Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maternal Guilt Accompanied with Various and Sundry Stresses

When Atticus was a little over a month old, we discovered that he has a dairy protein  intolerance.  Keep in mind this is not lactose intolerance; a lactose intolerance concerns milk sugars.  A dairy intolerance simply means that his digestive system cannot not breakdown dairy's complex proteins.  As a result, the dairy proteins built up in his system leading to gas, constipation, and colic.  His little belly was hard and distended and every fart was accompanied with squeals of pain.  So, I gave up dairy and within a week Atticus was a happy little babe once again.

In my research I discovered that this doesn't mean that Atticus will always have problems with dairy.  Most babies outgrow the problem by the time they are 6 - 18 months old.

Beginning back in April -- when Atticus hit 6 months -- I started adding in dairy gradually.  I started with a piece of bread with butter and then I waited several days.  As I slowly reintroduced dairy into my diet I monitored his diapers and gassiness and was on the lookout for colic.  He had no problems.  Finally has of July 1st, I had worked up to 3 servings of dairy a day (3 actual servings, not huge portions).  The weekend of July 16th I decided he was over his dairy issues and went whole hog.

It started at a bridal shower: the appetizers all had bits of cheese, the salad had creamy salad dressing, the pasta had feta, the bread slathered in butter, and ice cream cake for dessert.  And Atticus appeared fine.  Yay!  Dairy!

And the things went awful.  Starting on Tuesday night (07/19) he was grumpy and it was downhill from there.  He woke up screaming in pain, his tummy was tight again, and dear god the gas was AWFUL.  In fact, for a few days we rechristened him Farticus.  As of  last Wednesday I have been totally dairy-free and Atticus is much, much better.

I can't tell you how much I beat myself up over this.  I felt like I rushed the dairy reintroduction and I feel like my desire to have cream in my coffee and a bit of ice cream trumped my baby's health.  Intellectually, I know that the only way I could know if he is over the dairy intolerance is by testing and I know I took things reasonably slow; but my heart hurt to see him so sad and miserable.

I'm planning on extended breastfeeding and child-lead weaning, but I am going to begin introducing soy milk when he is a year old.  No more dairy experimentation for me!

Also, the little man is 9 months old today and STILL ISN"T SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.  He is eating solids, and has a good schedule and goes to bed fine, but he wakes up 2-5 times a night (mostly to eat).  I'm tired, but I know that one day Atticus will sleep and one day I will know what it is like to have a full night's sleep.

I'm increasingly frustrated with people telling me that I should let Atticus cry it out.  People say that I spoil him by going to him when he cries and they have this smugness that accompanies said comments.  I've even had folks say I should stop nursing on demand.  They say "Atticus cries because he thinks someone is going to come in there every time".  Do they hear what they're saying???!!!   A baby -- with no communication skills other than crying -- cries at night and I should let him lay there alone, in the dark, with no ability to understand that mom and dad are in the other room and its bedtime.  All he knows is that no one is there and he is all alone.  I cannot fathom this cruelty.  I don't think that Atticus is manipulative -- he isn't out to see that I have no sleep.  He simply wants to be cuddled and comforted.  How can it be bad that my child knows that NO MATTER WHAT mom and dad are there  to love him?!  Parenting is 24/7 , not only between the hours of 6am and 8pm.

So all of this mom stress is also compounded by the fact that I'm going out-of-town to a wedding in Memphis.  I only had enough money for one plane ticket so I'm going alone and Atticus is staying home with Dad and Hope.  I'm so paranoid that he will need me and I won't be there and he has never gone this long without breastfeeding.  I'm also going to have to pump every 3 to 4 hours to keep up my milk supply and I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to accomplish pumping amidst all the wedding activities and storing all of the milk.  I'm so so so nervous.

Throw all of this in a big ol' stress soup pot and add-in car repairs and real worry over bills.  I honestly don't know if we will have groceries next week because the rent is due and between car repairs and the plane ticket Sam and I are flat-ass broke.  Oh, and Hope starts middle school on August 8th and she has no clothes that fit.

Oh, and did I mention I have a stomach virus?  Yup.  Yesterday at work I was hit with chills and queasiness.  Needless to say I spent most of the day on the "throne" reading a novel about Queen Elizabeth I (ironically enough).  Today I've managed to keep down toast and 1 cup of plain noodles.  Fingers crossed that no one else gets this....

I'm sorry this is such a whiny post, but I feel better letting it all out.  Things will work out and of course there has been good mixed in with the stress.  I had a nice date with Sam last Saturday, the kids are lovable, and the books I'm reading are fabulous.

Alright, time for some more mint tea!


ethicalcheese said...

I'm always here for therapy and Batticus duties! It will get better and I'll see to it that no one is harmed in your absence ;)

catherine said...

oh friend. i am so sorry you're bearing this burden. i wish i could help you - please let me know if i can do anything. and if gas $ is an issue for coming out to bacon fest, please do not feel obligated to make it. we will miss you bunches, but there is no reason to add anymore stress to your life.

Elisabeth said...

I also had babies that took forever to sleep through the night. Have patience. The bit I learned is how they fall asleep at the beginning of the night dictates their behavior during the night. Does Atticus fall asleep on his own at night or is he asleep when you put him down. If he doesn't know how to go to sleep on his own, he won't know how to go to sleep on his own when he wakes up at night. If he does, then I go back to patience, that works too.

Eva said...

*hugs* I'm not a mother, but I just want to share my sympathy and support for you! Hope life de-stresses soon!

Katie said...

I am super late commenting on this, but I hope you are less stressed now. At least a little ;)

Jude was 15 months when he finally slept through the night, and I had a freak-out about it around Atticus's current age as well. It seemed to be the time I started doubting my own ideas and tactics. Just know it will happen eventually, and for me, when I stopped worrying and fighting it is when it finally got better. Maybe coincidence, but that's how it went.

And don't beat yourself up about the dairy. You are still breastfeeding despite working full time and NOBODY does that. Be proud!! Seriously, you deserve a pat on the back for being dedicated. :)