If you are nursing a new baby and find that he or she is really fussy, consider what you are eating. What you eat has a huge impact on your baby. Some babies tolerate anything you eat and have no problems. Others really struggle, and what you eat makes their tummies hurt. Let me tell you my story.
When I was nursing my first child, I figured out that she was super fussy when I ate a high- dairy meal or anything with caffeine, including chocolate. Eliminating dairy (and chocolate) was hard, but it was much better to have a happy baby than it was to eat those things. By the time I had my second child, I had figured out that I had celiac disease. So, I eliminated gluten from my diet. But this kid wasn’t just fussy, he was an Olympic-class-projectile-vomiting-athlete. Yikes. So, I decided to try eliminating some other things from my diet. By the time I was finished (and he was a happy kid again with fewer episodes of vomiting), I had eliminated gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats), dairy, soy, chocolate, beans, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and anything that contained caffeine (plus other things that I am not remembering, I am sure!). Do you know how hard it is to eat when you can’t eat all those things? By the time my third child came along, I was a pro. I immediately eliminated dairy from the moment he was born. I had to eliminate a few other things along the way, but he was far less difficult to please than his older brother. People felt sorry for me and encouraged my to ditch nursing and go to formula. Have you read the ingredients in formula? Dairy. Soy. Not going to happen.
While I can not tell you what will work for you, I would encourage you to work with a dietitian or doctor who will support your decision to breastfeed AND help you with an elimination diet. Some people see results in as little as 24 hours, while others have to wait 6-8 weeks! Be patient. This is not a forever thing, but it is totally worth the sacrifice to avoid a crying, fussy, unhappy baby. And, many times the kiddo will outgrow it by the time they reach a year. (Not always, but most of the time.) That means that you have to sacrifice for a year or so. You can do it. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one moment at a time!
You might wonder what are you supposed to eat if you can’t eat dairy. That seems to be the hardest one for people to eliminate. There are a TON of products available now. There are yogurts and ice cream made from coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk and almond milk. Milk from almonds, hemp, oats, flax, rice and soy is available in shelf stable varieties in many grocery stores or WalMart. There are cheeses made from rice, soy, and almonds. Replace butter in baked items with coconut milk. Eat your veggies with just a touch of salt instead of swimming in butter. Look into sheep milk or goat’s milk. Eat lemon pudding – it has no gluten, no dairy and no soy. Find foods that you enjoy and that your baby will tolerate…then enjoy them! Be grateful for what you CAN eat and try hard not to concentrate all the time on what you CANNOT eat. It is hard to do, but so worth the sacrifice!
When you do an elimination diet while you are nursing, you may find yourself starving ALL THE TIME. Seek out a food source that is high calorie, high protein. I lived on avocados, cashews and almonds. I put peanut butter on apples and celery. I ate coconut milk ice cream by the pint. And I ate all the time.
Nursing mamas need support. One other thing that helped me was finding a nursing support group. It was a group of women who met together to discuss problems and solutions they encountered while nursing. I found that I was not alone and people had some great ideas to share, recipes and sympathy for my plight! Plus the medical folks who ran the group had access to resources I would have been unaware of otherwise.
You can nurse a baby who is healthy and happy. It may just take some experimentation and patience to determine what it is that is making them feel yucky. Stick with it. It is worth it!
Kimberlee is a certified music therapist, SAHM, homeschooler and chef for three kids with celiac disease. She loves to read, teach guitar and hike in the mountains. Her goal is to post things that either make you smile, hum or think. Kimberlee writes about music therapy, homeschooling, and her challenges with her family’s dietary restrictions.