Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gluten and dairy and soy...oh my!

OK. So, this month could be wrapped up in two words when it comes to breastfeeding and motherhood, "I'm STARVING!" OK. A bit dramatic but also totally true at times. My now 4 month old has had bloody stools off and on since about 8 weeks old and has never had the yellow, seedy breast baby poop. Once the blood appeared his doctor and I decided to pull dairy out of my diet and see if it improves. This also means you just need to pull soy most of the time because if they react to milk proteins they usually react to soy as well. So there went dairy and soy. I explained it to my husband, who is a former right-handed quarterback, like for me without butter is like you trying to throw a football with your left hand. Then, he got it.=) I am a southern, casserole-making cook WHEN I cook.
A quick science lesson:
Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest lactose (a milk sugar) due to a lack of the enzyme lactase. This is actually pretty rare in infants and there are varying degrees. Milk protein allergy is an auto-immune response to the proteins in milk (casein). This is an allergy. There is a huge difference. To my knowledge the only formula without any milk protein is Neocate, which costs a fortune. If a baby can tolerate Nutramagen and Alimentum they should be able to tolerate breast milk. In theory they should actually get less casein from Mom's milk because her body will process it first before it ever gets to the infant. So, when you hear babies can't breastfeed because they are "lactose intolerant" that is PROBABLY not totally accurate, although rarely it could. Most likely it is a milk allergy and the breastfeeding relationship can be salvaged if Mom is willing to change her diet.
So, after a diet change things should improve, right? Well, not so. On to gluten. There is a condition known as gluten intolerance, which is not yet well understood and then there is Celiac's disease, which is an autoimmune condition that would never change for this little person. Trying to decide which a baby has makes my brain hurt and is definitely a job for a good pediatric gastroenterologist. The baby would need to be screened for Celiac's and you may not truly know how bad the condition is until the baby tries to actually eat gluten (usually oatmeal is first.)
This has been a trying time for me to do some soul searching about how much I can stand to sacrifice for the cause of maintaining breastfeeding for my little guy. I think all of the struggles I have experienced nursing just help me extend compassion to other moms when they feel like quitting. It also motivates me at the same time to keep going because I know when the "dust settles" from one challenge and I get to enjoy nursing again the reward is inexplicable joy. MOST breastfeeding problems really work their way out in some time. Having patience is just so so hard and even more so when coupled with pain, stress, exhaustion and sacrifice!
Many moms have gone before me in the allergy dilemma and thanks to them they have given some very good advice. Below are some blogs with recipes and resources for moms breastfeeding babies with milk protein and/or gluten allergies:
Hope this helps if anyone else is dealing with this issue. Let me know and add in your 2 cents and any resources you can share!
Oh yeah - and I basically live off of Larabars, rice cakes, almond butter, almond milk, baked potatoes, salad, and produce. may help! =)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Let's all Pretend we aren't Mammals

So I am going to just go ahead and say that my goal will be to post something once a month. Mainly because that's what seems to be happening and I don't want to be too ambitious for now. I have no need to explain that my days are gloriously busy because the truth is that all of us are mostly too busy, right? So, not a complaint. Just being real. I feel good about writing once a month=)
This month I want to spend time talking about an experience I recently had. I went back to the gym - there! That's it! JK. This was a major accomplishment for me though. ha! It was a Monday and I fed Ty at 10AM with plans of making it through most of a 12 noon yoga class. I thought he would eat again around 1. So far my planning worked out well and the nursery came to grab me from the hardest part of the yoga class around 12:45 - whew! My next plan was to nurse him in the kid's room and then head to the grocery store. Well, here is where it gets interesting. I was informed that the Gold's does not allow you to nurse your baby in the kid's area. They said that the parents complained when they had to explain what BF was to their kids. They told me I was welcome to feed him in the women's center which sounds totally acceptable... UNLESS you know the layout. The couch in the women's center is actually in a hallway, and not just any hallway, the one that leads to the tanning beds, massage room thingy that I never go to, and ALL of the bathrooms, saunas, and pool. In other words you would feel quite "on display."
I was quite uncomfortable with this request and politely informed them that I am really disappointed. I find it extremely difficult to get a yoga/step/pilates class to fit into my life and I can't always make it here and leave before I need to feed the little guy. They said most moms can schedule their work outs around feedings. I so could if I just needed a treadmill or bike or something I could schedule myself but the classes are the reason I joined and are much more difficult to schedule around. I would have joined Planet Fitness if I just needed a treadmill for $10/month or bought one for my house. I joined for classes and now fear that I am stuck in a contract for another year at a place that wants to cater to 3 year-old curiosity rather than accommodate common sense and health. I mean a gym has members who value health more than most people. Lots of the members BF or have BF. I would expect Moms to be supportive of each other and would expect complaints from men and the general population as they walk by me to the bathroom/tanning/swimming world.
Really it isn't even a tough conversation to have with little ones. Unit study number 1 for Kaitlyn Dean's 4 year-old preschool class involved learning that we are mammals. Mammals are covered in fur or hair, have live babies, and feed milk to their young. There. Done. Why is that hard? It is only the adult's issues that make this awkward. The kids are just gonna go with what you say and how you respond. In other words, if it's a big thing to you then you will make it a big thing to them. It should just be common knowledge and I hope that by the time my girls grow up and need to feed their babies while out in the community it won't cause such a stir.
I do need to add that I asked to feed him in an enclosed area while sitting on the floor and with a hooter hider as a cover. No child or other parent would have even known I was there. In fact, my own 3 year-old didn't. The manager actually agreed with me and pulled up a rocking chair and insisted I feed him so he didn't cry all the way home or make me BF "on display." It was very nice of her. She did say that she would not always be able to do that as some parents she knows would complain. I do not understand why their complaint weighs more than mine though? What about our point of view? Am I not also a paying member with a concern/complaint?
Not sure where to go from here. I have not been back yet. Themanager encouraged me to talk to corporate. Not sure. They claim that they are not allowed to feed the kids anything - snack, bottles, sippy cups, etc...Guessing they have figured out the legal side of this. We are allowed to BF wherever we are in this state but I just don't want to be dramatic about this. It is illegal to tell someone they cannot BF as far as I now. I do just want to go to classes and take care of my baby. Why is it such a big deal? I need your feedback! Help!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The "Guilty Mom Syndrome"

