Why oh why do I have to drug my three year old to help him sleep? Earlier on Jack was so itchy that we had a night time routine of giving him baking soda baths and smothering his skin with lotion-non-scented for sensitive skin lotion. The aveeno went out the window when we found out that Jack was allergic to oats. But the daily bathing with the cream still was not enough. So we had to resort to the benadryl. It helped initially to get him to go to sleep and I think it helped with the itching.
I returned to work when Jack was eight months old. It helped to get my brain off Jack's pain but it also made for early mornings after the night's were still pretty rough. I decided not to go back to labour & delivery because it was just way too stressful. I needed to take a less stressful job to keep my sanity. Whatever sanity I had left. Apparently tele triage-telephone nursing is incredibly stressful. They rate tele-triage as stressful as air traffic controlling. We get all sorts of calls including people that are having chest pain, newborn concerns, fever, injuries, vomiting, diarrhea, plus many other callers including suicidal callers so you really don't know what you are going to get.
Of course nothing could go smoothly with Jack. He really loved breastfeeding. I think the breast provided so much comfort. The breast boy is what we should call him. He would not take the bottle so we went straight to the sippy cup but he just wanted to breastfeed all night long. Now remember with Jack's allergies I needed to eliminate all of his foods. They weren't just his allergies, they were now my allergies too. Great way to be on a diet although I didn't need to lose anymore weight. In fact I was already under my pre-pregnancy weight already and looking pretty thin. I craved anything with milk in it. I just wanted a frappuccino, chocolate milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream...anything with milk but I knew the consequences would be more sleep deprivation. Nothing more motivating than that...to stick to the diet plan.
It wasn't until Jack was 18 months old when we cut off the breastfeeding. My health was really starting to suffer. I had a stretch of ten days off over New Years so I thought I would bring in the New Year without breastfeeding. Dave started the eliminating of breastfeeding when I was working evenings. I came home and refused to breastfeed but then I would nurse him at 4am. Then I was home in the evening and continued to eliminate the breastfeeding. He really is an all or nothing kid. I had practically been nursing him as much as a newborn...every three hours until he stopped breastfeeding. I wanted my body to have a chance to adjust although my body was so tired I don't think it was really producing that much milk anymore.
So what do you give a child with a cow's milk allergy? The pediatrician suggested a formula called Neocate. It is terribly expensive and of course you cannot get it in Calgary. We had to order it online from Montreal. The expense of the formula nearly killed us as we were just getting back on our feet after my maternity leave. Weaning Jack was the best thing for me. I just had to cut him off!
Thankfully Jack's skin healed with the right dermatologist's creams so we eliminated the benadryl. But Jack continued to wake up screaming in pain. We had eliminated the reflux medication a while back because he didn't seem to be throwing up anymore. One night it just came to mind that he could be silently refluxing and the gastric juices could be going up his esophagus and burning the esophagus. We started him back on the prevacid and that certainly made a huge difference.
Now we had this kid that never learned to put himself back to sleep. Jack never laid down in his crib and never settled himself. Have we created a monster? I don't think that the doctor ever thought of how the pain would effect Jack psychologically.
People looked at us like first time parents. We didn't know what we were doing. It was our fault that Jack didn't sleep. We were spoiling him. They totally overlooked that we already had two great sleepers. Really got my goat!
We found a bedtime routine that worked for Jack but to actually keep him asleep was nearly impossible. He was treating us like his teddy bears. He liked to twirl our hair in his fingers and kneed his gut for comfort (in other words hump) as he was falling asleep.
We resorted to melatonin because he just wasn't settling on his own. He would have been up for hours and hours. We went to a naturopath next and she suggested adding GABA to the melatonin. The melatonin helped him fall asleep but the GABA helped his brain settle down and he would stay asleep for longer. He never slept the whole night through but it definitely improved the nights. The doctor's approach was just another bandaid. He suggested another antihistamine but I refused to give him that. At least the melatonin is a natural sleep aide.