Category Archives: cross contamination

Fussy Baby – What I Wish I Had Known in the Beginning

When Lil Z, my firstborn came along in 2008, he hit our family like a freight train. He cried all the time, arched his back constantly, rarely slept more than 45 minutes, and never let us put him down unless it was to be jiggled in a bouncy or car seat. His diagnosis was gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). But no matter how much medicine they gave him, we couldn’t make our baby comfortable, and he rarely slept more than 45 minutes at a time (it didn’t matter if it was day or night).

What we later learned was Lil Z is protein intolerant and has Celiac Disease. Here is advice I wish I had gotten when Lil Z was a baby:

Painful Reflux (GERD) is not necessarily a “mechanics issue”: I heard this so many times from my son’s doctors, but unfortunately, I took their word for it for more than five months after his birth. I was breastfeeding at the time, and he ingested proteins from the food I ate, which made his GERD unbearable. I wish I had tried an Elimination Diet from the start, and I would have discovered his reflux was greatly exacerbated from several of the foods I was eating. Once I eliminated the foods from my diet, his reflux was manageable with medicine. My second son, Manimal’s reflux was only painful if I ate an offending food.

Sometimes one reflux medication doesn’t work, while another one will (we had better luck with Prevacid rather than Zantac). One doctor told us several months after putting my son on Zantac, that Prevacid works faster than Zantac, but because it is so much more expensive, a lot of health insurance companies will not pay for Prevacid until Zantac has been tried.

Mylanta helped when a really bad acid reflux “episode” would hit. When Lil Z was going through an “episode” (i.e. he would scream and arch his back for hours) we gave our son Mylanta, per our pediatrician’s OK. She gave us the exact amount to give him based on his weight and age at the time. Check with your pediatrician before giving your child any medication.

Lil Z experiencing one of his frequent "episodes" with reflux.

Lil Z experiencing one of his frequent “episodes” with reflux.

Trust your intuition: There were days (and there still are) when I know my child ingested an offending food. Or did he? No, he definitely did… no wait. I think I am crazy — he couldn’t have. But he’s acting like he’s in so much pain, but… I was so careful!

Any mom with a food sensitive-child has had that exact conversation every time their child exhibits signs of ingesting a food they shouldn’t have. Trust your gut — I feel like a mom’s intuition is rarely wrong. And try to be patient with advice from mom’s who haven’t experienced what it is like to have a baby with protein intolerance and/or reflux. They are well-meaning, but they have no idea what you are going through. Is your baby crying longer before his nap? Is his cry sounding “grinding” and guttural, like his reflux is back? You know, maybe it was teething, as I often was told, but why did it always seem to happen on days he was around other kids who were eating fish crackers? Trust your gut, and ask God to help you recognize the times your baby is feeling sick or just getting old enough to manipulate you at bedtime. It is the worst feeling to make your baby cry himself to sleep to find out later when he has a mucousy stool he was reacting to something he ingested. But realize it happens. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Just love your baby and move on.

My own mother told me that it is good for a baby to cry. I plan on doing a more in-depth article on how I got my kids to sleep through the night, which involved “crying it out.” But it is never good for a sick or in pain baby to cry it out — ever. It’s cruel. So before doing this method, make doubly sure your baby is not suffering or sick.

Once you have had your baby comfortable for a few weeks, his sleeping habits may not improve on their own. This may be because your child has conditioned himself to wake frequently. Both my boys eventually learned to sleep through the night. Stay tuned for a future post on how I made this happen.

Cross Contamination and keeping your children in the “World”

For the last several months now, every time I took Little Z somewhere he would have a reaction (I am guessing to gluten, because he is most sensitive to gluten. I know that the people who were taking care of him tried to be careful, but I just don’t think they understood what careful means. For example, at the gym daycare, the girls would hand out snacks to other children, then hand Z his Top 8 free snack I had brought him (but they wouldn’t wash their hands), or worse, I think they wouldn’t watch the children and their snacks and he would end up eating a cheerio. He would often be sick for several days (and needless to say, I wasn’t very good about keeping up my workout routine!)

I was able to easily solve this problem by speaking with a manager and asking that they follow a few safety precautions.

1)Keep the kids in one area when they eat
2)use a hand vacuum to vacuum up crumbs
3)wipe tables/areas with crumbs up promptly
4)wash hands before you handle Little Z’s food.

I was nervous before speaking to the various people who watch Z (I don’t want this to be an issue where his caretakers don’t want to watch him!). But everyone was very accommodating and friendly. They worked so hard to keep Z safe and healthy.

Always remember to be friendly and nice when you ask if they can accommodate your special food-handling requirements. Try not to be upset if they feel they can’t help you. It may be that they are afraid of accidentally hurting your little one, not because they don’t want to!

Another thing I realized after spending time with Z in the church nursery a few weeks ago: he is so sensitive to gluten, that just being around other children who are eating it and then playing with toys can bother him (I was there the whole time – he didn’t eat any gluten!). So a big issue for me is finding the balance between keeping him safe (and thus sheltering him from situations where gluten foods will be) and letting him be a normal kid who goes to birthday parties and church nursery! At this point, I feel like I have to risk that he may be sick for a few hours after being around kids who eat Goldfish crackers so that he can be a normal, socialized little boy!