last time I did this, I literally packed up a few suitcases and jumped on a plane.  We didn't have accommodation and I didn't have more than clothes and a laptop.  After eight years I have gained a LOT of stuff including a husband and a baby.

So - where on earth do we begin?  We have sold and donated virtually everything we own.    The important stuff is all coming with us via barge and it takes roughly three weeks for everything to arrive in Cleveland.  We have had to pack our three suitcases because we need to know how much we CAN take on the flight and what has to go in the shipping.  I can only imagine what will happen in the last week when we discover we have things we should have shipped.  We will cross that bridge when we get to it though!

I think the reality of leaving is starting to set in. We have said our “See you soon”s to family and friends - each time it is getting more and more difficult. 

(Our Awesome Leaving cake - compliments of my wonderful Mother in Law!)

More on all of that later!  As for now, I’m going to attempt to continue packing! 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Embracing the Allergies

This week is Allergy Awareness Week and as a result, I thought I would write about our experience with FPIES.

 When Emma was quite new we thought we would try out some Cow and Gate formula.  Breastfeeding just wasn't quite working and we needed to get her weight up - so we figured a top up would be the best thing to do.  She vomited.  Not a little spit up - but a proper vomit.  I remember coming downstairs and I found B sleeping on the floor with her and she was wrapped in a towel.

We tried formula again a few months later (November), and this time, we nearly sent her to A and E.  After severe, projectile vomiting Emma went limp and unresponsive.   Little did we know that our little one was allergic to cow's milk protein.  

Being the stubborn person that I am, I declared that that was the final straw for formula. Why would I give my baby something which caused that reaction?  After quite a bit of arguing and kicking off with our GP, we ended up with Nutramigen, an amino acid based formula for babies with milk protein allergies.  I thought it was the end of our problems as she started to fill out and progress well with the formula.  

And then we began weaning.   Acting on advice, we started weaning her using the Gina Ford puree method.  What is the first thing you are meant to give babies?  Baby Rice.  She didn't like it.  Next?  Something easy.  Sweet Potato.  Carrot.  Things were ok for awhile, but as I increased the volume of puree, she suddenly started reacting in exactly the same to certain foods as she did the formula.  The projectile vomiting, the limp and unresponsive state.  

What's a mother to do?  Any time I went to the doctor I was told I just needed to try foods and see how she reacted.  I hated that idea - why force her to eat something if I know she can't handle it?  My instincts told me that Emma wasn't ready for solids just yet.  We could wait - she was getting everything she needed from the Nutramigen.   She LIKED food - she liked the taste and texture.  So we would give her food to play with - I just wasn't interested in forcing her to eat it.

This all went along fine until Nursery suggested that she needed cereal of some sort.  They suggested Baby Porridge - sure enough, five hours later, she vomited in her car seat and started choking.

Enough was enough.  I wanted an answer.  The Doctors, Dieticians and Health Visitors couldn't help me, so I had to find the answer myself - with the help of my dad and some other contacts we discovered FPIES.

FPIES - Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome.  Her reaction is textbook:

According the FPIES website:
"The classic pattern of an FPIES reaction is when a healthy infant or child develops symptoms shortly after eating a food. There is a characteristic delay of 2-3 hours before onset of severe and repetitive vomiting and eventually diarrhea.  The child may appear very ill and sleepy (lethargic), and may become pale or blue.  When evaluated by a doctor, he/she may be found to have low blood pressure, seem dehydrated, and have blood tests that mimic infection (sepsis); which in some cases can lead to sepsis-like shock."

And just like that - I felt better.  It's an answer. I found my way to the FPIES UK site and the support I got from them has been amazing.  The site has so much information on it.  The group have been my guardian angels over the past few weeks.  Any questions I have had - morning or night, someone would always take the time to offer advice or share ideas.  We are all parents who are afraid to feed out kids - we don't know what food is safe and the only way to find out is trying - and sometimes failing.  

They told me to get two lists:  Safe foods and trigger foods.  Try a teaspoon of a new food - see what happens.  Even a small reaction could become greater with a greater volume.  I've been using the Food Survey from other families to try and figure out what to try for our food trials.

There was a wealth of information available suddenly - not medical information - but information from PARENTS.  Parents who have have kids who suffer from FPIES and just want to help out other mums and dads.  For them, I am incredibly thankful.

Emma's lists
(and we are so lucky compared to some other little ones)

Melon, Pear, Pea, Courgette, Banana, Blueberries, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Apple, Butternut Squash, Prune, Cantaloupe, Green Bean, Chickpeas, Sweetcorn, Red Pepper, Quinoa, Kale, Cinnamon, Clove

Milk, Oats, Rice, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Potato, Parsnip, Cod, Cornflour

Is it scary?  Yes.  It's also frustrating, stressful and heartbreaking.  It's not fair.

But the good news is there is help.  I am so grateful for the FPIES community as they are helping me embrace food and feed my baby with confidence.  

The moral of this story:  Trust your instincts.  
I knew something wasn't right and I'm glad I fought it.

The FPIES Awareness video from last year circulated the support group the other day.  Please watch and listen.