Thankful for Breastfeeding

* If you didn’t breastfeed for any reason, this is not a judgement on you. I think we all do the best we can, and what is best for our families.

Now, on to the post. I have often been very thankful for breastfeeding. Obviously with Leo’s gallstones and food issues, breastfeeding has been very good for him. I’ve recently become aware of how much it helped Kieran, though.

I breastfed Kieran full-term. As he neared weaning, he would only have 10-30 seconds of nursing, and not daily. Just before he completely stopped, he had his first incident of uncontrolled vomiting requiring an IV. He went awhile without another episode, and weaned completely shortly after that.

Now he has had three such episodes since August, worse than that first one, and is being referred for more testing (initial testing showed elevated arginine levels, but not high enough to be diagnostic). I cannot help but think how this started at the end of our breastfeeding relationship. I’m glad I breastfed him so long to provide that protection. Now I just anxiously await answers.

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Myth of the Devious Baby

I recently saw an article wherein it was hypothesized that babies wake at night not out of hunger (it was stated that babies can eat enough to remain full all night and so hunger isn’t the reason for waking), but subconsciously do this to keep the mother exhausted enough that another baby isn’t conceived yet. The conclusion was that babies are resilient, so just let them cry. I have several objections to this.

1) While a baby technically can take in enough to remain full all night, that assumes that the mother’s breast capacity will deliver that amount in one setting, that a bottle is given, or that the baby will eat that much at one time. Personally, I have a lower breast capacity (unrelated to breast size), and so my babies need to nurse frequently to keep my supply up. A baby has a small stomach, and so might not want or be able to take in enough in one sitting to satisfy him all night, too. An adult should also be able to go all night without a snack or drink, but how many of us do? Yet we expect a baby to do what we can’t or won’t do?

2) This makes it sound like it’s all on the baby, when it is instead a nursing relationship. A mother’s prolactin levels are highest at night, which indicates that a mother’s body is designed for night nursing, too. The baby can likely sense this, and so wakes in response to the mother, too.

3) This assumes that sleeping for an 8-hour stretch is good for the baby. In fact, sleeping so deeply isn’t good for the baby. Sleeping in one 8-hour stretch is rather new for adults, too.

4) this assumes that night nursing equals exhaustion. It can, that’s true, but it doesn’t have to do so. Safe co-sleeping can help a mother to breastfeed and get the sleep she needs.

5) While babies are indeed resilient, letting a baby cry it out has been shown to be harmful.

6) This assumes that the only valid reason for a baby to wake is hunger or a wet diaper. Why do you wake? How many times do we wake because we’re hot, cold, or had a bad dream? We can remedy that ourselves, but a baby cannot.

Venting

I hate insurance. Our insurance recently decided they won’t cover my sons’ specialists, so we have to get out-of-network authorization which means it takes longer to get Kieran’s tests so he can be properly diagnosed. I can do nothing. His doctor’s office keeps on top of the referrals, but the insurance company takes its time. No, this isn’t life-threatening as far as I know, but I still hate that he has to wait to be seen only because insurance decided not to cover many pediatric specialists.

Running on Adrenaline

I feel like I’m just running on adrenaline. Thursday we found out Kieran’s lab work showed a “questionable positive” for one of the inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). I have no idea what that means and of course I didn’t think about asking for the exact levels when I got the call. Not that I would’ve remembered them – I was driving to meet a couple to teach them NFP.

Anyway, now we must wait for insurance to approve coverage since none of the pediatric geneticists are covered by our insurance. I’m also waiting for insurance to approve Leo’s specialist, as they stopped covering that doctor (there aren’t any pediatric gastroenterologists covered by his insurance now, either).

I made the mistake of googling IEMs, trying to figure out which one he might have. Bad idea. For one, it’s hard finding information about those that may not present until age 5, as the bulk of information is about those that present in the neonatal stage. Then the information I do find of course talks about the worst possible outcomes. Yes, the best possible outcomes are also mentioned, but a mother worries. I stopped googling when I realised I was hyperventilating.

I feel somewhat like I did when Leo had his diagnosis. When he was first seen for the symptoms, he had the ultrasound the following day and we knew the results the day after that, so at least I didn’t have to wait. But then we did have to wait to get into GI, and we had no idea what to expect. This time the pediatrician can’t order the necessary tests, so we have to wait until we can get into the geneticist. Who knows how long that will take, and I just want answers so we know how to treat this! I know a lot are managed by diet, but again I won’t know exactly what kind of diet until the tests are done. So there’s this constant thought circle going through my head, it seems.

Hard as it is, I do try to follow the sage advice of a Benedictine monk I once heard: when things seem to be at their worst, pray the Glory Be. So Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Mother Mary, pray for us, for Kieran.

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

Last Monday I gushed about how wonderful the day had gone. Then Tuesday came. Kieran woke early and said he wanted breakfast, but then only ate half a bowl of cereal before going back to bed. Kieran loves breakfast, so that was a red flag for me. I wasn’t surprised when he started vomiting a little later. We know his pattern, so we phoned the doctor early and got him some Zofran. At first it seemed to work, but then the vomiting resumed and Wednesday found him in the hospital. No one else got sick, so we’re not sure it was actually a bug. The doctor is referring him to a pediatric gastroenterologist. He’s better now, but this has happened twice before since August, and I assume it’ll happen again. I pray we can find a cause soon.

Then yesterday I wasn’t as strict with diet and Leo had a gallbladder attack last night. He’s fine now, thank God. He doesn’t understand why I cut him off with certain foods, so it’s hard. I guess this tells me I cannot cheat on diet, no matter how much I may want that egg or avocado.