When Miss C was born I was adamant I wanted to breastfeed. I didn’t have a very good experience with Miss B but I know that it is best so wanted to try. I spoke to the midwife when I was in labour and was insistent that I wanted to let her try to latch on as soon as possible to establish feeding. About 6 minutes after Miss C was born she was snuggled into my side and latched on. I was elated!!! I have a naturally large chest and really struggled with latching with her sister and was worried I would have the same problems again. A few hours later I tried to feed her again and latching was an issue. I was given fantastic help from the Breastfeeding Support Workers on the ward but unfortunately then all the drama started!
She was in the incubator but I was allowed to take her out to feed her, and I tried for three days with no success. I had a long, tearful chat with a Midwife and a BF Support Worker and they suggested I express my milk and feed her that way. It was the best of both worlds, I could pump my milk, she was getting the best and I wasn’t stressed out every time she was due a feed!
This continued for two weeks after I got home. I would pump my milk when she was due a feed and her Daddy would feed her and it was working well. The only real downside was lack of skin to skin which then had an effect on my milk production. I tried to snuggle her as much as possible when I wasn’t expressing but it was really hard because she needed her space and peace too. A week after Dad went back to work I made the decision to stop expressing. It was a difficult decision but ultimately it was the best for us. She had three weeks of my milk and all the colostrum but the guilt still killed me.
I bought a tub of formula milk from the shops and started using it. Within a few days she was a different baby. She was unsettled, in pain, windy and had bad diarrhoea. After three days I noticed she had blood in her poo and took her straight to the local Out of Hours centre. The Doctor didn’t seem worried and didn’t look at her bottom at all. I had taken a nappy with me that had blood in it but he didn’t look and told me she had an anal fisher. I wasn’t wholly convinced but took her home. The Health Visitor was due to come out a few days later so I kept an eye on Miss C and showed the Health Visitor my concern. As soon as I took her nappy off she immediately put on a show and was able to let the Health Visitor see first hand what the problem was! She was concerned and sent me straight to the GP surgery to have her seen. As before, as soon as I took her nappy off she gave him a very up close and personal show of the issue. He was horrified and sent us straight to the local maternity hospital because it had a Paediatric Ward. She was admitted and they asked loads of questions, tested her and were really thorough. After a few hours the Consultant came back in and told me he thought she was allergic to Cows Milk Protein. I had never heard of it before but she was really patient and explained everything to me and then got a Dietician in to talk me through what I needed to know. She was fantastic and explained what cows milk protein was and how it was different to someone who was Lactose Intolerant. She talked me through the symptoms and that the blood in her stool was most likely the lining of her stomach being striped away. I left the hospital with a tin of prescription milk, a few booklets on CMPA and a head full of information.
When she was due her next feed we gave her the prescription milk. The first thing that hit me was the smell. It was vile. The Dietician had told me that it was a blessing that Miss C had been diagnosed so early because older children usually refuse to drink the prescription milk due to the taste and smell. I could immediately see what she meant, it was just awful. The second thing was the texture. Normal baby formula is really light and falls straight down into the water and dissolves but this stuff is thick like flour and just sat on top of the water in the bottle. She took the milk with no issue and within a few hours was much more settled. After a week or so she was a totally different baby. She was settled and happy and didn’t pump every few minutes but most of all, the bleeding had stopped. The Dietician told me that they would see me when she was around 5 months old to talk about weaning but if we had any problems just to contact them straight away.
I can tell you that all of this did NOTHING to help with the guilt I was still feeling around giving up breastfeeding, but I was reassured that she would still be allergic to Cows Milk Protein but since my diet doesn’t contain a lot of dairy it would just show itself at a later date.
So there we are, the start of an interesting journey into the world of being dairy free. Let’s see how this turns out!