Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Great Eating Mystery

Okay, lots of you know that Declan has been having eating problems.  Yes, you probably thought we had it figured out, too.  Well it came back... again.  We are going to see a lactation consultant in the morning, and I will also be seeking out a chiropractor tomorrow. Anyway, my purpose in writing this is primarily to share our journey in hopes that it can help someone else - because I KNOW we will get through this - and secondarily, to seek help!

His main symptoms  center around feedings.  At most feedings (during the day, sometimes at night) he will latch on when I try to breastfeed him.  On a "good" feeding he will eat for 5 minutes, but usually just a few seconds to 1 minute.  He will repeatedly latch on and pull off several times, seems to get less and less patient each time.  Sometimes he will be fussy or even furious, and then other times he will just look around and coo and even smile at me.  Between feedings he is his happy, normal self.  His daytime naps have not been affected too much, but his nighttime sleep has been broken up.  He will usually wake 1-2 times in the night, and I have taken to feeding him then because they have become the only time he actually will take a full feeding.

This behavior began when he was 3 months and 4 days old.  After 10 days of dealing with it, I took him to a doctor (not his normal one) who diagnosed him with acid reflux and prescribed Zantac.  The medicine took up to a week to work.  On the 7th day of taking the medicine, he had a perfect eating day and I thought it was solved with the Zantac.  The next day, everything went back to bad, and he had additionally developed the habit of waking 5-6 times a night.  I got him an appointment with his regular doctor who told me to take him off of the Zantac, which I did.

When Declan was 4 months and 5 days old, I randomly tried the breast shield that we sometimes used (we had started using it a lot less since he was pretty weaned off of it - I just kept it around in case).  He ate perfectly, and continued to do so for the rest of his feedings that evening with the help of the shield.  The next day went well too, with only a couple of minor problems.  Now the problem is back in full force.

So here's the long list of my theories and the supporting facts for them.  However, I can't seem to settle on one because of the contradicting facts that also exist.  I realize that I probably just don't know enough about some of them and perhaps what I consider to be "contradictory" is in fact a support.  Do you know?  Should I be considering another theory?  Can I rule out a theory?  Please enlighten me!

Theory:  Nipple Confusion
  Supporting facts:
  • eats fine from a bottle
  • we used a pacifier early (I can't remember how early, but before 6 weeks for sure), and some bottles too because we had to supplement with formula at the beginning
  • will sometimes do better with the breast shield
  • the weekend before the problem began, we took a road trip and he received 3 feedings in a row from a bottle, and the next day another bottle.
Contradictory facts:
  •  will often nurse fine for 1-5 minutes and then pull off - it sure doesn't seem like he's forgotten how to eat!
  • he went weeks without a bottle (although we did still use a pacifier) and it did not solve anything.

    Theory:  Has he become more efficient and doesn't need the long feedings anymore? 
      Supporting facts:
    • his wet and dirty diaper count have not changed during this whole ordeal
    • he spits up a lot... more than he used to
    • he will often seem content and look around after nursing less than 5 minutes
    • he is normal and happy between feedings
    • he appears to be gaining weight within the acceptable range
    Contradictory facts:
    • he acts hungry shortly after I've tried and tried to feed him and he has convinced me that he's not interested
    • I can hear his stomach growling
    • he sucks on his fists and cries angrily - which I think means he's hungry?
    • is it really possible or normal for him to go from five to six 25 minute feedings a day to six to seven 1-5 minute ones overnight?

      Theory:  Food allergy
        Supporting facts:
      • several experienced ladies have suggested this to me, though I don't know much about it
      • I do eat a lot of dairy, eggs, nuts - those things that often cause allergies
      • many of his dirty diapers are green and gooey, which could indicate a dairy allergy
      Contradictory facts:
      • his behavior seems feeding-centric - he does not seem irritable between feedings
      • he will take a bottle of my pumped milk with no resistance

      Theory:  Bad milk taste?
        Supporting facts:
      • hormonal changes like resuming "Tom" or *sigh* another pregnancy can change the taste of breast milk.  It's still a mystery to me if either of these are to blame, and I am too scared to take a test so I comfort myself with the contradictory facts
      • upon just observation of his behavior when feeding, he sure seems to just really dislike the taste
      Contradictory facts:
      • a change in the taste of milk usually only causes a nursing strike for a day or two, whereas this has lasted over a month now
      • after a month of this nursing strike, "Tom" is not around... and I am on BC thank you!

        Theory:  Low milk supply
          Supporting facts:
        • the problem is usually nonexistent in the middle of the night when I'm "full"
        • he seems to get more frustrated when he has eaten a minute or two, could because he is having to work for it more
        Contradictory facts:
        • on a 2 or 3 occasions, he has refused to nurse even when I am "full"

        1 comment:

        1. I have a friend and both of her babies are very sensitive to dairy. If he has green and mucousy diapers, I would try to eliminate dairy. It's hard... but it makes for much happier babies.