What happens when breast isn't best?

June 3, 2013

My tower of strength came crashing down today, I have cried so many tears I can hardly see to write this.
"Breast is best, however, I would highly advise you to stop breast feeding immediately and put him on hypoallergenic formula. I would like to see him thriving as soon as possible.”

These words keep going over and over in my head. For me this was like being told your breasts are made of poison and you will never be able to breastfeed.

After 18 wks of specialist appointments I have learnt so much. Ben presented with the same symptoms as my other son Max with dairy and soy protein intolerance and has silent reflux. He also has had both lingual and posterior tongue tie's which have been corrected. I wanted to breastfeed and my choice was supported by all my caregivers. I had to go on an elimination diet to work out what he was intolerant to and also hopefully fix the reflux which goes hand in hand with allergies. After eliminating dairy, soy, egg and wheat he still had diarrhoea and vomiting daily and irritated throughout day and night. He didn’t sleep and I know how sleep is essential for growth. Bens weight doesn't even make it on to the charts and had been deemed 'failure to thrive'.

I have done absolutely everything I can to give Ben the best start and I would do anything for my kids. I was so exhausted I could barely function, so if I put myself in Ben’s position my poor baby was struggling too.

I love breast feeding my babies, I do believe that breast is best, especially in my case when there are allergies involved. When my midwife suggested I use breastshields to aid his tongue ties and weak jaw muscles I couldn’t get my head around it. Sucking on plastic was not skin to skin! But then she pointed out that I was still breastfeeding.
I am also aware that there is a small percentage of women due to medical reasons who are unable to breastfeed.
I support whatever choice you make, after all, you are your babies advocate!

So now I am one of the small percentage of women where their baby is allergic to the food proteins in breast milk.
This has been a huge challenge for me and I am letting go. I am going to hold my head high and do what is best for my child.


June 19, 2013

A letter to Benny
It has been 2 wks since stopping breastfeeding and putting you onto Elecare hypoallergenic formula.
It has felt like the toughest 2 wks of my life.
You resisted formula from me at first as you could still smell my milk. We finally had progress and you have been eating on demand just like when you comfort fed from me to ease the pain in your belly.
I still feel the warmth of your skin, I can still hold you in my arms and I can still look down on you and gaze into your eyes just as I did when I breast fed you.
We haven't slept and I have overloaded on all the food I wasn't able to eat whilst breast feeding and I feel like shit and gained 2kg!
You have shown me that I need to look at my diet too and that my gut needs to heal with the right food.
You have covered us in vomit throughout day and night and you thrash around in pain as your little tummy begins to heal.
You have been screaming and screaming trying to voice that you were either tired, hungry or in pain. I haven't been able to distinguish the differences lately as it has all morphed into one big scream.
I snapped at you today, it frightened you and I told you I couldn't do this anymore. I fell onto my knees and cried and cried. I CAN do this, I have done it before with your brother Max. It is not your fault and I am sorry for yelling, (blaming the hormones) I will do whatever it takes to help you heal and get better.

We went to the pediatricians today - in my sleepy haze we turned up at the wrong time, I had forgotten your formula and I had no idea what I was doing. I once again burst into tears and you looked up at me from your pouch and said it's ok mummy and you smiled.
Another mummy in the wait room (whoever you are, thank you) came over to me and gave me tissues she said
"It is ok, you are not a failure we all have these moments. What can I do to help?"
She then proceeded to help me work out how I was going to get some formula without a script (tins are $50 for a 400g tin) and asked the receptionist if there was any sample packs. The receptionist said there was but she couldn't give them to me without seeing the doctor! The mummy said well can't you go and interrupt and ask?
So finally I could give you some food and you smiled at me once again satisfied.
We had to wait for 1.5hrs to get in and I put you onto the scales and it read 5.62kg. The doctor said that you were back onto the charts on the 3rd percentile! Since your last weigh in you had gained 450g. A very momentous occasion. Giving up breastfeeding so suddenly was tough and I now see that it was the right decision for you to thrive.

I know you came here with a purpose, I am learning so much from you. Through all the sleepless nights, the screams of pain and the kinks in the path we have traveled on so far, change is taking place. We are growing stronger with each new challenge and we can only go forward from here.

My promise to you is to do whatever you need me to on your journey. I want to be the best mummy I can be to you and your brothers.

I love you so very much

Love Mummy