Monday, April 7, 2008

On colic, seborrheic dermatitis , breastfeeding, and reflux…

On colic, seborrheic dermatitis, breastfeeding, and reflux…
There are things I thought I knew about babies. I have learned that I did not know nearly as much as I thought I did.
Like- I had heard about colic, and thought it sounded like a nightmare. I didn’t really want to know about it, and I never in a million years dreamed that I’d have a baby that had it. I also knew a little about seborrhea (cradle cap) since Tyler had it mildly. I knew about little about reflux because Joshua spit up like it was something normal after each feeding. I also thought I knew about breastfeeding since I had breastfed (along with supplementing bottled formula) Tyler for the first four weeks of his life.
All I have to say is HA HA HA HA HA to all of that which I thought I knew!!!
Then I have to say:
Colic is NO Joke!
Breastfeeding is NO Joke!
Seborrhea NO Joke!
and Reflux is (you guessed it) NO Joke!
I could tell you all of things that I’ve tried over the past twelve weeks that have failed, failed, and failed some more. But that would just be long and grueling (although if you are interested-call me and I’ll tell you all about it). I’ve heard tons and tons of advice (tell someone you have a fussy baby and they have some sort of solution for you). So far though, I’ve been able to find a few things that actually WORK, and those are far more important to share.
Breastfeeding was my first reality check. It wasn’t like I remembered it, and I did not know that each new baby was a new nursing relationship, unlike the last. It hurt! And it was very time consuming. You never know how much a baby is actually eating, so therefore I had to keep offering the opportunity to nurse to her (just in case). I don’t even have any really good advice for this yet (except: hang in there!). I am so glad that I stuck it out, because I was seriously considering the bottle. I love nursing at nighttime best because it’s so convenient and she eats so well. We still struggle with daytime feedings because she is such a private eater, she loves to eat in peace! Accommodating that is often frustrating or just plain hard sometimes. But I try to do it anyway. Whatever works.
Colic was a surprise as well. She cried a lot. She cried when we were holding her, when we put her down, while we rocked her, in the swing, with a pacie, at morning, afternoon, and especially in the evening. We were exhausted. Fortunately she slept through the night. How weird though. I read through my baby books, talked to my midwife, and our pediatrician, then I diagnosed her with colic. Which just means “cries a lot.” I was pointed to a book called, “The Happiest Baby on the Block: How to calm your crying baby and help them to sleep longer.” Or something like that. In it, he describes several reasons why he feels babies develop colic in the first place, then what you can do to help them in their first three months. Which turns out to be basically simulating the womb. Which makes sense. So, we swaddled, held her on her side, jiggled her around, shushed her with the fan on the vaporizer, and gave her a pacie. Just like the book said to do. And yes, it usually worked. I also put her in her pouch sling that this wonderful lady, Jami, made for us. She has always loved curling up in there, like she was in the womb, and for some reason noise tends to bother her less in there.
Let me just say our girl has no problem hearing!
I had no idea what the seborrheic dermatitis was until I took her into the Pediatrician for it. I thought she was allergic or something (possibly giving her the stomach problems too and adding to a painful reflux). She was covered in red bumps all over, and where there weren’t red bumps there were dried up crusty patches covering her skin (on her shoulders spreading down to her hands, on her ankles up to her knees, on her side, her chest, and of course on her head an face). It was insane all over. So I took her back to the Pediatrician, since the first time he’d just recommended the usual: change detergents, soaps, use head & shoulders on her scalp, and hydrocortisone on the really rough patches. The next time he was really aware of her skin condition and how intense it was covering her body. And he finally made a suggestion that worked: a product called Aquaphor. I bathed her, covered her in it (the only thing she doesn’t cry when I apply it to her skin) along with the hydrocortisone cream as well, and we’ve seen great improvements. Only thing is that I have to apply it daily in order to keep in from returning! Hydracortizone 1% cream also works well, and I put that on the really scaly patches. (We’ve also discovered that Desodine (by prescription) works well on the really blotchy patches, but only the Hydracortizone can be used on the face). And A & D creamy ointment works well in the rolls of her skin, where there are creases that never see light or feel air.
Reflux is something that some people say all babies have for the first few months of their lives. Perhaps some babies react harsher to it than others (hence why some spit up more than others, though sometimes the food doesn’t always come back up and out). Well, she would be eating (this happened a lot) and I could hear her stomach clucking kind of, then she would get kind of choked up, not breathe, then start coughing. Oh, I just felt so bad! I would just want to cry every time this happened. But now as I type this, I realized she does this much less than before. I’ve tried cutting out much of my dairy to see if she might have milk allergy or intolerance. This may be part of what is helping her, who really knows though. It may be that she’s getting older, that I am much more aware of her temperament now, or it may be the dairy. Regardless, she shows improvement, but still has days/evenings that remind us that she is our high-need, demanding, colicky baby.
So, that has been our adventure thus far! I just checked out a new book, “The Fussy Baby Book,” to find out ways that I can help her eat without being so distracted by every little noise around her. But, I am sure the best suggestion is going to be: find a quiet place to feed your baby. Ah, how much there is to learn. I thought I would still be able to “do” things after having a baby. Well, I am, but maybe in small increments. And it is getting better, thank goodness. She is now growing more able to calm herself and can be distracted when she’s fussy. Her older brothers can amuse her occasionally (Halleighlujiah!). But I’ve suspected all along that I would never had spent this much time with her (24/7) holding her, comforting her, feeding her, and experimenting with new ways to console and satisfy her needs had she not been born with the personality that she has. Nor if I weren’t breastfeeding her. She demands I put everything on hold for her. And that is absolutely fine. I love her. Many times I’ve told her, “I’ll give you anything you want, if only I just knew what it is you want.” My arms have been filled with her so much, and I know that I would not want this time to go by and it be any other way. So, despite the trials, I am so very thankful. I feel so much closer to my baby because of the very things that have had my head spinning! I should have expected this, knowing how active she was in my womb, and the way she came into this world! Now, I can only watch with joy and anticipation as she grows into the beautiful individual that God has created her to be!


