Thursday, March 29, 2012

Formula, Diaper Rash & Constipation Frustration

I'm so excited and happy to announce...we had another night of 7 hours of sleep! Woo hoo! Sorry, had to get that out there.

I honestly think that the sleeping longer all stems from switching formulas. I've learned that one of the toughest things about formula is finding the right kind that suits your child. This is one of the main reasons I'm still pumping.

We started using Similac Advance, which was one of the samples given by our pediatrician. This seemed to be working fine, and we had absolutely no constipation with it (Brody was producing at least 5-7 soiled diapers a day). We did, however, have absignificant amount of spit up with this brand.

The number of stool-filled diapers Brody was producing a day seemed normal to me because that's how much he'd been pooping since he was born. However, I was having a major issue with his diaper rash (and also tiny bleeding under his scrotum from irritation) and diaper creams really weren't cutting it. My expert googler of a husband, researched and thought we weren't leaving diapers off long enough to air out the irritated area. So, we were tried everything to fix it. We left his diapers off for an hour at a time (after his nightly bath) and kept him wrapped in a towel, we'd tried Butt Paste, Butt Aid, Desitin (not a recommendation by the way), Baby Powder, Vaseline and even corn starch (this usually works according to my sister and grandma and there is even baby powder with corn starch in it apparently). But nothing seemed to completely heal it; they'd make it appear like it was getting better for a few diaper changes, and then it'd be red, irritated  and bleeding again.

Anyway, because of his spit up we decided to switch to Similac Sensitive for Spit-Up.

Within the first day of using this formula, Brody went 12 plus hours without a bowel movement. Being the worrier I am, I began to fret that he'd get a tummy ache and the constipation would worsen. Although I figured the formula switch might constipate him until his body got used to it, the drastic change from 5-7 soiled diapers a day to not producing one in a solid 12 hours didn't sit right with me.

I immediately wanted to switch back to Similac Advance. But I fed him breast milk, hoping he'd poop soon after digesting it, and within two hours he produced a thick, muddy-like dirty diaper (this is another reason why I love breast milk worked like a charm!).

We saw Brody's pediatrician Tuesday and discussed our butt/scrotum issues and formula and constipation problems. She told us that since he's over a month old, he may only produce a stool-filled diaper once a day or once every few days depending on his body and routine. "His pooping will start to slow down at this point," she said. And in the two days we switched formula, his butt rash completely healed  (obviously from the lack of pooping) and we haven't had any issues since.

According to Similac's website, supplementing with formula will cause changes in your baby's behavior: "If your baby refuses the breast, eats faster, goes longer than usual between feedings, or does not pass stool after a few days, don't be overly concerned — these changes are common and do not always signal a problem."

Going through some Similac samples I'd gotten from the hospital, I found reading material on baby stools. (This might be gross to people who don't have kids yet, but you quickly learn in the hospital the color of the stools and what your child is producing in their diapers lets you and the doctors know everything is functioning properly! Also once it's your kid, it changes the way you think about changing diapers or at least it did for me.)

The info had some images of different baby stools. I soon realized I was mistaking his formula stools--they were actually more like diarrhea. Brody was producing a lot of watery-looking stools (not overly watery because they were still yellow and seedy), but because I knew formula stools were different from breastfed stools, I thought it was normal.

My poor baby had diarrhea (off and on) for a solid week and a half, maybe even longer, which caused the irritation on his butt and under his scrotum, and maybe even some dehydration. The dehydration might also explain him waking up every 2-3 hours and his vigorous and sometimes difficult feedings where he'd act like he'd never eaten before! Now that he's staying fuller longer, he's sleeping longer, keeping mom and a dad a little more sane, and his butt rash has completely healed. He seems to be a very happy little baby!

So for especially new moms and all moms out there, here's a link to Similac's Diaper Decoder. Click the stool that looks most like your child's and get info on why it appears the way it does! It should help put an ease to worried moms and assure you that you're baby is ok.

I hope this was knowledgeable and other new moms learn from my experience!

Wishing all babies to be rash- and constipation-free,