Letting Go

As so many of you were supremely helpful, answering my pleas and whines, I thought I’d drop a little update on how Little Bun and I are going on the milk front.

Three months ago, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed at the triple whammy that I was dealt – her allergies, my own milk’s problem with freezing, and her not taking formula.

Well – we’re through it and (almost) out the other side. Once we’d settled back home after hotfootting it around the globe and back, I started LB on a bottle of her stinky formula here and there. Luckily, she’s a guts and her appetite’s only getting bigger, so she seemed happier and happier to take the bottle.

Then, with my back-to-work date looming, I started to slowly wean her. Just as they recommend in the books, I replaced a feed a week – beginning with her least ‘favourite’. And she was fine. Absolutely. Fine. It took her a while to pick up her quantities, but I knew that she was getting plenty of milk from me, and PUH-LENTY of food and water as well (my girl likes to eat).

The slow approach was also kind to my boobs, and I haven’t had any troubles with engorgement or pain.

She was crook last week so I delayed dropping the final feed – the one first thing in the morning. But I think that was more for me than her. You see, I’ve been sad to wean her. As lovely as its been to have more than a three hour window in which to get out and do things on my own, I miss feeding her. What was such a close, warm, organic thing is now a different – not bad – experience. Nice cuddle, plastic teat, gulp-and-burp. Done.

But the admin! I really applaud those women who have been managing bottles for months and months. The washing, sterilising, transporting, buying of formula … it’s just another thing to fit into your brain when it’s already fit to burst.

I’m so grateful for the boob-support I received – both online and in real life – all the way back to those first few weeks when I couldn’t breastfeed at all. Now that it’s time for us to move on, I do feel some sense of sadness. My baby is growing up.

But what we’ll miss in that, I’m sure we’ll discover something new elsewhere.

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20 Bunless Questions

So, life’s gotten in the way of blogging in a BIG way lately. I’m not going to go into it, but it’s been a crackingly busy, boring, delightful, frustrating, wondrous, tedious, brilliant, crazy Summer here in the Bunless household.

When I saw the 20 Questions post over at Pail I was so pleased: a nice way to get my blogging brain back into action, and indulge my rampant narcissism at the same time.

OK. Let’s do this thing.

1. What was the last thing you threw in the garbage/recycling?

Cardboard ‘stuffing’ from a newly-purchased vaporiser. Little Bun came down with a belter of a cold on Saturday morning. Fever, streaming nose, red eyes, barking cough – the works. My little trooper managed to continue to sleep through, albeit very noisily – which broke my heart! The worst of it seems to be gone, but we’re left with a nasty cough – hence, the vaporiser.

2. What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

Well, ignoring the lullaby tracks that I played religiously during LB’s months 5 – 8 (Brahms will forever remind me of long, napless days), number one is Lippy Kids, by Elbow. A stunningly beautiful, hauntingly nostalgic track that makes me feel happy and sad all at the same time. Seriously, have a listen.

Sigh – I love that song.

3. What is your favorite quote?

I’m not sure I can pick a favourite, but one that’s close to my heart – ‘Things that were hard to bear are sweet to remember’ (Seneca) … pretty much sums up my response to a lot of things. I am a terrible nostalgist.

4. What chore do you absolutely hate doing?

Ah. Hands down this would be cleaning the high chair. This has easily surpassed every other tedious chore in my life. As LB feeds herself now, the mess ranges from mild to HOW DID TUNA GET INTO MY SHOES? Avocado and mango are the worst. Crevices YOU DESTROY ME.

5. What is your favorite form of exercise?

OK. Um. I am a bad exerciser. LB’s dairy and soy allergy meant that from three months post-partum I had to alter my diet pretty drastically. This, combined with breastfeeding, meant that I dropped under my pre-IVF weight really quickly. While great, it’s also been an excuse to ignore exercise in a big way. So I’m properly wobbly and unfit and gross. Having said that, we walk walk walk all day every day. So right now, walking with my girl is top of my list.

6. What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?

I’ve always been a sucker for balmy summer nights. So I’m loving evenings at the moment, out in our little courtyard. The smell of cooling, wet soil – freshly watered after a long, hot day. Mr Bun barbequing our dinner, the two of us catching up over a glass of something very cold, as the sky turns pink and purple overhead.

7. What is on your bedside table?

I’m embarrassed to say, no books. This is unusual, but since having LB my bookwormy ways have fallen by the wayside. Now she’s sleeping through, I’m going to pick this up again. But, I’m afraid that currently my bedside table holds my phone, a glass of water, the baby monitor and sometimes a bit of the weekend paper that I’m still catching up on come Thursday.

