I just got through watching a video that a reader sent to me, sharing her story, relating it to Cedar's food sensitivities. The video was of her and her son about Cedar's age and she sat and talked through her camera as though she was looking directly into my soul. I am still a blubbery mess from it. I was so moved and touched that I sent it to my marmie, sister and husband. It just touched me so. She too is an adoptive mommy and I realized watching it, that there is a kinship between us already because of adoption and a sense of understanding that goes beyond all of the other stuff. I suppose what brought that up for me was when she mentioned she too tried donor breast milk and it didn't quite work and that she tried to take meds to do it on her own and it did work for a while but she had to stop as it wasn't producing enough and she got an infection. So she too had to do the formula dance...and then went on to share with me his solid food sensitivities much like Cedar.
It made me realize that there is still a tender place for me about breast feeding. People are so opinionated about it and those that have never had experience with adoption or gone through fertility journeys have said ignorant things to me about how I should have tried everything I could to put Cedar on breast milk (assuming I didn't try everything).
I didn't have enough time to produce milk once we were matched with our birth mom. We were told he would be born early, a preemie and that he would be donated a supply of breast milk in the hospital and then a dear, dear friend of mine pumped for me...for a few months until he was born so that he would have it for a few months after returning home from the hospital. As far as I knew, we had it all covered and did plenty of research about breast milk. What people don't know is that where we live in California, it would cost $700 per week to go through a breast milk donor company, which does all the screening to make sure its healthy milk. We just couldn't afford that and so this is why my beautiful, selfless friend offered to help. Well, he ended up not being a preemie, so they did not give us breast milk in the hospital but we knew we'd have some once we got home. Unfortunately, Cedar could not digest her milk. It was so hard because we knew she worked so hard, taking time out of her every day to pump for us and we wanted this for her just as much as we did for Cedar. We were excited about that bond, that story we could tell him someday. So, it was emotional for everyone...especially my friend but we eventually let go and we were all grateful that Cedar was thriving on his formula. We will still tell him the story and they still have a deep bond.
Another bit about me that not a lot of people know is that my body is highly sensitive to artificial hormones. I get a lot of side effects and I really needed/wanted to be healthy for my newborn baby. That was important to me and to my husband.
I think it was this first experience as a mother being judged that put up a wee guard over my heart with other mothers. It wasn't a conscious act but over the last few days, receiving an abundance of emails full of gentle wisdom and understanding and encouragement and cheerleading from mothers all around the world has made me realize I've been isolating myself a bit. I've had fears of gathering with a bunch of mothers and being told I am doing it all wrong (even if in my heart I knew I was on the right path and that Cedar and I have a deep connection and communicate well with one another and that he is thriving...I was still afraid to be judged). I have joked with other friends that I am afraid of mommies. But in the deeper parts of that jest, there was an ache for that community, that help, that circling when I feel I just can't do it alone.
This is why it was a huge, brave step for me to put myself out there yesterday and ask for help. I knew I was taking a risk at being judged or patronized in some way. But the reality is that I wasn't and so many of you held me gently and truly saw me...saw that I am madly in love with my son and have a good intuition and connection with him and that everything is going to be okay. That he is a happy, thriving baby...that you see this in the light in his eyes and smiles. You not only saw me...you saw him too.
I have read every single one of your emails. I've read them twice or three times or four. I've written down notes, things that resonated that I want to try and would make sense for our family. I have cried at the stories you've shared with me. Been amazed at the strength so many of you have had with all that you endured in regards to your child's health.
So truly, I cannot thank you enough and if I don't email you right away, know its because I am busy shopping for fun organic goodies and experimenting in the kitchen and putting much of my intentions on making this fun for him and not a scary thing.
My husband and I are so stoked to try new things. Today he ordered this with some cubes to freeze food if we need to. As soon as Cedar wakes from his nap, I am taking him to Whole Foods to stock up for a fun weekend of food play (one thing at a time of course and waiting a few days to make sure it is gently digested...I will be experimenting but not feeding him everything, just playing and tasting it ourselves and getting comfy with the process).
Some of you have asked me to list some of the advice that resonated. I will do my best to remember it all but here are a few gems (and there were many gems, so there may be another post about it).
Oh, and I forgot to mention in my video yesterday that yes, I do feed him Happy Bellies brown rice cereal (with DHA and probiotics included) every morning and have for a long while. Also forgot to mention that he was diagnosed with GERD as an infant but is slowly growing out of it. This also contributes to his needing to move slower with stuff we put into his body.
Okay list/ideas/wisdom from mommies around the globe...
- Try baby probiotics
- Goats milk yogurt mixed with baby food (for lactose sensitivity)
- Slowly mix in homemade food with the organic jarred food he prefers and increase amounts a little at a time (tried this last night with homemade sweet potatoes and he spit a lot of it out...but will keep trying bits at a time).
- Try feeding him more textured food at a table when you're eating too...he may be more willing to try it being inspired by your chewing...and let him do it himself with his fingers, as he might trust himself more with new things (we have never tried this...weee!)
- Try pureed soups...with gentle ingredients (carrots, squash)
- To introduce veggies...start with root veggies (easier to digest...carrots, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, beets)
- Puree a small amount of greens into pears or bananas...increase in small amounts each time
- Don't compare him to others...with babies, there is no standard...many wrote to me sharing that their baby would only eat pureed foods up to 1.5 years or more and they are now much older and eating everything out of house and home. ; )
- Some are solely breastfed until they are 1 years old. Breast milk and formula are the most important nutrient in their diet at that time. Don't push solids before they are ready
- Avocados (tried this a few times and he didn't like the texture but I think our new babycook will help make it more smooth).
- Stay away from acidic fruits and introduce them slowly to avoid bum rash/blisters
- Keep listening to Cedar's cues...if he is happy, thriving, healthy and having normal bowel movements, he is okay and will eat more variety in time.
- Ask naturopath about a hair analysis for food allergies (just did this yesterday and am making appointment)
- Talk to your pediatrician (we have appointment set next week already...so will do!)
I know there is more and I will share as I read through them again.
Thank you all so, so much...we are full of rejuvenation and inspiring ideas!