The Trouble With Lou

This is Lou.

Why yes, I did pee all over my clothes in the doctor's office.

If you look closely you can see that despite his preemie status, he’s a good-sized baby with chubby cheeks and thigh rolls galore. At well visits he outweighs his brother Gus by about five pounds.

Ironically, Louis is having some serious problems with one of life’s most basic skills: eating solid food. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. He can eat the food, but then his little body struggles to digest it. I started both the twins in Oatmeal. August was disinterested, Louie enthusiastic. That night, Louie screamed and writhed in pain.

I read about digestive issues and decided to skip grains, and go right to fruits and vegetables. Both the twins like fruits and vegetables, but again, Louie had a night of painful gas and screaming. Not fun. Not fun at all.

I guess I should recap a bit and mention that Louie has a history of not doing well with the whole digesting thing. When he was in the NICU, Louis had blood in his diapers and his bowel filled with gas. All the professionals were very confused because these were all signs of the very bad preemie complication, NEC. NEC usually presents in babies that are much more premature. It’s also very rare in breast-fed babies. Still, Louis’ bowels couldn’t keep up, and they suspended all food for a week. Louis was less than pleased by this development.

I know he’s not the best digester. I take a week off. I do some more reading. I read that ripe bananas are one of the easiest foods to digest. I go whole-hog and buy actual bananas instead of baby food since I have no way of knowing whether the bananas in baby food were “very ripe.”  We give the twins bananas. They are a HUGE hit.

That night Louis has a restless night, but he doesn’t seem to be in pain. TMI here, but his diaper the next day was a little sickly in appearance, but not terrible.

We repeat with bananas and have a better night. So, my kid can have bananas and that’s about it. I’m not sure what to think. Is his bowel too immature (he actual age is eight months, six and a half adjusted). Does he have food allergies of some sort? How important is it that an eight-month-old eat solid food?

I’m going to bring this all up with the pediatrician at our nine month checkup, but seriously, this a Sumo-sized baby–they are never going to believe that he has trouble eating!

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  1. Try poi. Its easy to digest.

  2. Granted I’ve never had a preemie but with all four of my kids I found that waiting an additional month or two beyond the recommended 6 months of age to start solids made an enormous difference. Hopefully Lou just isn’t ready yet but given a bit more time, his body will handle things better. Good luck. It’s especially hard when the baby likes to eat and is constantly wanting a bottle and begins night waking again.

    • I don’t mind bottle feeding at all! I don’t even mind night waking. We’ve improved Charlie’s sleep so much that I feel like I’m cheating. I hope waiting a bit longer will be the answer.

  3. Paulette says:

    Does he have eczema or any rashes? Just curious. I’m learning a thing or two about food allergies over here.

    • I am struggling to remember. It was a really mild winter, so even Charlie who is the Kind of Eczema didn’t do too badly, but I do think that Louis was showing some signs of it. I’ve been wondering about allergies. . .

  4. A friend of mine had a first child who had terrible food allergies to EVERYTHING. With her second, she had read that sometimes delaying solids can prevent some food allergies, so she tried it, breastfeeding round the clock instead. (He ended up being allergy free, incidentally, though who knows if that was why.) He didn’t get any solids until his first birthday, and was very healthy and happy and even a bit chubby.
    So, even if that happens with Louie, he’ll live! (You just might spend a LOT of time giving bottles…)

    • I’m really OK with the bottles thing–I’m not one of those moms trying to sneak cereal into the bottles of my itty, bitty baby. I figure a little extra sleep deprivation is worth it if my child has a lifetime of easier eating.

  5. MelissaInk says:

    My youngest is 6 months and change and has has rice cereal twice. Meh. I’m lazy about introducing solids … more mess, nastier diapers. Breastfeeding is so easy and tidy! She’s gaining weight just fine and never complains about being hungry … so, I think she’s fine. If Louie is doing fine on a bottle, then I think it’s fine to continue along with that till you talk it over with his doctor. Hang in there, Mama.

