Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Warning: this post contains the words yeast, breast, and nipple. Just as a disclaimer :D
I've been battling the yeast, as you all know. Here is what seems to be working for us:

First, initial treatment:
-gentian violet in baby's mouth and on mother's nipples, once a day for 7 days
-Jack Newman's APNO (get the recipe for Rx here), applied to nipples after each feed until mother has been pain free for 7 days

Then it came back.
-Now I'm on Fluconazole, 400 mg initial dose and 200 mg twice a day after that, for 14 days (we are on day 3). This is the $300 stuff.
-baby gets suspension of Fluconazole, 3 mgs/Kilo (initial double dose), for 14 days
-airing breasts as much as possible
-soaking breasts in apple cider vinegar (approx 1/2 cup) diluted in warm water (approx 2 L) daily for about 20 minutes
-air dry
-pull open a gel capsule of probiotics (acidophilus and bifidus or whatever that second one is), mix with a few drops of water to create a paste, and apply to nipples with q tip. Don't wash off before next feeding, as baby's mouth and gut will benefit from probiotics and will also help clear up yeast infection of baby's mouth
-rub a small, pea sized amount of anti fungal cream (Myconazole is what I have--Nystatin is not recommended because most strains of yeast have developed a resistance to it) on nipples right before and right after each feed
-250 mg grapefruit seed extract orally, three to four times daily
-cut out refined sugar from diet
-stay away from hot tubs and baths

Here's hoping it goes away and STAYS away, this time...

I think the key may be this missing step I didn't have the first time around: boil all soothers (and/or bottle nipples etc) and breast pump daily for 20 minutes. I think what happened is that Riley's soothers re-infected us, so this is key. The reason I am being so aggressive with this is because I have had 4 years of chronic yeast infections so I know I am prone to them and have to be assertive to get rid of them. The last thing I want is a threat to our breastfeeding relationship...Riley's age is where breastfeeding gets less work and more enjoyable, so I was looking forward to things being easier, not more complicated!! Each month of breastfeeding (IME) gets easier and more enjoyable, and I always feel sort of bad for women who stop early because they toughed it out through the hard part and didn't get to reap the benefit of the more enjoyable part. The relaxed, cuddly part. Nutritional and immunological benefits do not disappear over time [most of you probably already know that, but I have had several women tell me that breastmilk has no nutrition after 6 months and that if you breastfeed longer than that, you are just doing it for yourself....fortunately they were relatives of Brent so I had emough social restraint not to pour forth diatribes or punch them....this was when Ayden was a baby], and the WHO, UNICEF, IBCLC board, and a bunch of other health and research minded groups who should really know best, recommend breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months and continuing until a minimum of 2 years of age.
The worldwide average age of weaning is 4 years old.
Breastfeeding toddlers is normal and beneficial and should be supported.
Humans at birth are the most immature of all mammals.
Based on surveys of lactation duration in mammals in the animal kingdom, humans 'should' breastfeed for an average of 7 years.

Update on baby led weaning (BLW) and Elimination Communication (EC)

