Monday, August 22, 2005

The Week of the Hands

Maybe it's been more like two weeks, but it's been all about the hands lately. It's so awesome watching Pearl gain control of her hands and use them to explore. She can grab things quite on purpose now. She grabs the toys on her playbar along with batting at them, and if I put a toy on floor in front of her she'll grab it too. She also likes to grab fistfuls of my hair, and her toes when she sees them. She seems to be showing a preference for using her left hand but I can't be sure; I thought the same thing about her right hand earlier on. She likes to touch things with her hand open and fingers spread, running it along a quilt or her daddy's beard. She does the same thing to the skin she can see around my breast that isn't covered by clothing when she's hungry. I can almost see her thinking, "I know it's around here somewhere!" And when she is eating, she is pressing her fingers into the flesh right next to my nipple, and sometimes goes on from there to try to put her fingers in her mouth while she is eating, which breaks the latch and greatly disturbs the whole feeding process.

However, she still has not mastered the art of sucking on her hands/fingers/thumbs when the boob is NOT in her mouth and that is frustrating to both me and and her. She can find them okay if she is held kind of scrunched up, with her arms kept close to her body, like when she is in the sling. Otherwise she can't really keep her hands in her mouth - unless she's hungry, then the hands go into the mouth just fine! Except that she has gagged herself with her long fingers a few times.

I thought I wrote about my pacifier dilemma here but I guess I didn't as I'm not seeing it in any of the recentish entries. The dilemma is that in the past few weeks Pearl has wanted to suck, but has not wanted milk, and can't get her hands in her mouth in a satisfactory way most of the time. I've been able to soothe her in other ways successfully, but it would be so much easier to pop a pacifier in her mouth. I really didn't want her to have one, I'd much rather she sucked on her thumb or whatever. I don't want to have to deal with the pacifier dropping all the time, getting lost, getting dirty, plus the trouble of weaning her off of it. I used to work at a daycare and I saw too many 3 and 4 year olds attached to the things. Maybe their parents just stuck them in their mouth anytime they cried; I know lots of parents who do not use them so constantly and have had no trouble getting the child to stop using it. But the image of a 4 year old with a paci in her mouth still looms when I think about whether to get one for Pearl or not.

The past few days I really do wish I'd had one though, as poor little Pearl has had some reflux. It's been horrible. I ate some cheese in lasagne that some friends from my hometown brought when they came to visit me on Friday (that's a whoooooooooole nother post), bad bad Mama, and Pearl paid for it. She screamed a bit Friday evening, but it was even worse on Saturday. Her whole body tensed up and she cried these awful cries, I could just tell she's hurting. And when she wasn't crying we could hear the little gurgle-then-gasp of something rising from her stomach but not coming out.

I can remember hearing that sound in the past few days, thinking, was that a burp? But I can't recall if it started before Friday and the lasagne or not. I was reading up on infant reflux and read that dairy consumption can indeed make it worse, so I guess we'll have to wait until it's out of our systems to know whether it was caused by the dairy or just worsened by it.

At any rate, on Saturday she just screamed and screamed. I stripped her down and examined her to make sure wasn't hurting, no hair wrapped around a toe or anything like that, nada. I cried too. We tried everything, finally I laid down to nurse with her, and sent my husband to the store for some infant gas drops. I nursed her on one side while she screamed, then she calmed down and ate on the other and finally went to sleep, poor child.

Yesterday evening it started again and we gave her some of the gas drops and that helped her relax and her daddy rocked her to sleep. We could still hear the reflux but it didn't seem to bother her.

Anyways, another thing gained from my daycare experience is the knowledge that pacifiers can be good for babies with reflux. Brady, who came to the daycare at the age of 6 weeks, had reflux pretty bad and had to be fed and laid down with his head elevated, given gas drops with each feeding and then a pacifier. The pacifiers help by keeping saliva production going. The act of swallowing helps keep the milk down and the saliva neutralizes the acid.

So I'm going to keep an eye on the reflux and her sucking needs in the next few days and maybe get a pacifier for her. I was really hoping she'd learn to suck on her hands but it hasn't happened yet.

Another interesting effect of the dairy was Pearl's poop - it was very curdy looking, which is a sign of undigested protein. And she pooped twice Saturday in the night. She has only had one poopy diaper since we started elimination communication, which was Friday night (coincedence? I think not.) and only half a poopy diaper as I managed to get her on the potty once I realized she was pooping and she finished pooping there. She hasn't pooped during the night since weeks before we started EC. So that was definitely odd.

Poor baby.


Blogger dk said...

Just keep in mind that it is up to you to wean her from the pacifier. The reason you see four year olds with them is because their parents were afraid to wean them!

I had one child use a pacifier and she used it up until about 18 months. I just took it away from her one day and never let her see it again. It would have been really really easy if I had done it at an early age.

So...what I am trying to say is...if you just use it until she can master getting her hands into her mouth then you won't really have to worry about weaning.

Good luck!

6:36 AM  
Blogger KB said...

Good luck with all of that :( hope she starts feeling better soon.

Reynen never had a pacifier, and the Myles is so addicted. He'll be two next month and it's starting to scare me. I really want the pacifier to be gone by 2.5, but I can't stand to hear him cry or sad for it. I'm thinking cold turkey throw them all away? It just seems so mean. What I was going to tell you is I think if I would have tossed them at 12 months, it would have been a day of a little fussy but then out of sight out of mind shortly after. Now a much different story. I've often seen kids with really messed up teeth from sucking their thumbs so I avoided that route? The life of the mama and all of the decisions we have to make. What's right for one, may not be for another. good luck.

7:53 AM  
Blogger Elaine said...

We allow our girls to use them. Lily gave hers up once she found her thumb and Anya is obviously still using hers. If she doesn't give it up by about 8 or 9 months, I'll just clip the tip.

BUT... do what feels right. Listen to your intuition on this one. Ultimately you're the one who has to live with whatever the result (of using or not).

We don't do dairy around here either, btw. It was so hard on Lily I just didn't risk it with Anya.

2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The crying is extremely intense. It's been very hard on both of us. I'm not one to cry much, but these last few days have been testing my limits. We'll see what happens in a few days.

Thanks for the support ladies. You're awesome.


7:23 PM  
Blogger JulieB said...

Hang in there Ang. Its also just partly development. My oldest went thru it. He wouldn't take a pacifier either. Walking seemed to help - it was summer and I would take him for little jouncy walks around the backyard. I think bouncing a little helped, and the outside always helps distract them. Unfortunately, he sort of grew out of that about the time he really started teething, which was really hard for him. About all you can do is comfort them and hang on.

4:27 PM  
Blogger Mama C-ta said...

Awww, I'm so sorry she's feeling rough which then makes you guys feel rough too! We've been having some kind of gas/poop issue or something during the night. It's heartbreaking b/c he's just crying and pushing in pain but the gas drops don't seem to help him.

I never knew about the sucking and acid reflux. That's good to know as I've been hesitant on pacifier use hoping he'd figure out another way to self-soothe.

I knew dairy could cause issues but I looked at my diet and I think it's 90% some-sort-of-dairy in it so it's been soooo hard for me to change.

1:36 PM  

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