Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Formula: goes in a lot easier than it comes out

The Ninja took his first trip to the witch doctor last week. Keeping with the Things Seattle People Do theme, it is also required that everyone have at least one alternative healer on staff. This alternative healer can be in the form of a naturopath or masseuse (beginner Seattleite), acupuncturist (you're getting there), or reiki master or rolfer (head of the class; come pick up your Subaru Outback). Since Finn is only five months old, we're still in the beginner stages and have only gone so far as to engage a naturopath to complement his regular doctor.

I buy into the tenets of naturopathy. It seems like common sense medicine; treat the system and not the symptom. If your tires keep going flat, rather than returning over and over again to get them patched, it probably would be smarter to stop driving through the Broken Glass & Nails Factory. I'm not a big picture man, though, and I've got a real hankering for indulging myself. It just so happens that the Broken Glass & Nails factory has the best pale ale in town, so I'm back at the tire repair shop often.

With this working against me and with Kitty's tendency to allergy, it probably makes sense that we get the kid into the alternative healer community ASAP. At this point, we're focused mostly on environmental allergens - specifically food. Kitty is allergic to everything in the "Delicious" food group, which includes dairy. Since we are now on formula for most of our feeding, and since most formulas include dairy, we wanted to get him checked out.

Not all formulas contain dairy. For the first few months, we splurged on super-hypo-allergenic formulas, but those run $25/can or ~$300/month and smell like a seeping septic tank. That's no good. We went to a soy-based formula, but that resulted in some weird green diapers. We then figured we'd go with the dairy, which worked relatively well. It didn't smell like raw sewage and was affordable, which were pretty much our only two criteria at the time. But he threw it up a lot and started waking up every half-hour during the night. The throwing up I can handle, the waking up I cannot. We finally found a nice organic, lactose-free formula that was only half the price of the hypo-allergenic stuff and that actually tasted OK and didn't result in any additional vomiting.

In fact, it didn't result in any waste removal for a good 3-4 days leading up to Labor Day weekend. We headed back up to the cabin for the weekend, so it was in the beautiful scenery of Mount Baker that I feel that we truly became parents. On Saturday morning, the little guy's poop chute was 3 cm dilated with 4 days worth of backed up and dried out poop and it was not moving. We tried sweet talking it, spraying water on it, chipping off pieces of it and squeezing his hips to pop it out, but nothing worked. Needless to say that he was not pleased with the situation. All of his crying and struggling to push eventually tired him out and he fell asleep with his little concrete turtle still poking its head out. While he slept, I ran down to the country store to score some chamomile tea and prepared for the worst.

An enema. With chamomile tea. Apparently, it's soothing no matter which end you put it in.

We brewed the tea, we prepared the room (lots of plastic) and we repurposed his favorite nasal bulb syringe (won't be putting that one back in them nose holes any more). When he finally woke up, we geared up and got ready for battle, but something was wrong. He was smiling. A quick check of his drawers confirmed that he had passed the Diaper Rock of Gibraltar in his sleep. Crisis averted. But needless to say, he was back on the dairy. I'd rather get thrown up on every half hour 24-hours a day than deal with that again.

So while we await the final verdict from the naturopath, we're hedging our bets and alternating his bottles between dairy and lactose-free. Hopefully, the nappie boulder was just a result of our having rushed his system into taking a new formula and is not indicative of something else.

In the meantime, here's a pic of the boy chowing down on some sure-to-be-constipating rice cereal in his super fancy, Swedish high chair. I'd hate to have to put it in hock just so we could keep him in formula that tastes like toilet water.

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