It’s always hard to know where to start when you’ve abandoned your blog for awhile, but I figured I’d start with what has taken up the majority of our time lately: Nahum’s guts.
Around three months old, we started to see specks of blood in Nahum’s stool every few days, then it increased to every day, then every time he had a bowel movement. Sometimes it would be nothing but mucous and blood coming out. Imagine our distress! He’s had foul-smelling, green, mucousy poop since he was about 7-8 weeks old, but the doctor and public health nurse shrugged it off at the time. We now know that was likely the start of his problems (or it could even have been earlier than that; he seemed to have tummy pain when he was very small).
A visit to the doctor revealed a likely diagnosis of Allergic Proctocolitis, or Food Protein Induced Proctocolitis of Infancy, which most often affects breastfed babies (it is a reaction to food proteins passed through the mother’s breast milk). The doctor told me to cut out milk products, which is the most common antigen, and come back to see her when we returned from vacation. I cut out soy at the same time (usually one goes with the other in these cases), but it soon became apparent that there was much more to the picture. We stumbled on his biggest antigen by mistake; we’d eaten a load of corn and corn products all week and Nahum’s poor little body was freaking out. It wasn’t hard to guess what the issue was, so farewell to corn. Chicken and eggs we cut soon after (guess what chickens eat a lot of?) and, finally, we recently realized that quinoa does a real number on him too (you can thank my love of leftovers for us figuring these things out easily; when we ate the same things three or four days in a row and Nahum’s body responded for three or four days, it made things pretty easy!) The good news is that most babies grow out of this condition by around a year or at least within the first three or four years, so he likely won’t deal with this well into childhood. Thankfully, we were able to sort a lot of this out relatively quickly and, though it took a solid month for the corn to leave my system, Nahum is now doing great! We haven’t seen blood in about two weeks and his stools have seemed pretty normal. We are SO relieved.
I think the hardest part about all this, other than the stress of not knowing what was happening and whether this was a more serious condition or not, has been figuring out how to cook without using milk, soy, poultry, eggs, or corn (quinoa is not as difficult to avoid). Corn is the most difficult of all to avoid since it is not required to be listed as an allergen and is hidden in all kinds of names, like citric acid. Read the label on pretty much every product in the store and you’ll see why I make all of our food from scratch now. A reaction can come from the smallest contamination (kind of like gluten for a person with celiac), so I have had to rethink the way we eat entirely!
Now imagine never being able to eat out (or to be putting a LOT of trust in the kitchen staff if you do), and having to make the time (out of thin air, it seems) to do all of that prep and cooking while raising a baby. And you have no family in town to help, your friends mostly have their own kids to raise, and your husband frequently travels for work. I spend nearly all of my time caring for Nahum, cooking/baking, or cleaning. Time to myself is at a premium, so I enjoy it to the full when it presents itself (some friends can’t understand why I don’t make plans with them, and it is 100% because I need that time to recharge!)
This obviously affects me physically almost as much as Nahum, as I have had to adjust my diet so drastically. The silver lining, and the reason for the title of this post, is that our eyes have been opened where it comes to what we eat. I have cleaned up my diet big time and my health has improved because of it. I have lost so much weight (goodbye, pie) that I am down to the size I was before my first pregnancy (though, let’s face it, babies forever change our shape; mama still has “wobbly bits,” as Bridget Jones would say).
So that is a big part of what has been going on! Other than that, our little guy turned six months old a few days ago (I can’t believe it myself). He is such an adventurous, inquisitive little goofball. We so enjoy watching him learn and develop his personality.