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There Will Be A Light

I really wanted to update a few days ago, but there’s been so much going on with the holidays.  Merry Christmas, by the way! Blake’s first Christmas was a success, though he slept through most of the day. I’d say he racked up a pretty hefty loot for only being 7 weeks old!  I do think he enjoyed the day because he smiled and laughed A LOT! He’s starting to do that more and more and it really puts into perspective just how quickly he’s growing!  The outfit he wore today was for a 3 month old!

Speaking of…
At his last appointment the doctor told me that he weighed too much at 10.5 lbs.  I just don’t see that being the case.  The doctors have projected him to be between 6’3 and 6’5, and it’s evident (from today’s outfit alone) that he’s a growing boy! The doctor wanted me to feed him less food.  Well, I tried that for a day and quickly felt that I was torturing my child.  Dr. G wanted me to decrease his food from 4oz to 3.5.  For a few days Blake was only eating 2oz of food, but in 1.5 to 2 hour intervals.  I was concerned at first but friends told me that meant he was going through a growth spurt.  This evening he ate 5 oz!  If my baby wants 5 oz, then I’m going to give him 5 oz.  I’ve learned that he (and other babies) will let you know when they are full. While I’m very pleased with Blake’s doctors, I’m just not comfortable with decreasing the amount of food he eats.  I also do not feel that he’s overweight.
Now, onto the REAL reason for this entry.  
Blake’s screaming fits have DRASTICALLY reduced in the past few days!  The hours of 5PM-10PM have always been his worst times, with full on screaming for the full 5 hours.  Sure there were 5 minute lulls here and there, but it would always inevitably start back up again.  I’ve been incredibly thankful for all the advice that my friends have given me, and I’ve taken all of it until I found a combination of things that have worked.  I hope I’m not speaking too prematurely by saying we’ve found things that have made him a lot more comfortable, and us a lot more sane.  I am proud to say that because of these things, he has not had the “dreaded evening hour blues” for 3 whole days! 
Here’s what has worked for us so far (I’m sure I will add to this as time goes on.)
Some of this will be a recap.
1) Zantac.  Still certain that he has GERD.  I feel the medicine is helping, but I’ve wondered if there’s something out there that will help even more.  It’s obvious acid reflux is a problem for him.  Sometimes I can hear liquids traveling from his stomach into his throat.  Poor guy.  Still want to try some of the natural suggestions my friends have given me.  This is on my “to try” list still.
2) Burping him after every 1-2 oz.  This varies because I can usually tell when it’s time.
3) Holding him upright for 30-40 minutes after eating.  I know this sounds excessive but it’s really helped.  Longer would probably be even better because he’ll also burp or spit up 2 hours after eating sometimes.  If I am not holding him then I do my best to keep him upright. (ie: swing, bouncer, etc.)
4) I switched his bottles to Dr. Brown’s.  We were using Avent before, and while I never thought that this could be contributing to any problem he was experiencing, a few people suggested I try Dr. Brown’s, and boy am I glad I did.  These bottles claim to reduce colic. No joke!  They don’t allow air to get into the tummy.  If I ever have another kid, I’m going straight to these!  Colic, or not. 

5) Gas relief drops.  There’s a lot of different ones on the market.  We purchase the store brand kind, but it’s all the same.  Also known as “gripe water”.  Truthfully, he’s been getting SLIGHTLY fussy at around 7PM each night, even in the past 3 days, and I can just tell it’s his tummy, so we give him this stuff and it’s instant relief for him.  Knowing this is his issue, and having to give this to him every single night, I’m not sure if there’s anything else I should be doing for him.  It would seem if this is a nightly issue then there’s some other underlying problem.  I’ll take any suggestions! Or maybe this is okay…
6) We started giving him filtered water through the Britta.  Ok, admittedly we were giving him tap water before.  Honestly, I never thought about anything else.  (New mommy over here, remember?)  I drink tap water, so it just didn’t occur to me.  Apparently most moms use filter or distilled water, so not knowing that this was the norm made me feel like a bad mommy.  Oh well, live and learn.  
7) The doc showed me a new way to position him that puts pressure on his stomach in just the right place to help relieve any pain he may be experiencing.  Enter, the “superman hold.” It works about 80% of the time!
8) The yoga balls is still doing a fantastic job of soothing him.  Before trying all of the above, it didn’t really work to stop his crying during the 5PM-10PM hours.  However, with everything else we’ve tried, the yoga ball now works at all hours of the day!  
9) Still pleased we switched him to the Nutramigen. I noticed early on that he had a food allergy.  This stuff can be a bit pricey, but money isn’t even an option for me if it works!
None of this really worked in isolation, rather, as a whole all of this has to go together.  Nothing is perfect, as he still has his moments. Sometimes he’ll start up crying an hour to two hours after eating and I think “hmm, I bet he has to burp”, and sure enough, I burp him, he lets one out, and it’s instant relief (for his stomach and my ears).  I have to go down a checklist of things at times to get to the root of it, but we eventually get there.  One of the BEST parts about all of this is that I’ve been able to set him in the swing or bouncer and he’s been able to entertain himself in it for over 3 minutes! That has NEVER EVER happened. A few minutes in a bouncer or swing before and he would lose it.  I think he was experiencing some kind of uncomfortable feeling before.  I’m now able to take a shower while I sit him in the bouncer, or quickly do the dishes while he’s in the swing.  It’s amazing, and such a blessing.  Overall, he just seems happier.
I know there will be normal good days and bad days that every baby experiences, but I’m pleased with the progress.  
I don’t feel that I’ve found a “cure-all”, because it has only been 3 days.  And if I’m totally honest with myself, he had a pretty rough morning.  He cried in the middle of his first few feedings, and just couldn’t seem to swallow much food at a time without being in pain. His first bottle took me a long time to get him through because after every 2-3 swallows I had to try to burp him.  I could hear the formula coming back up in his mouth, yet I know he was hungry because it had been a while since he’d eaten, and he was clearly starving for more.  Poor little guy.  
So while this is an entry for praise and celebration, I feel I still have some kinks to work through, but we WILL get there.  Through my frustration, so laid out for the world to see in this blog, I hope I’ve painted a true picture.  I know I’m the best advocate for my child. I have gotten this far in his progress in two ways: 1) This blog.  So many have read it and so many have reached out in many different ways.  You just don’t know how grateful I am to each of you.  2) God.  It’s amazing how much praying I’ve done in the middle of the night as I’ve been up with him.  I can honestly say I feel I’ve become closer in my relationship to God throughout all of this.  He’s the hope of hopes, the light of lights, and the only way.  When I first started this blog I told many of my friends that I felt some sort of calling to do so.  A need.  I wasn’t sure at the time if it was for me, or for others exclusively.  In this moment I feel it was for me.  A way to reach out and say “help me”, without coming right out and sounding so desperate.  In sharing my story I’ve received support beyond what I ever could imagine.  God answered my prayers through this blog. Through all of you.  
I hope this can reach other parents who need assurance, have questions, or just want to know they aren’t alone in any frustrations they are experiencing, through whatever situation they face as a new parent.
Because, I still don’t know what I’m doing. But I learn something new about this amazing job of “mom” everyday.  
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