Monthly Archives: October 2010

He Says… Getting the picture (Part #1)

I thought I would post today about something a little bit off topic: photography.  I have had some readers comment or email asking about what gear I use, and I thought I would post about what I use, and some basic tips for improving your pics.  I am not a professional photographer, but shoot video professionally, and taking stills is a passion of mine (and it follows many of the same principles as shooting video).  My camera has gotten more use taking pics since Owen was born, and I sometimes worry if he only recognizes me as half human/half camera.  If he calls me “Canon” instead of “Daddy” then I know we have a problem.

What gear I use:

I shoot with a Canon 7D DSLR camera.  It’s not cheap, but does fall in the sort of upper-mid range in the Canon line of their DSLRs.  You can pick up a 7D body for around $1500.  I actually got it because it shoots really great HD video as well, and I use it frequently for work as a video camera (and for a lot of the videos on this blog).  I like the Canon line of DSLRs, and they start around $550 with the Rebel XS.  The newer Rebel T2i (about $700 for the body/no lens) is also a great entry into DSLRs,  and also has the great HD video mode of the 7D that I use.  In the Nikon line, I would look at the D3100 or D5000 as good starting points.  The D300 (I know, all these numbers are confusing) is pretty comparable to the Canon 7D at around $1500 for the body (although the video mode it has is lower quality).  Panasonic also has some nice cameras in the GH1 and GH2, although I’ve never used those.

A lot of the quality in pictures comes from the lenses, and that is largely where the expense comes in.  Most cameras that come with a “kit” lens, use a lower quality lens.  These are usually quite fine for bright light, outdoor shots, but don’t excel when it comes to indoor, low light shots.  I opted to buy my 7D without the kit lens and bought several nicer lenses instead.  These can get quite expensive, and especially nowadays when the camera bodies are less expensive, you can spend more than the camera on a single lens.  So unless you are an avid hobbyist or looking to get into photography professionally (or have deep pockets) some of the expensive lenses I use may be impractical for you.  But, if you get a camera with the kit lens (which is usually a zoom in the range of 18-55mm, which is a good wide to medium close-up lens), and want one nicer lens, look at getting a fixed focal length “prime” lens with a fast aperture.  The aperture (or f-stop) is what dictates how much light can be brought into the lens.  The lower the number, the more light you can let in.  Canon sells a relatively inexpensive 50mm lens with a f1.8 aperture for around $100 (Nikon has a similar one too).  This is a great lens for indoor or low-light shots, and nice for taking pictures of people.  It’s a medium close-up lens so works well for portraits.  The lower aperture, in addition to letting in more light, creates a shallower plane of focus (depth of field) so it’s easy to blur out the background.  This is often quite desirable for shooting people and makes them stand out more in the photo.

If you are looking for a nice zoom lens, look for ones with lower apertures (usually f2.8).  They are pricier and heavier but are the best for low-light.  Also, the “off-brand” lenses are generally less expensive so if you have a Canon or Nikon camera body, look at Tamron or Sigma lenses.  Some don’t work as well as the Canon or Nikon lenses, so just check reviews.  Most work great though.

Next week I’ll write about some shooting tips that you can use (with any camera) for getting some better or more interesting pics of your babies, families, friends, etc.  But in the meantime, if you have any questions feel free to ask.

She Says… Baby Food

No, no, we’re not starting Owen on solid food just yet. He’s only 3 months old, people! BUT I did get to take part in an incredibly interesting discussion about babies and food led by Dr. Greene, a pediatrician and author of “Feeding Baby Green“.

