Awareness

Let’s take a break from my usual E shenanigans to get real.

Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 14-20.  Before I had a child with food allergies, I never understood just how serious food allergies can be or how difficult they are to accommodate.

foodallergies

Part of spreading awareness of food allergies is to help people who don’t deal with them, to learn about the seriousness and the risks involved.  The other part of it is something different and a little harder to explain.

Yesterday at work I was discussing an upcoming company picnic with some colleagues.  After asking if I can bring my own food for the cooks to grill for my daughter, a few people asked about E’s allergies.  I explained and one of them scoffed and said, “Oh my god, she is going to HATE life!”

Wait, what?  Is that the stigma attached to food allergies?  That the people who have them are suffering not from the effects of the allergens but from the fact that they can’t have cheese or peanut butter or wheat?

E is one of the happiest babies I know.  She loves food.  More importantly, she loves the food she can have.  She’s never had cheese or eggs or peanut butter.  She doesn’t know she’s “missing out” on any of these things.  But she does know that her almond milk yogurt and her pea protein milk and her Daiya “cheese” and her cashew butter are all delicious.  My husband and I don’t often snack on things she can’t have, but when we do and she wants to try some, we walk her to the pantry and find one of her snacks and she’s totally satisfied with it.  She doesn’t dwell on that food she didn’t get to try.

I know it won’t always be this way.  One day she’ll be old enough that we’ll have to explain to her why she can’t have things that other people are having.  We’ll have to make sure she is aware, just like I’m hoping to make others more aware.  But by the time that day comes, I’m hoping I’ve done a good enough job as a mother to ensure that she doesn’t hate her life because of food she doesn’t get to eat.

If you don’t know anyone with food allergies now, chances are you will meet one soon enough.  Today, one in 13 children is affected by a food allergy, and 15 million Americans have a food allergy (source:  FARE).  If there is anything you take away from this post, please let it be that people with food allergies are not miserable because of the foods they can’t eat.  It’s actually just the opposite:  they’re NOT miserable because they steer clear of the foods they can’t eat.  Every three minutes, a food allergy sends someone to the ER.  Would that be worth it for a bite of ice cream or a PB&J sandwich?  No.  Definitely not.

There is no substitute for milk

We’ve finished up a week of incorporating hemp milk into E’s diet, and let’s face it:  it’s not ideal.  By replacing just five ounces of E’s daily formula intake with hemp milk, the girl has been beyond ravenous.  We have to find another option.

badchoiceLet’s recap:  Cow’s milk is out.  Goat’s milk is out.  Hemp milk is out.  Soy milk is an option but I have my reservations about soy being a major source of E’s nutrition. Hypoallergenic toddler formula is an option but I have equal reservations about “corn syrup solids” being a major source of E’s nutrition.

So what do we do?

Since E drinks the hemp milk with no issues, I started researching methods of adding protein to nut milk.  What I found was a natural, brown rice-based toddler “protein powder.”  In a nutshell, it’s formula.  That’s not what it’s called, but that’s what it is.  You mix it with “your beverage of choice,” and it contains tons of protein as well as a whole plethora of vitamins and nutrients.  But unlike hypoallergenic formula, its ingredients are plant-based and they’re not scary words that give me nightmares about what I’m feeding to my daughter.

It’s on order (arriving today), so we haven’t tried it yet.  I’ll be back with updates, but until then, my fingers are crossed.  There is no substitute for milk.  I’m just reaching into my bag of tricks to see if I can find something that will work for E.

One Year Old!

E turned a year old on Thursday!  Here’s what life for E looks like at 12 months:

  • She is 20 pounds, 13 ounces, and she’s 29 1/2 inches tall.
  • She sleeps from 7:30-7, with two naps totaling 2-3 hours.
  • She eats three meals a day with two or three snacks; she still has three small bottles of formula each day.
  • She can say “mama,” “dada,” “kitty,” “that,” and “more.”
  • She has ten teeth, if you count the three that are currently on their way out – eight in front, and two molars.
  • Her favorite foods are yogurt (almond or coconut milk), all types of meat, wheat bread, pineapple, zucchini noodles, cereal, and graham crackers.
  • Her bedtime routine is a bath, a bottle, and a book.
  • She loves to drink water, but only through a straw.
  • She can wave, clap, high five, and dance.
  • She’s not walking yet, but she cruises on the furniture like nobody’s business.
  • She’s in size 12 month clothing, size two shoes (come on feet, groowwwww), and size 3 diapers.
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Happy birthday!  E’s (vegan) cake smash.