    • I’m lazy too, and my husband started getting on me about it. Louie is doing great on bottles, so that makes me even less interested. Only real problem is if he sees August getting food, he gets totally jealous.

  6. Oh man can I relate! When Cayman was a baby even breast milk made her gasy no matter what I did to change my diet. We gave her those infant gas drops before every meal. I couldn’t really tell if it helped though. Maybe took down the intensity of her tummy pain but not indefinitely. Her Naturopathic Doctor recommended EPN, a product made by Water Oz, which aids in all facets of digestion/enzyme function. It helped tremendously. Good luck, I hope it gets better for Louie.

  7. Gaining weight can be a sign of digestive problems, as can not gaining weight. I don’t understand it, and certainly couldn’t attempt to explain it….but I believe it has something to do with absorbing too much of the wrong nutrients, the body hanging on to whatever it can, since it can’t get everything it needs. Not sure if that makes any sense…. Good luck – babies with hurting tummies are so sad!

  8. Obviously we are in a different league over here, but just a little helicopter mom advice :-)

    CVS, Walgreens, etc. carry strips that can test for blood in the stool….if your curious before your next appt.

    I’m betting it’s just immature tummy troubles though.

    Bananas it is :-)

    • Yes, Holly, I think we are in slightly different leagues–you’re in the Pros! I may check for those strips. I haven’t seen anything unusual, but, of course, no one wants to stare at a dirty diaper either.

  9. I’m convinced bananas made my 7 mo old constipated… so watch out feeding them too many. The very ripe status may help though. Have you seen the Windi Baby Bottom Burper for relieving gas? Not sure it’s doc recommended. Good luck. We are dairy free here and it stinks.

  10. According to my investigation, billions of people in the world get the business loans at various banks. Hence, there’s a good possibility to receive a college loan in any country.

  11. We started Luca on solids a little past 6 mths. Luca started off with rice cereal and we stuck with that for a bit before moving on to the next food. Maybe Louie just needs some more time?

  12. my eldest daughter refused all solids and formula for the first 12-14 mths of life she was breast feed. She was also so roly poly 😀
    II doubt it would hurt if you hold off on solids.

    • From what I’ve read, being exclusively breast-fed until your first birthday is a good thing. I’m unsure if the same holds true for formula, but right now he’s doing OK with just some bananas here and there.

    • I have a friend whose son didn’t eat anything solid until he was over a year old. He just wasn’t interested. She tried everything because he was a big boy and was nursing a lot and she wanted a break (kid number 3…) So I agree it can be fine to hold off on solids longer. I was wondering about Celiac, though. Not sure of all the symptoms of this, but I think it is (relatively) easy to rule out. Just a thought.

  13. We know plenty of typical kids who didn’t do solids until after their first birthday….they skipped purees and went right to table foods. I would probably just hold off a bit before introducing anything new.

    Also, as someone else mentioned, watch for constipation – bananas are the B in the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast) recommended for kids with intestinal bugs to help dry things up.

    Good luck!

    • Hee! Don’t worry–after four plus years with a special needs child, I feel like the poop police some days. I’m always watching in and out–even if I don’t mean too!

  14. Gabriella says:

    It’s true that his body may just not be ready for solids just yet. Does he have (many) teeth yet? Usually, the real process of proper digestion of solids begins when children begin getting their teeth. Sounds like he needs some time regardless. I’m hoping the doctor gives you the same advice many are suggesting here from experience. Later, you may want to look into Ayurveda and all of the benefits on the digestive system. I have been exploring this for my son in the last 8 months, and I’m seeing a difference in his digestibility. Good luck!

  15. We had to hold off on giving Gabe solids for the same reason- gas and pain. Our pediatrician said that until 1 year old breastmilk or formula is the only thing they need and anything else is strictly for learning purposes and not for nutrition. Gabe is a little over a year now and still has a very finicky stomach but it is much better than it was.

