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!!!