Isn't it funny how we have to title everything? Like, we can't just be parents who like to cuddle their kids, we have to be Attachment Parents, and we don't just feed babies table food we do Baby Led Weaning, and etc. It's helpful to have a name for things, it just seems sorta compartmental. A bit funny! Anyways. I'm reeeeeeally loving BLW with Riley. We've had a few hiccups--namely, Riley sometimes gets too big a piece in his mouth and has actually puked to remove it a few times...which I would say is maybe us rather than BLW that is at fault. Once it was on cooked carrots, which I cut in half so they wouldn't be such a choking hazard, but I wanted to leave him big enough pieces to grab in his fist, but he just gagged on it and threw up because it was too big and maybe not the best idea. Or chunks of cracker, which he sucks on but sometimes bigger pieces break off and since it is a normal cracker and not a baby cracker that dissolves quickly, he has gagged on those too. But for the most part it has been really neat to see how Riley digs into mealtimes and joins in with us, because we model what to do and let him do his own thing with regards to food. It seems to really work. He loves soup, presumably because it is soft and has lots of flavour but generally is not overwhelmingly strong. The other night I made chicken pot pie (which, btw, was borderline inedible because the top came off the salt as I was shaking it above the pie filling...we've renamed it Salt Pot Pie...) and gave Riley a bowlful and he went to town: two fisted, couldn't get enough. Tonight I made chili (borderline inedible again, this time due to my lack of experience making chili, so I put tomato paste in which made it just a really thick lump of beans and meat that tasted like tomato) and gave him a bowl with no large chunks, and he went to town again, double fists, and got really mad at me when I tried to take away his bowl! Of course, he can't handle cutlery yet so I just let him use his hands. It's so great! I am holding off exposing him to dairy and to nuts so if we have a meal item containing those I just give him some of whatever else we're eating. Rice, steamed veggies, couscous (not a hit!), etc. If we are having an all-in-one meal with veggies cooked in the dish, he has cheerios. I also really LOOOOVE the high chair we have for him; it is wooden and has no tray, and pushes right up to the table. So he really fits right in just like his big brothers. So sweet! :)
Also, my friend commented that if a baby indicates a desire to eat before it is 6 months, it may be prudent to follow their lead and let them have solids before 6 months. Both Riley and Ayden indicated an interest in food at around 5 months. But babies' guts are physiologically different before six months, which makes an all milk diet the most appropriate and digestible diet during that stage in their lives; after six months the cells lining the gut knit themselves more tightly together, providing a stronger barrier between the gut and the outside world. Research surrounding infants' exposure to foods suggests that babies are on average less likely to develop food allergies if solids are not introduced until between 6 and 8 months of age. One recent study (one study does not a truth prove, but it was an interesting find) showed a correlation between waiting until 7 months to introduce solids and higher hemoglobin levels in the baby. The concern often cited with waiting past 6 months to introduce solids is that the iron stores a baby had at birth are exhausted by 6 months and breast milk is low in iron, so there is a concern that babies who are exclusively breastfed past 6 months may not get enough iron.
Well, the iron present in breast milk is tailor made for infant absorption. And this one study showed that waiting until 7 months to introduce solids actually increased the iron levels of the babies in that study. So I tend to lean towards waiting to introduce solids. I think both Ayden and Riley were ready to participate in mealtimes and were curious about eating, but not necessarily ready for food themselves. Early readiness to participate in mealtime MAY correlate with an early closure of the gut lining, but since I can't open their little tummies and check, I felt it prudent to wait. Well, this time I did. Ayden had solids a bit earlier--5 1/2 months, and I did the traditional infant cereal, puree your own baby food and the whole 9 yards. This time I found other ways for Riley to participate at mealtimes: he sat with us, he had a sippy cup with water, and we gave him baby cutlery and plates/bowls/cups to play with while we ate. This seemed to satisfy his desire to participate without introducing food rather early (in my opinion). I also read about one mom who froze breast milk in ice cube trays and mashed it up so her baby could 'eat' that at mealtimes in the month or so before she wanted to introduce solids but during which her baby was interested in joining in.
And then it was hilarious to me that when we did let Riley reach out for our food, he often recoiled or shuddered when he touched it for the first time! He still does that if food is colder than he expects it to be. I think he just really needs time to explore and warm up to a food before he will eat it...though the past few meals this week he hasn't been hesitant at all, and just got down to business! I think this style of feeding really suits him because he doesn't like to be fed. He wants to go at his own pace and really get comfortable with the texture of things before he puts them in his mouth. So BLW is working out really well!

