Monday, March 22, 2010

Breastfeeding: My experience

I've been breastfeeding Amir since he was born. I was fortunate not to encounter any problems with latching, cracked nipples or even worse, mastitis. It was all good for us. I enjoyed breastfeeding very much. I think of breastfeeding as a special connection for a mother and her baby. Its not just a source of nutrient but also, comfort and security.It was difficult at first since I have to wake up every 2-3 hours to breastfed him and straight 8 hours sleep seems like a thing in the past for me. But when Amir was around 4 months that we start noticed itchy red patch all over his body.Even by looking at it, I know that he had eczema. But it just got worse and worse. I tried everything 'natural' over- the counter pharmacy but nothing worked. Every effort seems futile. Even our GP visit was useless.All she said was, use the steroid cream and moisturize, moisturize and moisturize.But Amir's body was covered with eczema. It was a huge struggle for my husband and I. He woke up every 1-2 hour, itchy and stratching. We were both physically and emotionally drained. I loss all focus on my study.

Only when Amir was admitted to Royal Children's Hospital that we knew that the underlying cause of her eczema was multiple food allergy. His eczema was complicated by Staph infection.He was allergic to milk, egg, wheat and soy. He was only 5 months at that time. It was so devastating to know that what I ate was a poison to him. Even though Amir was exclusively breastfed, the foods can still cross the breastmilk and cause his eczema to flare up. Eczema is a cruel disease. It has unpredictable course and most children went into a cycle of stable and then relapse. Its definitely one of parent's worse nightmare.As a new parent, never had anything like this crossed our mind.Knowing that amir was allergic to the food that I ate, the immunologist that we saw at RCH was keen on putting Amir on total hydrolysed milk protein. In our case, she want me to wean amir and feed him with Pepti-Jr. I vomit the first time I tasted the can I feed my baby with this stuff? There were not many option for amir since he was allergic to soy and he refuse to bottlefed. We tried so many times feeding him with bottle but useless. I've spent so much money on buying different bottles, different teats but none works. I gave-up. The only thing for me was to continue breastfeed but I can't have any milk, egg, wheat and soy in my diet.It was difficult for me.I was very weak and tired when I first eliminate all these foods from my diet. On top of that, I also had iron and vitamin D deficiency. But the will to continue breastfeeding was still strong for me.Every time I went shopping, I felt really sad because I couldn't find any foods that didn't have any milk, egg, soy or wheat.I ate rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner.A lot of the time, I said to my husband, I want to stop it.But knowing how resistance Amir was and I was not ready to wean him, I managed to keep on going with diet elimination. Amir eczema was under control with diet elimination and he flares up once in while when I accidentally ate the wrong foods. I had to read every label on every foods in the market. Knowing different name for these foods such as whey and casein for milk and albumin for eggs. Every mistake I made, Amir had to suffer the consequences.

After I graduated, we went home to Malaysia. Amir eczema has improved a lot. Much2 better than he was in Melbourne. When we were in Melbourne, I had to use thick petroleum based moisturizer such as Dermeze for him because his skin was too dry that it cracked and bleed every time he scratch himself.Now I only put Gohnson's moisturizer on him and his skin is still soft. I think he probably had outgrew his soy and wheat allergy.We gave him soy milk as an addition to his daily diets. And he like it. But he still preferred breastfeed. I'm glad that I didn't stop breastfeeding when he was 5 months. And amir rarely get sick. I think he probably had a bit of runny nose a few times and never any fever or range of common ailments in children such as ear infection, upper and lower and respiratory infection. I did my general practice rotation in Coburg clinic and I saw very sick children every day from all range of infections. Not only that, most of these children get infected every 2-3X a month and been put on strong antibiotic to treat the infection that not just increase the resistance of the bacteria but also worse side-effects to their body. I encouraged every mother or future mother to breastfed your baby. If you want to give them a good head start to their life, this is it. It has so many good nutrients, amino and fatty acids that are good for brain development and most importantly, passive immunity from the transfer of mother's antibodies through the breastmilk. No matter how good or how expensive the milk formula, the companies only managed to replicate 1-2 fatty acid from all 2o fatty acids in mother's milk and not to mention antibodies and so many protein factors that are good for their immunity and digestive system. Its cheap, easy, portable and most importantly the best bond that ensure good physical and emotional development for your baby.

The water boy!

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