Now that E is a year old, we talked to her pediatrician about her source of milk since she can’t have…well, milk. I have concerns about soy milk and estrogen, but E’s doctor reassured me that he finds it no worse than cow’s milk when looking at the risk of tampering with hormones. Because of E’s allergies, we can consider keeping her on formula and also giving her soy milk and almond milk, while supplementing with a multivitamin. I’ve done some reading and have also decided to see how she does with hemp milk.

We’re still very much experimenting with meals. This is what E’s normal meal schedule looks like:

  • Breakfast: 6 oz bottle of formula
  • Snack: Fruit and Cheerios
  • Lunch: Some type of seasoned meat, a fruit or veggie, and either half a slice of bread or half a container of almond/coconut milk yogurt
  • “Snack”: 3-4 oz bottle of formula

I posted recently about the things we have tried for dinner. Since then, we’ve had tacos (E’s were deconstructed, and she LOVED it), a vegan Creamy Garlic Pasta that we ALL hated, and turkey breakfast burgers made from scratch, which were fantastic.

I’m really trying to mix things up and expose E to a wider variety of foods, but it is so hard when there are still a lot of things she can’t eat (choking hazards and such) and when we’re dealing with three major food allergies.  B is out of town for work right now and he’s a supremely picky eater. So while it’s just me and E for a few days, we’re going to try some recipes B would refuse to eat. I’m looking forward to posting updates!

Walk Hard

E will be a year old in just over two weeks.  She only started to pull up and cruise on the furniture about a month ago, and she refuses to let us hold her hands and try to help her walk.  I’ve been saying for a couple of months now that I think she’ll be 14 or 15 months old before she’s walking.

Boy, did I eat my words.

Last week, E discovered she can pull herself up on her high chair and the kitchen chairs and push them around the kitchen.  She walks this way like nobody’s business, and she’s extremely proud of herself for doing so.

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She thinks it looks much better over here in the corner.

A few nights ago, E was standing up while holding on to the recliner in the living room.  I was sitting on the floor a couple of feet away.  E let go and wobbled slightly before taking one step toward me.  When she lifted her other foot for the second step, she tumbled to the ground–but SHE TOOK A BLEEPING STEP!  At 11 months!

She hasn’t taken any steps since then but she has tried.  She’s consistently letting go of the furniture now and standing as long as she can on her own (record is a whopping five seconds, woop woop).  I don’t think this girl is going to take 2-3 more months before she’s actually walking.

Now I have to figure out what to do with her footwear.  She’s still in size 2 shoes and the shoes they make for 3-6 month olds don’t cut it for walking.  Time to do some research and find her a good pair of beginner walking shoes!

Eight months

I’m making a promise to myself to set down the stupid Candy Crush game when E is sleeping and actually do some damn blogging.

Speaking of the word “damn,” E is starting to try forming real words, so I’ve also made a promise to myself to quit swearing in her presence.  I told my coworkers to expect me to cuss a lot more at work from now on because it’s my designated swearing time.  In all seriousness, E’s favorite word right now is “gaga” and B is convinced she’s saying “dada.”  So naturally I’m on a mission to get her to say “mama” first.  I read somewhere once that more babies say “dada” first because it’s easier for them to make the D sound than the M sound, but…B and I are very competitive.

firstwords

E turned eight months old this week.  She’s crawling now and it’s still 75% an army crawl but she’s starting to figure out she can get around on her hands and knees.  Even army crawling she’s too fast for me sometimes.  I can’t leave her in a room unattended for more than ten seconds at a time now.  I’ve found myself feeling grateful for her exersaucer because it’s the one and only place I can put her down when I’m trying to get all of our stuff ready to head out the door in the morning.

E has always been really easygoing with new people, but in the past few weeks stranger anxiety has kicked in.  It used to be that E would always light up when she met someone new but now she stares at them skeptically, frowns, and then turns to me and starts to cry.  It’s so out of character for her that it’s been a strange adjustment for me, but I know it’s just her age and that eventually it will pass.  In the meantime, I’ve started warning new people that they might make her cry and it’s nothing personal.

It’s been three months since E’s first two teeth came in on the bottom, and the top two have finally broken through her gums.  The process has been long, painful, and full of sleepless nights.  Oof.

The best news of all is that E’s eczema is almost nonexistent these days!  We switched from breastmilk to hypoallergenic formula almost two months ago, and for the past month E has not had any eczema issues.  I feel certain that the daily peanut butter I’d been eating hadn’t had time to filter out of my system when I was still pumping.  I’m so glad we had the allergy testing done!

Lastly, I’m happy to report that E is finally growing some hair!  It took seven months but I no longer have a 90% bald baby girl.  HA!

