So, don’t really know where to start really. Bit of an eventful one this week. Think I’ll start with point number 3, then go from there....So yes, this weekend I stopped breastfeeding Rafe. I'm going to do a one off post about my experience but at the moment, I’m feeling incredibly emotional about it. I can’t stop crying. Being almost 23-weeks pregnant obviously doesn’t help and being more hormonal than normal, but was always going to be hard, whenever it ended...It’s just been an absolute privilege to breastfeed Rafe for 17-months. I struggled more than I ever think I put into words in the beginning. It’s been the hardest – but one of the most rewarding and best things I have ever done. And honestly – I feel slightly lost. Like the mourning feeling I felt when I went back to work after maternity leave – but worse. It’s been a massive part of my day/life for a few days shy of 17-months, whether that be the early days of constant feeding, or these last few months of just two feeds a day and I’m just finding it a bit hard to let go. Rafe seems okay though – which is all that matters. And I knew I really needed to let go of that final feed (dropped morning feed a couple of weeks ago). For Rafe – and me, for a number of reasons. My milk was basically drying up/had dried up, baby number 2 is on the way in July and well, I want to give boobies a break – and most importantly, for Rafe to have time to adjust and honestly, it’s become quite painful and exhausting while pregnant. My first deadline to get to was 6-months, than a year, than possibly 2 – so I’m pretty proud to be honest, without sounding full of myself. But also feeling incredibly sad and honestly, fucking devestated – dramatic to say this but it’s kind of broke my heart that this chapter with Rafe is over.
So I cried during my final nursing session on Thursday night (obvs) and then on Friday evening, I gave Rafe some cow’s milk before bed to try help settle him as this was the feed I was worried so much about dropping as has always settled him. (Also been giving him some cow’s milk in morning as he’s up so early and wants it, I know people may disagree and say just skip the morning bottle and just give breakfast but it’s not affected his eating and that’s what we are doing for now). He seemed fine but as I was cuddling him to sleep, he vomited everywhere. I thought it may just be because he’s not used to having cow’s milk before bed (we introduced it on cereal at 6-months and as a drink when one so has been in his diet a while) and had maybe given too much and he then settled. But obviously I already felt feelings of guilt and worry with it being the first day I had not breastfed at all and just kept ugly crying. But I started to google the shit out of things (fucking danger) as since Rafe has had more cow’s milk than he ever normally has the past couple of weeks, he has had nasty nappies and this eczema rash on his face which he's had for months, will not get better or go away with all the creams we have had prescribed and so I started looking at cow’s milk allergy symptoms and just as I was doing that Rafe woke up crying, went to calm him down and shit myself as his face looked like he had been stung by loads of bees. His eyes were puffy and his lips were all swollen and the rash was all over his face. I knew it was an allergic reaction and we headed to hospital. We were given antihistamines as soon as we got there but it was so busy we didn’t get seen properly for another three-hours, but Rafe was thankfully full of beans once the swelling had gone down. I explained my cow’s milk theory to the paediatrician and he said it was unlikely to be a cow’s milk allergy as would have had similar reactions before and he’s been having it for a while now. He said some kids do just randomly have an allergic reaction and they never know what from. He said the rash did look like eczema so was given more emollient cream and special stuff to bath him in – and some antihistamines. He said to of course keep an eye on him and if has another reaction like that, to head to hospital and also if the rash does not get better, go to GP and ask to be referred to a dermatologist and possibly dietician. The latter we may have to see anyway (that’s another story) so will see. I guess I maybe put 2 and 2 together and got it totally wrong and was maybe a coincidence and totally unrelated to him having more cow's milk. I also think if he had an intolerance/allergic reaction he'd be having other symptoms - cramps, colic, wind etc and would be really poorly?? He's never shown any discomfort after food or milk. Maybe his rash will get better and this was just a one off reaction. Just need to stay off google. But obviously worried. Mind ready to explode and flipping exhausted as didn’t leave hospital till 2am. But Rafe’s okay – in fact he’s a bit of a hero and was a trooper in hospital. I know it’s common to be in and out of GP’s office and hospital when they’re small – but it’s flipping worrying as hell. Honestly. Pint of wine. Now.
