Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making the Switch

going into pregnancy, I knew from the start that I wanted to breastfeed J.  I wanted that special bonding time, I wanted the food that was best for him and would provide all those essential anti-bodies and goodness that comes with breast milk, and I certainly didn't want to spend the tons of money it took to formula feed a child.  That was probably my biggest reason, not wanting to spend the money.

and for a while, breastfeeding worked (kind of).  It was hard for both J and me.  I was slow to produce milk, and because he was such a large baby to start out with, wasn't happy with the small amounts of colostrum, then in-between-milk that I made.  Combined with the fact that he had to spend his first few days in the NICU, and was formula fed there, J was always a bit frustrated at my attempts to nurse him (especially since mom is sooooo much slower to eat from than mom, and I want my food NOW!).  We kept persevering (with lots of tears, fighting to keep J awake, and frustration on all ends), and all seemed to be going great, and doing so much better....until he got all colic-y.

I knew that something had to be an underlying factor for this. There had to be a reason for the colic, it shouldn't just happen. so I started to do some research. We were recommended some infant gas drops, to see if it was just his body processing gas poorly, and it seemed to help some, but not much.  We eventually stumbled upon the idea of being sensitive to dairy, specifically the proteins in dairy.  This made so much sense to me. Even though he doesn't like to admit it, Drew has a dairy sensitivity, so why wouldn't J?  So we tried a dairy free week with me eating no major sources of dairy (milk, yogurt, ice cream, etc.) and some formula that was specifically for a dairy sensitivity.

It was amazing.  After a few days, J only cried for wanting to eat (NOW, not in 5 seconds!), wanting to be held and cuddled (I want to be held all the time!) being overly tired (there's way too much world to see, and I want to see it all now, not sleep!) and I'm fairly certain some if it was boredom too (I'm tired of looking at all the cool things in this house, and that rattle doesn't interest me. let's go on another walk, even though we went 10 minutes ago!) it was amazing.  My little boy was sometimes happy again, and didn't cry all day every day. It wasn't always a huge relief (and my main goal after every time he woke) for him to just fall back to sleep. I wanted to spend time cuddling and playing with him. I wanted to see his alert and ever curious little eyes.

I knew that I couldn't keep up with eating no dairy.  I absolutely love dairy, and it's one of my main snacks. Plus, at least half the dinners and other meals we eat have lots of dairy.  It would just be too much of a stress for me, something I certainly didn't need in my life while still adjusting to this new mom-hood thing. So we decided to try a week with me eating just one meal with dairy a day.  If I knew we were having a dairy dinner (say, mac and cheese, or lasagna) then I wouldn't have any the rest of the day, just at dinner.  If we weren't having dairy for dinner, I could have it somewhere else in the day.

After just two days, we knew it didn't work.  J was back to crying at every waking moment.  I was so disappointed. I still wanted to be able to nurse him, and still mainly not wanting to have to pay the exorbitant amounts of money to formula feed him. But I knew it was best for J.  Did I feel guilty and like a bad mom?  No. (actually, maybe a bit of guilt for not being stronger for him to give up the dairy, just for a few months while his insides adjusted) I knew it was best for both of us.  What I mainly felt (and still do) is a whole slew of disappointment and sadness.  As much of a fight and as frustrating as it was, I still loved nursing J, and knew I would miss it greatly.  Sure, I can still cuddle him, but it's different. And that's still hard. Especially times when HE goes to nurse, and I know I probably don't have anything there any more for him. It makes me wonder if he misses it too. As much as I had to fight to keep him awake which he didn't like, did he enjoy nursing too?

I know that in the long run, it won't make a difference. he'll still grow up to be healthy and happy. Formula has some great benefits that breast milk doesn't and that he'll be fine.

But man, it's hard to make that switch...