Nearly 6 months

Can it really be six months since I felt that weird little trickle and leaked all over the bathroom floor? Six months since I had a full night’s sleep? Since I met this gorgeous little boy and thought, who are you?  Next week really does mark six months since the Dude’s arrival (although he was technically here before, making his presence and personality known by kicking the hell out of me and hiccuping at every chance).  He still kicks a lot but hiccups a normal amount these days.  He says words, although they’re not in English I don’t think.  So far, his favourite words are ‘ngeng’ and ‘geh’.  I think ngeng means ‘I want stuff’ and geh means ‘so, what’s happening?’  He has recently taken to whacking himself over and over, especially when stimulated or excited.  He rolls both ways quite easily, although I don’t think he realises yet that he is actually able to roll whenever he likes, so he still gets frustrated on his tummy and I have to turn him over.  When on his tummy he is gathering his legs under him and sticking his bum in the air, gripping onto the floor with his toes, all obviously in the lead up to crawling.  He’s been growing like crazy and it well and truly right at the top of the scale in terms of length, weight and head circumference.  We weighed him at about 5 months and he was 8.9kg!  That’s heavier than my friend’s 8 month old… yeah.

The eczema has been interesting.  I’m pretty sure my eating dairy aggravates it, especially things like milk and cheese and icecream.  So I’ve been trying to stick to the dairy-free diet, which isn’t that difficult, although my constant need to eat junk doesn’t help.  I notice if I eat any dairy (apart from good yoghurt) the Dude will sometimes throw up a bit after a feed or sometimes even between feeds, so I’m sure it makes him a bit refluxy.  The eczema has changed and I think gotten a little worse but is really plateauing at the moment, with a big concentration round his neck and under his chin, and some on his wrists and ankles that’s nowhere near as bad.  Sometimes it appears on his tummy and in his belly button, but just as red patches, not really dry or scaly.  I’ve tried a variety of things, from Hope’s Relief cream which is nice and natural but not as effective as I expected, to coconut oil which is a decent moisturiser but really doesn’t last too long.  Recently I put some paw paw ointment on which has been awesome, although not necessarily good to get rid of any itch.  Some nights he just wakes every couple of hours and feeds feverishly and scratches his chest and neck constantly, sometimes until he gets frustrated and cries, and other times I hold his hands and stop him working himself up into a scratching frenzy.

We are still co-sleeping, which, to be honest, isn’t the greatest thing in the world.  I would never want him in a bed in another room, don’t get me wrong, and it’s great knowing he’s right there and safe next to me, but our bed isn’t really big enough even though it’s a queen size, as he rolls to get the boobie and ends up taking up a third of it to himself.  And he kicks me in the stomach, wriggling and writhing, grabbing my top, pushing the boob away when he actually wants it.  He’s no good at getting it for himself really.  And he wakes so easily when we stir, it’s quite frustrating.  There are only rare times when he’s really deeply asleep and won’t stir.  His cot is side-carted alongside but he has never slept in it.  It’s just not logistically possible to get him to sleep in it, I’d end up being up all night and he wouldn’t get enough sleep.  He so very rarely falls asleep in my arms these days, and it’s usually only because he’s exhausted.  Even then, if I dare to move he wakes, it’s as simple as that.  I don’t think I’ve ever successfully put him down to sleep.  Actually I think that’s not true, I’ve done it, but it was before he was 8 weeks old, before he’d sleep through the night, when I couldn’t feed him lying down.  I don’t miss those nights!

Breastfeeding is still going well.  He is obviously thriving on my milk, of which there continues to be an abundance, and he feeds to sleep every night and some naps, unless I put him to sleep on me in the ergo which means standing almost permanently.  And now he’s about 9kg he gets heavy!  I can’t say I enjoy breastfeeding any more than I did to begin with, it is what it is, just part of the process and I’m glad it’s so straight forward for me (relatively speaking) and will do it until he seems like he doesn’t need it any more.  Just quietly, I hope that’s sooner rather than later!

The biggest milestone of late is the arrival of teeth!  Two of them in fact, about a week ago, one poking through one day and the second the next, at the bottom.  They are very sharp!  His teething symptoms have gone down a bit I guess, he certainly doesn’t have the one red cheek any more, but he is still irritable much of the time.  Some days he’s okay, others he just has bad days and I can’t really work out why.  He is just really nervy and full on and demanding but doesn’t really know what he wants.  Like his dad!  Infuriating sometimes!  I was reading SouleMama’s blog just this morning and she wrote about her littlest one who is a few days younger than the Dude – oh how different!  I’m kind of jealous actually, as he little one will suck her thumb and put herself to sleep on the couch with all sorts of noise going on around her!  Oh what joy that would be!  Currently I’m listening to the Dude getting louder and louder in his cot… the mobile (second one we’ve bought) just doesn’t cut it, and he soon gets bored and angry.  He is interested in dummies but won’t really just lie there and suck it, he has to hold it and then he pulls it out of his mouth, examines it, then puts it in sideways and chews on the plastic, then gets sick of it and throws it away.  So still a no go.  Speaking of which, I better go and get him before he gets too upset.  He’s already had a two hour sleep this morning and it’s only midday but apparently that wasn’t sufficient!!  Ho hum…

