I’m just waiting.
Waiting for the crying to start. Waiting to hear the tummy grumbles. Waiting.
Who knew a bite of yogurt could evoke such fear?
The first two weeks of Cupcake’s life were magic. Nursing hurt like all hell, but she was doing great. Within three days of leaving the hospital, she had gotten back up to birth weight, plus some. She ate like a champ. I was motivated to keep nursing until finally it stopped hurting. It was heaven and life was good.
But it quickly became apparent that something was amiss. Cupcake spit up non-stop. We’d go through about 5-6 burp cloths a day and at least two wardrobe changes for all of us. My washing machine became my BFF.
My friends meant well, but who wants to hold a pukey baby? The answer is almost no one. We tried every trick in the book, but it was getting worse. We held her upright after nursing. We let her sleep on an incline. Nothing helped. She was miserable. Admittedly, I was, too.
I didn’t know how to help my baby. I felt like I was failing at this momming business. I spent hours and hours researching. I kept a food diary for two months to try and identify a link with when her spitting up was worst. We put her on Zantac to stop her potential reflux. Nothing was getting better.
One night, as I changed my pajamas for the second time, I stumbled across a webpage that changed everything. I started reading about babies that have a cow’s milk protein intolerance (CMPI) These babies not only react to any dairy they ingest, they react to the cow’s milk proteins that get passed through breastmilk due to their mother’s diet. Nursing mothers need to completely eliminate all forms of dairy from their diet if their baby has a CMPI.
The difficulty is that a nursing mom can’t just stop eating dairy for a day to see a difference. It takes several weeks without these foods to notice a change. Additionally, dairy is hidden in SO many foods. As hard as it would be for this cheese and chocolate lover, I knew I had to try. I figured I had nothing to lose. If I went dairy-free for three weeks and there was no improvement, I wouldn’t be any worse off. At least I felt like I was finally doing something instead of just letting Cupcake be miserable.
On August 10, I started my journey. I read every label in our house and knew which foods were “safe” (hint, hint, not many of them!). It was hard. I missed cheese. I wanted pizza and lasagna. I missed chocolate. I missed the freedom of ordering at a restaurant without having to talk to 5 different people to get my order right.
However, within two weeks I noticed a change in my baby girl. She went from spitting up so many times a day I couldn’t even count, to just once or twice. She slept better. She seemed so much happier. I saw a lot less of my washing machine. As time went on, she continued to improve.
I went to her next pediatrician appointment and told them what I was doing. They thought that her issues were strictly reflux and wanted to increase her prescription Zantac since she was growing and needed a higher dose. I declined.
Then came the inadvertent test in October. My husband and I had weaned Cupcake off her Zantac with no problems. We were at a party and, although I had checked the ingredients in one dish, I hadn’t checked closely enough and ended up eating some dairy. I had only has two bites when I realized.
To try and make it a true test, I didn’t even mention it to my husband. I wanted to see if he observed any changes. Within 24 hours, Cupcake had spit up a few times, which she hadn’t done in quite some time. He definitely noticed the change in her and asked me if I had eaten anything strange! Thankfully, I had only ingested a small amount, so her symptoms stopped relatively quickly after one long night of not sleeping and quite a few tears.
So I skipped all the dairy filled goodies of the holidays and had settled myself with the idea that I hadn’t had “real” pizza since August. Eating dairy-free was becoming easier and I was starting to not miss most of the foods I used to eat.
Although I get the feeling the pediatrician might not totally agree with me, he’s being supportive. We found a dairy introduction guide to trial slightly before her first birthday, so that we could discuss the results at her one year appointment.
So here I am. Waiting.
I am about to give my daughter her first taste of dairy. If it goes well, we get to try butter next (yum!). If not, I willingly subjected my poor baby to the pain and discomfort that will follow.
Here goes nothing…
Update: It has now been 24 hours since she had the yogurt. So far, all has been good! Totally as if nothing had happened. I am frightened to get too excited yet, but I am about to burst!!!