Eating

Let’s talk about eating. I started this post a while ago but I find the whole “eating” topic so huge. There’s the breastfeeding part and the solids part. I exclusively breastfed (and pumped) for the first six months. Then we started solids. (I am still breastfeeding and hope to continue for at least another 3 months).

Breastfeeding

Such a difficult topic to discuss succinctly. I have become very passionate about breastfeeding and have a lot to say. I feel empowered by all of the knowledge I have gained and am more than happy to talk about breastfeeding or answer questions. Please feel free to contact me.  

I am grateful that I have been able to nurse Max. That said, it has been full of ups and downs. We’ve persisted and we are lucky to have gotten this far.  It is true that the start to breastfeeding can be challenging and let’s be honest, painful. But it really does get easier and more comfortable over time (well, until the teeth come in, but that’s for a later post).

I think a lot of people think breastfeeding is simply a matter of putting your baby on your boob and voila, magic. Well, yeah, sometimes that is true, but often there’s a lot more to it.

Breastfeeding can be hard and I think for most moms it is. Yet at the same time, it is awesome. When you think about the fact that you are providing all of the nutrition for your little bundle of joy, it is pretty amazing.  Nothing soothes Max like the breast. No matter what is going on I can always calm him by breastfeeding him. Overall, the good so outweighs the bad.

The start of the breastfeeding journey

We were very lucky that we had a pretty smooth start. A few visits from the lactation consultants in the hospital and we were on track. It wasn’t easy, necessarily, but we didn’t have any major issues with latching or supply and Max returned to his birth weight relatively quickly.

At this point I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember is that it was painful. It was a while before I didn’t wince in pain every time Max latched.

I also remember the seemingly constant, endless nursing sessions. Actually, I can look back and see that I spent a lot of time nursing (we used an app called Baby Connect to track feedings. See below). Lots and lots of nursing is pretty much the deal for moms of newborns.

Unfortunately, I had a tough first month post partum. That’s for a later post.

The Later Months

Come Max’s six week birthday, we started settling into a routine that involved 7-9 feedings per day. We were still dealing with a very fussy baby. Max cried a lot. A lot, a lot.

At Max’s two month appointment we were describing the situation and Max’s behavior and the pediatrician said it sounded like Max had acid reflux. She explained that sometimes babies just have reflux, and sometimes it is caused by food sensitivities. Sensitivities are like allergies, but when babies are little they can’t test for this. She suggested we try an elimination diet. (As a side note, we also started him on Zantac to try to control his reflux).

The Elimination Diet

The most common food sensitivities are dairy and soy. Soy protein is very similar to dairy protein and about a third of babies who react to dairy also react to soy. We decided to give the elimination diet a try.

I remember thinking that I would miss cheese, milk and butter, but soy wouldn’t be a big deal. I like tofu, but I can certainly live without it.

As it turns out, it can take up to two weeks for dairy and soy proteins to totally leave your system.  Over time we saw a big improvement.

I gave it four weeks before we decided to do a test with a bit of “baked dairy” – meaning that rather than having dairy straight, it was in something that had been cooked, thereby weakening the protein.

I had a piece of cornbread that was made with milk. We saw a reaction the next day. Max was extremely fussy and was very congested. The Knight kept trying to explain it away. But I knew.

Later that day I walked into the kitchen with a dirty diaper in my hand. I showed it to the Knight, and with an unforgettable look he asked me what it was. “Dairy,” I explained. Green poop is a clear sign of a dairy intolerance. I’ll say no more.

As it turns out, Max has the same reaction to any kind of dairy or soy. Dairy is pretty easy to figure out, though they are some hidden forms. Soy, however, is way trickier than I expected.  

Although most babies with a soy sensitivity are okay with the two most common forms of soy: soybean oil and soy lecithin, Max is not. If I eat even a bite of mayonnaise, he reacts. “What’s wrong with mayonnaise?” you ask. It is made with soybean oil. It turns out that most packaged foods (almost every single bread product, canned tuna, salad dressing, etc.) contain soy.

We’ve tried various tests – both intentional and unintentional – over the past few months but he is still sensitive. Most babies outgrow this by their first birthday. According to my mom, I was allergic to dairy until I was around three. So, it might be a while…

Solids

Shortly after his six-month birthday we started to introduce solids. Our plan was try the latest trend, called Baby-Led Weaning. It basically means you give the baby soft pieces of food and let him feed himself. Great idea in theory, but it didn’t work out that great for us. It was mostly just a big mess. So we started doing some purees. Max wasn’t too impressed with mashed sweet potato, avocado, or banana.

One day around three weeks later I was eating a piece of leftover chicken. I was holding him and he was reaching for it. I decided to give it a whirl – literally. I put a piece in the food processor with some breastmilk. Wouldn’t you know he gobbled it up (haha). The Knight and I couldn’t believe it. I imagine Max was thinking, “Enough with this vegetarian crap! I want some MEAT!” To this day, chicken remains one of his favorite foods. The more flavorful the better.  Curry? Sure. With sweet onions and sherry? Okay.

I don’t want to jinx it by sharing this, but as of now I think we have a little foodie on our hands. He really enjoys food and new flavors. I shared on Facebook how Max was enjoying my stuffed grape leaves. He has also enjoyed sharing asparagus, spicy lentils, and whatever else we might be eating. I am always hesitant to introduce these non-traditional foods at such a young age, but he makes it very clear that he enjoys them. We are not seeing any adverse effects so we are going with it.

I could probably write a dozen or more posts about these topics so if you are interested in something in particular let me know.

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