Formula Recall (12w1d)

Similac has recalled a bunch of their powdered formula due to possible contamination with bug parts and larvae.

We found out about this at 8:00pm tonight. The Similac/Abbott website listed in the press release is down due to being SLAMMED with traffic. The phone number they reference for 24/7 help (800-986-8850) is busy for hours. (This all hit the news at noon today.)

The Internets told us that our two plastic containers were on the recall list because they both had “T2” in their lot numbers. So at 9:30 I went off to Target to return the half-used container to get some liquid concentrate formula – which isn’t affected by the recall. We’re holding onto the empty (as of Monday) container that is also a ‘T2’ lot for the refund process.

Paul was able to get a hold of a very harried PR/PIO girl at the Abbott Corporate headquarters at 9:45pm tonight who reluctantly confirmed that yes, any lot number that includes “T2” is on the recall.

This probably explains why Kieran has been unusually fussy, EXTRA gassy and somewhat fitful since Saturday (his 2nd day on the first container of recalled formula.) His diapers have gone from not smelling at all (or smelling like prunes) to being fairly horrible. He’s had the closest thing to a diaper rash that he’s ever had – his little bum is red and the tiniest bit warm. My poor little guy.

Paul and I are both so mad we could spit at this. Not sure if we should be more mad at Similac or the FDA or what…. but we feel like somebody let us down.

I just hope that Kieran’s little system is able to flush out whatever has been irritating it so much for the last few days once we get him on some clean formula. We’re hesitant to switch brands after the hell it was to get him on something that worked – so for now we’ll stick with the liquid concentrate stuff.

(As a total aside…. if any new mamas are reading this and have Similac coupons or rebate checks they’re willing to trade – I’ve got a grip of Enfamil and Gerber rebate checks I’d be willing to trade for Similac ones.)

Two Months! (8w1d)

Where has the time gone? I can’t believe Kieran is already two months old. And yet, it seems like so long ago that I was pregnant…. WAY more than 2 months.

Today we went to the pediatrician for Kieran’s Well-Baby visit and his first vaccinations.

Length: 22″ (10-25%) [up from 20″ at his 1mo appt]
Weight: 10lb 3oz (10-25%) [up from 9lb8oz 13 days ago: a better, slower rate of gain]
Head Circumference: 40cm (50%) [up from 37.5cm at his 1mo appt]
Vaccines: Hep B, Polio, DTaP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, & Pertussis/Whooping Cough), Hib (Meningitis), PVC13 (Pneumococcal disease), and Rotovirus

We discussed a couple of things with Dr. Hodapp –

  • Constipation: We were thinking about this as an acute condition, when we need to be thinking about it (and treating it) as a chronic condition. So it’s diluted prune juice twice a day for the foreseeable future. Dr. Hodapp assures us that it’s not hurting Kieran to have the juice, even though he understands our concern about him having that much sugar at this young age. Juice is what fixes normal baby constipation, so that’s what we’ll stick with. Dr. Hodapp says that it’s more than likely not any of Keiran’s formulas that are causing the constipation, as we’ve continued to have a stopped-up baby across three difference formulas now. (And HALLELUJAH, we don’t need to be sticking with a formula for 2 weeks to see if it helps. Dr. Hodapp said if we don’t see a big change within 2-3 days, we’re not gonna see one.) Apparently like gassiness, constipation just happens, and as long as the usual remedies work there’s nothing to be concerned about. So this means we can dump the soy formula and it’s horrible toots, poots, and possible hormonal side effects. Hooray!
  • Gas: Nothing we can do. DANGIT. All the home remedies we want to try are fine. But all infants are gassy for the first three months at least, and ours just seems to be particularly so. Again, formula doesn’t really make that big of a difference according to Dr. Hodapp. So we’re welcome to try whatever we want in that regard.
  • Reflux: Got a new prescription for the Zantac which has worked wonders for our little guy. Dr. Hodapp confirmed that we were correct to up his dose on our own 10 days ago because Kieran had put on so much weight. Our new prescription is written at a better dosage, and Dr. Hodapp predicted that Kieran would outgrow the reflux before the prescription needed to be re-written again.
  • Dr. Hodapp assures us that we’re doing fine, and Kieran is thriving like crazy – so whatever we’re doing at home is working and to keep it up. He was pleased to hear that Kieran is smiling, following objects with his eyes and reaching for things in front of his face. Developmentally, he’s right on target for his actual age, and physically he’s doing just great. He’s surprisingly strong and able to hold his head up to look around for longer than expected at this age.