My thoughts on allergies

Kids these days have allergies to everything. Everyone is talking about it, how being allergic was unheard of just a generation ago. I had a small primary school class of only about 15, but there was only one kid in my class with allergies and the poor guy was somewhat ostracised because of it. We all thought it was weird! He had to have a special gluten free cake on his birthday which didn’t even have icing, the horror! Fast forward 25 years and the kid WITHOUT allergies is the odd one out.

I’ve been thinking about this topic a bit recently after watching a segment on The Project (FKA The 7pm Project) and chatting to a friend. So this is my take.

Allergies are essentially an immune response.  So logically, we are getting more of them because we’re interfering with our natural immune responses to things, like illness or exposure to bacteria or toxins.  I haven’t done any research on this, and I’d like to do a lot more reading and thinking, but to me allergies are related to the following:

1. Vaccination.  When we vaccinate, we create an artificial immune response in the body.  We trick it into building antibodies to a non-existent disease.  So it stands to reason that creating that response will in turn muck up our immune system.  I’m also bothered by the fact that we’re bombarding our bodies with the ‘fake’ versions of all these diseases.  There’s no way everyone would be affected by so many diseases all at once in the natural course of things.  So again, the immune system is taxed and the response is extreme.

2. Processed food.  I believe that the reason so many people are intolerant to dairy, apart from the fact that cow’s milk is for baby cows, is that we are no longer consuming raw dairy.  So the dairy we consume lacks the natural bacteria and enzymes required to digest the proteins and sugars contained therein.  We’re eating ‘fake’ dairy.

3. Over-abundance of certain foods.  We become intolerant to anything we have too much of.  That’s why I’m allergic to honey, I had too much as a child.  And this manifests through generations, so we’re more likely to be sensitive to something our mothers ate too much of through their lives.

4. Taking in food before we’re ready.  For some bizarre reason, we pick a somewhat arbitrary date in the life of a baby (5 months, according to the doctor I went to recently) and we begin mushing up food and spooning it into the baby’s mouth with desperation and urgency, as if suddenly baby cannot survive on breastmilk, despite the fact that it is a perfect food and provides baby with adequate calories and nutrition.  Why is this?  Why does a baby suddenly become ready for ‘solids’ at 4 months, 5 months, 6 months?  Of course, he doesn’t.  Same reason a baby isn’t always ready to be born at 40 weeks, or 39 or 42 or 37… Personally I believe that when a baby can pick up a piece of food, put it in his mouth, chew and then swallow, his digestive system is ready to handle it.  Why are we in such a rush to do all that grabbing, putting in the mouth and chewing for the baby?  Why do we want to accelerate it?  Digestion not being ready for food means that baby is being exposed to things he is not ready for, and his immature immune system has to jump into top gear to produce antibodies to deal with the bacteria and toxins in that food that’s been introduced too early.

5. Destruction of bacteria.  What’s the with the ‘clean’ obsession these days?  Why are we sterilising everything, wiping surfaces with antibacterial chemicals, not letting kids play in the dirt?  It drives me insane when that ridiculous Dettol commercial comes on, with their stupid ‘health’ program or whatever they’re calling it.  Seriously?  People actually believe that killing naturally occurring bacteria using harsh chemicals is healthy!  Stupid is what it is.  The only reason to get rid of germs is if they’re there because of other external, artificial influences.  So if we all lived in close quarters with no fresh air or toilets or running water, okay, we need to work hard to keep the bugs at bay.  But most of us don’t.  Yet everyone’s still dousing every surface in disinfectant and obsessing about sterilising their baby’s sippy cup.  We need bacteria, it’s part of maintaining the delicate balance in our immune systems!  We all know what happens when you take antibiotics: you end up with thrush and problems digesting because you’ve killed all the good bacteria in your body.

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this in future, but at the moment I really believe that if we didn’t vaccinate and we ate real, raw food of the earth when we need it, we’d be much healthier and allergies would become a thing of the past.  I’m not saying they’d be eradicated all together, that’s like saying all disease can be eradicated, it’s just part of the human condition.  But I think our systems would regulate themselves and the balance would be re-established.