Anonymous said...

My goodness!! My daughter is suffering through seborrhea now... her poor cute face! Did it get better?? Any more suggestions???

jenna said...

Yes and no. I am not sure what has caused it. It seemed that eliminating dairy products from my diet while nursing her helped, and as she is growing, now eliminating it from her diet seems to help also.

Vitamin E was suggested to me, and it works, but it still flares up every other day or so.

Denise said...

Same here, my daughter is also suffering from seborrhea now. It's getting quite bad on the face...rough and sandpaper. Very sad to see her in such condition...and she cries a lot too. How's your girl doing now? Has she gotten over her seborrhea and dairy product?

jenna said...

When Brielle got a lot older they did test her for food allergies; she had none. I don't know if I will ever know what caused such bad sebboreah. I know that I couldn't put lotion on her face (or body) Aquaphor for babies worked, as did vaseline after baths. But I still can't put anything on her face after baths. After it dries I put some European cream that my former neighbor gave me. It actually works, but I have no idea how to get more of it.
For the most part though it cleared up by the time she was 18 months.

Sandra said...

can you give me the name of the European cream? My sister is visiting from Belgium in a two weeks and she could bring some for me. Sounds like a lifesaver. My son has a bad case too and I don't know what to do about it.


jenna said...

Sure! It is called Bubchen (with two dots over the u) and I found a link for it here:

I have also found a GREAT cream here in the states that works just as well. It is new. Called Curel Itch Defense. Claims that it is safe enough to use on babies and that it is Exzema Association Approved. Best thing about it is that it works extremly fast and well. I put in on B after her bath and the next morning her skin is soft and well. I still use the Bubchen face cream (not the same link as above, I couldn't find that on the internet) for her cheeks though.

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