Pen Pal: Dairy Free Carmel
MilkMade are pleased to introduce our first Pen Pal, Carmel. She contacted us initially to share her story about feeding her daughter Delilah, who turns one this month. Like our own MilkMade minis, Delilah was diagnosed with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) which dictated their feeding path. Many of the points Carmel made rang true for us, grabbing our attention with her sisterhood solidarity, we felt we should share the love with you all.
I'm friends with a group of mamas, breast feeders and bottle feeders, all we care about is that our babies grow up healthy and happy.
I always wanted to breastfeed my baby, as many mamas do. But it was a difficult journey for us, taking at least 2-3 months to get established. I’ve heard more stories of breastfeeding difficulties than of babies emerging from the womb, and nailing the breast crawl. And of course, you don't hear of those difficulties at antenatal classes do you?
Contrary to popular belief, I don't think all babies are born to breastfeed; nor do I think all mamas are able to breastfeed. I would say my daughter and I are very lucky to have made it to this stage.
Delilah was diagnosed with severe milk and egg allergy at 6 months. After trying her with some formula at a few months old, we had our suspicions, however, our first family Sunday roast confirmed it. Cauliflower cheese, made clear our Achilles heel, with the hives and the screaming taking us to A+E. So I've been dairy and egg free since then. While our paediatrician is nice we are of little concern to him because Delilah is growing well and is healthy. So we’ve had to figure it all out ourselves!
Continuing breastfeeding became the easiest way for me to ensure Delilah was getting all the nutrition she needed without fear of an allergic reaction. Whilst this is inconvenient it is manageable.
BUT, and it's a big BUT.... there are massive downsides to breastfeeding that no one tells you about. I haven't had more than 3-4 hours solid sleep for over 11 months, maybe I would have done with a bottle fed baby, maybe not. I haven't had a proper evening out or night away since before Delilah was born. She is still totally dependent on me, which I'd be lying if I said I didn't sometimes love…. but my gosh I wish I had a bit more of my own life back. She's never taken a bottle so I don't have that option nor has my husband ever had the experience of feeding her. And because she is CMPA I've not eaten any chocolate or other dairy/egg foods for 6 months!
To mamas out there, if you want to breastfeed then go for it. If you don't want to, then that's fine! If you do want to but it doesn’t work out for whatever reason then I hope you make your peace with it. Babies need love and nutrition no matter how they get it! No one should be made to feel like less of a mama because of the methods they use. There are downsides to all feeding decisions, sometimes they feel so big it makes you feel worthless. But just look at your babies face and everything will be ok; nothing else will matter.
Thank you Carmel for sharing your story. If you feel you have something to get off your chest then please drop us a line, we would love to hear your voice.