Baby’s first road trip

E turned seven months old on Friday, and on Saturday we embarked on our first road trip as a family.  We traveled seven hours to see my extended family in Montana.  Over the course of four days, E only had one meltdown, and it was because her grandma put her in the car seat all wonky and none of us realized it until we got her out mid-meltdown.  So proud of my good little traveler!

Before we left, I fretted for days over what to pack for E.  I remarked to B that I felt like we had to fit our entire house into a suitcase.  In the end, I feel I did a pretty damn good job of packing for a seven-month-old with no experience, so I thought I’d share here what we brought, what we forgot, and what we could have left home.

packing

Okay, luckily I did remember to bring the baby.

Trip details:  We stayed at my grandpa’s house (so full amenities) in a Montana town where the temperature ranged from low 30s (F) to low 40s.

What I packed:

  • Ten onesies (3 long-sleeved, 7 short-sleeved)
  • Seven pairs of pants
  • Two pajamas
  • Two sleep sacks
  • Two jackets (one light and one heavy)
  • Several pairs of socks (didn’t count, just tossed a handful in the suitcase)
  • Three hats of different styles
  • Three bottles
  • One 19.8-oz can of formula
  • Three pacifiers
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Five or so toys
  • Three bibs
  • Four burp cloths
  • Two towels
  • Three face cloths
  • Eczema-friendly baby soap
  • Creams and lotions for eczema breakouts
  • Tylenol and ibuprofen
  • Various “medicine cabinet” items:  snot sucker, thermometer, nail clippers, etc.
  • Boogie wipes and tissues
  • Two blankets (one light and one heavy)
  • Travel booster seat
  • Travel crib (with changing table)
  • Two spoons and baby food
  • Sound machine
  • Monitor
  • Bouncy seat

Things I didn’t pack but definitely will the next time around:

  • A couple of books (luckily, grandma had packed one)
  • More toys!  E got super bored with the same five toys and was SO happy to be back in her bedroom with her toy box when we got home
  • An extra sheet for the crib
  • A few more bibs

The only thing we packed and didn’t end up using was the bouncy seat.  We’ll definitely leave it at home next time because it took up a lot of room in the car.  We also only used about six of the onesies we packed, and a few pairs of the pants–but I would still pack the same amount next time because you never know how many you’ll go through in a day!

We did have the luxury of being five minutes away from a Walmart in the event we forgot anything significant, but I’m pretty proud of how well we did for our first trip with E!

Six months?!?!

Baby E is six months old today.

Say WHAT?

I’ll spare you all the stereotypical “it’s gone by so fast” talk.  Though in all actuality, I’ve had hour-long meetings at work that have felt longer than these past six months.  I’m having a hard time fathoming the fact that so much time has passed already.

So what is my little six month old up to these days?  She:

  • Laughs hysterically at anything and everything, from the dog barking to paper ripping to someone blowing on her face.
  • Is able to scoot herself around the room…backwards only, I might add.
  • Has learned how to pet the cats (“pet” meaning “grab their skin and pull”), and luckily our cats love the attention regardless.

emilycat

  • Is eating a little bit of solids daily.  So far she’s had bananas, sweet potato, squash, applesauce, carrots, green beans, peaches, peas, and her most favorite of all–avocado.  I’ve also held a grape up to her mouth for her to nibble on with her two sharp little chompers.
  • Sits up on her own “tripod” style for several minutes at a time.  But if we try to sit her up unsupported, she immediately face plants into the floor.
  • Has taken a sudden interest in water bottles.  Whether it’s my Camelbak, a Powerade bottle, or a soda bottle, she likes to hold on to them and try to drink from them.  I’m tempted to try a sippy cup with her but also a little afraid.
  • FINALLY loves the ergo carrier!  [Insert happy dance here.]  Once we started facing her outward, she decided it wasn’t so bad after all!
  • Has become a terribly distracted eater.  Even on the emptiest of stomachs, she’ll take three times as long to drink a bottle because she wants to babble at you and look around the room.
  • Is trying out new consonants in her babbling.  They mostly come out sounding like fart noises, but she’s making a good effort.
  • HATES being on her back.  Now that she can move around a little on her tummy, and somewhat sit up and look around the room, she refuses to stay on her back for longer than a few seconds.
  • Still isn’t a very good sleeper.  I’m not giving up hope.

Tonight we took E to B’s company picnic and we sat with a couple and their daughter who is two weeks shy of her first birthday.  I told B I can’t even imagine E being that size, and walking around, and saying real words, and he simply said, “But she will be…and it will be sooner than you think.”

Holyshitholyshitholyshit time speeds up when you have a baby!