Gastroenterology clinic appointment: an update

It’s been three months since we last saw Clara’s Gastro consultant, Dr Rodrigues, to check up on her progress.

For all of us, the focus was weight gain. Was she putting on weight? We’d all hoped she was at a faster rate than before. Whilst her weight had been going up, it was slow, the professionals wanted it to go up more. I’d built up a huge fear in my mind that it wasn’t working, something wasn’t working. I’d scared myself they might make a drastic decision like go back on PN. Realistically, I knew that wasn’t the case (she was still gaining weight!) but the fear of a huge change had started to scare me. I was getting obsessed. And worried.

Clara’s rotavirus dropped her down to 7.0kg at her sickest – but she now weighs a whopping 8.58kg! She’s on track – slightly above the centile she was tracking along before (25th corrected). And a whole kilo above what she was a month ago!

We can put her weight gain down to recognising her need to go dairy free (she’s now assumed as having Cows Milk Protein Allergy), adapting to a new hydrolysed prescription formula (Aptamil Pepti), measuring and upping her portion sizes, and snacking snacking snacking. In short – lots more calories inside her!

Purely out of habit I worried about her weight gain, despite her outputs being good – just a fear of history repeating itself. She always seemed to weigh less at the hospital than at the local weigh in clinics. I even tried sitting Clara on the kitchen scales in the morning so I could get a semi accurate idea of her weight before the public space of a hospital clinic. To my dismay, it just returned an error message!

Turns out we’d had nothing to worry about.

Over the last month I’d got into the habit of weighing Clara’s food after keeping a food diary for her for a week. It helped me to see how much she was eating, and then if she put on weight (or didn’t) I had a baseline to work from. Once I’d done it a few times for the same meal (eg cornflakes) I knew roughly what to aim for.

It made me realise she was eating less than she should be for her age. Now, I aim for 150-200g meals but she’ll easily eat a 230g portion of a ready made baby meal if necessary.

I’ve also actively increased her snacking. Clara will now snack between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner. She’ll eat a lot of homemade (sugar and dairy free) snacks, but she’ll also snack on baby puff snacks and bars if they’re available. In short she’s not fussy – but she’ll always eat the homemade cakes! Our homemade dairy free sugar free banana cake is a favourite – if you’d like the recipe pop a comment below or head over to our Instagram and you’ll see the full list of ingredients on the “Dairy free 1+ highlight”. Clara even helped me bake it this morning!

In line with her age, Clara has dropped her formula intake. She now has 400ml a day max. 150ml for breakfast, 150ml at night time. Anything in between is luck. Sometimes she’ll drink 50-100ml in the afternoon, sometimes she’ll drink 20ml mid morning. There’s no knowing! I offer 150ml four times a day though.

I was worried the drop in formula was going to have adverse effects – the last her Gastro team had heard she was drinking 6-700ml a day.

It’s easy to forget Clara can still follow normal developmental milestones.

But it’s worked. We’ll now not see her Gastro team until the middle of next year, all being well.

I’m starting to feel like we’ve got this.

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