Weaning – A Wheat Allergy Too?

Last week, I posted about the early days of weaning Max and promised an update so voila! To go back and provide a quick summary from the start: at five weeks old, Max was readmitted to hospital as he was pale and lethargic. When we got to the children’s ward, his temperature was low and he’d lost around 11oz I think it was in three days, during the evening his poos were getting paler and paler until they were completely white. They tested his blood which was too acidic and started giving him medication to reverse that. Initially they thought he may have sepsis, or have an underlying liver or kidney condition as the tests they’d done had also shown up problems with both of these. Eventually they decided he had FPIES, a type of allergic reaction which is internal and can’t be tested for. It takes a couple of days for an FPIES reaction to show up and it can mimic the symptoms of sepsis; there are four reactions ranging from mild to moderate to severe to life-threatening and his was deemed as the high end of severe.

So we cut out all dairy and soya. Last week I talked about introducing soya (we’re not trying dairy until he turns one) and how we think he’d reacted to that. Two days later, he started being sick a lot. He’s got reflux so we’re used to him being sick a little (and Alexandra was the Vomit Kid despite having nothing medically wrong with her), so we’re well used to a little spew. But this was severe. It seemed like every half an hour he was being sick. Otherwise he was completely well, so there was no cause for alarm. But on the second day we started scratching our heads trying to work out why, our initial thought was soya, but the sequence of events didn’t make sense. We also considered whether having his flu jab had caused it, but again it didn’t really make that much sense. I scrolled through the food diary I’ve been keeping for him and realised the only thing we’d introduced in the previous couple of days had been wheat in the form of cereal in the morning.

We didn’t give him any wheat starting from the Monday (after a weekend of vomiting) and he’s stopped being sick as much. We still get the odd tiny bit but nothing like those two days. I spoke to his paediatrician later in the week who confirmed that was the right course of action and we should leave it a couple of weeks then try soya first, wait for a reaction or not, and then try wheat once we’ve established the soya situation.

It’s a bit of a bugger really. We’ve gone from knowing it’s unlikely he’ll ever tolerate dairy and being hopeful that he’d be able to have soya (we were told a third of babies who are FPIES to dairy also react to soya) to now thinking dairy, soya AND wheat could be totally off the menu. For a couple of days he ended up basically back on fruit and vegetables and then I spent ages searching the shelves of Asda for some different options for him. There are choices out there which is great, but I find many of the dairy-free alternatives contain soya and now wheat is an added complication! We’re going to look into the possibility of getting a bread maker as free from bread is so expensive! And I’m sure there are other ways we can give him a varied diet without breaking the bank – we’re meeting with the paediatric dietician next week also so they’ll be able to help further.

But for now, it’s the daily task of trying to get some tasty food into him and wondering whether every bit of sick, irritable behaviour or dodgy poo is a reaction or just part of normal baby life. Plenty of people have said ‘oh maybe he’ll grow out of it’ (probably going by their experience that a lot of babies who have other conditions do) but the doctor has firmly told us he doesn’t think Max will ever tolerate dairy judging by how small he was when he reacted and how bad the reaction was. Either way, I’d prefer to prepare myself for the worst possible scenario of life-long allergies and then we can be pleasantly surprised if one day it turns out he’s grown out of it!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: Seven Months Old

Such a happy chappy!

Max turns seven months old today and I think there’s been a real difference in him during the last month. Looking at his six month update, he was only really starting to get to grips with rolling – whereas now he flips from back to front and vice versa all the time. He’s also able to commando crawl along the floor so he’s easily moving around the room. Gone are the times where you’d put him down and he’d stay in one place!

He doesn’t seem to have as much interest in sitting up, he’ll do it supported but he’s not really trying hard to do it unaided. I remember with Alexandra, she’d constantly be trying to pull herself up into a sitting position if we lay her down, but it doesn’t really seem to bother Max. At this rate, I think he’ll be crawling before he sits!

He was weighed a few weeks ago and was 14lb 1, so he’s probably still 14 something. Clothes wise, we’ve just moved up to his 6-9m stuff as everything else was getting too short. He’s a long baby but still very skinny so everything looks a bit baggy. He’s still in some of his smaller t-shirts and his 0-3m coat still just about fits him! But he’s definitely making progress and going the right way with everything.