As for EC? Not so much. This is what I've determined about EC:
-in a warm climate, EC would be easier than in winter in Canada.
-to do EC in a cooler climate, one has to be quite committed.
-I wasn't very committed.
-EC is, I think, easier to learn with your first child...if I already knew how to do it, and how it would likely work out, and what to expect out of it, doing EC with a third child maybe wouldn't seem so difficult and overwhelming
So, despite several early successes I've decided to let EC go. :( Bye bye, EC. It was nice that you visited. I learned some valuable stuff, and I appreciate your philosophies. I'm just not that into you!
I will put Riley on the potty occasionally so that he has a good sense that this is something he will grow into doing, and if he ever changes his pooping schedule I just may be able to encourage poop-only EC? But right now catching poops would mean getting out of bed before I'm fully awake in the morning and I'm just too tired!!! Or lazy!!! Or whatever!!! I mean, I only postpone the agony by a few minutes because once he's poonamied it has to be changed pronto because it stinks and his skin is so sensitive, but when I'm aware that he's working on a poop it just seems SOOOOO not worth it to leap out of bed and get the stinkin' potty and rip all his layers off and try and catch the darn thing.
Riley hates the potty, too.
Here are the things I've learned from EC that I appreciate:
How often my baby pees
How much he dislikes sitting in it
Pooping cues
(no pee cues, but we didn't really work on it enough to develop much awareness in him that it was coming)
Volume of an average pee
An appreciation of the communication, commitment, and work involved for parents who practice EC
A new appreciation for the communicative capabilities of infants

So there you go, an update on the INs and OUTs of the baby of the Vose Team.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Some more...

I tried for half an hour yesterday to get these downloaded (or up, whichever is accurate) to blogger but I had to give up. So here we go again...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

professional pix

Oh my gosh, how cute is this guy? Seriously. You can't have him--he's mine! Here is just a sampling of the many photos our friends took (gc photography):

My top 3 favourites (in order):

Saturday, March 28, 2009

just a walk in the park

Today we went for a hike as a family, and it was lovely. I really, really love my family and it is fantastic when we can spend time together just the five of us, doing something fun.

Today was great.

Photos of the Bug Zoo

I told you guys this place was fantastic. Here are some pix to prove it!!! The boys in the pix are my two, Ayden and Matthew, Sara's oldest, Kaleb, and a friend of ours Kelsey's two, Jordan and Matthew. Not in the pix: Me, Sara, Kelsey, and the two babies. I refused to hold any bugs, though I did pet the foot long millipede to show the boys not to be afraid. I had to look away when Ayden pet the tarantula and the scorpion the size of my fist! Talk about counter intuitive!! But I grit my teeth and put my momma fears away, and let my kids handle the bugs. It was awesome!

Photos of Yucky Soup

Here is our Yucky Soup day at the park in Victoria~Ayden, Matthew, Kaleb, Riley, Ryen, and Sara and myself spent a good 4 hours making yucky soup and picnicking at the park.

Friday, March 27, 2009

food for thinkings and musings

Oh the heart carries much, no? But last night I remembered something I'd learned on the Camino, which is this: we carry far too much. We must learn to lay it down. I learned this lesson physically and literally, because the burdens on my back broke my feet. The more we carry, the less able we are to walk free. And I learned it figuratively and metaphorically, because the burdens I carried in my spirit broke my spirit. And so I learned, however difficult it may be, we have to learn to let go.


oh, how much i carry, and how much i resist laying it down.

Yucky Soup

When we were in Victoria last week Ayden, Matthew, Kaleb, and a handful of other kids at the park made what they called "Yucky Soup." Baisically they threw every organic object they could find in a drain pipe opening that had some standing water in it and poked at it with sticks. Leaves, grass, dirt, bark mulch, sticks, sand, rocks, worms, and all manner of park stuff. It was reportedly for 'bad guys' to eat, as a punishment, while the bad guys were in jail. Sara has some really great pictures of the boys making Yucky Soup at the park.

Yesterday while I was in the shower, Matthew decided to make Yucky Soup in my sink. Here is his indoor recipe:
4 eggs, raw, cracked, without shells
1 bottle of ground thyme
1/2 costco container of parmesan cheese
1 jar of blueberry jam
dash salt
dash pepper
more salt
more pepper
2 cups (approx) corn oil

Time outs were had by all.
All learned the valuable lesson that Yucky Soup is funny at the park, and not so funny in mommy's sink.
(the reason 'all' learned this lesson is that Ayden was an encouraging spectator in this Yucky Soup in the sink business...nearly as culpable)

Pictures and Medicine

Yesterday our good friends Gary and Louise took some professional pics of our family. It was wild and woolly! G & L have a photography business. Check out their awesome photos! We are grateful to have such talented friends! A few weeks ago they took some awesome ones of Riley you can check out here, or wait until I have a chance to upload some to this blog of mine! I got the DVD of photos of Riley yesterday
Gary and Louise are very patient and down to earth people, which is a total blessing when corralling three small boys, two babies and some adults in a muddy field (G & L brought their kids along, which is why I mention more kids than I have). We had a good time, and I can't wait to see some of the gorgeous photos they took of me and all my boys :D
If you need some gorgeous photos done, call these guys!

