My breastfeeding journey
Breastfeeding and food allergies… I feel like it is potential for a shit storm. Two controversial, divisive, passion-filled topics in a wicked combination.
Let me start by saying, yes I did breastfeed my children. Both girls were basically exclusively breastfed for around 10 months.
My eldest daughter and I had a super rocky start, with poor weight gain, cracked nipples, mastitis, pumping and all of that awesome biz. But we did overcome and go on to successfully feed, until she got some teeth and decided biting was much more fun. Despite doing everything everyone suggested we couldn’t recover. And I was back at work trying to pump and feed so I simply continued to pump and she drank expressed milk until she was 14 months old.
My youngest daughter was a champ feeder, and I had much more of an idea what I was doing. But from day 1 she screamed and projectile vomited, was covered in rashes, never slept and obviously something was wrong. I continued to feed her on a restricted diet as we started to discover the world of allergies and FPIES (food protein induced enterocolitis syndrome). Sometimes the boob was the only thing that would settle the screaming, it was kind of our lifeline.
As the array of foods she was allergic to became apparent, I restricted my diet further and further to try and help her. But at 10 months I finally accepted that she was not improving, and we moved her to a medical formula, which we had trialled in small amounts and appeared to be safe.
It was the most horrific 5 days of my life. Sore, swollen boobs, pumping between the screaming, meanwhile she was only drinking enough to stay hydrated and heaving at the taste. To be honest, the Neocate LCP smelled like rotten potatoes.
After 5 days of battles, she gave in and started to drink proper volumes. My boobs dried up. And within two weeks she was a different baby. Sleeping better, more settled and I knew we had made the right call.
By the time I stopped feeding I weighed 47kgs, very unhealthy for someone almost 170cms tall. I was weak and sick and tired and constantly stressed. I was broken.
Miss 4 still drinks the same formula to this day. It is complete nutrition, which takes away the stress of ensuring her restrictions still cater to her growing nutritional needs. The formula has been the staple through some extremely rough times of weight loss and complete inability to eat.
So now you know our story, here is some info about breastfeeding and allergies.
There are two distinct groups of allergy babies, when compared by breastfeeding. Some babies with allergies tolerate breast milk well. Their mother can eat their allergens with no sign of it affecting the child. These allergies are generally discovered when the child begins solid food and then reacts, either with anaphylaxis, mild allergic symptoms or profuse vomiting in the case of FPIES.
Then there is a group like my little lady, who react to proteins passed through breast milk. Some mothers eliminate foods with great improvement, but for more difficult cases medical formula is a great choice.
Before having my second child I was a staunch believer in “breast is best”. One of the biggest things I have learnt out of my journey is that happy mums and babies are the best, no matter the style of feeding.
And everyday I am thankful for the formula that keeps my beautiful girl growing.
(If you are struggling with feeding and want support, or are considering or undertaking an elimination diet and need advice, I would love to be there for you. Go to www.aussieallergymum.com/coaching/ and I will contact you to see how I can help!)