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Our Story

 

"Your breastmilk is killing your baby."

 

 In 2015, I gave birth to my first daughter.  My husband and I had decided that I should breastfeed if possible, and we got off to a rocky start.  After a few weeks of latching issues, I was finally starting to get the hang of things.  She was a very colicky baby, but we figured that was normal.  When she was only a month old, we awoke to find her diaper full of bloody diarrhea and her body covered in eczema.  She was eventually admitted to the hospital where doctors put her on a 24-hour starvation diet. 

 

It was determined that she had severe food allergies.  I felt as if I had been punched in the gut.  My milk was killing my baby.  They recommended starting her on a hypoallergenic formula which was amino acid based.  I was truly saddened that they were suggesting that our breastfeeding journey should come to an end, and was then shocked when I found out that the formula cost nearly $50 a can for what would last only a few days.  This simply wasn’t feasible on my graduate school wages. 

 

I began asking her doctors if it was possible to make hypoallergenic breastmilk.  Each one scoffed at the idea.  Technically I could, but since they couldn’t effectively test her for which allergen caused her reaction, I would have to eliminate them all.  Her reaction was so severe that they recommended removing the top 8 allergens in addition to oats and corn from my diet.  They said to do this for two weeks while feeding her formula and then attempt to slowly return to breastfeeding. 

 

I was relieved and terrified.  I needed to cut out dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, wheat, corn, and oats.  What is left?  I began strategizing with my husband and we made the decision to go for it.  I could still eat meat, fruit, and vegetables and I wanted what was best for our little girl. 

 

I began my allergen free diet while still in the hospital and continued when we returned home.  I spent two weeks pumping like a madwoman to keep my supply up while still attending graduate school, teaching college courses, and serving in the National Guard.  It was difficult to continue pumping when I knew that she would likely never have any of that milk. 

 

After two weeks we began slowly reintroducing breastfeeding, one feed at a time.  I was lucky that she returned to the breast, which I attribute to paced bottle feeding.  We returned to exclusively breastfeeding and continued our journey until her first birthday, slowly introducing allergens back into her diet one at a time. 

 

My second daughter was born in 2018 and is plagued with the same ailment.  After three years I was surprised to find that there was still little to no content available for parents in this situation.  I decided that it was time to remedy that problem and provide the platform they needed to make informed decisions. 

 

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