Thank you to guest blogger, and my gorgeous friend, Nicolle for providing a snapshot look into life when feeding doesn’t go to plan. This is just one way in which a feeding relationship can be interrupted, and one I have had very little knowledge of until now. Over to you Nic.
As my youngest turns 1, I sit back and reflect on the ups and downs of the last year. Just before I start let me say that I am not a medical professional (not in the area of intolerance/allergy anyway – just a mum doing the best I can for her little one).
Let’s start at the beginning – Master O was born via C section, he is my second gorgeous boy. My first was an ideal baby – slept, fed and maybe lulled us into a false sense of security, that why we all have another right? We started off ok but noticed he had reflux, he would be spewing, swallowing and then screaming. He would be arching his back and clearly in pain. We toughed it out until his 6 week check-up, I did try at some point to get an earlier appointment but of course they were booked out. O seemed to be getting worse, he now had mucous in his poo but then again reflux peaks at 6 weeks, doesn’t it? Ok I have played this down a lot – we had a baby who screamed in pain, we resorted to putting him in the swing some nights as it meant we got a tiny bit of sleep instead of none. I was grumpy, tired and my heart was breaking for this little baby who was in pain. I was so lucky, as I had a c section I had either my mum or my husband with me.
Off to our paed appointment we went and he prescribed us a reflux medication. I am sure he thought I was crazy because as murphy’s law would have it, O was happy at the appointment and putting on weight well. He said we would notice a difference by the end of the week and if not maybe we needed to look at the main allergens in my diet, as he was breastfed, starting with dairy. The end of the week came and although there was some improvement I really thought he could be better. I began to look back – in the first 6 weeks of life there had been Easter (yum lots of chocolate), the ability to eat soft cheese again after pregnancy and my in laws coming over (dairy full desserts, cheese platters, pasta with cheese). Maybe I could see a pattern – So here began my dairy free journey. I started just eliminating obvious dairy and straight away there was improvement! To the point where one car trip to my mums I ordered a take away coffee (I had been so good at just having long black that one cappuccino won’t hurt). After the next feed at my nans birthday dinner the screaming started. I knew I was on the right track. But then comes the next issue – soy. Of course, I compensated by having soy in my coffee and ate other foods that didn’t contain obvious dairy. We also had to supplement with formula and I thought soy would be the obvious choice. Cue mucous in poo and screaming in pain. I then did some more research – babies who can’t tolerate dairy often can’t tolerate soy. Also, soy formula/soy milk is not a good option due to a few reasons, one of them being it can interrupt hormones and change babies hormonal balance for life. I tried another over the counter formula for intolerances with no luck (cow’s milk protein still existed in this formula) I was also trying to pump but my freezer stash had been depleted – especially when you can’t use the stash as it contained dairy. Back to the paed we go.
He said that all dairy and soy needs to be gone from my diet and prescribed a prescription formula. The next night was the best sleep we had all had. The one bottle of formula he was having was playing a big part in his screaming. I also began to read and read packets. Did you know that dairy or soy is in basically everything! Cold meat use dairy as a preservative, soy is used as a stabiliser in most foods. I would go out to restaurants or eat food that I hadn’t prepared and I would be very cautious. Did my family and friends think I was nuts – yep I am sure they did, but to have my little boy not screaming in pain after a feed was well worth it.
In an added bonus, I started to feel great. I always knew if I ate something too rich or creamy that I would pay for it with an upset tummy. Looking through my side of the family I would suggest that we all suffer from some level of dairy intolerance.
Somewhere in there I saw a lactation consultant and got him checked for ties. I was convinced he had a lip tie and all my problems would then be solved. Not the case – he was checked by a registered dentist. There are lots of professionals out that but I would ensure that ties are checked by someone qualified to do it.
So then we hit the joy of starting solids. Its easier at first, babies don’t eat the packaged hidden stuff we have been accustomed to eating. But bubs tummy was sensitive – eat too many bananas, egg, bread and tomatoes and we back to waking at night in pain. This was not anywhere near the extent of dairy/soy and only short lived. After seeking an appointment at an allergist we learnt that it definitely was an intolerance not an allergy and that with his minor reactions we were best to feed him small amounts of the foods more often. So here we are, 1 year old eating everything except if it contains dairy or soy – we will start to introduce when he is 2 on medical advise.
Master O self weaned just around his 1st birthday. You get used to the not eating dairy, I probably have started using healthier recipes and subsititions. You also realise how much extra stuff is in products. I remember once going to buy breadcrumbs, I normally make my own but it was 1 less thing I needed to do. I read the label as I had now become used too. 22 ingredients, yep 22 including lots of numbers. Since stopping feeding I haven’t fully gone back to dairy, I like coconut yoghurt better and the thought of normal milk in a coffee makes me sick. It is also hard when you have a toddler who wants everything that mummy is having. I am sure over time I may get back to eating more and more (she says as she treats herself to her first cannoli in a long time!) but at the moment I am happy, not to mention the myths about “needing” dairy in your diet (story for another time)
To finish off I just want to say, if you don’t feel like something is right then persist. The medical profession don’t know much about dairy intolerance (no its not lactose intolerance, yes it does pass through the breast milk, no its not a good idea to prescribe him with a medication that contains dairy etc etc) But the best thing you can be is informed. My beautiful son was a happier child when we worked it all out.