If you’ve been following me and my writing for any length of time you know that I am a proud breastfeeding mama! I mean I was so excited that with Amina I was able to breastfeed without interruption like I had with Tori.
Backstory: I was just a young tenderoni when I had Tori and I was so set on a natural birth and exclusively breastfeeding. Well the natural birth changed when her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and I had to be rushed in for an emergency C-section. In the hospital they put her right on the breast and everything was great. After we got home, however, her latch changed and Amina just wouldn’t grip right. I developed mastitis in both breasts and my nipple literally ripped open (like for real to the white meat) It was EXCRUCIATING and of course I then had to put Tori on formula until I healed, I hadn’t had enough time to have a supply. After that I strictly pumped but had to always have formula on deck as well.
With Amina, even though my pregnancies are horrible, breastfeeding with her was as natural as breathing. In the hospital she latched on and never let go. My supply was slow to come in at first but with the help of Mrs. Patel’s all-natural supplements, my milk eventually came in wonderfully. I had a healthy supply to where I didn’t have to nurse exclusively and could pull J and the older girls in to help with feedings. (Sn: I wanted to be superwoman and exclusively nurse her and I know a lot of moms that do it that way but baby I was TIRED. Having a baby in your late 30’s as opposed to your early 20’s is a BEAST. So, yes, I wanted help and I asked for it. Don’t judge me, judge yourself 😊)
…tell Him your plans. I was pumping, A LOT! I mean day and night, night and day, constantly stuck to my good girlfriend Medela. In the evening and throughout the night I made sure that was our time to bond so I nursed exclusively during that time. I was TIRED but I loved being able to give my baby the nourishment she needed. Prior to my pregnancy I became pescatarian (which I think is a major reason why I got pregnant after failed attempts and a miscarriage). The pescatarian diet is largely a plant-based diet of whole grains, nuts, legumes, produce and healthy fats, with seafood playing a key role as a main
protein source. I also include a certain amount of dairy or dairy free products as well. So of course, I’m confident in my breastfeeding because I am putting good things into my body which can only add to building her immunity like the doctors said… right?!
From the time Amina was about 3 months old she started having the worst cradle cap and eczema. For a couple of months, I just monitored the conditions with her pediatrician. At 9 months, we decided to do a blood allergy test because we couldn’t seem to get her eczema to a manageable state that I was comfortable with. We were SHOCKED when the results came back. Amina was allergic to everything under the sun, including SEAFOOD. *its ok to gasp here*. The next step was to take her to an allergist because I needed to understand if the eczema was because of her allergies. The first thing the allergist suggested is to remove all the foods that she tested a 3 or above for. Excuse me say what?!
The doc hit me with a whammy by removing those foods from her diet mainly because while she was now eating table food; she still was having up to 28 ounces of breast milk a day. There are still so many studies being done on how much of a mother’s diet is actually getting into the breast milk. One thing seemed pretty consistent, though, when it comes to a peanut allergy a full elimination was suggested. Now, I don’t know if you know but I LOVE my nuts. (I mean THOSE nuts and like real tree nuts 😊) I literally eat peanut butter as a snack almost daily. During my pregnancy and the entire time I was breastfeeding, I was eating peanuts and had even given Amina some. According to both the blood test and the skin test we later had; she has a high allergy for peanuts. Go figure!
For a while, I still gave Amina the breast milk I had stored and I continued nursing as I wasn’t ready to give up just yet but as her eczema wasn’t clearing up with simple food elimination from the table food she was eating, I made the HARD decision to stop giving her breast milk altogether. The reason? I wasn’t going to give up all the foods that the doctor was recommending, it would pretty much be my entire diet. Selfish I know. My relationship with food is almost orgasmic. Definitely why my snap back has been a challenge… Mama LOVES to eat!
It broke my heart and I cried real thug tears when I had to completely stop breastfeeding at 11 months, like Oprah on her show; ugly cry. Breastfeeding my kids was something I didn’t take lightly as I saw many of my friends unable to. I absolutely agree with the motto that fed is best but there is no denying the breast milk has benefits bar none. Amina adjusted with ease and I am so grateful for that and I didn’t have to give her cow’s milk. Instead she drinks Ripple pea milk which the whole family has started to drink (they don’t know I put it in the mashed potatoes 😊)
If I had to do it over again, I would have continued to breastfeed even with the allergy suspicion as her eczema didn’t get any better. I don’t believe the two are related. I also am of the mindset that with continued limited exposure she will overcome most of the allergies. After retesting last month, I have been able to reincorporate soy and wheat back into her diet as she had no skin reaction to them.
As with anything, do your research, consult your physician and make the best decisions for you and your child.
I would love to hear from you. Tell me about your journey with breastfeeding. How long did you breastfeed? What were some of your challenges with the process?
Love & Light,