In other news, my breasts and Riley's mouth are infected again. I'm about to go crazy with pain/worry/purple stains! I saw a lactation consultant yesterday, and she confirmed my initial diagnosis of yeast. She had some helpful suggestions, a whole bunch of them, and recomeended I go see Verity Livingstone at the Vancouver Breastfeeding clinic. She's the in-house expert and research guru at BC Womens' Hospital.
The lactation consultant also recommended I see my doctor for a prescription of Fluconazole (Diflucan) for myself and for Riley, to try and get rid of the overgrowth of yeast in my entire system. In the meantime I was in a LOT of pain--I can definitely see how an unresolved yeast infection can prompt women to quit breastfeeding prior to their initial breastfeeding duration goals! Holy crap, does it ever hurt. And it is EXPENSIVE. Initially I used the purple stuff, Gentian Violet, which is a tried and true oldie but goodie for yeast, and costs under $5. In addition I used Dr Jack Newman's All Purpose Nipple Ointment, which has a combination of a steriod for pain due to inflammation, an anti fungal medication, and an antibiotic, which cost $55. The pain went away but then came back, despite continued use of the APNO! So I go to the Dr today and she warned me that the oral medication is expensive. BUT I WASN'T EXPECTING $290!!!!!!! Plus a $13 tube of anti fungal cream to replace the APNO (whose antibiotic may be working against resolution of my yeast since it kills good and bad bacteria indiscriminately). That doesn't include RILEY's prescription of Diflucan, which has to be compounded and therefore I don't have to pay for until tomorrow. I am not sure how much it will be but it will also be expensive, because of the drug and because it has to be compounded. >:(
The thing is: this is no guarantee! We could get it back again after paying over $350 to treat this dang thing...
How about some prayer, peoples? Maybe we'll add that to the treatment plan! :)
Fortunately Brent's work will reimburse for some of the cose of prescription meds so eventually we'll get some money back. But even up front, that's grocery money!
Darn my yeasty body.

Eventually I'd like to see a naturopath to try and get my body rebalanced and address whatever it is about my system that so readily encourages the growth of yeast. I know it's far more info than most of you care to read, but in the interest of helping someone else out who suffers from the same chronic problem, I'm going to share! You can skip it if you find it irrelevant or gross. It really sucks.
But naturopaths are expensive. And not covered beyond an initial $300 by our extended health care.


How about if I just cut the boobs off? Then I won't have any more problems!!!

Another yeast-discouraging recommendation? Air and sunshine. Since the weather around here is not really conducive to topless sunbathing this time of year (nor is my townhouse living situation), I've reverted to going topless inside my house from after dinner onwards. Much to Brent's chagrin. I believe he's actually praying I never get better. :P
Last week this backfired on me as my cousin's husband walked in on me airing my nipples. There were nine people and one dog in the house and Leigh was the ONLY person I didn't want to see my naked nipples. And he's the one who saw them, wouldn't you know it?
Brent was wondering when his wife is going to return the favour.
My husband thinks he's so funny.
Ah, boobs.
Gotta love them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Citizens, open your hearts

My much loved, sweet, funny, energetic, smart, witty, noisy, second born son is now officially a Canadian citizen!
It is a big day in the Vose household!
It is funny, but this paper validating his citizenship makes me feel like he is placed more solidly in my arms. Like before he was resting in my arms and now he is buckled into place. I didn't know it would make any difference in my mind, but it does. He feels more solidly mine, more securely placed. I guess because before he was a long standing visitor, and now is a citizen. It feels good to have my baby be more securely nestled in our culture.

Baby love when we brought him home:

And getting used to our family:

Tons of personality:

Growing up so fast!

Where does time fly to?

All Canadian boy:

Watch out Canada, here he comes!