No teeth yet, but I’m fully expecting a late teether if he’s anything like his sister. His hair is growing back beautifully and he’s still very blond, although I’m sure it’ll go darker over time as no one else in the family is blond.

Weaning has been, and continues to be, a challenge! Poor Max is very into his fruit and veg and is always keen to try new things – but as much as he likes food, food doesn’t seem to like him! I’ll update more soon but wanted to share his rough daytime routine: wake up any time between 7 and 8, breakfast and bottle at 8/8.30am, nap around 9.30/10am, bottle some time late morning, lunch around 1 but can be any time between 12 and 2 depending what we’re doing, longer nap in the afternoon, bottle some time in the afternoon, dinner around 5.30/6, then a bath every other night, bedtime routine, bottle around 7.30pm.

Max is incredibly vocal, he ‘chats’ away constantly and sometimes likes to talk to himself early morning in the Moses basket which is incredibly cute. He’s discovered he can do a weird clearing his throat/cough thing and also that he can scream very loudly. It’ll be interesting to see whether his speech develops well or if it’s just these early noises that he’ll be so competent with.

He’s got an MRI next week which should (fingers and toes crossed) be the last time they need to scan his brain. I can’t remember how much I’ve updated about that on here, but essentially post surgery they detected an area they thought may be a bleed on a cranial ultrasound. He then had an MRI when he was a couple of months old at our local hospital where they (and the radiographers at the more specialist hospital they checked with) concluded it was probably just an anomaly in a blood vessel, which wouldn’t affect his development. They suggested a follow-up MRI done under sedation so they could just confirm – if they think again that it’s this vessel anomaly then there’ll be no need for further tests. Max then goes to see the dietician the week after where they’ll be able to give us some advice about his allergies. Then we’ll await an appointment at the hospital where he had his surgery for them to do another chest X-ray and see what his diaphragm is up to these days.

For a baby who’s had quite a lot thrown at him in his seven short months here, he’s absolutely lovely and he charms everyone he meets! He’s a wiggler, a giggler, a smiler and a joy to be around. Yes he has his moments! But on the whole we are super proud of our little boy and how well he’s withstood all of the challenges which have come his way. Hopefully next month we will have some positive news regarding his brain and then we don’t need to worry about that!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Weaning – Dairy And Soya Free Baby

We like ironic outfits.

Well hello there. Things have been, shall we say, patchy when it comes to blog posts lately. In the past, I probably would have apologised but I’ve been thinking about it recently and actually I create content here for myself and for my children to look at when they’re older, so if I miss a few Tuesdays or Thursday here and there, it really isn’t a big deal! There are a million ways I could be kinder to myself, and not beating myself up about doing something entirely optional is one of them.

Anyway…on to the actual post.

Weaning. 

We are now a few weeks into the weaning process, which began the day Max turned six months. I wasn’t 100 per cent sure he was ready as he’s still not sitting up independently and he hasn’t yet got the pincer grip necessary to pick up smaller items, but he’s actually taken to eating very well. We decided to give purees rather than go down the baby led weaning route, mostly because that’s what we did with Alexandra so we stuck to what we knew, but also partially because I wanted to know he was having a consistent amount of food when we started trialling soya.

For the first two weeks, Max just had pureed vegetables twice a day at lunch and dinner. He got on great with those, and there was only really parsnip which he didn’t seem to enjoy. Then we introduced fruit which he absolutely loves. As soon as you give him fruit he’s wolfing it at great speed. He’s now having three meals a day – a couple of times he’s tried pureed versions of what we’re eating but mostly he’s having separate meals, although eventually all his dinners will be the same as ours (blended less over time until he’s eating it in the form we do).

