Not Surrendering to Breastfeeding

For those of you who are regulars to my blog, you have likely read my first part of our nursing story awhile back and may have been impatiently waiting on my second part. At the time I thought the second part was going to be so simple...and now it has all taken a slight turn.

Our nursing journey has been purely amazing. It has been beautiful, special and nourishing. I was blessed with a great supply and a wonderful little latcher. Our hurdle in the beginning was my engorgement which resulted in a rush to the doctor when I had a high fever a few days postpartum. After learning that I was simply engorged, I returned home willing to do everything to control it. Long baths, hot compresses, lots of feeding and lots of breast massaging was my daily routine. In the end this all helped and my breasts weren't full of painful lumps and plugged ducts.
Little Bug's favorite place {one week old}

After a few weeks I noticed my little bug was choking sometimes when she'd start a feeding and at times would push my chest back in frustration. I knew she was hungry and wanting to eat, but I also knew something was pissing her off (I use that word because that's really how it seemed LOL). After researching and realizing the symptoms, I learned that I had an overabundant supply and a fast let down that resulted in the milk coming out to quick for her. Turning to my allies in a Facebook support group, I learned that the best approach was to start block feeding.

I'd say around a month or so, my Little Bug was a pro. The block feeding helped a lot and she became so efficient that she only nursed for about 10-15 minutes. It was smooth sailing from there (with of course learning what foods seemed to give me gas that in turn gave her gas). Around five weeks daddy gave her the first bottle (after my intense fear of her favoring the bottle) and I was blessed with a baby that took a bottle and nursed too. It was a huge weight lifted to see that she wasn't favoring the bottle over breast because I was nowhere near ready to stop nursing. Although now we have occasional issues with her not wanting a bottle and just me (I'm really not complaining).

Fast forward to her two month birthday and I decided around then that my milk was so regulated to her demand that I could stop block feeding and try traditional nursing. Next thing you know we are at her two month checkup with great feedback about our breastfeeding journey and then we are at the doctor again...and again...and again..and oh again in that same week.

My little bug's diapers started looking a little differently and I started noticing some strings of blood in them. After hearing that I may need to cut dairy one day at one appointment, I desperately hoped that I wouldn't have to. After two more appointments and a stool sample, they are now assuming that my little bug has a milk protein allergy.

It's been almost two weeks now of no dairy and although things may be getting better, they are still not good. Every time I seem to think that the diapers are looking better, the next one will have little strings of blood -- although very little. I know it takes time for it to heal and it also takes time for the milk proteins to leave my body, but I'm so anxious to see results so that way I can know for sure that dairy is the answer. I've met many moms through support groups on Facebook that have to cut dairy, soy, wheat, eggs and/or nuts. I admire them so much for sticking it through. I just hope to find the answer soon.

Why stick it through? Although I'm not sure if everyone I talk to about this or everyone that reads this understands; I want to stick it through. I know some people may just think "Why do that to yourself and your baby" or "Why not just put them on formula to make them better." For me it is so much more than just being able to throw in the towel and say "Okay, we'll switch to formula." 

It's not that formula is bad because obviously many children are perfectly healthy and take formula; but in the end I know that if I still have it there, mother's milk is best. I've done the research and my milk is still what's best despite my bit of dairy (or whatever) that's in it -- it's just about finding what the culprit is and eliminating it from my diet. Little Bug is perfectly fine except for irregular stools-- no fussiness, no irregular sleep patterns and no obvious bellyaches. And the little bug LOVES mommy's breasts -- much more than a bottle. If she was fussy and in pain, then it might would be a different story and then formula might would be the answer for us. 

At the end of the day, I'm desperate to continue nursing because I'm nowhere near ready for our nursing journey to end. The bond that is there is so special as well as the time together. I can nourish her and provide for her in a way that no one else can. It's not about preferring breast milk over formula; it's about those moments where she's nursing and looks up at me and smiles. Or those middle of the night feedings where as soon as we hit the rocker her mouth starts moving like a bird for the worm and then gets so excited when she latches. Or how she cuddles on me after most feedings and wants to nap there. 

My initial goal was to have my little bug on my milk for a year and although that is still the main goal, right now I'm just pushing for six months. I've had my moments of tears and breakdowns wondering if I'll ever find the culprit and wondering how I can still cook for hubby and me without dairy ingredients. Being a stay at home mom I know that cooking for him is part of my "job" and I want to cook good meals. Thankfully he's supportive and is willing to work with me on this. I'm starting to think I may just cook him meals like normal and just cook me a chicken breast and veggies. Truthfully it isn't hard to cut the dairy when it's for such a good cause. I can easily say no to a bowl of ice cream or a chunk of cheese. 

But I have had my moments of wondering if I can really do this. However, I have never had a moment where I thought about giving up. It's almost like that is not even an option for me right now. I'm not willing to surrender just yet. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to continue my breastfeeding journey. If I could survive 26 hours of natural labor then I'm pretty dang sure I can survive elimination diets. Right now my frustration just lies in finding what is truly the culprit and if it is dairy; I'm SO ready to see results. I have resumed block feeding to prevent/fix and foremilk/hindmilk imbalance (which can be the culprit too) and other than some irregular stools -- I have a happy baby! 

So in a (long) nutshell that is our nursing journey thus far. It is by far the best decision I've ever made to nurse my baby and something that I hope to do with all of my children. I'm nowhere near ready to quit and this mama is willing to do whatever it takes no matter what anyone thinks. It's not about being a supermom, it's about doing what I feel is best and what I'm capable of.

 And it's all about my Little Bug...she's growing like a I know mommy's milk is doing something right.

Any other restricted diet mommies out there?
{I admire all women who restrict their diets! I admire all women who try no matter what!
I'm sad for those that have to stop for different reasons. And know that I don't judge formula moms.}

Thanks for reading, Sasha