Another less scary meltdown involved worry over Rafe still not walking. I think it’s because I’ve had a few innocent comments, ‘is he not walking yet?’, ‘he’s just being lazy’, which I know aren’t meant maliciously, but you do get your back up a bit. And then you start comparing to others his age and google the shit out of 'when toddlers should be walking'. And I don’t think it is laziness, it’s genuine lack of confidence. We’ve been working this week on getting him to hold just one hand and walk – and he is getting better. (Chocolate at the other side of the room helps!) And I have been worried he is still walking quite inwardly, but after sharing my concerns on Instagram, I have inundated with messages from other mums, podiatrists, paediatricians, who shared their own experiences and advice. Sharing their own experience of late walkers – some not walking till 18-months – and reassured me, it was nothing to be concerned about. Thank you! And as long as Rafe can weight bare and cruises around, I shouldn’t be worried. (Obviously, if you are really concerned, never any harm speaking to your GP). And all this reassurance made me realise I needed to stop thinking because he is 16-months he MUST be walking. He will do so in his own time. Some babies walk at 9-months, others 18. He has hit all other milestones in good time and just needs some further encouragement to get his confidence up. And if we get to a couple of months down the line and he is still not there – I can voice my concerns to my GP. Someone recommended getting toddler walking wings to help him get on the move…. So will keep you in the loop!
As I was stressing about walking – I then started thinking about talking…Honestly, I need a holiday from my own brain. Is he saying enough? Should he be talking more? He is great at understanding you and will point out objects/parts of body, do heads, shoulders, knees and toes (his party trick), he makes noises for certain objects, car is ‘brum’ and can say hiya (he lifts up phone while he does this!), dada, yes and various other babbles – and of course mum. In fact, everything and everyone is mum. That is pretty much a word he says all the time - for everything! But now I’m thinking should he say more? Should I be doing more to encourage more words? I read to him, constantly point out what things are and also listen to him when he is babbling – any further advice or should I just chill the fuck out about this too?!
We had Rafe at the hospital this week for his 6-month heart check. His VSD has actually got a little smaller – which is great news as has never shrunk in size since we have been having these check-ups. And the consultant was happy. She still wants to see him in 6-months’ time as his left ventricle is still not back to normal (has always been enlarged) but nothing to worry about. Hole may still close on own but if not, she said it was unlikely they would ever need to intervene and he will go on to live a normal life. Which is such a relief. You sit in that waiting room and even though I felt quite confident he would be okay, you look around and see some really poorly babies. And it breaks your heart. And you realise how lucky you are.
We went last week for a fetal echocardiogram to check baby number 2’s heart – and all looks well. The consultant said, although they can sometimes miss small holes, she was confident all was well with this baby’s little heart – and kept saying ‘beautiful’ which was reassuring. And so good to see baby again! My husband was there for the scan which was lovely as he missed the 20-week scan. Still didn’t find out sex but I’m still certain it’s a boy. But we will see….
At the heart appointment this week, when Rafe was weighed, he had dropped on the centile chart. Has mostly been on the 50th centile or above but had dropped to under the 25th and noticed he was actually not far off his weight when he was 12-months. (His height is average.) Naturally I had a nervous-breakdown but the consultant said it was nothing to do with his heart and to speak to GP/dietician. She said it was common for toddler’s weight to drop – and also he’s been poorly on and off for months so his weight has naturally been yo-yoing when off his food, or being fussy – but he’s not a bad eater when he is on top form. He loves his food – though still fussy at times. I just felt so guilty as I could obviously see he wasn’t this big chubby baby anymore, but he doesn’t look under-weight and he does have a balanced diet. But like I said, naturally I felt so guilty and blamed myself. (Hormones/being a mum). So I spoke to my health visitor and she asked about his diet and wasn’t concerned but said she would come and weigh him next week and go from there. But since all this, the allergic reaction happened so don't know whether it's all connected. But just before I start google panicking again, anyone else been through a similar experience and has advice on what foods to help Rafe put on some weight?
So yeah, what a fucking week.
Till next time,
Update: Been in hospital with Rafe since 3am. He started to struggle with his breathing so have been given steroids and told to go back on the inhaler for a few days as was most likely the viral wheeze again. So reaction and this I presume is all connected? I also mentioned Rafe’s weight and we are being reviewed to an out-patient clinic, so at least that will skip out all the referrals that may have come about after seeing the health visitor. Nightmare bloody weekend! And makes some of the other worries seem trivial but guess it's just been one of those weeks.
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.