Mom cradling baby in her arms

The Burdens and Blessings with Atopic Dermatitis

When my granddaughter was first diagnosed with atopic dermatitis, it felt harsh. She was so tiny, helpless, and absolutely beautiful. Why did she have tummy troubles and skin problems? Her mom and dad quickly found out that taking care of her reflux, special formulas, and rashes were a full-time job. We decided that they would come live with Nana and Papa so that a routine could be put into place. It wasn’t the life we had planned, but it was necessary.

Food allergy challenges

I had already purchased a crib, and set up a Nana nursery, so that made it easier. I was on summer break and took the night shift. I’ve always been a light sleeper and was going to be awake anyway. It made sense that her parents could rest, and be ready for the next day.

Because of her food allergies, we used a special formula. In addition, she had reflux, which required 2 oz feedings every 2 hours - and she had to be held at a certain angle to keep her formula down. Any spit up caused acidic sores around her perfect little lips. After some trial and error, along with internet research, we figured out how to prevent it.

To have and to hold

She had to be held - 24 hours a day - 7 days a week - 3 full months. At home, we fed her in the recliner, the couch, or my bed. We held that little darling and fed her slowly. Cradling her in my arms brought waves of warmth that filled my heart. As a first time Nana, I was in awe of the miracle of this beautiful miracle. After finishing her bottle, she was placed on my shoulder while I massaged little circles on her back. I was privileged to experience waves of unconditional love with her.

Nightime challenges

I was exhausted, sleep deprived, and so blessed. Bedtime became my golden hour. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue and even depression. In this case, I had already been through a round of parenting, I had the experience to deal with lack of sleep and the woes that can go with it.

Some of the sweetest hours of my life were spent cradling her in my arms or on my shoulder. Most nights, we fell asleep together in my bed. Pillows on each side prevented her from rolling off of me. She fit perfectly on my stomach, with her head on my heart. I fell in love a thousand times more, listening to the contented breathing, feeling the rise and fall of her shoulders, exchanging baby talk coos.

Seeing the good through the bad times

We lived through a hectic time. To hear others talk about night feedings, it was a breeze compared to our diligent routine. Writing about it today brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy at the intense emotions that her skin troubles and food allergies brought. Our lives have been filled with a depth of love that can never be erased. Our family learned a lot about sacrificial love while living with the blessings and burdens of atopic dermatitis.

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