If you have no interest in babies, you may want to skip over this post. I’ve had this in my drafts for almost two months. Not sure why it took so long for me to publish it.
Before the baby was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed him for as long as possible. I didn’t take a class (I missed out on the basics class as it wasn’t offered or was full when I needed to take it), so I was a little nervous when he was born.
Thankfully, eating wasn’t an issue for our little guy. When he entered the world, it was as if he knew his job in life was to be a professional eater. Even the lactation consultant who came by two days later (just before we checked out of the hospital) commented on it. She was quite impressed with his skills – which made her feel better about taking so long to come by and see us.
So at six months later, I’m happy to say that my boy has been 100% exclusively breastfed. He’s a champ. (Ok. He was 100% until we started cereal two weeks ago. But, he’s still technically EBF with a side of solids.) I’m pretty pleased with the fact that we haven’t had to use formula. We’ve been pretty lucky.
We have our occasional issues. He gets distracted easily. He liked to look at the Christmas tree when it was up, his nightlight or his dad. I’ve had to take him into his room to eat, or ask my husband to leave the room (or not talk to us while the baby is eating.) We deal. And sometimes it takes him 15 minutes to eat. Other times it can take 45 minutes. Also? He likes to eat frequently. And he doesn’t like to drop feedings. So his reflux has improved as he’s taking in less, but more frequently.
Our next issue is my having to pump so. much. now. But I do it. I’m fortunate to have a place at work that I can go to twice (or more) a day, and I’ve become very efficient. It gets frustrating when the baby has to take 3 bottles when I’m at work, which means I have to pump one extra time. Oh yeah, and I also pump one “extra” time before work – just so I know there’s extra food for him. But I do it. And I don’t normally complain. I’m pretty lucky that I live so close to home and our babysitter. I go home for lunch and feed the baby, eliminating one of my sessions in the empty room.
The biggest issue, however, has been food. Namely, the food I was eating. Over a couple of (really, really difficult) weeks we learned that the amount of dairy I was consuming was tearing his little stomach up. And garlic, onions and basically everything I love to eat was going to have to be eliminated. (So all of that pasta sauce I bought in August, and pizza dough I made for quick meals? It’s on hold until the baby can tolerate it.)
When I mention he can’t tolerate these foods, I mean it. The screaming – especially at night – was terrible. It took a couple of sleepless days and nights for us to figure out just what was causing the crying. And every now and then, when I mess up and eat a little bit of dairy or onions, we’re reminded why I made the decision to cut certain foods out of my diet.
My grandma commented on my strict diet many weeks ago. We were discussing dinner options and that led to Christmas Eve dinner conversation. Our family always has lasagna in honor of my grandparents anniversary. I mentioned that I didn’t think I would be able to eat it because of the cheese and the sauce. She said she didn’t know how I could stand it. She would have given up nursing by now. A lot of people have actually made this comment to me. And how could I possibly keep this up?
The thing is, you just do it. It’s for a year. Maybe less, depending on if he can tolerate all of the foods eventually. And if it makes the baby feel better, then it’s my job to do my part.
Sure, my daily milkshakes have been missed, but the calories haven’t been missed. (Though, I wonder if Cook-Out ever misses my business since I stopped frequenting their establishment in September.) And I do miss sherbert and ice cream and cheese. Ohmygosh. Cheese. But I haven’t second-guessed my decision to drop all of that from my diet.
For Christmas Eve, I had the thought that I would just pump and store the milk. I had read that it could be used later with his rice cereal or even later – the milk is good for a while when it’s frozen. I couldn’t find any solid information on how long the milk protein would stay in my system, so I was a bit worried. Some websites were stating that the milk protein would be in my system for up to two weeks.
As I sat in church on that Saturday night – before the lasagna dinner – I made the decision to not eat it. I would just have salad. And maybe some of the garlic bread (with the garlic mostly scraped off.) I’m glad that I made that decision. It made our weekend and holiday much more pleasant.
I’ve made lots of decisions like that one over the past six months.
At this point, it’s almost no big deal. He’s my child. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make him feel better. And when people ask me how we deal with it, my response will continue to be, ‘I just do it.’ There really should be no further explanation needed.
And we’ll keep this up as long as we need to.