An Open Letter: To the Mother who Insulted a Mother.

As the title says, this one’s for you,

One thing I really love about blogging is diversity. Every day I read posts from mums and dads who share stories about their parenting styles, the products they use and the issues they face. I come across people who co-sleep, people who sleep train and those who become stay at home parents. Despite this diversity, there is a great deal of support available and I have found this invaluable.

This blog was started back in January, when my 4 week old baby started her regular trips to see various doctors. Perhaps you’d like to take a look at how things started, when she refused to feed at only a few hours old…

Due to a scar on my right side, from treatment for leukaemia 22 years ago, I didn’t really fancy breastfeeding and given that I’m extremely self conscious about this. I didn’t want breast feeding to become something I resented or disliked.

Thanks for your comment yesterday when I outlined how formula feeding had been beneficial to us, our baby and her diagnosis; it really made me feel great. Being told that I’d caused my baby to become intolerant to milk really gave me a fantastic impression of breast feeding. You’re obviously doing a fabulous job promoting the benefits!

At four days old, my baby had fed from a bottle 4 times in 5 hours, wanting 5oz of milk at a time. She then slept for most of the afternoon and into the evening. I tried to rouse her, knowing that she should be ready for milk, but she was still. Completely still in her crib. I picked her up to feel her heavy in my arms; she was barely breathing and unable to be roused. I handed her to my husband who told me to get the phone. He couldn’t wake her either – I rang an ambulance – as we lived in a new estate they were unable to find us. Emelie was now taking around 10 breaths a minute. My husband ran to the main road, I lay my daughter on the table in the recovery position as advised and watched her begin to twitch and flinch…my oldest daughter, just 2, lay asleep upstairs.
When the ambulance arrived her stats were normal, she began to wake after around 45 mins of us trying and then we endured 4 days of screaming after each feed, as though she were hungry. I began to record the amounts she was taking and her symptoms.
She ended up on hypoallergenic milk and medication for acid reflux, switching off the acid pumps in her stomach. She then began to have reactions to foods too.
When we saw a paediatrician in August, he told us Emelie had multiple intolerances which I had researched, recorded and treated myself, with the help and support of some amazing people I met through twitter and my blog. He also told us that the night I rang the ambulance, she sounded as though she were almost in a coma, about to have a seizure.

Imagine if I’d thought she was hungry? Fed her more milk? Thought the problem was my supply and just kept feeding on demand as all the midwives and support workers say! Then what?

I worked hard to feed my baby. I have three books of notes on her reactions to foods and dairy products, colour coded by the severity of the reaction. I then weighed foods, giving her small portions to build up her tolerance. I bought free from foods, made everything myself in a sterile environment to avoid cross contamination and researched how best to approach the condition.

If you feel that I caused my baby’s intolerance, I do hope that this information serves to inform you of the grounds on which you made your judgement…I hope after reading this, you stand by your comment.

Yours,
A fellow mum.

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6 thoughts on “An Open Letter: To the Mother who Insulted a Mother.

  1. A fantastic explanation of just some of the pains you must have been through in order to ensure the health of your baby. Sometimes there are people who don’t have the facts, don’t understand, have no intention of understanding and will never appreciate what it is like to be in your position. In my opinion those people have a lot to learn in life before casting aspersions on others. Keep your head up high you have done an amazing job x

  2. Great post but what a stupid thing for someone to say! My friend’s (breastfed) son is severely dairy-allergic, even touching it provokes a reaction. My own son was born intolerant to dairy and soya, and reacted even to the minute amounts in my breastmilk. It has nothing to do with how an infant is fed.

    You sound like a dedicated and amazing mum btw. 🙂

    • Thank you so much – it’s so hard to deal with isn’t it? I just don’t understand how someone who breastfeeds insulting someone who formula feeds makes anyone feel any different about their decision…it’s ridiculous. I made the decision and it worked out better for us in the long run. She was diagnosed early and it’s now gone 🙂 xx

  3. Maybe what that other mother was thinking about is that sometimes intolerances to dairy can be caused by early exposure or illness damaging the gut flora and fauna – but the symptoms are nothing like what you describe, what you and your daughter went/are going through is not so much on a different planet as in a different solar system altogether!

    Sometimes, as in my family, you can inherent intolerance – I am dairy intolerant and have been so since I was a very small child. I survived formula feeding but also became sensitive to other foods – eventually I was diagnosed and we learnt how to manage it more and I’m very healthy today. I have passed it on to my children and we all have manage our diets.

    The words intolerance and allergic need to be used more carefully I think – neither myself nor my children are allergic to anything. Accidental ingesting something we shouldn’t may give rise to range of symptoms but is in no way life threatening.

    It sounds like (to my inexpert ear, I only really know about my condition and that of my children) that what you and your daughter are dealing with are allergies and really severe intolerances – my heart goes out to you, many (((Hugs)))

    • What an amazing comment – firstly thank you so very much and I really appreciate the balance in your comment. She basically said that if I’d Breastfed it wouldn’t have happened and I have to disagree entirely with that. The consultant said it’s similar to what diabetics can have – I never believed she was dairy intolerant, I narrowed it down to a sugar found in milk and all the foods she reacted to, with no medical help. Then I gave the specialist my findings and he said he agreed, despite never seeing a child with such intolerance before – it’s extremely rare – and also present in breast milk. Her intolerance was to something so minute, it would’ve taken forever if not for the hypoallergenic milk and the company’s support via twitter…

      We got there in the end.

      I do hope things are ok your end – I can’t imagine living with it any longer than we did xx

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