If you are friends with me on Facebook, you are probably well aware of my struggles with feeding my baby. In fact, you may have more information on my diet than you ever wanted to know.
Unfortunately, our latest addition to the family is actually our third infant and possibly the worst sufferer of Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (or MSPI) and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (or acid reflux also known as GERD).
If you are familiar with these conditions, you will know that there are times when you’d just like to throw yourself off something high. If you are not familiar, consider yourself truly blessed. And I hate you.
But seriously, our memories of the experience with these conditions almost made us stop having children. There is the inconsolable crying, writhing, the constant need for feeding, more crying, possible failure to gain weight, choking, more crying, interrupted sleep, blood in the stool, difficulties pooping and still more crying. We have actually renamed our infant. Yes, “Nightmare” has become a proper noun in our household.
In an attempt to solve the problem, I’ve consulted friends, doctors, the Internet and even strangers. My son’s pediatrician urged me to cut dairy and soy from my diet. Apparently, those are difficult proteins for the underdeveloped stomach to digest. This pretty much eliminates anything I’ve ever wanted to eat.
Many people have suggested that I stop breastfeeding instead and turn to special formula. It’s not that I am so dedicated to breast-feeding, it’s actually because a small can of that formula is almost $40 and only lasts a few days. I refuse to give in to that kind of nonsense.
I figured my dairy and protein prohibition would be a nice way to take off the baby weight. Sadly, a friend directed me to a website where I learned of all the sweet treats I could make to keep up my natural dopamine supply, which I desperately need these days.
I have learned some interesting things about breastfeeding, food intolerances and even some medications. I know this is a fairly common issue that many mothers have experienced at least once in their motherhood careers, so I thought I would share what I have gleaned thus far.
While soy and dairy are the enemy, soy lecithin and soybean oil are generally better tolerated by little tummies. If your infant has a more serious intolerance, you may want to revisit that throwing yourself off something high bit. Soy and dairy are in virtually everything.
Not only have I cut these from my diet, but my pediatrician has also prescribed Prevacid, which is supposed to help with the acid reflux. With regards to the medication, a friend recommended that I request the tablets, cut them in half and hold them against my son’s cheek until they are mostly dissolved. They enter the bloodstream faster and should begin working sooner, as well.
Unfortunately, they are most effective when you give them to your infant at least 30 minutes before a feeding. That’s great for normal babies, but my baby wants to be fed as soon as his eyes are open. Nothing else but screaming his baby head off will do.
One day at the gym, I met a woman with four children, one of which she had just finished nursing. She remarked on my newest little one and asked how he was doing. True to my nature, I complained about his dairy/soy allergy and his proclivity for throwing up. She told me she was a certified lactation specialist and started giving me great tips on how to not only tweak my diet, but how to soothe a baby, who is seemingly unsoothable.
My favorite tip was to drink one to two beers per night. She explained beer steps up your milk production and that the malt in beer actually soothes an infant’s tummy. Funny, it’s actually soothing to my nerves too.
Her next piece of advice was to cut corn and corn products. This includes foods like corn chips, corn tortillas, corn on the cob, popcorn and salsa containing corn. It seemed obvious once she brought it up since corn is indigestible in children and adults too. Do you know how many food products contain cornstarch and corn syrup? It may as well be ALL OF THEM!
She also added vegetables that produce a significant amount of gas in anyone. These include peppers, broccoli and cabbage especially. Peanut butter can be another great offender.
I told her maybe it would be better if she made me a list of what I could actually eat. Basically, meat and fruit are my options.
For instances when baby is really freaking out, she recommended skin-to-skin contact. In the evenings when infants tend to be their most cranky, holding them bare-skinned against your own bare chest or stomach can calm them instantly. Holding or nursing them on your left side is preferable because babies can hear your heartbeat like they did while still in the womb.
Since I’ve always been somewhat of an underachiever, eliminating all these foods and jumping through all these hoops has been a real challenge for me. It’s been five weeks now that I’ve been working “the program.” And the situation has actually turned into kind of a puzzle that I feel sickly compelled to solve.
You may want to check in with me again in another five weeks when I’m wasting away from malnutrition, chronic depression and a severe case of sugar withdrawal.
Amy Grace is a part-time working mom with three children.
You can read her every Friday on momaha.
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