June 1: Amazing Skin
Since Saturday, TJ’s skin has been the best it has been in months! He literally went to bed on Friday night and woke up with a total improvement in his skin. And still today, his skin is looking great! What could have caused this!?!? While we have no definite ideas, there are some factors that we believe may have helped.
1) Changed our hand soap to a hypoallergenic one by Seventh Generation (Even though only Timmy and I use this and not TJ; I am not sure why we didn’t switch this sooner.)
2) Changed his lotion from Aquaphor & Vanicream to CeraVe
3) Eating more foods/solids
4) Two probiotics a day – Could this be helping his overly guy health already? I chose to think positively that indeed it is.
Maybe my motivation was the skin improvement; however, a new sense of strength has arisen in me when it comes to all of this. Or rather, it has to be my faith in the fact that God is guiding us through all of this in TJ’s best interest.
With that new courage in mind and the face the TJ chugged his first bottle of solely soy toddler drink yesterday, it may be time to wean from breastfeeding. If it wasn’t for the elimination diet that I have been doing for 5.5 months now, I would continue to nurse in the morning for as long as he wanted. Strangely enough, this is totally not how I expected to be with all of this. I never thought I would get to breastfeed for 12 months, let alone 13 months and wanting to go longer. However, I am trying to focus and pray for clarity on what is best for not only TJ, but also us as a family. Therefore, while I am taking it day by day still, I have stopped adding breast milk to his 9 am bottle. Tomorrow, I will stop pumping then. I still pump or feed at 4 am, 6 am, 2 pm and 6:15 pm. I can’t even imagine stopping because it is all I have known in being a mother. For all mothers who have gone through weaning, my heart goes out to you because mentally this is way more challenging than I ever expected. If some reason, TJ starts to not enjoy and drink his soy, I may reconsider all of this right now. While I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, what I do know is that I helped TJ in so many ways during these past 13 months and will continue to do so in even more ways. My 6 am feeding will be my last to go and I anticipate it being the most difficult. To help with this, I have 64 frozen bags of breast milk and counting that I will use to give a bottle of my milk in the morning during our snuggle time. For some reason, I find peace in that despite how difficult this all is.
Regardless a happy baby with great skin makes us all smile and hopeful…
June 5: Eczema Care
Is pollen season almost over? As we get closer and closer to summer vacation, we smile on…
June 13: Weaning
This past week has been very difficult for me as I had a major decision to make. Would I continue to nurse TJ each day in the morning and on weekends in the afternoon? Or, would I stop nursing him and go off the elimination diet? Out of his 4 bottles, all week three of them were soy. I was only nursing when he first woke up. I was holding on because I was afraid of the total transition.
What if soy all of the sudden didn’t work for him although it had been over 3 weeks now since he started to drink it?
What if soy was causing his horrible eczema flare up on his legs this week?
What if he needed me to comfort him?
What if he needed me when he was teething which he is right now cutting two bottom molars?
What if we lost our closeness and bonding time?
What if I made the wrong decision and therefore, my production dropped and he needed it?
During the past few months, I had worried about this time of transition so I made sure to pump a lot and save extra milk. As of yesterday, I had 480 ounces of breast milk in my frozen stash which is equivalent to 3.75 gallons and 80 bottles of 6 ounces each. I never could have imagined that I could have saved up that much milk! But I did and for some reason that helped me feel more at ease if I did decide to stop because I could give a bottle of breast milk every morning in place of nursing for the next 80 days!
I had already weaned three of my daytime feedings over the course of the last 1.5 months. This included the 4 pm one first then the 12 pm one and last week the 9 am one became soy. Then, we changed his nighttime bottle to soy. Then, last Monday, I had a faculty meeting after school so I could not pick up TJ and feed at day care like I had since November so I gave a bottle of soy at the 2 pm bottle time too.
Last week was tough and the emotions that I was feeling was very difficult to put into words. I tried to come to the computer and put my feelings into print. However, they got lost in my mind and deeper in my heart. Maybe it was the hormones, not to mention the pain that both boobs felt when I took away the 2 pm feeding. I still pumped a bit each day but less each day. Tuesday was the worst with pain though. That is one that I did not ever struggle with, my supply was always great! That is probably why I felt like I had to do the elimination diet to continue breastfeeding. I was blessed enough with a supply so I had to use it for TJ’s best interest.
Because I was a bundle of mixed up emotions and TJ’s skin was having a flare up yet again, I emailed our pediatrician with this…
“Thank you for your email and encouragement. I was potentially going to stop nursing TJ starting Saturday. Last Friday, he started to drink two bottles of soy formula a day. Since Monday, he has been drinking three bottles of soy formula. Thus, I’m only nursing when he first wakes up. However, since Saturday his skin has been having flare ups occasionally on his face and other typical problem areas. We thought that since he is extra fussy and also stopped eating meat during the past few days that this was due to teething. I think the bottom first molars are coming in. However, now I am afraid to stop nursing and pumping in case for some reason it is the soy. What do you think about this all? Thanks!”
Her response: “I think it is unrelated to the soy and likely to the heat. I can say that with a bit of confidence since I’m seeing LOTS of eczema flairs this past week, either from the heat, sweat or the use of more sunscreens. I think he will be fine if you stop nursing and it sounds like he is doing well transitioning to the soy formula. I think if he truly were intolerant of soy that I would see more vomiting, true hives, diarrhea. Hope the teething isn’t bothering him too much–those molars can be tough. Hope the last few days of school fly by and feel free to reach out with additional questions!”