We then started to introduce soya, which is what had been advised by the paediatrician. The aim was to give soya every day for a month, at which point we could say with certainty that Max wasn’t allergic to it (when he was diagnosed with his dairy allergy, we were told there was a one in three chance soya would also affect him. At that point, we were advised to cut out soya as well as dairy to allow him to get well again). The first three days were fine and then on the third day, he started being sick a little more than usual. It wasn’t a horrific amount, but then on the fourth day he seemed a bit lethargic and his poo also started changing (sorry for TMI). This continued on the fifth day so we stopped soya altogether. The plan in that scenario was for Max to be soya-free for four weeks and then we can try again, just in case the initial reaction was actually down to something else.

I feel like it’s pretty inevitable that he’s going to start showing symptoms when we re-introduce, which is a shame as I was really hoping he could have soya. There are so, so many dairy-free alternatives out there but a vast proportion of them contain soya. So if he reacts again and doesn’t grow out of the allergy (which his doctor doesn’t think is likely), then it’s really going to narrow down his options when it comes to food – and to eating out especially. It’s a real shame for him. Food is so integral in our society: birthday parties, Christmas, family meals, sleepovers at friends’ houses. Having never had allergies myself, it wasn’t until I had to go dairy and soya free to continue expressing for Max that I realised how lovely it is to be able to go to a supermarket and have your pick of anything on the shelves, rather than scouring through the ingredients of everything, double checking just in case, and then basically eating whatever you can rather than what you want.

I’m going to update on his weaning journey next week probably, as we have had more ups and downs this week already and I think there will be more to report by then!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby 2: Six Months Old

(You know when you think you’ve posted something then suddenly remember at 4.30am while expressing that you totally didn’t? I can still use the baby brain excuse, right?)

Tuesday was a milestone in our house as the baby turned six months. Yes, Mr Max has been around for half a year now – and what a half year it’s been!

He’s doing so well and we’re really proud of the leaps he’s taking each day and the new things he’s learning. Of course, anyone is proud whenever their child achieves something but considering how poorly he was we often look at his progress in amazement!

Weaning:

I will no doubt post many times about his weaning journey, but I can’t update you at six months without talking about food. He’s not sitting up unaided yet but we decided to try him on some solids when he turned six months to see how things go. We’re doing the traditional purée route as well as giving him some bits and bobs to try and pick up and gum and starting off with two weeks of just veg before moving on to the fun stuff like fruit and the really fun stuff (carbs).

Development:

Max is a little wriggler and he’s very confident at getting from his front to his back. He can roll from back to front but spends a lot of time on his side and somehow managing to move across the floor using a complication system of lying-down lunges and half rolls.

His head strength is much better and he’s also enjoying being sat up more, although he still needs some support with that. He’s now reaching out and grabbing toys and he LOVES bouncing in his jumparoo and being on his playmat surrounded by toys.

Routine:

It’s still 150ml bottles every three hours from 8am to 8pm roughly. He’s up any time from 7am and is the chirpiest morning person I’ve ever met. He’s just started having solids at 12pm and 6pm. Naps are variable but he tends to have one approximately 9.30am for anywhere up to an hour, then another one mid morning or early afternoon then perhaps another one before dinner.

Growth:

Max is set to be weighed next week so we’re not 100 per cent sure how much he weighs but he’s definitely gaining so that’s positive. He’s fitting most of his 3-6m tops now although a lot of them are still a little baggy. He’s about ready to go into 6-9m babygrows in the next couple of weeks and he’s also rapidly outgrowing most of his trousers. Unfortunately we either have the option of horrendously baggy waist and the right length or less likely to fall down but way too short when it comes to his trousers! He’s still very skinny and people are quite surprised when I tell them he’s six months.

We think he may be teething as there’s a lot of dribbling and hand chewing going on, but I feel like Alexandra did this too and she was nearly 11 months before her first tooth came through so we may be in for another long wait if he takes after his sister!

All in all, he is still so happy and cheery. Yes he has his grumpy moments and he cries and he grumbles (don’t we all) but if he’s fed, not tired and not in pain from his reflux then he is just the loveliest little boy. The kids do this thing where most days at least once they lie together and get the absolute giggles and just spend five minutes laughing at absolutely nothing. Looking at them and how much they love each other is honestly the best feeling and makes any and all of the hard bits of his pregnancy and the early days more than worth it. I wish I could share that moment with anyone worrying about having two babies close together!

Here’s to the next six months and all they have in store for us.

