I can honestly say that my heart starts to race when I think about writing this all out... Which is silly, but it's not to me. I catch myself going down a dark hole sometimes thinking about this topic, and then I DO remind myself, that in the scheme of things, we are very lucky, and this situation could be a lot worse, and I am thankful that we have a growing, happy baby!
When Beck was born, maybe 2-3 weeks into her life, Nathan and I started to notice something was a little "off"... I exclusively breastfeed, and she was spitting up, excessively. She was projectile vomiting after most, if not every feeding for up to an hour after... She had moderate cradle cap and "baby acne", and she would get the WORST gas pains and even had blood in her diapers. It's definitely safe to say that I became very alarmed and knew we needed to reach out to our doctor and start digging for some answers.
Ultimately, after meeting with her primary care doctor, and then a Pediatric Allergist Specialist, I cut out 100% dairy (butter, milk, cheese, whey, ANYTHING with obvious or hidden dairy), and per the allergist recommendation, I also cut out eggs, asparagus and most garlic to help her reflux and other symptoms. I also don't consume soy (which, PS, is in like almost every processed item!) Do you know HOW HARD it is to put your trust in someone else's hands to make sure none of these are in the food I consume? I have become so afraid to eat outside of my house, because every time I venture out, no matter how specific I am, I notice that Beck's symptoms start to come back within days of me eating out.
Her symptoms have been a roller coaster, they're here and then they're gone, they are "kind of" here, but "mostly better", and it honestly makes me so overwhelmed always wondering what kind of day it is going to be. I do everything in my power to help make sure that she doesn't get sick, or have her baby acne come back, or get those horrible tummy aches. I have learned more about food intolerances/allergies in the last 5 months than I have EVER known before. I know more about the nutritional breakdowns of every food you can imagine...I know which restaurants are GREAT about allergies (Shoutout Pancheros- one of the only "eat out" places that I trust!) and I know which ones don't care at all... The worst part is, is that I don't even say "My baby has food allergies/intolerances" when we do go somewhere, I have to say I HAVE them, because people for some reason can't comprehend how me nursing her affects that, and what I put in MY body, goes through my milk to her...
I nursed Meredith for 13.5 months, and my goal with Beckett is to do AT LEAST that long... I have had so many people ask me about why I don't switch to formula, or if it really matters if I "just have a little bit"... And those questions have really made me do some serious thinking. And this is kind of where I am at...
YES.. It's hard not eating my favorite foods. YES.. It's HARD thinking about EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I consume. Worrying about cross contaminations, reading labels and the "I PRAY this won't affect her's". I miss pizza and cheeseburgers and going out to eat and enjoying it. BUT--> This is time with her that i'll never get back. Never again in my life will I get to say that my body was able to completely nourish her. I am a die-hard breastfeeding advocate... I LOVE it. So, if for a year or so of my life I need to focus on these things, in Beck's WHOLE LIFE, this is such a short period of time. And also, I've never felt healthier- LOL! I feel super in control of what I'm eating!
We are currently experiencing some symptoms again, and it looks like we may be cutting out some more foods in our near future, and that's okay- I would do anything to keep my babies healthy and happy and if that means no pizza, burgers, french fries or peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.... well then, I guess that is what it will be! I always make a joke that I'm vegan, except for the meat part, haha!
These last 5 months have taught me a lot about nutrition, about being a mom and mostly, that nothing else matters to me over my baby's well-being. Sometimes it becomes a very lonely place, not being able to go out with my friends, grab coffee or lunch, but also lonely in my own head. I have a constant struggle between "I know breastfeeding is what is best for US" and a feeling that I am hurting her sometimes unknowingly with things that I consume and wondering if I'm selfish for continuing. The plan is to continue breastfeeding for now and hopefully to do some actual "allergy" testing when she is old enough. Until then, we will keep doing what we're doing and now I know that there really is NOTHING (within my power) that could stop me from breastfeeding my babes!
(I will say that this is a very condensed version of the entire story! I tried to keep it short so you wouldn't get bored- If you have ANY questions or are experiencing similar things, I would love to connect! I also am a firm believer in FED IS BEST and am in no way, shape or form bashing formula feeding- it is just not what is right for our family at this time)