I can't tell you how happy I was to say goodbye to 2010. To most people that would sound really terrible because it was the first year of my baby's life, but to those of you who regularly read my blog, you can understand where I'm coming from. I'm just so ready for a fresh start, and things are looking really promising.
I haven't posted much lately but for the last few months The Chubs has been doing so well with her eating. She's been eating much more each day than she needs to which is a huge victory in itself, but what is even more exciting is that we are down to 4 bottles a day and 3 solid meals. I really never thought I'd see the day (or at least wouldn't see it until she was 5... ok maybe 2). My sweet daughter is now sleeping 7pm-7am, with a bottle every 4 hours during the day, and solid meals in between each bottle. I can't even tell you how much this has transformed my life.
Flash back to August I was feeding her every 3 hours round the clock like a newborn. She was about 9 months old and was still not accepting solids. I had to wake her through the entire night to feed her or she wouldn't get enough calories. Even with all of these feedings she still wasn't eating enough. She averaged about 17 oz a day. It was HORRIFIC. I was so depressed, cried everyday, was sleep deprived and felt hopeless, especially when she puked up everything I just fed her on a regular basis. Thinking back to that time, I really don't know how I survived. It was so hard to know she was not feeling well and not knowing what the problem was. Her reflux medication didn't seem to be doing anything and I was still pumping and supplementing with soy formula because I knew she was intolerant to dairy.
What made the huge turn around? Well, I finally realized that for whatever reason, my breast milk and the soy formula were not gentle enough on her system. Everyone thinks that breast milk is the perfect food, and really it is. But there were things I was consuming that were transferring to my milk that were taking a toll on her little system. And instead of doing weeks of trialing foods and seeing what it was she was sensitive too while she continued to lose weight, I made the hard decision to stop pumping and give her a completely hypoallergenic formula that you can only purchase directly through the company or through a pharmacy with Doctor's permission, called Elecare. Within 3 weeks, I had a new baby. And even though these measly 14 oz cans cost almost $50 a piece (and last only a few days), it was completely worth it (and thank God for craigslist).
We still struggled to get her intake up with her formula and solids but as the months went on and the healing process continued she started to gain weight, and take more interest in eating. She actually started to seem like she had an appetite. It's been a slow process getting her over her oral aversion, but slowly her defensiveness is starting to dissipate. She now allows us to brush her teeth with a wash cloth, dispense medicine via dropper, use a vibrating teether among many other things I never thought I'd see her do.
I realize how pathetic these achievements sound. Any normal baby would have absolutely no problem with these things and would be chewing and mouthing anything in sight, but I can't help but thank God over and over again that our little orally defensive sensory refluxer is now eating like a champ and allowing us to put more and more types of things in her mouth. We're still having major issues with texture and gagging but we're making progress.
I know that things will only continue to improve. I can see that as she feels better and is finally getting the nutrition she needs that she is starting to explore the world much more. She was completely shut off from everything for the first 9 months of her life. She felt so horrible that she wouldn't explore anything. She wouldn't even touch toys. I always felt bad doing anything around the house because all she would do is sit there. So now when I see her playing with toys, rocking back and forth on her hands and knees and wanting to learn about everything around her, it makes me smile. She had a very late start so we are suffering a lot of delays because of it, but she has learned so much in such a small time frame and even if it doesn't mean she walks until she's 2 or 3, I can rest assured knowing she feels better and is getting the calories she needs.
Yes, 2011 is going to be our year. I can feel it!