Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what would you do?

I am curious. What would you do in this situation?

The gastroenterologist wants to put Therese on an even more specialized formula due to the severity of her reaction to my breastmilk. He said that if I cut out the 5 major allergens (milk, soy, wheat, nuts, and eggs), we might, at some point, be able to try breastfeeding again.

Would you? Would you try to do this with no guarantee that it will ever even be a possibility?


  1. Soy and nuts wouldn't be a terribly big deal for me, but I think the no dairy combined with no eggs or wheat would do me in! I suppose in the end it's a matter of learning what you *can* eat and just focusing on that. But I confess I don't think I could do this.

  2. That would mean a lot of pumping and I suppose you have to decide if you can afford that much time maintaining a milk supply with no promises in the future. I would not, personally.

  3. But really, does it matter what I would do? You should do what's best for you and yours.

  4. Jenny,
    My first thought on reading your question is that there’s no way anyone else could answer for you, and it would be presumptive to try to do so. Plus, I’m no expert, and even if I was I don’t have knowledge of your specific situation. If you have questions/doubts after speaking with the gastroenterologist, I hope you’ll consider getting a second opinion. Also, if you haven’t already, you might want to consider an appointment with a lactation consultant (if you have access to one). A lactation consultant should be able to help you understand the potential for those dietary restrictions to work, which seems to be a needed input as you weigh this decision.
    Outside of those suggestions, don’t forget to weigh the potential harms that might come from nursing in your situation: 1) If the formula works for Therese, there’s risk of the problem returning if you go back to nursing her…you might want to avoid that risk by sticking with the formula 2) Your health is important to Therese too, and the stress on you now must be overwhelming. The dietary restrictions and the ongoing uncertainty about what to do will only prolong and increase that stress.
    I also believe that the benefit of nursing is overstated (but remember that I claim no expertise). Scientific evidence shows that nursed babies do better than those that are bottle-fed, but how much better? I don’t believe that it’s get-into-Yale versus get-into-ETSU better. I think it’s just a little bit better. I also think there are other much bigger developmental factors (e.g., mothers who aren’t stressed to the max). And keep in mind that those scientific studies that recommend nursing presume that mothers have an equal ability to nurse or bottle feed.
    I guess you can tell that I’m leaning toward the “don’t do it” response. But I have no right (or expertise) to recommend anything to you. If my thoughts above help you reach a decision, then great. If you think they’re rubbish, then feel free to dismiss my post entirely (except the thoughts about second opinions…if you can do that, you should). And have faith that whatever decision you make on this will be the right one.


  5. Is there anything left to eat after cutting out all that? :-)

    Although I disagree with Mark on a lot of points, I think, if it was me, I'd just go with the formula. It won't affect your love for your child or hers for you, and it'll ease a lot of pressure on you, as long as you don't waste too much time on guilt. It's not an awful thing to give your child a bottle, and there's no sense in making life more difficult than it has to be.

    But that's just me, speaking from a standpoint of having other children to take care of, house and farm work, and very limited spousal support for anything that is difficult or time consuming. :-)

    Just do right by little Therese - without worrying about what other people are going to think of you - and it'll be alright.


  6. If it was my first baby, or even my 2nd, I might give it a go. But with multiple children in the house, homeschooling, etc., I think trying to do all that dietary control, pumping, freezing, managing the baby's health, etc., is just a lot, for no guarantee. I think if they could give you a high probability that it would work, you might consider it, but it just seems like a tremendous amount of effort with virtually no guarantee of an end reward. And how long could you keep up the dietary restrictions. That's a lot to leave out, a lot of label checking, etc. I agree with the poster that suggested checking with a lactation consultant before making a final decision - they may be able to give you a different perspective with additional information that could help you make the decision that's best for you and the baby, as well as the rest of your family. Saying a quick prayer for you right now - I know it's so hard to balance all the needs and desires of a mother with what is best for one child, and the entire family.

  7. I think cutting out all of those from my diet would cause me lot of stress and I might even go hungry because I don't know how to cook without those. So...I don't know. Which option would cause you more stress?

  8. Oh, Jenny. Just caught up with your blog and saw the struggle with allergies resurfacing. Oh dear. I know it's so disappointing for you. Just want to comfort you on the guilt part. We just can't control everything no matter how much we wish we could. I say life is too short to suffer over this, and I hope you can lay down your guilt, and enjoy your beautiful life and precious baby Therese. She's going to be wonderful even if she must take formula.
    Much love dear mama.

  9. I want to thank all of you for helping me during a very stressful time. After 4 days on the formula, she is looking and feeling so much better, and I know it is what she needs. I am sad that breastfeeding ended so soon. Anyone know what to do with a freezer full of breast milk?

  10. Jenny - DONATE!! I had a ton left over from my first when I was nursing because I worked for a bit before I was able to say home. I donated to a milk bank that sned breast milk all over to babies who need it. I donated to the breast milk bank at Wake Medical Center in Raleigh. I'm sure if you searched in the internet, you could find some milk banks easily. There is some paperwork to fill out, etc, but it was so worth it not to have to dump all that "gold" into the sink. That would have broken my heart!!

  11. You are in my prayers this morning, Jenny. I know what a struggle this must be for you (the allergies, the switch to formula) and yet, what is the MOST important? The beautiful little bundle that rests in your arms. Enjoy this precious, fleeting time and (try to) let the extra worries go.

    Love to you & yours,