It's been a long time since we've had a baby in our home (2 years). It's been an even longer time since we've had a baby girl in our home (4 years). Needless to say, over the past week we've been savoring the experience that only a baby girl can bring into a home. Of course, I would be lying if I said that every moment with Rose has been pure bliss. A new baby in the house means, among other demands, middle of the night feedings and it's a tiring adjustment to have to make all of the sudden.
In addition, Rose has some problems with colic and acid reflux so I've had to experiment to see which burping position is most comfortable for her and exactly how much and how often she needs to be fed, and which formula (since she just changed formulas) and which medicines (fortunately she only has two) work best for her. It sure would be convenient if foster babies came with detailed notes from their parents of when they eat, how much they eat, when they sleep, how much they sleep, how best to soothe them, etc. but the sad fact is, especially if a baby or child is coming from a situation of neglect, there may not be any "norm" or routine at all when it comes to when and if they get fed or if they've been cared for at all. It's pretty much a guessing game of trial and error for the foster parent. Having said that, here's what I've discovered regarding Rose's care:
-She has to eat much more often than every four hours- more like every two or three since when she does eat she ends up spitting half of it back up.
-She prefers a to be held in a football hold- face down, with pressure on her stomach-after she's eaten or when she's particularly fussy- rather than the more traditional over-the shoulder, upright position.
And here's a couple of things I re-learned based on my past experiences in caring for colicky babies, particularly Christian*, who was a perpetual "Niagara Falls":
-Sometimes it's more comfortable for the baby who spits up frequently (or who has a stuffed up nose) to be placed back to sleep in their car seat- in an elevated, upright position- rather than back down in their crib.
I remembered the car seat technique when, during middle of the night feedings, I would finally get Rose to sleep or calmed down and as soon as I would place her face up in her bassinette she would become uncomfortable and fussy and prone to wake up and/or spit up even more. If you don’t have a wedge pillow for reflux, a car seat or baby swing works pretty well, too.
-Acid reflux in babies equates with going through multiple changes of outfits, bibs, burp cloths, and blankets throughout the day . . . and consequently, having much more laundry.
I invested in some Dreft laundry detergent. What can I say? I love the smell!
Rose is so tiny that although she is already two months old, she looks and weighs (7 pounds) the same size as a newborn. It's amazing how many outfits a little one with acid reflux can go through! She came with only a few changes of clothes and I realized, because of her excess spitting up, that they would definitely not be enough for her. Since Rose will only be with us for a short time and we won't be given an Initial Placement Clothing Allowance I dragged a bin out of storage full of our daughter's old baby clothes. Oh the memories that come with looking through your children's old baby's clothes! Even some of our daughter's old 0-3 month clothes were far too big for Rose, so I resorted to using some of our daughter's old preemie clothes.
Some medications for colic just cause diarrhea. Thank you, oral Zantac! Very counterproductive- it may keep their food from coming out one end- but certainly not the other.
I also bought some Gripe Water which I’ve never used before, but I’m willing to give it a try. What I like about it is that since it’s not over the counter but a natural mix of ginger and fennel, it can be given as often as 6 times in 24 hours. What I don’t like about it is that it needs to be refrigerated, so you can’t take it with you if you’re out and about. In that case, colic tablets sound like a good choice- another thing I haven’t personally tried, but have heard mentioned.
*I attended a training a couple of months ago and when I sat near a familiar looking foster mom I recognized her as the woman who did respite care for me one day a couple years ago when I was sick. After talking to me at a break and making the connection she said- “Oh. . . you're the one with the foster baby who barfed a lot.” Not quite sure that’s how I want to be remembered in life, but Enough Said.