Nearly four months

So the Dude will be four months old on Friday.  How time flies!  He is extremely cute, getting a lot bigger.  I was reading the latest from The Feminist Breeder yesterday, and was reminded yet again how different babies really are.  Among other things in her first post back since the August hiatus, she mentions that her little girl (who is about 3 weeks older than the Dude) began rolling over at 3 months.  Really?!  Wow!  I was kind of shocked actually because the Dude is nearly four months and still hasn’t rolled over.  I haven’t paid much attention to what it says about when babies are meant to do certain things, but it really made me think about how different babies can be and how all that stuff about milestones really means nothing.  Actually, to be honest, I initially began to worry – why isn’t he rolling over, why isn’t he reaching this crucial developmental stage, is there something wrong with him?  Yeah, apparently that’s what mums do, worry.  In terms of muscle strength, he’s got it all, and then some.  He can easily roll from his back to his side and back again, and I’m sure he’s got the muscles to roll right over, but he just doesn’t do it, doesn’t have the motor skills yet I guess.  Typical boy, bit behind the girls.  On the other hand, TFB also said her little one has grown 4 inches since birth.  Really?  At first that sounded like a lot, but then I converted it to centimetres and realised the Dude has grown more than double that since birth!  17cm and counting in fact.  Which, if my calculations are correct (2.5 centimetres equals one inch?) is roughly equivalent to 10 inches.  Freaking massive!  So I’ve decided all his energy is going into growing lengthways and he’s not had a chance to learn about rolling yet.  It’ll come, in time.

On the other hand, despite not rolling, he is definitely roly poly, a real little chunk.  Actually really bloody heavy!  I haven’t had him weighed since his 6 week check up with the midwife, where he was 5.5 kilos I think, but I’m banking on him being at least 7kg now, probably more.  He is very solid!  And boy does he like to sit up!  Of course he’s nowhere near doing it for real in terms of his balance and motor skills, but he gets so angry if he’s put in a semi-reclining position, and he strains to pull himself up to sitting, and actually manages it a lot.  I can no longer leave him for a second propped up in the corner of the couch, because he pulls himself up and then goes forward onto his face and tries to go head first off the edge of the couch!  He also loves to ‘stand’ – ie. be held under the arms and bear weight on his legs.  The look on his face is one of real triumph, so smug, like, ‘oh yeah, look at me!’

He’s also begun to have some really full on conversations with us.  He does this thing with his eyes as he chats where he scrunches them up, it’s so cute.  And his grabbing is getting really good.  I can now leave a toy within reach and he’ll grab it for himself.  He still gets frustrated very easily, and often tends to protest about something before it’s even happened yet.  It reminds me of the type of kid who, when mum says, ‘okay, how about we go and do….’ and before she even finishes explaining the plan, starts saying, ‘no, I don’t want to do that!’  He shouts and protests just because.  It’s cute, but I’m sure it’ll get to a point where he’s big enough to understand that shouting isn’t always the way, especially when you don’t really know what you want!

Did I update on the osteo? Well if not, the outcome wasn’t great.  He couldn’t finish the adjustment because the Dude had a meltdown!  The guy was like, ‘does he always do this?’ and I had to say, yeah, he does!  He reckoned he was in pain with his digestion and gave me instructions on going wheat and dairy free.  I had resisted up until that point, but thought, hey, maybe he is sensitive.  So I tried it.  And actually managed to avoid wheat and dairy, it was amazing, as I’ve never stuck to any kind of diet for more than about 48 hours before.  I’m convinced it hasn’t made that much of an impact and I realised later when the Dude fell asleep within about five minutes of being in the ergo after the osteo appointment that he was really just tired and I’d timed the visit totally wrong.  Since going dairy and wheat free we really haven’t had any proper meltdowns where he just gets distraught and I sit and let him cry in my arms, but at the same time I’ve begun a routine around sleeping.  I’ve started putting him to bed earlier, like by 7pm, sometimes earlier, and he’s having a bath every night, fresh outfit, then bed.  He hates being changed, but I’m sure he’ll get used to it.  The bath is going really well, he really relaxes and kicks around and makes little noises.

Anyway I’m still sticking more or less to the diet, and it’s definitely reduced the amount of mucus in my system and possibly in the Dude’s as well.  He’s definitely not intolerant, but I think he’s just like any normal person – too much dairy or bread and he doesn’t digest as well.  I also stopped taking all my supplements at night and I think that’s made a difference to him.  I take the odd bit of olive leaf extract in the morning, but I’m not taking anything else and he seems much less vomity than before.  Of course he still vomits but he’s full on, it’s what he does, and he drinks too much milk, but what are you gonna do?  As with everything else, the old adage still applies: this too shall pass.