It was all part of a pre-opening event generating buzz about the new Isis Parenting store opening on the South Shore. For those who are not local to the Boston area, Isis Parenting is the place where I’ve done both of my Mommy Groups, and the #1 reason I consider myself to be a sane, healthy, happy mom. It is, first and foremost, a community of the most knowledgeable and helpful early childhood development experts and new moms in the area. They have a retail store, classes, drop-ins, playgroups, support for breastfeeding and sleep issues, prenatal massage and yoga, postnatal workout classes and on and on. There are 4 centers around Boston, and now there’s a new center in town, on the South Shore. I got a sneak peek at the blueprints for the new store and it looks amazing! Anyway, Nancy, the lactation consultant who has been immensely helpful working through Owen’s issues with me, invited me to join her for this event with Dr. Greene.

Although we’re at least a month or two away from starting solid foods with Owen, Dr. Greene’s philosophy really inspired me to think about exactly what is going in his mouth. And my mouth. He explained that babies’ tastes and food preferences begin to be imprinted and established even before they enter this world. The foods that I ate while pregnant have a strong impact on Owen’s future eating behaviors. It’s a darn good thing I’m such a healthy eater! No, really. (Remember this post?) I firmly believe that my habits of eating mostly whole, natural foods, and cooking almost all of my food myself (rather than eating it out of a box) will set Owen up for a lifetime of eating well and being healthy. And even now, since he’s eating my breastmilk 99% of the time, he’s experiencing a variety of flavors and natural nutrients.

I have always heard that when you start babies on solid foods, you have to a) wait until 6 months due to possible allergies and b) starts with grains and then move to veggies and then to fruits, giving just one new food at a time so you can see if the baby has some reaction to it. Dr. Greene challenges both of these beliefs. First, he believes we are doing a great disservice to our children by offering them processed, bland, white rice cereal as their first food. He cited a study that was done generations ago that found that simply switching from white rice to brown rice cured many of the diseases/conditions that were killing people at the time. Apparently white rice, back then, was stripped of important B vitamins and simply adding those vitamins back into their diets completely reversed the damage that they had done to their bodies. Although nowadays those B vitamins are added back into white rice, it still stands to reason that we shouldn’t be giving our children something so processed and stripped down from its natural state as their first food.

In fact, he advises us to start solid foods with fruits and vegetables that babies and children can experience with all of their senses. Give them a banana that they can hold, see the color of, see you eat a piece of, and finally taste. This way, in addition to getting totally natural nutrients, they are also learning where food comes from and how we eat it, rather than learning that it is white, tasteless mush that comes from a box.

In a world that is scared silly of allergies, I tend to side with Dr. Greene on this one. Years ago, no one would have separated foods the way that we do, and jarred baby food didn’t even exist. People just mashed up whatever they were eating and gave it to their babies. Although I wouldn’t start Owen out on highly allergenic foods like peanuts, I feel strongly about starting him out on REAL food, and not mush from a box.

Dr. Greene’s talk was very timely for me, as I am struggling with the breastmilk vs. formula issue. He mentioned that formula fed babies are at a slight disadvantage in the world of eating because they are only tasting one taste for many months. Because of this, he would opt to start formula-fed babies on solids earlier than those fed exclusively breastmilk. He thinks that the more tastes you offer your baby, and the more times they are offered, the more likely they are to eat lots of different foods.

I will not stand for having a 2 year old eating only french fries and macaroni and cheese. In fact, I’m not even sure my 2 year old will know what french fries (except the kind I make at home from sweet potatoes!) will taste like. But it’s amazing how many parents say, “My kid will only eat X”. Granted, I have not been there yet, but I like to think I can win that battle before it’s ever fought by exposing Owen to as many whole, natural, healthy foods as possible, starting from the day I saw that little plus sign.

Addendum and apology: I realize, after reading many of the comments below, that my words were not well chosen in the post above! I apologize if they were taken as condescending or judgmental of others’ decisions or experiences. I did not intend to make a statement about anyone else’s decisions or choices, only my own hopes for Owen’s future. I absolutely realize that, as with everything else parenting-related, I have a lot to learn! And, more importantly, it will never turn out as I planned. My passion for this topic came across as absolute and unyielding, and that’s not really how it is at all. I definitely eat french fries and macaroni and cheese once in awhile, and I still consider myself to be a healthy eater. I realize that once Owen starts solid foods, he will develop his own tastes and preferences (hey, he probably already has them now, although it’s harder for him to show it). And it will be beyond my control! I simply meant to say that I hope to give him the best foundation possible.

