Dec 13, 2013

Adu @ 2 months

My lil Adu turned two months old today. Time just flies by... especially with a baby. I didn't cut a cake or do any 'celebration' as such for his monthly birthday, but thought of recounting on the journey so far. From being a fragile, helpless, one cry for all needs new born, and an anxious, scared mother, we have come a long way!

Here are some things he did / does that amuses me...
  • He enjoys his bath, oil massages by ajji, clothing, nappy changing and does not make any fuss, but just hates wearing his hat. And even if we manage to put him one, he quickly manages to get out of it by shaking his head off it.
  • He suddenly realized he recognizes me, sometime in week 6. In the middle of a night, as if meeting someone very familiar suddenly after a long time, he looked at me and with a beautiful toothless smile exclaimed 'Unngga!!!'. Ever since, i've become his Ungaaa!! 
  • He now has a distinct cry for every need of his - hunger, need for a cuddle, need for his amma's cuddle (of course it is different from the previous one!), sleepiness, nappy change, need for a burp, or just boredom - all have quite different cries.
  • He clearly recognizes me now, and today, even gave me lots of smiles - the real kind of smiles, looking straight into my eyes, conversing something with me with his coos and gurgles.... Ahh.... what a bliss!
  • He and his ajji have a non stop conversation forever, when he is in a mood for it!
  • He loves to sleep on his appa, listening to his and ajji's songs - he sure is a music lover
  • He is one angry baby when hungry! Even if i am late by .001 second when he is hungry, he almost brings the roof down! And when offered to eat, he grabs and also does some strange sounds as if showing his contempt! I can, however, carry him and distract him for a couple of minutes, or put him on my bed, and cover him with my blanket, which reassures him that I am coming to him soon.. then i'll have a breather of about a few seconds before i get to him!!
  • He is one burpy baby - just like his mom ;) After every few minutes of feeding he needs to be burped, which he clearly demands if not done.
  • After doing his potty, he gives one beautiful smile and then gestures his right hand as if shouting a slogan or saying 'Jai'! This has been so right from his first poo!!
  • He now has started focusing on his hanging toys and kicking or beating it and watching in amuse. He however cannot hold them yet.
  • On nights when he does not sleep and keeps us awake too, he surely rewards us with something sweet to compensate for the lost sleep - like a sweet toothless grin, a special conversation, a new sound, a series of smiles in half-sleep, and so on. All these are worth much more than our sleep and keeps our spirits high!
How amazing and wonderful it is just to sit and watch a baby grow! And sad that it just passes off so quickly...

Love you, Adu... So grateful for coming into our lives and making it so much more colorful :)

Dec 12, 2013

Dairy free diet : Update

Unfortunately it is CMPA that Adu has :( . The elimination diet that i followed almost proved it. I was on a milk free diet for 15 days during which he had improved and then i tested with just a bit of milk in coffee and less than a teaspoon of ghee. And almost on the same day, he again showed symptoms. Also his rashes kind of increased this time. And again, i ate something outside, which worsened his condition. 

Then the pediatrician confirmed it and said we just have to accept it. Though not life threatening, any little amount of dairy that i consume is going to affect him. Kids are likely to grow out of the allergy, some after a year, and most within the first few years. Till then, we got to be careful. 

Coming to my story, I have pretty much got used to dairy free diet now. All I miss is some filter coffee and garam chai in this cold weather. Apart from that I have found quite a number of dairy-substitute products. It is not as big a deal as I had thought, anyway! Of course the big challenge would be when I visit India, lets face that then.

For now, there is no issue as such and my baby is growing well as well. Grateful for it :)

Dec 4, 2013

The first challenge - Dairy free diet

Ohhhh it came as a big shock for us when Adu (let's call my baby boy so) was suspected to have developed what is called Cow's Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA). It was kind of indigestible for us when it was explained. Apparently the infant's immune system mistakenly sees the milk protein as something the body should fight off. And this causes an allergic reaction, which can cause an infant to be fussy and irritable, and cause an upset stomach and other symptoms.

It all started with Adu throwing up, losing appetite and crying in the night for a couple of days. He is otherwise a no-cry baby, very cooperative in all terms till now and a happy baby in general. He made us call the health care number two nights in row and then we took him to the hospital. Seeing the symptoms the pediatrician suspected him to be allergic to cow's milk. We just nodded, not understanding it fully. Only when they explained in detail did we realize what it exactly was. 

If the diagnosis turns out to be true, Adu will not be able to have any milk or milk products till he grows out of this allergy, which can be in a year, or two or three or if he is not so lucky more. And as for the immediate consequence i was asked to stop eating everything dairy if i were to continue nursing him; else I could choose to stop nursing him and switch him to full time formula. This would first be evaluated with a dairy-free diet for two weeks initially, observing him, followed by a dairy diet for a couple of days. If the symptoms recurred, I'd have to quit dairy as long as i wish to feed him.

The source of the problem, as we speculate was that he was on formula part time. It was inevitable for us to feed him formula in his first week, when my supply was low, and he had high bilirubin levels for 3-4 days (infant jaundice) which required him to eat lots of food and digest it in order to reduce it. And subsequently too, he needed formula feeds a couple of times a day, when I could not fill his lil tummy. The formula is generally based on cow's milk, and the baby had apparently developed an allergy towards the cow's milk protein. And this had surprisingly happened after 5 weeks. I could not take it in that an Indian baby would be allergic to something as inherent as milk!

Now coming back to the point, I definitely did not want to stop nursing him - already i was feeling bad for having to give him a couple of formula feeds. So the only option for me was to stop dairy for now. Coming from a traditional South Indian vegetarian family, this was indeed difficult for me - especially now, as my postpartum diet consisted of large amounts of milk and ghee. It was then that i realized how addicted i was to dairy!

My meals consisted of addition of spoonfuls of ghee and ended with curd rice, my snacks consisted of milk, my bakes consisted of butter or other dairy, my filter coffee would not taste the same without milk, my tea was full of milk, the innumerable Indian sweets that I loved were full of ghee or milk.... the list was endless (Wondering about my calorie intake reading the above, well, I'd burn these fats too, so i'm definitely not obese :D )

I'd feel like crying when people around me would get themselves a good cup of filter coffee, or offer me something with milk forgetting my diet. I'd see the pack of sweet lying in the counter and miss it already.  

And my little baby could not have these too, till however long it was... that was even sadder. Trust me, i was planning for his first birthday cake already! And I had been thinking of what all to bake for him as soon as he started eating them... I'd started calling him Krishna, and now that seemed like a paradox. It was a difficult week for me... 

Now about ten days into the diet, it does not look as dark! I've indeed survived... but then I realize how difficult it is to quit some habits and addictions... especially when it comes to food. I now know why non vegetarians find it so hard to give up meat. In fact, I myself would think of becoming a vegan time and again but had not gathered enough will power. It is not impossible but not easy as well... 

Anyways, now I'm hoping that his diagnosis turns out to be false and I get back to my original diet, but also prepared if it turns otherwise. I know it is not impossible... and in a place like this, there are definitely alternatives too...