Moms hear about all the things we should and should not eat while pregnant, but are rarely reminded of the possible dietary restrictions while breastfeeding. While nursing both of my boys I was challenged with adjusting my diet to help with digestive issues for them both. During those years, I questioned if I was doing something wrong. I wondered if what I was providing was good enough for them and if I could really do it.
My oldest was easy to nurse but very fussy and uncomfortable after eating for his first few weeks of life. After some experimentation and removing dairy from my diet we found how sensitive his stomach was to any dairy in my diet. I eliminated dairy from my diet the rest of the time I nursed and it was DIFFICULT.
I went from craving ice cream while pregnant (and giving in to those cravings) to removing all dairy. The first month was the toughest, but I came to find substitutions and it was just my new normal. By the time we got to the end of the year, it wasn’t something I missed as much (except for Casey’s breakfast pizza and a giant chocolate shake).
Breastfeeding Round 2
With my second son, I was more aware of the possibility of a dietary adjustment going into his birth. I had gestational diabetes while pregnant and spent months making changes so I could control my blood sugar levels solely with my diet.
After having our youngest and nursing a few weeks, I noticed how much he spit-up. He was a good eater and a very happy and content baby, but he was always throwing up. Once again I eliminated dairy but saw no changes after weeks of a dairy-free diet. I kept a food journal and removed gluten and different vegetables, and nothing changed. He kept throwing up and constantly eating, and kept being a happy baby. I was lucky my supply kept up with his appetite, but I constantly felt like I was failing him.
We talked to our pediatrician and she told us to wait it out. He was happy, and it may just be an immature digestive system. If it was still this way at a year we would reassess.
We tried probiotics and the chiropractor for a while. They helped a little, and then at 9 or 10 months, it just stopped. There were a few days of minimal puking and then nothing. We were no longer going through 10 bibs a day, my clothes no longer smelled of baby vomit, and the challenge was resolved with a more matured digestive system. The months of questioning myself on if I was doing something wrong was over, and I no longer had to question if the broccoli I ate had my sweet baby puking.
There are many challenges women face when breastfeeding. Do your best, realize your plans might change, challenges may occur, but what you are doing is YOUR best and is worth it.