Again, apologies if anyone felt offended by my wording. I blame having to write the post as fast as possible so I could get a shower before naptime ended 🙂

She Says… Confirmation

Confirmation that I made the right decision about breastfeeding: Owen gained 10+ oz in the last 7 days. That’s more than he gained in the previous 20 days.

We’re figuring out the whole bottle feeding thing. It’s quite a routine! There’s definitely an element of convenience that is lost now that I can’t just lift up my shirt and feed my kid when I’m out. Oh wait, I could never really just lift up my shirt and feed my kid without screaming, crying, back arching, coughing, burping, and squirming. That wasn’t really all that convenient either. So I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of prepping bottles, pumping while playing with Owen, and remembering how long breastmilk is allowed to sit out before it goes bad.

My goal is to pump for him full-time (at least for now). Yesterday my milk supply just couldn’t keep up with his intake, so we had to supplement with something at the end of the day. Our options were to supplement with frozen milk that I had pumped back when I was eating dairy (we’re still in the middle of a no-dairy trial to test if Owen has a sensitivity/intolerance to cow’s milk proteins) or try out a hypoallergenic, non-dairy formula. A friend gave me two cans of Nutramigen, which is a hypoallergenic formula, just in case I needed them, and that seemed to be the best option that wouldn’t mess up our dairy test (which has been quite a struggle for me, so I’d REALLY like to keep the control as dairy-free as possible so I can add it back in a few days). So, reluctantly, I mixed up a bottle from that powder for Owen’s bedtime. People in my new Mommy Group said yesterday that formula may help him sleep longer, so I should definitely give it at night. I was hesitant to try something new that might upset our awesome bedtime routine (Owen is a perfect little angel at bedtime and generally goes right to sleep after eating with no rocking or crying), but Benjamin insisted. We are bound to try it sometime if my milk supply is just under what he’s eating.

It smelled awful. Like medicine. And do you know the worst part? The main ingredient is CORN SYRUP. Wha??? Yes. Apparently breastmilk has a lot of natural sugars, and some formulas replace those sugars with CORN SYRUP. Ugh. I have changed my diet significantly over the last few years to include very few processed foods in an effort to reduce my intake of corn derivitives (among other things). And now I’m feeding my baby corn syrup in powder form? Not so sure I like that. Maybe it’s because it’s dairy free? I’ll have to do some research on that.

Anyway, despite my disgust with the product, we tried. I put it in Owen’s mouth and watched. His brow furrowed. His little eyes looked up at me quizzically. Then his mouth opened as he gagged and dryheaved. I was both relieved (that he preferred my milk to anything else) and saddened (what in the world am I going to feed him if my milk supply can’t keep up?). After a few more tries, he drank it just fine, although he didn’t seem thrilled about it. He didn’t eat as much as he normally does, but he had eaten not too long before, so I’m going to blame it on that rather than the fact that he could’t stomach it. He did NOT sleep slonger (at least not this time), and woke up at 1:30am. Generally he’s been waking up around 2:30 and then sleeping until morning, except on the rare occasion that he regresses back to waking up twice a night, and wakes up again at 5:00am or so. I gave him a bottle of breastmilk at 1:30am, and HE’S STILL ASLEEP RIGHT NOW (and it’s 8:30am, and I have been awake for an hour and a half, thinking he was about to wake up). Nice.

Did others have this experience with your babies gagging/disliking formula? What did you do?

She Says… 3 Months

My little peanut,

You are 3 months old! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is amazing how much changes in one month. It seems like all of a sudden you are able to hold your head up all the time and you can sit propped up on pillows or in your Bumbo chair. Your adorable and emotive facial expressions have gotten much more purposeful and I could just stare at your beautiful little face all day long waiting to see what you’ll do next.

