Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And So it Begins

Oliver is three days old and has just finished nursing. He is laying quietly in my lap when suddenly he spurts out a river of projectile vomit. It is so forceful that it streams out of his nose. After spending half a second concerned about my sweet baby, the next thought that enters my head is "Oh CRAP!"

Because an hour earlier, in a fit of early-nursing starvation, I scarfed down two (yes, two) of the most delicious strawberry ice cream cones (Breyers). Dairy= barfing? Oh please no. I have been down that road before, with Gabe, and it is a bumpy, windy, ugly road with weeds growing over it, that I never desire to travel again.

I try to stay in denial. Hopefully it is just a reaction to overactive letdown (TMI, I know). After all, kellymoms says that true milk protein allergies are actually pretty rare (has anyone told my boys that?).

I cut back on the ice cream, try not to eat my favorite snack (cereal with cold cold milk), and think twice before slopping on the sour cream, but the evidence continues to mount. More vomiting sessions occur, always shortly after milk products are consumed (curse you, delicious chocolate pudding pie!!) Oliver has watery, explosive green poos, a raw behind, and he is always snorty. I can't ignore it any longer and cut out all obvious milk sources, and for the time being, any soy-heavy products (often a shared allergy). If that doesn't do the trick, I will start scouring labels to knock out all traces of dairy.

I have dairy-heavy eating habits, and while I figure out how to satisfy my ravenous appetite, I am always really really hungry. Which makes me kind of grumpy. I fantasize about Reese's Puffs and nag my husband.

One night I am awake at 3:30, Oliver has just finished a very messy nursing session, my breast pad has leaked in my sleep, and both of us need a clothes change. Again. My whole world is wet lately. My tummy growls. Everything I own smells like milk (breast, not that cow's stuff that I want). I think I really don't want to do this anymore.

Yes, even women who have breastfed two boys for over two years each still have those moments and those thoughts.

But because of those years of experience, I also know that it will get easier (MUCH easier). It won't always be this messy. I will be able to eat ice cream someday.

And I know the satisfaction of looking at a roly-poly pair of baby thighs, or of finding out that he has gained another pound, and knowing that I am solely responsible for his healthy chub. Go me!

That sole responsibility is why breastfeeding can feel like such a heavy burden at times. I am the only one who can feed him. I am the only one who can decide what goes into that milk. I am the only one who can make those sacrifices for him.

But isn't that what makes it all so wondrous at the same time?

And when you think about those sacrifices and that responsibility, isn't it a beautiful representation of motherhood itself?


Ashley said...

Ugh, breastfeeding is the pits. :) I wish I could just pretend I don't know the benefits and give the next one a bottle right off the bat! I too have overactive letdown and I'm hoping that with kid #3 I'll have a much better idea of how to control it and make it so they don't have gas and explosive poops all the time. I think I should keep an eye on my diet next time too, because I think they were sensitive to milk, but they didn't have any spitting up problems and I didn't want to give up milk! I think it was mainly my overactive letdown that was the problem. I was getting the hang of it with Blaise and then he got big enough to handle the flow :) But they had super bad gas, explosive mucousy poops and occasionally blood in their poop. It was horrible. But looking back, it taught me a lot about unselfishness, which is really the biggest lesson I constantly need to be learning.

AND, I've gotta tell you, thanks for being an example to me of "endurance through nursing"! I know that you wouldn't judge me if I didn't nurse, but I also know you're always there for nursing support (and all the other parenting stuff I admire you for)

Man, I'm not sure I'm ready to be a parent to a newborn again! I forgot about waking up soaking wet and smelling like milk all the time! Maybe all the cutting back on milk will help with losing baby weight at least! :) I hope you can find things to fill up on! I know my favorites when I was nursing Rae was applesauce, and lots and lots of fresh fruit. I also ate a ton of fresh vegetables but I got a lot of gas :)

Man, long comment.

Ashley said...

P.S. - Put down the camera and wipe off the kid!

Christie said...

I totally know the feeling, although my challenges have been quite different...no leaking or engorgement, low supply, hoping for a least half-way decent gain, pumping for 12 weeks while Amelia grew up enough to breastfeed, not to mention all extra challenges that come with flabby I cups.
I wish I could just go with the flow like Mom did combining breastfeeding and formula without a second thought...or at least that's how it seemed to me.

lindsey said...

i hope hope hope his milk problems doesn't keep up. it is so hard to feed a child who can't have dairy. we thought her allergy was going away because she wasn't breaking out around her mouth as much when we gave her a small amount of dairy, then after a couple of days her eczema just exploided, so no more dairy again. anyway my breast feeding problems were more related to christie's.. not enough milk and a little little girl. for me i think next time i might give my baby just a little formula now and then just because it was so hard to find a formula that lily would take because she hadn't ever had it.. and if my milk stops again like it did with her i won't have any more options. lily's awake. bye

Audra & Levi said...

I was about to say that maybe the Milk intolerance comes from the Jeppson side because of Gabe, Oliver, Lily, AND Callie! Then I realized... oh yeah... Callie is not biologically a Jeppson... bwah-ha-ha! Sometimes I forget! And honey, I know, I have been there! I know more about Kosher food labels than I ever dreamed to know because even the slightest HINT of dairy, even the dairy that is so minusule it does not show up on labels (hot dogs, breads, things like that) would make Callie congested, she would have the explosive poops, and you saw her crusty face issues. The good news though is I lost a lot of weight that way! The only problem is I gained it back once she got over it and I went on ice cream and pie binges. Good luck is all I can say! And I sympathise and know how you feel! If you find that you need to be as strict as I was I can give you a crash course in Kosher food labels ;)!