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Baby Two: Five Months Old

Our lovely Maxi is five months old this weekend – this is the first time I’ve done an update on him separately from his sister’s but she turns two next week so I’ll be doing a special post or two on that and then I’ll be reducing the frequency of her updates, probably to just two a year, although I’ll clearly still mention what she’s up to in other posts I write.

But back to Max, out of interest I just looked back at Alexandra’s five month update (not in a ‘comparing to see which child is better’ way but to see what she was up to at this point). She was majorly interested in hands and feet – Max hasn’t found his feet yet but has spent most of the month chomping away on his hands.

Their routines are roughly the same except she slept in a little later in the morning and went to bed ever so slightly later – and she was having a whopping 210ml five times a day, compared to Max who has 150ml. However it’s importantly to remember Alexandra’s feeds were all formula and only one of his is, and everything I’ve read suggests breastfed babies consume less. Plus he’s smaller too.

So what is he doing this month? There’s a lot of chatting and smiling. He loves to interact and is a real people watcher. He’s generally very contented! Max is trying to roll but hasn’t managed it yet and his head control is getting stronger by the day.

His doctor at our local hospital is very pleased with him and we’ve now got a weaning plan in place, which I shall share the details of once we get to that point.

Overall he is just the most delightful little thing to have around and he’s completely added to our family on the best way possible!

Harriet, Alexandra and Max x

Food Glorious Food

Not even ashamed of her disgusting eating habits!

Not even ashamed of her disgusting eating habits!

Way back in May I wrote a little about how Alexandra’s weaning journey was going (here) and promised I would come back at some point with an update. Now I’m not even sure we can call it weaning anymore as she’s a full-time eater, no-milk drinker? But anyway, here’s a post about Alex and food:

A girl after my own heart, she absolutely loves food and has never refused anything that’s been put in front of her. Her favourite is anything bread-related, I think she’d live on bread if we let her. She definitely loves her treats but is also very good about eating vegetables, fruit and anything healthy.

I can’t say how often I’ve felt thankful that she’s completely taken eating in her stride and we’ve had no major worries with her up to now. I’m sure that may change and she could end up being one of those teenagers who only eat chips. But for now, on the eating front (and the other ‘biggies’ like sleep) we’ve been hugely lucky. I feel like this will trip us up at some point when we’re not expecting it (I guess the next big hurdle is toilet training, maybe it’ll take her til she’s 15 to learn how to use a potty?)

A lot of the time, she prefers to feed herself which basically leaves a scene akin to just throwing the bowl of food over the carpet and walls. But at least she’s having fun right? If we give her a spoon with food on it she (mostly) can get it in her mouth. We haven’t really attempted to get her to actually put the food on the spoon but I guess that’s the next stage. We’ll be stocking up on even more 1001 carpet cleaner (other brands are available) before doing so. The plastic mat I bought from Poundland when she started weaning has saved us from a lot of heartache so far!

So, all in all, a positive report there on a baby who LOVES her food – but it’s okay cause thigh rolls on babies are cute!

Harriet and Alexandra x

9 Months On

You forget how much they've grown until you put them next to a newborn!

You forget how much they’ve grown until you put them next to a newborn!

Three quarters of a year has passed since the lovely little human being we called Alexandra entered our lives. She turned nine months old on May 29 and what a nine months it’s been!

Alex is now moving around using a complicated system of rolls, commando crawling and odd frog hopping. Some of it looks a bit dramatic, like the end of an action film where the hero is desperately trying to crawl to safety using the last ounce of his strength before he pegs it. But still, it’s a form of movement! And no doubt proper crawling will happen very soon as she’s making huge progress every day and she gets up into the crawling position and rocks backwards and forwards.

She’s also moving between positions much more easily, trying to pull herself up from sitting to standing or lying down to sitting. It’s quite bizarre to get used to, when you’ve spent months leaving the baby in one place and coming back to see the baby in the same place and now baby can be halfway across the room in an instant.