You smile and laugh and coo all the time now. My favorite part of the day is trying to figure out what noise or movement or face will make you squeal with joy, and your tiny little laugh is already contagious. You and I just sit and laugh on the couch together. You are such a joy. It’s hard to even put it into words.

I made a big decision on your three month birthday. I decided to stop breastfeeding. In last month’s letter I said that I hoped we could overcome our breastfeeding issues by the 3 month mark, but unfortunately things only got worse. The last few weeks nursing has been such a struggle that you’ve barely eaten anything. When I found out that you barely gained any weight in the last 3 weeks, I decided it was best for both of us if we switched to bottles. It was a heartbreaking decision to make, little one, because I cherished that special bond that you and I had. Even though nursing you was never as peaceful and beautiful as I’d hoped, there was something so special about being the only person in the world who could provide for you. I’m still doing my very best to give you all breastmilk, so I guess I’m still that person, but it does make me a little sad to know that anyone can feed you now.

I guess it’s my first lesson in letting you go; you can’t be all mine forever! In a few short months you’ll start daycare, and I’ll have to let you go. Then you’ll grow up a little more and start school, and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll get your driver’s license and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll fall in love and I’ll have to let you go. You’ll go away to college and I’ll have to let you go. The letting go part never ends, I imagine. I just hope you’ll always come back to me after I give you the freedom to go.

For now, though, you’re pretty much all mine and Daddy’s! We could not ask for anything more. You are the best. You’re funny and happy. Opinionated yet easygoing. Predictable yet full of surprises. Even when you wake up an extra time at night (you had been getting up only once, but now you’re switching back and forth between getting up once or twice) or won’t go down for a nap, I cherish every minute we get to hang out.

I love you, little guy. You’re my favorite person to spend every day with (oh, and Daddy too…).

I love you a little bit more every minute.


She Says… The Decision

I finally made it. The decision to stop breastfeeding.

When Benjamin and I had trouble getting pregnant, I remember dreaming of the day when I would get to hold my little baby and gaze into his/her eyes while we nursed. The idea of breastfeeding was the quintessential “mom moment” that I longed for. I knew that it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, since I watched my sister struggle with breastfeeding her daughter, but I still idolized the idea. Which is a big part of the reason that it was so hard for me to give up, even when it wasn’t working for Owen and I.

Another reason, which is harder to put into words without sounding annoyingly snide, is that I’m not used to not being good at things. I am an overachiever who has almost always been able to ace any test with a little studying. Perseverance always pays off. Right? And so, as with our struggle with infertility, when I came up against breastfeeding issues, I studied. I researched and saw doctors and lactation consultants and discussed with friends. I took classes and watched videos and read articles. I took supplements and medicine and tried different positions and eliminating foods. I can honestly say at this point that I tried everything.

After 13 weeks of struggling, I’m finally ready to acknowledge that there are forces at work here that are beyond my control. A tongue tie. Reflux. Possible allergies. Perhaps it’s the first of many life lessons that having a baby will teach me — it’s not only about me anymore. I finally realized that I was pushing breastfeeding for the wrong reasons. Owen was uncomfortable and in pain and I was beginning to dread feeding time. The number one rule of caring for a newborn is FEED THE BABY. And I was so wrapped up in figuring out what was wrong and trying to fix it that I was neglecting to follow that very important rule.

And so, we’re done breastfeeding. But I’m not giving up yet. My goal was to breastfeed Owen until he is at least 6 months old (ok, my original goal was to breastfeed him for the 1st year, but that quickly changed as the reality of how difficult breastfeeding was set in). And even though the breast part of breastfeeding isn’t working out, I can still give him that liquid gold. My new, amended goal is to exclusively pump for him as long as I can keep up with his intake.