To which I responded: “Thank you for always being so supportive. Weaning is so much harder for me than I thought it would be. However, I saved up 80 frozen bags of breast milk of 6 ounces each so I can give a morning bottle of it every day for 80 days. Ha it’s making me feel slightly better and less guilty for weaning. I wish I didn’t have to be on this crazy diet or else I would just continue until he weaned. Anyways, thank you for everything!”
Her response: “Weaning is always bittersweet but you have an amazing amount of milk frozen which is great! It’s a good time to wean as we are able to expand his diet with other foods. Hope you have a great meal planned for when you come off the elimination diet! See you guys for his 15 month PE and sooner if needed!”
With her responses and praying for guidance and direction, as much as it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, I felt like I knew what I had to do. Here is what I posted on my breastfeeding Facebook page.
“Happy weekend! I hope all is wonderful with everyone. Today is a very bittersweet day. ( more bitter than sweet but trusting in my heart it’s the right next step)
Yesterday was the last day I nursed TJ. It was an extremely difficult decision. He is about 13.5 months old and since we found out about all of his food allergies in December, his body is making a lot of progress. He has already outgrew two ( soy and peas) and has been tolerating and enjoying soy. Therefore, since it’s been six months of this elimination diet of everything for me and after getting guidance from his amazing and supportive pediatrician, I ate normally last night at a wedding I attended for the first time in six months. I honestly didn’t even mind the diet I was on and would have continued it but it was more about looking at the bigger picture and what was best for all of us.
With that being said, breastfeeding has been one of the most amazing experiences that I’ve ever done. Despite all of its challenges including eliminating dairy, eggs, wheat, oats, barley, sesame, soy, peas, coconut, nuts and peanuts for six months and having to scald all my frozen stash, I would not change any of it. Part of me use to get angry and wish TJ didn’t have any allergies and that I could continue nursing hi, eating freely. But now I find great comfort in knowing TJ was given to me for a reason, allergies and all.
Because I was nervous about the soy transition, I started to build up more of my frozen supply. I saved up 480 ounces of frozen Breast milk which I think converts to 3.75 gallons/ more importantly 80 bottles. So my plan is to now give TJ one of these bottles every morning for the next 80 days. I started it today.
I hope that I don’t come across as I am bragging because that is not my intent. Instead, although I may not know some of you and only keep in touch with many of you through Facebook, I want to let you know that I could have never done this without your encouragement and support. In December and January especially, I entered a scary world of food allergies and fear. That fear I was able to overcome with all of you. Thank you for letting me vent and cry out my heart and soul on here. Thank you for inspiring me to create a blog and continue writing a book I started years ago.
Finally and I’ll then shut up, no matter how difficult anything in life seems whether it be breastfeeding, getting your baby to sleep through the night, getting through a difficult time, etc, anything is possible if you believe it is and I believe that everything happens for a reason although that reason may not always reveal itself when you want it to. Anyways, if you read all this thank you so much ! You guys are all amazing Mommies and people!”
Therefore, yesterday I nursed TJ in the morning and in the afternoon for the last time. He even took a nap on me during the afternoon nap which was and will always be one of my favorite parts of nursing. The closeness, the bonding, the cuddles, the nap, watching him sleep contently and peacefully as I examine and mesmerize every single part of his perfect self. I am truly a different, more complete person stronger in every aspect because of this entire experience.
Also, for anyone who ever needs to go on an elimination diet and is worried about if they will have any side effects when they begin to eat normally again, I too worried about this a lot. However, last night I went to a wedding and ate everything I wanted despite not eating most of these items for 6 months and I was completely fine last night and today.
Despite crazy teething (damn bottom molars) we both smile on because that is the best way to get through anything even one of the scariest things for me, change...
June 20: Reminded that Baby Steps are Good
While I am almost done pumping, only out about 8 ounces a day instead of the 30 plus I was, my mind is still going in all different directions. When we all decided to wean TJ from breastfeeding, I prayed and prayed that I was making the right and best decision for him. I still worry that I should not have stopped. However, this week, we added in corn and corn pasta to his diet and I honestly was feeling great about introducing new foods. Well, that was until today.
Today, after TJ’s first bottle of breast milk this morning, we noticed his cheeks were slightly red. Then, when he was playing in his Pack n’ Play for about 15 minutes, his cheeks became even more irritated. As my husband prepared allergen free pancakes for TJ for the first time, we walked around in circles getting into everything we aren’t suppose to.
I was excited to add pancakes and waffles to his diet since he is still eating less grains than he is suppose to. Maybe we should have waited for a day when his cheeks were not red to start. Or, maybe there is something in the pancake mix that did this but TJ’s cheeks became more red and irritated. We had to give him Benadryl.=(
While my husband thinks that this is due to his teething and/or a virus since he himself is currently sick and TJ woke at 1 am screaming last night, I am not so certain it is not a food allergy. The red rash resolved after the Benadryl and I monitored him. Although I am much better with all of this than I was months back, I cannot help but to get frustrated and upset that TJ can’t have soooooo much. I guess we will have to try the pancakes again during a weekend when his face is clear to start. I am just not confident that soy is the answer or is this just fear and doubt creeping into my life. Trying to follow my gut but it ain’t talking clearly, so I smile on one baby step at a time because if I don’t I would cry…