This article is about Zia’s developments so far and how proud I am of her.
Our challenges started the very day she was born. Zia was unable to latch onto the breast which meant that I could not feed her effectively. Initially I thought it was because I was a first time mom and was just not doing it right. Lactation experts and nurses at the hospital tried to show me the ropes but it became apparent that the set back was being caused by my baby girls muscle tone which was very poor. She was so floppy and the way she could bend so flexibly scared me quite a bit. I was worried she would hurt herself. At this point we were unaware that Zia had DS but the doctors had their suspicions. I expressed milk and bottle fed her for the first few months. She had no problems with the bottle and it was a blessing in disguise because it meant her daddy could also feed and bond with her in that way.
Zia was born with a big fontanel and now it has divided into 3. Doctors said to give it up to 3 years to close completely where typical babies have a small fontanel and it takes about 18-24 months to close. This meant we had to be extra careful and to make sure we protected her head all the time as she was in a fragile state. It took some time to balance protecting her and truly being comfortable to play with her without the fear that we might injure her but seeing her smile and hearing her cackle when we did play made us more relaxed and less uptight. She was still just a baby after all. Needing protection, yes, but needing fun time just as much!
DS babies have weak immune systems and so at 4 months I introduced organic porridge that I bought from the pharmacy to boost her immune system as well as to encourage her growth. I made the porridge very runny so that it would be easy on her digestive system. I am happy to say that she has now fully transitioned to solids and like every other baby, she can be picky about new tastes and flavors but she does love her food. Read the article Fussy Eaters for ideas on how to get your little one to eat if you have been having trouble with that.
Round about 4 months is when typical babies start to learn how to sit but my angel was still working on strengthening her frame so she wasn’t ready for sitting. Support group reminded us that Zia would reach developmental milestones in her own time so we were patient, we prayed, continued with baby massages and we started going for physiotherapy. Between 6 and 7 months, she was able to sit although learning forward and eventually rolling over. This was a sign that she was getting stronger. By 8 months she was sitting all on her own. What an achievement!
Zia is 11 months old now and getting stronger by the day. She enjoys her physiotherapy sessions and we adore our therapist. She is very patient and loving and always has a positive attitude. She has had many patients in the past and their success stories encourage me because I know that there are ways that I can help my daughter and that with time she has a chance of growing to become a fully independent young lady.
Since 5 months she has been showing signs of teething but no teeth yet. She has developed her own version of crawling which is laying on her tummy and using her arms to pull herself forward. She does however, stand holding onto something with one hand, playing with the other. The important thing is not to focus on the development of her age mates around us but to celebrate her achievements. I love watching my little angel grow and I look forward to sharing more of her achievements with you. Chris Brown sang,
We’ll crawl ’til we can walk again. Then we’ll run until we’re strong enough to jump. Then we’ll fly until there is no wind. So lets crawl, crawl, crawl…
Crawl my darling Zia. One day I know you will fly!