This has been an excruciating decision to make. A part of me feels like I’m giving up. Like I wasn’t strong enough to stick it out until I could figure out our issues. Part of me mourns the loss of the image of motherhood that I’ll never get to have; the sweet, quiet bond of a mother feeding her baby. Part of me feels like my body failed me in something it was made to do. But another part of me feels an enormous and overwhelming sense of relief. Over the last few weeks I felt myself becoming depressed by how difficult nursing was. I was constantly worrying about how much Owen was eating and why he was so unhappy. I stressed about feeding him in public because it was such a struggle. Diagnosing our issues had become a full-time job, and I could barely talk or think about anything else.

And now? Now my boobs are not in pain, I’m learning to work with my breast pump and Owen’s knocking back the bottles like a champ. He’ll be packing on the pounds in no time. He still has some reflux and gas issues, but I no longer feel those challenges in such an intensely personal way. He’s ok. I’m ok. We’re all ok.

So no more depressing posts about things that are wrong with Owen and/or my nipples. Onwards and upwards!

She Says… Cat Got Your Tongue?

My life recently seems to be one long string of doctor’s appointments. Although I prefer to stay doctor-free, we’re figuring out all kinds of things about Owen’s eating issues and I am so happy to be able to put my finger on what’s causing him (and me) so much distress. Yesterday we met with Nancy, the lactation consultant we’ve been working with via email for the last few weeks since I she taught the Pump Talk class I attended. For the first time in 12 weeks, I finally felt like someone knew what they were talking about! Let me tell you, all lactation consultants (and pediatricians, etc.) are NOT created equal. Nancy is incredible and knew so much more about Owen and I than any other medical professional I have ever seen.

Almost immediately she diagnosed something about Owen that everyone else overlooked. Apparently he has a partial tongue tie. A tongue tie (also known as ‘Ankyloglossia’ or ‘anchored tongue’) is a structural abnormality where the frenulum (the little stringy thing that attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth) is either too short or too tight. In some babies, the frenulum attaches right to the end of the tongue, so they essentially don’t have a tip of the tongue and can’t stick their tongues out beyond their gums. Owen’s is only a partial tongue tie, meaning that he has a short frenulum. Once she pointed it out it seemed to obvious — he even has a little heart shaped tip of the tongue because the frenulum is pulling on the tongue when he extends it. It kind of looks like this.

Apparently this is a fairly common thing in newborns, and doctors often snip the frenulum in the nursery in the hospital in the first few days of life. Perhaps no one noticed Owen’s, or perhaps it wasn’t a big enough deal to snip, I’m not sure. Nancy says that he has enough tongue mobility that it most likely does not warrant snipping at this point, but if it had been done, I probably could have avoided some of our breastfeeding issues! It accounts for a lot of the breast/nipple pain I’ve been experiencing since it can interfere with latching and sucking.

Also, it’s genetic. Nancy looked in my mouth and said I didn’t have it, but I checked out Benjamin’s mouth last night and he has a TOTALLY strange frenulum. In fact, he almost has NO frenulum, so I’m wondering if it was snipped when he was an infant because it was like Owen’s (or worse). Strange! Never noticed that before. If this issue is bad enough it can interfere with other things later in life like speech, swallowing solid foods, tooth/jaw development and french kissing. I’m going to ask our pediatrician to evaluate it at our next appointment and see if Owen should go see a specialist. More doctors!

I’m beginning to realize just how much the deck is stacked against us in terms of breastfeeding. I’m either very strong to have powered through all of these issues, or very stupid. Either way, the light at the end of the tunnel is fast approaching.

Anyone out there ever dealt with a tongue tie?

She Says… The Littlest Peanut

On Tuesday I started a new Mommy Group. It’s sort of like the next generation of the group I did for the last 6 weeks. It’s a little different in that it’s more for the babies than the moms… there is circle time with singing and book reading and playtime with a parachute. Then we let the babies nap and fuss and coo while we talk mom-talk. Pretty awesome.