I get it. Moms feed formula to babies for thousands of reasons. I have my own. We are constantly feeling the need to defend that decision. This is not the spirit of this blog or post. My hope is that we can move past the guilty feelings (that do not make us better mothers), clear our minds, and think critically. The goal being to fully understand how this decision is more important than planning a registry around hooter hiders or bottles - you can use both by the way=). This decision has serious health implications for both Mom and baby. Any health care provider who does not inform their patients of this is doing an injustice in my opinion.
After weaning my first baby at 6 months she had formula for the rest of that year. I had my own reasons - working all night, horribly painful feeds for first 10 weeks, several cases of mastitis, dwindling milk supply, overwhelmed with being needed so much, wanting others to help more, living at my Mom's for a brief time, etc...When I had my second daughter I had to decide whether to resume BF or pick up where I left off with formula. For some reason I decided to research and explore the topic more. The more I read and learned the more I felt super sure about the benefits that breast milk provides. I wanted to give that to my baby but was then forced to face the fact that my first did not get all of those benefits.
The guilt invaded and hormones drove me to ask ridiculous questions like "do I love one more than the other? what if one gets a disease the other doesn't - is that my fault? am I just better off doing the same with all of them because that's fair?" In the end and after months of struggling through some ugly thinking I decided to leave my past choice behind, love my babies the best I could in the present, and follow what was newly revealed to me regarding BF. With that in mind I nursed my second for 13 months and enjoyed every minute of it. I realized also the importance of nutrition and lifestyle choices that I had with my now toddler and became excited about teaching her to eat healthy.
Now I am nursing my 3rd and last baby - thanks to a tubal=). He is a new challenge and formula feeding would be easier in ways but I would feel guilty. Even thoughI know all of the benefits the painful feeds that I cannot fix, even after a frenulectomy, make this experience very hard. As a lactation consultant I do actually feel I don't have a decision here. If I can't BF well who can, right? So, after tackling the "guilty Mom syndrome" once it now creeps back in. I will persevere and maybe it is because of guilt but I believe it will be a blessing in the end. Thoughts?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Powdered milk...hmmm

Think about it. For those of you who drink alternative dairy sources - soy, almond, lactaid, coconut, was probably somewhat of a difficult transition to get used to that particular product. Now, imagine being told one day that you have to open a can of formula then mix it with water and pour it over your cereal. Thoughts? Now I will admit I have never tasted breast milk, which is the baby's alternative here, and we can all assume that the baby's palate does not get excited until solids are introduced. Neither option sounds appetizing atop my frosted flakes but at least we know for sure that babies love breast milk and were made to drink it. We know a lot about it. It has been researched extensively. The proteins, fats, and other components are made by Mom just to match her baby. We know it is safe.
Now...what is in formula? DHA? "gentle tummy" proteins? Who knows? That's what the cute commercials say. True that we all feel it is the best alternative when babies cannot receive Mom's milk. Question is...what is in formula? Is it truly safe? Who regulates it? Is it continually regulated by quality control or only approved when introduced to the market? Why is it constantly recalled? How do we find this out? I guess I am wondering who holds these mega-corporations responsible and how? Respond if you can help! Off to research it myself. Seem to remember learning about some opiate-derivative to make them sleep more but not sure about it. Will let you know. Hurry. Anxious to hear feedback!