Food wise she’s still having three bottles a day (hopefully soon to be reduced to two) and three meals. She absolutely loves food and has just got to the stage where she’ll cry if we’re eating and she’s not. She wants to eat anything and everything we’ve got and is particularly fond of oranges, yoghurt and any type of bread, but really isn’t fussy and will eat anything put in front of her. She’s also very good at drinking water out of her sippy cup too.

On the sleep front, we’re still generally getting around 12 hours from her overnight (from around 8.30pm) although sometimes she wakes for a minute or two wanting her dummy to be put in. We really can’t complain at all! In the day she tends to have around twenty minutes or so in the morning then maybe one or two naps in the afternoon, of varying lengths.

She absolutely loves going on the swings, hasn’t quite mastered the art of being gentle yet (either with mommy or her friends), still loves daddy more than anyone else in the world, doesn’t quite know what to make of her tiny cousin Zachary and is still a gummy bear with a grand total of zero teeth.

Harriet and Alexandra x

A Wee Weaning Update

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About a month back, I posted about our first few weeks of weaning (post is here if you missed it). I figured now would be as good a time as any to update on how Alexandra’s getting on with food. I won’t update every month as that could get incredibly boring but may do something when she’s completely off milk and on to solely solids. I’m going to put this into sections, more for my own peace of mind that I’ve covered everything I want to cover.

Milk:

When we began weaning, Alex was on five bottles a day of 210ml water plus formula (this equates to about 8oz in total once it’s made up). She dropped down to four bottles fairly quickly when she was eating only a small amount a couple of times a day, we had a bit of an odd blip for a couple of days where she went back to five but then went back down to four.

After a while I worried I was never going to get her down to three bottles but we’ve managed that about a week or so ago and she seems very content now just having one when she wakes, one during the day (she quite regularly splits this one into two sittings) and one before bed.

I think I’m going to give her about a month on this routine before actively trying to reduce the daytime bottle (obviously if she drops it herself before then I’ll go along with that). Then the next step will be stopping her morning bottle, which I think would be fairly achievable just by moving breakfast forward a bit. Then the idea is by the time she’s around one she’ll stop having formula, although she might still have regular milk as a bedtime drink if she seems to still want it.

Schedule:

Alex has her breakfast around 10am, if I give it any earlier she’s not really hungry enough after her morning bottle. Lunchtime is quite late really, around 1.30/2pm but can be later if she’s dozed off for a nap. Then dinner is about 6pm.

What does she eat?

What doesn’t she eat? Alexandra hasn’t refused anything we’ve given her. Current favourites are Weetabix, yoghurt and strangely enough she’s quite partial to a bit of spicy food. She’s obviously taking after her daddy with that one!

All in all, I’m feeling much more relaxed about the whole thing than I was for the first few weeks. It’s becoming much easier now, especially as she can pretty much eat what we eat (blended a little, although she eats much chunkier things now) and because she’s not fussy in the least. Just keep shovelling it in! (That’s where she takes after me, clearly)

Harriet and Alexandra x

Eight Months Old

Apologies this post is a few hours late. I’ve been busy trying to tackle my to do list, which I might talk about in a future blog. I might not though. The suspense!

It's true what they say about kids and boxes.

It’s true what they say about kids and boxes.

Tomorrow, Alexandra turns eight months old. A whole two thirds of a year. Only four months away from her first birthday. This fact scares me. I want to pause time and keep her how she is now for so much longer!

So, what did month seven have in store for our intrepid little explorer? Well, Alex has taken her A-Levels, got a mortgage and next week she’s starting her new job. Maybe not, but it does feel like she’s really grown up all of a sudden.

Moving:

She doesn’t want to spend much time lying down at all and so we’re doing a LOT of sitting down – she’s very good at it now and only occasionally over-balances and topples over. She’s rolling from back to front to back with ease and can get pretty much anywhere by rolling. No crawling yet but definite efforts too and with just a little more strength in her arms I can see her pushing herself up into the proper crawling position fairly soon.

Eating:

Alex loves her food and so far we haven’t found anything she won’t eat. She has three meals every day and we’re now introducing snacks too to try and reduce how many bottles she has (currently four a day). She’s regularly eating what we eat (but blended into lumps) for dinner and is getting much better with finger food. Before she’d just gum it and nothing much would happen but she’s now learning how to eat stuff properly.