Owen is one of the younger babies in the group, and BY FAR the tiniest. My little peanut looks even LITTLER in this group of chunkers. There is another baby named Owen who was born on the exact same day as my Owen (what are the odds?!) and he weighs like 15lbs. My Owen weighs in around 11. Even his head seems smaller… he’s just a teeny tiny little guy. (Just for the record, he still out performs everyone at tummy time!). Given how small he seemed, I popped him on the scale just to see what he weighed. To my surprise he weighed THE EXACT SAME THING AS THE PREVIOUS WEEK. Ummm, what?! Aren’t babies supposed to gain 1/2 – 1 ounce per day?! I know we have been struggling with breastfeeding, but I had no idea he was not gaining weight.

So on the way home I stopped at the pediatrician’s office to verify his weight (since their scale is more accurate and I have a recorded weight from my 2 month appointment, which was October 1st). He weighed 10lbs 15oz. That is only 4.5oz more than he did 19 days ago. Yikes. I made an appointment immediately to see the doctor and went home very nervous about my little peanut’s development. As it turns out, a baby’s weight can fluctuate by 6-8oz depending on a full/empty tummy and full/empty bladder, so although the number seemed scary small, it was maybe just a result of when I last fed him.

I saw the pediatrician yesterday and when the nurse weighed him before his appointment, he tipped the scale at 11lbs 3.5oz. A little better (out of the “oh my goodness my baby is starving” zone). The pediatrician seemed to think that since his overall trend was gaining (albeit a little less than they like to see), she thinks he’s doing just fine and will bounce back quickly once we get his eating issues under control. Once I discussed our issues with her and let her know that the Mylanta seems to be the one thing that has made a visible improvement in him, she diagnosed reflux and prescribed baby Zantac. She said the tricky thing about diagnosing Owen was that he wasn’t spitting up (the classic symptom of reflux) and was a generally happy baby. But he has all of the other symptoms, and if Mylanta is helping, that’s most likely the issue. I had prepared myself for her to say that I needed to be supplementing with formula at this point, given his slow weight gain, but she didn’t. She said that we’re likely through the worst of this (HURRAY!) and that we should just nurse, nurse, nurse as much as possible once he gets comfortable.


We started Zantac last night, and I’m hoping to see Mylanta-esque calmness during today’s feedings. So far the morning one went great. Poor little goober had stomach acid crawling back up his throat — it’s not a wonder he didn’t want to eat! I’m sure I have a bit more Googling to do on other things I can do to help him (I’ve read that sleeping flat is particularly uncomfortable for babies with reflux, so maybe I will prop up his mattress).

Have you dealt with reflux? What have you done to help your baby deal?

She Says… Oh, Mylanta!

For those of you who got the Full House reference in the title, bravo.

FINALLY something seems to be taming the beast that lies within Owen and only comes out when he’s nursing. The jury is still out on the possible cow’s milk protein intolerance (I’m on day 7 of the 10-14 day trial with no dairy), but yesterday I started another “treatment” (on the advice of a lactation consultant — do not just try this at home without consulting someone!), which is a teaspoon of Mylanta before each feeding. At first it felt totally strange giving my tiny baby a whole teaspoon of minty Mylanta. However, miracle of miracles, it seems to be WORKING!

The first time I gave it to him (a few days ago) the poor little bugger was so shocked and bothered by the medicine process that he had a terrible feeding. I almost gave up on it right then, but then tried it again yesterday morning. He gulped the Mylanta like candy, and then had the quietest nursing session we’ve had in weeks. A fluke, I thought? A few hours later, same deal. The Mylanta also helps him get gas out more easily — his burps are loud and impressive, and seem to give him immediate relief (whereas before he was having millions of little burps that seemed to cause him a lot of pain to work out). He’s also pooping a LOT more often, and it appears to be much more comfortable for him (whereas before it was a several-hour-long process to get a poop out, and he wouldn’t eat and would fuss until it finally came out).

