Real Mum Story: Kirsty, breastfeeding and allergies.
1-7 August 2020 is World Breastfeeding Week and as every mum’s experience of breastfeeding is different, we’re sharing some real mum stories with you. This is Kirsty’s story. Kirsty is Mum to Chase (10), Matilda (3) and Isla (3 months).
I have been “lucky” in my breastfeeding journey with all 3 of my babies latching wonderfully, I never had any issues with that, however my first son, Chase, initially breastfed and expressed milk bottles every now and then.
The first few weeks he was very settled, such an easy baby – he slept a lot and barely made a sound.
After that he started developing eczema, had lots of wind, was arching his back and screaming. All. The. Time. He had signs of reflux and colic. I went and saw a breastfeeding consultant, tried so many things to try and help, like sitting him up to feed and had a long repertoire of burping techniques and wind removal techniques such as riding the bike etc but it didn’t help.
I started to suspect that he may have some kind of allergies, so decided to try combo feeding when he was around 3 months old and hoped it may help. He was happy to take a bottle but after the second bottle of formula he came out immediately in huge welts all over his body and ears started swelling.
The eczema around this time and beyond was horrific, covering his whole body particularly his trunk and head. He was scratching and not sleeping.
Around this time, I was able to get him allergy tested and he was allergic to egg yolk and white, cows milk, some fish groups and wheat.
I had to put myself on an elimination diet for breastfeeding as of course what I was eating was passing through my milk to him. Having to follow and track everything was hard work, limiting, but doable. The elimination diet calmed things a bit but did not cure him.
When he was about 6 months old, I decided to go exclusively to formula, due to his allergies he had to be prescribed a specific formula that met his dietary requirements.
Chase then had to be re-tested periodically and as a toddler was given the all clear from wheat and fish. It wasn’t until he was 8 he got a “low risk” test result for the other allergies, so we were able to start testing the water and luckily he hasn’t had a single reaction since!
When I had my daughter, Matilda in August 2017 I was worried that she may have allergies also, however, I exclusively breastfed until about 20 months with no issues or allergies. Unlike Chase, she refused all bottles and dummies and didn’t have any toy attachments etc though and only wanted to be breastfed!
I recently had my third child, a little girl named Isla, in April 2020 (during the pandemic!), so far no signs of allergies, she is a great feeder who snacks all day, doesn’t have any tummy troubles and sleeps through every night! Fingers crossed this continues! I am hoping that I will be able to combo feed and that she will take a bottle from about 4 months and plan to wean at around 12 months.
Listen to your baby’s cues and your mummy instincts, every baby is so different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. We all go through the ups and downs of feeding, from formula, breastfeeding, express feeding – as long as your baby is healthy and happy and it is working for you both, that’s all that matters.
Picture. Ironically my pregnancy photoshoot was in a milk bath – when Chase was a few months old I found out that one of his allergies was milk!
This story was provided by Kirsty, Mum to Chase (10), Matilda (3) and Isla (3 months).