Oct 14, 2011

Milk Allergy

I want to start off by saying that having Brayden has been the most rewarding and special experience in my life and I can't imagine life without him. Of course, it's not always easy. During the first few days home from the hospital I was so overwhelmed that I wasn't sure if I was cut out to be a mom. I shed some tears and had some heart to heart conversations with Zach, and that feeling went away as quickly as it had hit me. It was just so different having a house filled with baby junk, lack of sleep, being at home instead of at the office, having a person who depends on me 100%, and just not really knowing what I'm doing at all. On top of that, I had to take care of myself so that I could heal properly. I guess you could say that I had a little bit of postpartum depression, although I don't know if that was actually true. Life has definitely changed, but has just gotten so much better.

Since three months has already passed, I probably have lots of stories to write about, but I will start with what's currently happening in the Swanson household.

When Brayden was born he was perfect. He had (and still has) the most beautiful dark blue/gray eyes, little round nose, and perfect lips all on his perfectly symmetrical face. You might think it's strange that I would refer to my son's face as symmetrical. It never occurred to me that this is partially what makes a person beautiful, until we had a 3D ultrasound at 24 weeks and the ultrasound technician told us that he was beautiful based on how perfectly symmetrical his face was. For some reason, her comment just stuck in my mind. I digress.

Brayden was perfect, and the most perfect thing about him was his skin. Well, it's not so perfect anymore. The skin on his head is so flaky and crusty that I don't know how his body grows new skin so fast to replace what falls off (gross, yes). His cheeks get red and inflamed, and even his legs, arms and chest feel like there is an extra "tough" layer of skin overlaying what used to be so soft. Sometimes he scratches it accidentally and his razor like finger nails slice right through it because of how dry it is. Underneath the crust is a sort of oil. Lots of people told me that their babies went through a "bad skin" phase and that he will grow out of it. Well, it's not going away and I can tell his head itches him. He rubs it back and forth whenever he's lying on the floor.

I called the doctor (I think they know me pretty well there by now with how many times I call with questions, but hey, that's what they're there for right?!) and the nurse said if there's something wrong with his skin that I should bring him in. Of course, Brayden is the happiest little camper (see below for some pictures of him in the doctor's office), but Dr. Van Roekel almost made me cry. I told him that Brayden's skin was actually a lot better compared to what it normally looks like and I was afraid that they were going to tell me that it was nothing. He told me that if this is what his skin is like when it's good then that's not good because "this is pretty bad." Am I a terrible mother for not taking him sooner? Poor little guy.

Dr. Van Roekel told me that this is classic for a milk allergy. Next step, Momma has to cut dairy completely out of her diet for the next 7 days (since I'm breastfeeding) to see if it improves. Ummm.. cheese? :-( Of course I can go 7 days without dairy. Right? If you know me, you know what I'm thinking.

After 7 days if his skin isn't better then we will go see a dermatologist. If it is better, then there's a good chance that it is a milk allergy. The good news is that lots of babies have that and they grow out it. The bad news...what in the world do I do with the freezer full of breast milk that I have stored?!? And on top of that, can I cut dairy out completely until I am done breastfeeding, or do we switch to non-dairy formula? I will be devastated to switch 100% to formula and there is no way I can get rid of my milk storage. It's ridiculous how much I have frozen. Zach would have to deal with it when I'm not home. People have told me I should donate it..which I think is a little weird, but apparently there are breast milk banks..kind of like sperm banks? Ha! I know my milk is good and healthy, because I would feed my own baby with it, so I guess that would be okay. One of my best friends just had a baby boy and she is not producing enough milk for him yet, so if she doesn't get that worked out, I would give it to her if she didn't think that was totally weird. I'm getting ahead of myself. We don't even know yet if this is even the case.

There is something self gratifying about being able to feed my baby from my own body. And hey, it's FREE! I had to work at Starbucks like an hour after I got home from the doctor's so I was kind of running around like crazy trying to figure out what to do for Zach to be able to feed him for the rest of the day. I had bottles of milk in the fridge, but I had like three glasses of milk in the last 12 hours (and who knows how much cheese!). I decided to freeze all that (in case we will be able to use it) and had Zach go buy soy formula until I could get caught up with a few fresh (and dairy free!) bottles of milk for Zach to feed while I'm working. The next day, Brayden had a solid turd in his diaper! So weird. Must've been the soy?

I will be sure to update on this. Look at the happy baby..

By the way, happy three month birthday to Brayden!!!

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