  16. Kim Young says:

    My Charley came at 37 weeks and had all sorts of digestive issues. It wasn’t until she was 10 months old that she could digest anything other than Gentlease. Bananas were popular, so was apples and blueberries baby food. So this its normal and you are just probably going to have to go the frustrating route of trial and error. I would suggest trying the food in the morning so nights aren’t so rough.

  17. I never had these problems, but hopefully the doctor can give you some ideas and help.

  18. Just got caught up on your blog and I’m worn out. Girl you are busy! Glad the bananas working–maybe you can reintroduce the other foods just a teeny little bit at a time. I’m really interested to see what the doctor will say–I hope it goes well!

  19. My eldest was a 32+3 days and he was just so hungry, that I did start him on some baby rice at 4 months mixed with BM, and he loved it… and after a month or so on that I then started him on homemade apple puree and then banana’s. I too was wondering if it could be a sensitivity to gluten as some Oatmeal does still have gluten, if it’s grown next to a wheat field. On of my friends breastfed exlusively till 1 years old with hers and he was doing super.

    The issue I had with my eldest was gastric reflux, because of his prematurity… I’ve noticed that if they were premmie and say that they are likely to be a big guy, it improves when they grow… He’s now almost 9 and the reflux has gone. Greater distance to stomach to mouth! hooray!

    The only thing I found with baby jars and my premmie was when he was over 1 years old was that any tomato based ones which were a “meal” after 30 minutes he would throw up just the OIL! portion of the meal…

    I agree with the other ladies, maybe he’s not ready for solids yet… The best advice I got for weaning my premmie was, go for the most anti allergy inert foods that you can find… and take it super slowly :)

    Good Luck xox

  20. Could it be possible that he has milk protein allergy? It’s NOT lactose intolerance, it’s being allergic/not being able to digest the cow milk protein. (And soy wouldn’t help either – it’s been proven that if a baby has an allergic reaction to cow milk protein, they’re very likely to have the same reactiont to the soy protein.) So anything with this protein he would reject – and that includes breastmilk, if you’ve consumed anything with the milk protein because it gets passed through the breastmilk (it can take about 10 days for the protein to completely leave your body). Some of the symptoms of cow milk protein allergy are just what you described – blood in his stool, baby experiences pain (from irritated intestines), very gassy after feedings, so a lot of crying, being uncomfortable, rashes, wheezing, congestion (think cold symptoms), runny nose, etc.
    Also, regarding fruits – you should stay away from citrus fruits because their little tummies can’t handle the high level of acidity. Also, strawberries should be avoided until they’re at least 1 because it’s highly allergenic (high risk of being allergic). Other foods to avoid until they’re 1 because they’re highly allergenic: peanuts/peanut butter, chocolate, seafood (especially shellfish), eggs.

    Another note – there have been recent studies that actually show introducing solids closer to 4 months reduces the chance of food allergies. But that doesn’t mean that your baby will be ready at 4 months.

    So if he is allergic to milk protein, what’s the solution? Well if you want to continue breastfeeding you would have to follow a STRICT elimination diet. Or, you can put him on a special amino acid based formula (like Elecare). (Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so basically, the protein in the formula, because mind you, baby formulas are made using cow milk protein, is completely broken down to amino acids, so the body won’t attack it.)

    Obviously, don’t do anything without consulting your pediatrician. I’m not a doctor, I’m just giving you the info I’ve learned from my experience – as you can probably tell, I went through this with my now 13 month old son – he had milk protein allergy and acid reflux, but once it was diagnosed he’s been fine and luckily he outgrew the allergy and hasn’t exhibited any other food allergies (whew!).

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps. If not Louis, maybe some other mom who is having similar issues.

    P.S. Check out this book – I think ALL moms should read this!!! – Colic Solved: The Essential Guide to Infant Reflux and the Care of Your Crying, Difficult-to- Soothe Baby by Dr. Brian Vartabedian. It was my and my LO’s lifesaver!!!!