Oy, the baby radar is on… he seemed to know I was blogging and just woke up from a very short nap. Must go!

He Says… Driving Home

We had a wedding in northeast Pennsylvania on Sunday, and drove home yesterday.  The 2 car rides (about 6 hours each) went pretty smoothly.  Owen is a champ in the car for the first while, but (like me) gets a little cranky after a while.  We definitely push his feedings a bit as we tried to get to our destination, and he didn’t really like that but it’s probably good practice.

So, since we had a long drive home yesterday I decided to test out this little camera I just got.  So I put together this little video (which is somewhat embarrasing, but oh well).


She Says… The Saga Continues

The breastfeeding saga, that is. Owen and I have been undergoing intensive treatment for our thrush, trying to tackle it from every angle (internal, topical, holistic, prescription). However, we’re on day 10 (I think) and I’ve seen only slight improvement/change. This, apparently, is very rare. So rare, in fact, that another lactation consultant/friend/blog reader/teacher of the PumpTalk class I took a few weeks ago has suggested that – gasp! – maybe we don’t have thrush at all. Together we are exploring the possibility that my nipple issues/breast pain and Owen’s eating behaviors are caused by different issues.

Current theories we’re testing?

  • My nipple blanching and pain, as well as the shooting lightning bolt pains, COULD be the result of vasospasm due to possible mild Reynaud’s.Essentially meaning that temperature change (from inside Owen’s mouth to the chilly air) is causing the blanching and sensitivity I’m experiencing, and may be treatable with warm compresses and ibuprofen. This is particularly interesting to me because I have Googled Reynaud’s before because I have issues with numb, white fingers and toes in cold weather. After reading the symptoms I do not think I have full blown Reynaud’s, but even a mild case still could be affecting my nipples and causing pain.
  • Owen’s eating behaviors MAY be caused by a cow’s milk protein intolerance. A little Googling helped me learn that MSPI (milk soy protein interolerance) is the inability to digest the proteins in milk and soy. It occurs in 2% – 7% of infants, and most grow out of the issue by 1 year. It is not indicative of other food allergies, and has nothing to do with lactose intolerance. The treatment, obviously, is to remove all milk and soy proteins from the little guy’s diet, which, since I’m exclusively breastfeeding, means eliminating them entirely from my diet. Apparently 10 -14 days of total removal will give you the information you need to diagnose this issue. Some people even see dramatic results after 3 – 4 days. A friend of mine also said you can bring a stool sample to the pediatrician and they can check for blood, which also makes the diagnosis, but I’m going to try the elimination diet first.

I am both excited and terrified to do the dairy removal test. I would be over the moon to finally figure out what’s going on with poor little Owen’s upset stomach. He’s clearly in distress when he eats, and he’s such a little peanut already, he doesn’t have much room for low weight gain at this point. Not to mention the fact that it’s very wearing on me to feel frustrated and in pain after every feeding, and to constantly be wondering if he’s getting enough to eat. It’s scary, though, because I’m not sure I could successfully swear off every product/food with cow’s milk proteins (that’s not only milk, cheese, butter and yogurt, but also every processed food with milk traces in it, which is a LOT of things) forever. I am HAPPY to do it for 10 – 14 days, and probably even a few months, but learning about this food intolerance would force me to think seriously about switching to formula, and I feel like I’ve worked so hard to make breastfeeding work. Anyway, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, we’re finishing up our thrush treatments just to cover all of our bases. For the next three days we’re doing the only treatment I have avoided until now… Gentian Violet, which is a powerful topical antifungal (NOT an herbal remedy, as I previously thought) that is BRIGHT PURPLE and turns everything it touches bright purple. Including my nipples. And my baby’s mouth.

Waaaaaah! Scary baby. I just have to keep telling myself it’s only three days!!!