I knew I wanted to breastfeed Kate and began doing so shortly after her birth. After a bit of help from the postpartum nurses, we were a great team and both mommy and baby were successful! Although it did take quite a bit of getting used to, I really enjoyed our moments together when I was nursing. It truly is an amazing bond!
With that said, the tenderness, leaking, engorgement, and back pain did cause a little frustration. I was impressed at how fast the baby weight came off as well, and I do attribute it to nursing. When Kate was around 2 months old, she began fussing a bit at the breast and I became a little worried. She would nurse, but not nearly as long as she should have and sometimes I wouldn’t even have a letdown. I knew she wasn’t getting enough to eat. I became more and more concerned and started reading everything that I could about nursing. I thought maybe it was something “with me” and she wasn’t getting enough milk, or maybe it was coming too slow or too fast?!
It wasn’t long before, I had a lactation consultant come to the house to offer breastfeeding advice and support. She weighed Kate and even watched her nurse. Maybe it was possibly a latch issue? When the consultant left, she concluded it was the dairy in my diet that was causing Kate to nurse for a few minutes and then pull off, cry and push away. I can’t tell you how frustrating this was, being a new mommy and I couldn’t feed my baby! She told me to cut the dairy out of my diet and things would improve.
I immediately cut the dairy out and was anxiously waiting for things to get better. I was told it could take a few weeks. Things did not get better so in the meantime we were at the pediatrician 3 times and were finally referred to a gastrointestinal specialist. (Keep in mind the pediatrician really didn’t think it was a food issue, but he was perplexed, as was everyone else that I shared my struggles with.) The GI specialist agreed that it was a food tolerance and more specifically a protein intolerance in ALL dairy foods and possibly even soy.
So I continued to cut out the dairy and I really watched the amount of soy I ate. Things would get better for awhile and then she’d become so incredibly fussy so we’d end up back at square one. During all of this, I was pumping throughout the day and trying to nurse here and there. I didn’t want to lose my breast milk, because I was so committed to nursing. After about 3 more months of pumping and sporadically nursing I had to call it quits because we didn’t see consistent improvement with Kate. I had such a hard time quitting as I felt I was a failure. The specialist said that it could be too many things causing the problems: dairy, soy, wheat, eggs, nuts just to name a few.
There was no way I could eliminate all of this from my diet, especially because we still didn’t know exactly what item(s) were the culprit! So in the end, we put Kate on a very specialized formula called Elecare and that did the trick. After having her on this formula for about a week, she was an entirely different baby!
Moral to the story: you can’t plan everything and although I would have liked to nurse her for a year I learned I needed to “Go with the flow!” We now have a very happy and healthy baby that is almost 9 months old and is gradually working in wheat, soy and dairy. The GI believes she has outgrown the intolerance.
Hopefully others who experience this will see our post and be able to check into any food tolerances earlier than later. It was a pretty easy fix with the special formula (Elecare) once we got the problem pinpointed.