Noises:

Alexandra has definitely developed her range of noises. She says ‘dada’ a lot – but I don’t think she’s associated the word with Dylan yet so I’m still saying it’s babbling rather than her first words. We also get sounds like ‘yeah’ and ‘nana’. Oh and so many squeals of excitement! We find she talks more when it’s quiet or she’s in the house, whereas if we’re out and it’s noisy she talks much less.

Others:

No teeth yet, still a little gummy bear.
18lb 11.5oz at her last weigh-in last week.
Still wearing 6-9m clothes but I’m not sure she’ll last all month in them!
Favourite toy: Lamby (predictably, he’s a lamb).
Swimming beautifully (she really knows what she’s doing with her arms and legs, once she can float by herself she’ll be off!) and even diving in off the side (with a little assistance)!

All in all, I think we’ll keep her for another month.

Harriet and Alexandra x

Weaning

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Here it is, finally a post about weaning. I’ve been putting this post off now for quite a number of weeks. I can’t really rationalise why, apart from the fact at the start I didn’t massively enjoy the process of weaning and I still don’t feel 100 per cent confident about what I’m doing with it all. But then I figure I’m in no way holding this blog up as a place to come for professional advice, I just tell anyone who cares to read a little bit about my baby and how life’s going for the pair of us. So I’m taking the plunge and at least starting this post. No doubt I’ll have more to talk about as the months go on and Alexandra starts having a more exciting diet.

Beforehand (as in during pregnancy and the first few months of Alex’s life), I’d always said I’d probably try a combination of baby-led and traditional weaning. For the non-weaners, baby-led is essentially giving the child finger food for them to feed themselves with rather than spooning purees into their mouths. When the time came to wean at six months (ended up being a week before due to various reasons, not long after I published this post which I’d actually written weeks before so it probably looked as if I’d done a massive U-turn!) we initially started giving her purely foods she was feeding herself. I say feeding herself, pretty much none of it ended up being chewed and even less actually swallowed. People around me then began talking about the importance of getting a variety of flavours into them before around the eight-month mark when they can become fussy. So we decided the introduction of purees couldn’t be a bad thing and that we could always go back to solely baby-led if traditional weaning wasn’t working.

As it was, she took to purees like the proverbial duck to water and, although she does have finger foods to try herself, we now spoon feed her something three times a day. She’s on a variety of foods now: sometimes she has what we’ve had for dinner but blended down, sometimes she has something specially made for her. Our steamer and the blender we bought ages ago in readiness for weaning have been excellent as it takes less than ten minutes to get something prepared for Alex, or occasionally I have a mass blend and then freeze some stuff up ready for future use.

So far we haven’t used any pouches of shop-bought baby food, not being a snob about it but thankfully I’m managing to find time in the day to make our own. From what I’ve heard, Ella’s Kitchen are best as they don’t add any unnecessary junk into their food, but when I had a look in one shop they were £1 each! Which seems really steep when I can get quite a few meals from £1 worth of veg, or by simply taking a bit out of what I’m cooking for us. Despite not being a keen cook (I’m one of those people who can throw together a basic meal but I cook to eat rather than enjoying the process, Dylan is definitely head chef in our house when it comes to anything fancy!), I’m actually really enjoying putting meals together for her and seeing which flavours she enjoys. She hasn’t refused anything at all which is fabulous, for some reason she absolutely loves Weetabix! The process of eating it is always accompanied by ‘mmm’ and squealing if I don’t get the next mouthful to her quick enough.

At first I was very worried about weaning, whether I was doing the right thing, whether she should be spoon fed or baby led etc. There just seemed to be all sorts of things to worry about after we’d got into a nice little routine with our days and knew where we were with bottles. I knew I had to be positive about the experience otherwise Alexandra would pick up on the weird vibes, but finally weeks in I’m not really worrying too much any more. She got weighed recently and is actually now nearer the 75th centile than the 50th so she’s piling the weight on. It’s stopped feeling like such a faff now and it’s just a normal part of our day to feed her as well as her having her bottles. I could probably still do without the dreaded ‘weaning poos’ though!

Harriet and Alexandra x