8. What is your favorite body part?

Probably my mouth – because of my enormous head (!) I managed to avoid braces as a kid. I think a big, happy smile can be the most attractive thing about a person. Unless you’re Daniel Craig as James Bond, and then it’s your sweet, sweet body.

(yes, I’ve recently seen Skyfall)

9. Would you use the power of invisibility for good or evil? Elaborate.

Oh, evil. I am a snoop – definitely. I used to love riding on the top of the double decker buses around London, only so I could peer into the window of first floor flats.

10. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

My twenties were a really fun decade, particularly years living overseas and working as hard as I played. Or was it the other way around? But how can you pick a year from the past, when you have a baby who is growing into the future? I’d love to be lucky enough to answer that question when I’m very, very old.

11. What is the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Oh wow, I could write a NOVEL about this stuff. Seriously, when I’m having my most anxious 4am moments, very detailed lottery-based fantasies can calm me down like nothing else. So, first thing? Open a seriously amazing bottle of Champagne and start looking for a beautiful home.

12. What is your biggest pet peeve?

I am an anally retentive, obsessive perfectionist. EVERYTHING is my pet peeve. No seriously. What you’re doing right now – stop it – it’s annoying me.

13. If you could know the answer to any question, what would it be?

That’s easy – what are those winning lottery numbers? Because money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure help along the way!

There are other questions – ones about life, and death, and all that’s in between. But I’m too superstitious to muck with that stuff. Even if I could find out, I don’t know if I’d want to.

14. At what age did you become an adult?

When I left home, and moved overseas to a foreign city with no friends, no job, and no clue. I was 21. It was the best thing I ever did.

15. Recommend a book, movie, or television show in three sentences or less.

Oh goddamn you. This is my favourite thing to do, and there’s no WAY I can stick to just one medium, let alone three sentences.

OK – a book – one of my favourites with my non-Aussie friends in mind. Dirt Music. A rolling, languid, sensual dip into my country. A truly magical read, with a corker of a love story holding it together. Let me know if you like it.

16. What did you do growing up that got you into trouble?

I’m not sure about trouble as such, but gee could I talk. Probably quite obnoxiously. Definitely precociously. All home movies have the unfortunate feature of having my face thrust into almost every frame. Not a shy little flower!

17. What was the first album you bought with your own money?

It was this. On cassette. I was entranced by her hat.

18. If someone wrote a book about you, what would be the title?

I think this is the hardest question here. I’ve come back to it a few times, but I’ve got nuthin’. How about ‘Anxious and Paranoid’ … ? I’m only half kidding. Those who love me, love my neuroses as well.

19. What story do you wish your family would stop telling about you?

Thankfully, I don’t get many stories told about me at family get togethers. We’re not big on reminiscing in my family – more about anecdotes of the day … But generally a joke or two about my large head makes its way into the patter.

20. True or false: The unicorn is the greatest mythical creature. State your case.

Oh, false false false. A unicorn’s got nothing against The Woman Who Can Be It All – Fantastic wife! Perfect mother! Stellar friend! Exemplary career woman! Spiritually aligned! Physically fit! Now THAT’S a creature worthy of myth and legend.

(can you tell I’m due back to work soon?)

– – –

Well, I hope that fit the bill – I can’t wait to read everyone else’s answers. And hopefully this has been the kickstart I need to pump a few more posts out into the ether. Thank you Pail for the great inspiration!

x

Sour Milk

As some of you know, LB has a dairy and soy allergy. As she is exclusively breastfed, we’re currently managing this via my diet. It’s been a little tough (eating out is pretty much a thing of the past), but there are upsides too (eating more healthily, saving $$ and of course, a much healthier tummy for LB). As she’s now on solids as well, we’re sticking to fruit and veg and will be introducing protein in the coming month/s.

This also means LB can’t have normal or soy-based formula. There is a formula currently available in Australia, on prescription only, that is dairy and soy free. A.ptamil P.epti Junior Gold. This will be what LB will have to have when I go back to work.

The thing about the A.ptamil is it tastes repulsive. I mean, according Dr Hob, it’s almost undrinkable. Way to go formula company! You think parents of kids with allergies need more shit to deal with!? I tried a teaspoon on LB last week and she dry retched. Dr Hob recommended giving LB 4-6 WEEKS to get used to it. I was planning to begin this slow wean in January. How I’ll do this, I have no idea.

With the grossness of the formula front of mind, I had been pumping a little milk here and there. I wasn’t planning on giving LB EBM on heading back to work, so this little stockpile was just my ‘freedom milk’. Just enough for a bottle once in a while, to allow me a night out or an afternoon away – or even an evening at home with a few glasses of wine. I can’t tell you how much I need this.

Last week I defrosted some of the precious liquid to give Mr Bun a chance to reintroduce LB to the bottle, while I was around in case it didn’t work.

