After finding out we were having our first child, we were all together excited and nervous. A happy, healthy, sleepy baby with no sickness, problems or anything wrong, ever. We were going to be great parents of a perfect baby girl.
Now in many respects, she is perfect. She’s beautiful, sweet and a typical almost two year old now. But there were difficulties and adjustments we didn’t expect. At three months old, she still wasn’t sleeping more than 30 minutes at a time unless she was held. She spit up constantly, and not the cute little spittle either, she was a fountain! And she was always hungry. Since I decided to nurse her, eating constantly wasn’t an option. We were exhausted and all we were told is that “we have a perfectly healthy child”. I knew differently, but thought, “what do I know, I’ve never done this before”.
Shortly after she turned three months old, she starting having blood in her stool. That’s when we were finally able to start getting answers. She was diagnosed with having reflux and allergic colitis. She was allergic to dairy and soy, which as a nursing mom, meant that I was on a new dairy and soy free diet. The decision to keep nursing was not easy. I felt completely unsupported by doctors, many other moms and friends and even family. I was met with a lot of comments like, “are you really going to give up cheese?”, and “why don’t you just give her formula, it’s better and easier.”.
For the next six months, we were taking trips to see a specialist in Charlotte, an allergist, nutritionist and her regular pediatrician. It would have been easy to just stop nursing, but we decided to keep pressing on. After a month of not knowing what to eat, we finally started a new routine and our daughter started to show significant improvements.
I nursed until she was 20 months old, since she still has reactions to dairy, soy, and slight reactions to peanuts and almonds. She was ready for the change and we have learned how to see food differently. We cook at home a lot, make our own bread, and adjust all kinds of recipes. And do you know what? I love it! I progressed from a person who put a tablespoon of butter on each piece of toast and cheese on anything, to a dairy and soy free happy and healthy mom with a happy toddler. Food just doesn’t compare to the health of your child. Even my husband enjoys the meals; though he still likes ice cream.