    Kieran is sleeping longer at night, but certainly not through the night yet. We usually get a 4-hour stretch starting around 7:00pm, and a couple of 3-hour stretches after that if we’re lucky. Unfortunately, he’s taken to waking up for the day around 5:00am and cannot be persuaded to take a nap much before 10:00am. Paul is suffering greatly with this, because he gets stuck with this early-morning shift. It doesn’t help that Kieran’s natural fussy time seems to be first thing in the morning (as opposed to around dinner time for most babies.) We’re hoping that as we get a better handle on the constipation that Kieran won’t wake up so fussy.

    Kieran is learning to love the swing and bouncer. He just this week noticed the mobile above the swing for the first time. His slack-jawed amazement was too cute for words. Having somewhere we can put him where he can be entertained and soothed by the motion is very nice when we just can’t pace and bounce him anymore. This week we’ll set up his IKEA baby gym with it’s plushy play mat and overhead crossbeams with dangling toys. We’re transitioning into more of an ‘entertain the baby’ household as Kieran’s attention span has grown and he’s now able to engage with us for longer periods of time.

    I’ll be returning to work full time on September 13th. I’ll be in the office from 8:30-2:00 four days a week, working from home the balance of the day and all day on Wednesdays. I’m grateful to my supervisors for having such an open mind to a flexible schedule. Of course, this arrangement will be reviewed regularly to make sure it’s working for everybody, but if nothing else it will help us transition into a different schedule. Currently I’m working part-time from home with occasional office days. It’s been a good way to ease into Paul having charge of Kieran for longer periods of time while I’m working. I’m not looking forward to leaving my boys, but this is what’s necessary for our family. I have 1000% confidence in Paul though, which makes it a little easier. And it sure beats daycare, that’s for sure.

    But for now, we are enjoying our little boy every moment. He is the light of our lives. Our little miracle.

    A Saturday Morning Bathtime, 8/5/10Looking at that other Mama and Baby in the mirror! (2mo)

Returns… (8w3d)

There have been lots of returns recently. Mostly in the form of various types of formula as we struggle to find something that works for Kieran. We’ve tried regular formulas from Similac, Enfamil, Costco and Target. We’ve tried the “gentle” versions of formula from Similac, Enfamil and Target. Now we’re back on Soy, using the last of our sample from Similac. (I’m about to go out to Target to get a container of their Soy formula.)

I am SO thankful for easy return policies on formula, although I do feel bad returning an open container, knowing it can’t be used by anyone.

Initially we were looking for something to help settle the incredible amount of (apparently) painful gas Kieran has. He’s been gassy literally since he was born, so we’re trying to find a formula that won’t exacerbate the situation. It’s so hard to see him so uncomfortable. (The clothes we’re sending to Paul’s sister for her shortly-due baby all have worn spots from rubbing Kieran’s tummy so much.) But it seems that the “gentle” formulas actually made the situation worse by constipating Kieran. (I felt horrible when it dawned on me that 4 days of easy-clean poops were actually constipation getting worse and worse.) We’ve pretty much got him regular again with judicious use of prune juice (good lord, that stuff is powerful and unaffected in any way by digestion!) But we don’t want to have to constantly spike his bottle with juice, ya know? So we’re trying Soy formula again to see if possibly he’s lactose intolerant. It’s seeming to help the constipation, but not the gas.

And yeah, we’ve got (Little Tummies brand) Gas drops and Gripe Water… neither of which seem to help all that much. Suggestions on other remedies are greatly appreciated.

The other return this week was a hard one: the Breast Pump. I took it back 6 weeks early. (We’d done a pre-paid 3-month rental through early October for the lower fees.) It just wasn’t working. I was drinking my lactation tea, and taking my supplements (none of which were cheap, btw) and it just wasn’t seeming to help. Was it really worth it to spend the money on supplements and rentals, to spend nearly an hour each time hooked up to the thing to get less than an ounce of milk? (And the milk looked more and more like just foremilk anyway.) Seeing that pump on it’s little table next to the couch all the time was just a constant reminder to me of my failure. The guilt I had every time I sat down to do anything and wasn’t hooked up to the pump was really wearing me down.

So Paul and I talked about it (I cried about it, again) and we decided that it wasn’t worth the emotional pain to me to keep trying for such diminishing returns. I could barely get 2 ounces a day (most days it was 1oz or less total) for all my trying – and Kieran is currently sucking down 25-30oz a day. The little I could eek out was barely a drop in the bucket.

He got the colustrum at the beginning. He got as much milk as he and I could coerce out of me for the first 2-3 weeks. I have to believe that was enough, that he got the benefits from that little amount. I have to believe that, because I have to forgive myself, because I have to move on. I told Paul I needed his permission to stop trying, and after a long pause, he gave it.

End of an era, or something. I’m off to Target now to buy a full-size container of Soy formula so we can really see if Soy is the answer for us right now. Kieran seems to be over his constipation, but is still gassy as all get out. But he is thriving and growing like a weed. And in the end, that is all that matters.