Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chunky Monkey!

Ben and I had a busy day today. We spent the morning at my office. I was there to interview a prospective MT intern with the other music therapist, and Ben came along and was adored by my boss and co-workers! He slept in his infant seat through the interview and then woke up in a cuddly mood and was looking around the office with wide eyes.

This afternoon Ben had his 2 month checkup at the pediatrician's. He once again got the awesome "Star Wars" exam room, so while we were waiting for the doctor, I schooled him in TIE fighters vs. X-Wings and the coolness of the Millennium Falcon model hanging on the wall. It's probably still a little too monochromatic for him to really notice it, but you've got to start working on the really important things early! I also pointed out Darth Tater, which we have, and Spud Trooper, which we do not. (Hmm. I was not aware that there was also an Artoo Potatoo.)

The doctor was pleased with his health and progress so far, and he is developmentally on target with his newfound skills of tracking, social smiling and cooing. He still has strong head & neck muscles and started pushing himself up on his arms when the doctor put him on his stomach.

His stats at birth were:
Length: 20"
Weight: 8 lbs, 7.8 oz (7 lbs, 14 oz @ discharge)

His stats at two months are:
Length: 24.75" (95th percentile)- doc said he's about the length of a 4 month old!
Weight: 14 lbs., 8 oz. (97th percentile)
Head circumference: 40.8 cm (75th percentile)

He is certainly a chunky monkey, and the reflux obviously isn't hurting his intake. The pediatrician assured me that his weight is just fine, and as long as his length keeps up with his weight, they're not worried. He did say that Ben will probably be closer to 6 months when he rolls over (usually happens between 4-6 months) because chunkier babies usually take a little longer.

The acid reflux is improving, and his Zantac dose got increased slightly today due to his weight gain. Ben also got 4 vaccines today, 1 drink and 3 shots. He did great with the oral med and didn't cry too much with the shots. He definitely wasn't happy, but he was pretty easily consoled with some cuddling and a car ride. After his afternoon feeding, he was getting fussy, so I swaddled him and he is currently sound asleep in his crib. I will probably give him some more Tylenol when he wakes up to help with some of the soreness. His next scheduled checkup is at 4 months.

Catching up on photos

Selections from a backlog of Benjamin photos from weeks 6-8.

Meeting Uncle Kenny. Ben had been getting fussy, but calmed down as soon as Kenny held him!

Spending time with Grandma Jerry & Opa Herb:

Dave's parents' dog Brandy has been curious about Baby Ben. She sniffs him and comes over if he starts crying. She seems very protective of him.

We took a trip down to Dallas over Presidents' Day weekend to visit Dave's college friends and their families. Ben did very well and seemed to enjoy watching the other kids. Here's one of his smiles as the kids showed him their dinosaurs:

I originally knitted this blanket for my cousin Andi's daughter Phoebe, and Andi sent it to us for Ben to use when he was born so it could be a family blanket. He is modeling his flashy new "hot rod" shirt from the Clines and his rock star pants (they have a drum set & guitar on them that are difficult to see in this picture).

He is starting to take more notice of the stuff on his activity mat. He bats at it sometimes, but still hasn't quite figured out that his hands are attached to his body, so it's more of an accident if he actually hits something. Some days he'll hang out on it for 5 minutes before getting overstimulated, and some days I can put him on the mat for 15-30 minutes while I have my breakfast, and he'll just quietly look around and go through periods of excitement where he bats and coos.

Cuddling together yesterday after we read the beautifully illustrated John Denver books from Beth & Christian. They are especially neat because a) I love John Denver's music and b) the illustrator lives in German Village, a lovely area I enjoyed walking around when I lived in Columbus. It is also where Dave & I had our rehearsal dinner.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Reflux Sucks.

It's been kind of a long week at our house. Ben started getting fussier at the end of last week and crying during/after feedings over the weekend. I took him to the pediatrician on Tuesday and got the expected diagnosis of acid reflux. Basically, as I understand it, the muscle between the esophagus and stomach isn't mature in babies until about 6 months old, so it doesn't always close all the way, allowing stomach acid to come back up and irritate the esophagus. This makes for very unhappy babies who cry. Crying further exacerbates the irritated esophagus, so it sets up a vicious circle. Reflux usually shows up around this age, and lasts until about 6 months for most affected babies.

Ben is now on liquid Zantac twice a day; there are other meds available if this doesn't work, but the doc recommended starting with Zantac. Unfortunately, it takes 5-7 days to really see results, so while we've seen some decrease in Ben's crying episodes around feeding time, he is still uncomfortable and inconsolable at times. We have tried a variety of interventions to calm him down, with varying results, including:
  • Cuddling/rocking
  • Car rides
  • Walk in the stroller
  • Swing/bouncer
  • Singing
  • Reading
  • Carrying him in the Snugli front carrier
  • Swaddling
  • Playing piano
  • Bath (this was not well received!)

Hopefully the Zantac will kick in soon and make our little guy feel better! He really was unhappy about taking it at first but seems to be getting used to the taste and is much more cooperative. We also learned that it is much more effective to give him a little bit at a time rather than the whole 2 mL at once, which led to spitting out a good deal of it. Oops!

We also got confirmation that Ben is growing. Ben is a whopping 12 pounds, 13 ounces at 5.5 weeks, which is 95th-97th percentile! Both the doctor and nurse looked at his weight and said, "Well, obviously the reflux & spitting up aren't interfering with him eating!" They didn't measure his length, but the doctor commented that he looked long/tall as well. He goes back in for his 2 month appointment (and shots - yikes!) on the 26th, so we will see how he is measuring then.

Ben has started smiling a little, especially when I sing to him in the morning while I'm getting him dressed. I read a couple of books to him this morning after giving him his medication, and he was calm and attentive. He has also discovered the mobile in his Pack 'n' Play and can track the movement for several seconds with rapt attention. One of our week-by-week baby development books said something about babies no longer getting into the fetal position as much around this time. Ben has apparently not gotten this memo yet, as he frequently curls up into balls and other uncomfortable-looking positions. Note that in the following picture, that little khaki circle near his chin is actually his socked foot.