We’re still on a whirlwind tour of family homes for the holidays (I’ll be writing about how that went in a later post), but we managed to squeeze in Avery’s 4 month well-baby visit (dr. appt) between trips out of town.
I went in with a laundry list, and got a lot of great answers.
- Earwax build-up. She has been getting dark, hard chunks of earwax building up in her ears. The first time I noticed it I thought it was an earwig (a nasty, pinchy bug) nestled deep down in her ear and I freaked out. Anyway, the dr. reassured us that it was normal, but since she has been pulling on her ears lots we could try a drop of olive oil in each ear before bed and the earwax buildup would slide right out. In terms of chosing an oil to use he said “anything from the kitchen, nothing from the garage”. I thought that was a handy tip. Anyway, it worked amazingly. In the morning there was a big chunk of dark wax stuck to the side of her head.
- Infrequent pooper. The longest stretch had been 5 days without a poop, but she was often 3 days between. The dr. said this was nothing to worry about as long as she was peeing lots still and the poop consistency hadn’t changed too much. When I asked a telehealth nurse about this issue earlier she said a breastfed baby can go up to 2 weeks without a poop and there be no concern, after about 3 months of age. So I guess we’re those lucky ones who don’t have to change a poopy diaper very often! Definitely happy we chose to use cloth diapers with this kid.
- Eczema. Her eczema has been a bit better now that I’m 3 weeks into a cow’s milk protein allergy diet, but she still seems to have brief flare ups caused potentially by stress and/or polyester clothing. She was head-to-toe red rash when we took her clothes off at the doctor’s office, but it was gone when we got home. If I try to moisturize with a store bought eczema moisturizer during a flare up, she screams in pain because it stings. It’s horrible. I now mix coconut oil and shae butter together and use that and it fixes the scaley skin better than anything else we’ve tried, and soothes her rather than irritates her. The doctor gave advice about the 1% corticosteroid ointment. He said not to be afraid to use it if it’s going to make her skin feel better. He explained that the risks associated with continued steroid use are delayed growth, but that those risks were only identified in children who use a lot of powerful oral steroids (e.g. asthma inhalers), and those children end up reaching the same growth milestones as non-steroid users, just a little delayed. He said it would be extremely unlikely for us to see any side effects from using a 1% topical steroid. So I can feel OK about using it two or three times a day for 7 days, then give a day or two break, and start using it again. I had been using it very sparingly but now I’ll use it before she flares up too badly.
- Nodules at the base of her skull. Apparently these are lymph nodes and it’s ok to feel them once in a while as they develop. If you feel all of the lymph nodes are a bit swollen (back of head, under jaw, armpits) at the same time, get a dr. to check it out.
- Vaccines. These boosters were the same as her 2 month shots. The rotovirus was a liquid in the mouth that she kind of liked, and the rest were done in 2 injections that she didn’t like. I asked if I could hold her this time and the (different) nurse said no, she needed to be on the exam table. I got upset and my wife (who was thankfully in attendance this time) took over baby duty. I sat back in a chair and cursed everyone and ached for it to be done so I could hold her. Again, this was a far worse experience for me than for Avery. She was a champ and only cried for a minute or two. This time she was really fussy for 12 hours after though, whereas last time she got a fever and slept for 24 hours. We couldn’t put her down at all for the rest of the day or she’d cry.
We also got a handout about starting her on solid foods, but we’re nowhere near ready for that yet so we set it aside. That’s pretty much it! Our baby is healthy and we’re starting to get a handle on the eczema. Good news all-around. I think we’re getting better at not panicking so much about her well-being, but let’s see if we can make it till the 6 month well-baby visit without our usual panicked call to Telehealth or visit to the walk-in clinic. 😉