The milk was off. It smelt, and tasted disgusting.

Right – so. We tried again. Another batch, same thing. Completely sour. This had never happened previously. A little Googling found the probable reason – lipase. It’s an enzyme that’s excessive in some women’s milk, and causes the souring. A way to get rid of it is to scald the milk before freezing.

I express such small amounts at a time (20ml) that I don’t think I can even scald it and not burn/boil it, and I can’t express larger quantities.

So I can’t store my EBM and I can’t currently give formula either (I need to get her onto that formula, or I’m not going back to work, so I’m already pretty stressed about that).

I can’t catch a break here. I mean, it’s fine. I’ll remain stuck to LB’s side until next year sometime and that’s OK. I love hanging out with her. It’s just – psychologically – the idea that I can’t get away if I want or need to, is a tough one to get my head around.

Has anyone got any experience with either sour defrosted milk or yucky-tasting formula?

Diagnosis

So … after this post, Little Bun had another week of horrific nappies. I was stumped. And covered in poo. We needed help.

We headed back to our lovely GP, who referred us to a paediatrician, Dr Hob. She was a cracker – properly old school, no bullshit, straight down the line woman. I really liked her.

She took one look at Little Bun’s test results and diagnosed Infant C.olitis. Why the GP couldn’t do this, I’d like to know – but either way, Dr Hob was 100% certain that was the issue, even before I talked her through the past two months of symptoms.

Infant C.olitis is, basically, an allergy to milk and soy. The good news? It’s not a severe allergy that requires EPI pens and nastiness like that. Also, it’s likely to clear up in around 9 – 12 months from now.

The bad news? Little Bun is one of the 30% of babies whose c.olitis includes soy, too. ‘No problemo!’ I say, ‘Just hold the sauce on my sushi and we’ll be good!’ … Ahh, the ignorant bliss of someone who’s never had to deal with food allergies. You see, soy is in everything. Literally – ALL OF THE THINGS.

I’m going to have to work out a whole new way of eating. It’ll be hard, but also a lot healthier for me. Soy is in most processed foods, so I’ll be steering clear of biscuits, chips and takeaway. And of course there’s the dairy-filled loveliness of desserts, chocolate and baked goodies that I’ll also be saying goodbye to. The toughest thing (psychologically, I think) is Little Bun also can’t have normal formula. She’s only allowed one, prescription-only formula that – according to Dr Hob – tastes revolting. A formula babies don’t like the taste of? Genius!

She’s recommended we get Little Bun on small tastes of this formula soon, so she can get used to it. This is because I’ll need to use it, or EBM, for all cooking and bottles for the foreseeable future. GOOD TIMES.

I don’t know when I was planning on weaning Little Bun. I’d loosely thought at around the eight to ten month mark … I probably wasn’t going to try and continue with EBM once I’d gone back to work. But now this formula issue has me feeling a little weird. It’s not that I wanted to give Little Bun formula anytime soon, but it’s the knowledge that I can’t (easily) that is a little claustrophobic.

So … that’s where we’re at. No dairy. No soy. No formula. And – hopefully – no more nasty nappies.

Deal? Deal.

Dairy Queen

Well, two weeks, three separate poo samples and a lot of advice later – I think we have a solution.

First off, Little Bun doesn’t seem to be sick. Woot! They can’t find any sign of a bug or virus that could have been causing her explosive bum. That, and she’s gaining good amounts of weight and is generally happy and well.

So, I went off wheat and dairy for a week. Just for shits and giggles. And it was hard, people. Because, of course, I did it with no prep or notice – so had nothing sensible in the house to eat. I basically survived on bananas and rice for a few days, before getting my act together. I was HUNGRY. My jeans loosened a little. More importantly, Little Bun’s nappies improved OVER. NIGHT. Yay! Mother-in-doing-something-right-SHOCK!

I had a feeling it was dairy and not wheat, and so slowly reintroduced the latter back into my diet. No effect on the nappies. And then with dairy, carefully trialled some low-dairy foods. I am continuing to steer clear of milk, cheese and yoghurt etc, and so far so good.

Look, I don’t know if it’s a complete coincidence. I haven’t exactly gone about this scientifically, and I’m by no means following a strict no dairy-diet (ahem-chocolate cake-ahem). It may be that she was sick, and now she’s better. Or her gut is maturing. Or it’s a totally separate food intolerance that I haven’t discovered. Who knows. All I do know is that there’s been no blood and very little mucus for nearly a fortnight. She’s gone from 4-6 pooey nappies a day to 1 or 2. Her tummy is more settled, and she’s feeding a lot more calmly.

These are all good things.

Now if we can just work on the napping …