Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Living with a Baby who Has Milk and Soy Protein Allergies

By Tracy Abney, Guest Blogger

Green, mucous-filled diapers are NOT normal
After three kids, I'd seen my fair share of poop.  So, when my forth child started having green, mucus filled, stools at 6 weeks, I knew something was off.  Searching on Google, I saw that the types of stool my infant daughter was having were similar to other babies who had a milk protein allergy.  I decided to cut out dairy a few days before my daughter turned 8 weeks old.

At my baby's 2 month appointment, I brought up the green stools.  The pediatrician didn't have strong opinions about whether or not my child had a milk allergy or not.  She only told me to listen to my intuition. 

My intuition told me that it was, in fact, a milk protein allergy.  As I continued to learn how to cut dairy completely out of my diet (checking those darn labels for secret ingredients that are actually forms of diary) I saw drastic improvement in the color of my baby's stool, gradually turning to that typical "mustard" yellow of breastfed babies.  I had never thought of her as much of a crier, but her crying, especially at night, seemed to diminish as well.

As I neared the 3 week mark, which was how long the doctor had said it could take for the proteins to leave my little girl's body, I started noticing something else.  Her diapers looked as if someone had sprinkled fresh black pepper in them.  When I called the doctor, they assumed that it was probably nothing.

From that time, (she was around 3 months) until 6 months, we continued to see the black pepper-looking flakes.  My baby also continued to have random crying jags, sometimes lasting for hours.  Sometimes I could pin-point it to an accidental slip up of dairy.  (Usually, due to me forgetting to read the label!)  Other times, we had no clue what was causing her discomfort.

At my child's 6 month appointment, I brought it up again.  This time, they decided to do some tests to check for blood in her stools.  They all came back positive for blood.  (It turns out the black pepper "flakes" were dried blood.)

Around this time is when we started discussing the possibility of a soy protein allergy as well. Without having a firm diagnosis, however, I was reluctant to cut soy out of my diet.  Eventually, we ended up at the allergist. 

The allergist diagnosed my baby girl with type 4 Milk and Soy protein allergy.  Essentially it means that my daughter was having baby colitis any time she was exposed to dairy or soy proteins. Lots of cramping, gas, pain.  The allergist told us that breastfeeding was the best thing I could do for my daughter now.  She needed my milk!

Avoiding soy and dairy is not all unicorns and rainbows. 

 I walked away from that appointment pretty overwhelmed, but also determined.  I had already learned to live without dairy.  I could do without soy, too!

The hardest part about learning to live without dairy and soy was figuring out what I COULD eat.  I learned how to determine what I couldn't eat pretty quickly, with label reading.  But coming up with things I could eat proved harder.

Thankfully, someone pointed me in the direction of a blog about  MSPI (that stands for Milk Soy Protein Intolerance). She had a list of recipes on her blog that contained every day ingredients.  I didn't need to rush to the store to find some specialty item (though, I quickly found a chocolate I could have -Enjoy Life chocolate chips, if anyone is curious.)  I meal planned my week out with what I had in my pantry and refrigerator.

With the help of her blog, and other websites like it, I learned alternative things to eat. Oddly enough, one very helpful resource is the abundance of Paleo recipes out there.  (Paleo recipes are dairy/soy/grain free.)  Different paleo recipes helped me think outside of my ordinary food repertoire. 

I also made a binder full of restaurant information.  Most chains have allergen information on their website that you can print out.  I printed out several places near our house, or places that we frequent when we travel, and highlighted the things I COULD eat.  That way, when we're in line, or sitting at our table, I can quickly pull out my binder, go to that restaurant's section, and choose from the things that are highlighted.   One of my favorite places to eat here in town is Red Robin.  They are SUPER helpful with allergies and actually have specific allergy menus.  Plus, my binder helps me with avoiding "hidden" allergen foods, too.  For instance, McDonald's French fries have dairy in them.  I don't know about you, but I never would've guessed that on my own with out reading it in print.    
There are a lot of benefits for ME to be dairy and soy free for my daughter.  It’s a whole lot easier to lose weight!  Something I learned quickly was that fruits and vegetables are dairy and soy free!  Plus, they were something I should be eating a lot of anyway.  It was better financially as well.  It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to cut out something than it would've been to add in a special, very expensive formula. 
The benefits for my daughter are, in a word, insurmountable.

Don't get me wrong.  Avoiding soy and dairy is not all unicorns and rainbows.  Sometimes I feel left out, especially at celebrations and get-togethers.  Sometimes I just really want a fettuccine alfredo from Olive Garden.  But, I remind myself that this is temporary.  Eventually, my daughter will wean, and I can choose whether or not to eat dairy or soy.  But, for now, I chose my daughter's health over my fleeting cravings.  

Tracy is a birth doula who resides in Madison, AL, with her husband and four children.  When not juggling kids and births, she enjoys sewing, running and spending time with friends.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Natural Birth 50+ years ago

I was born in the district of San Isidro in Lima, Peru.
Fortunately my mother didn't live in the United States when I was born. She lived in Lima, Peru. There was a wonderful German obstetrician practicing in Lima in those days by the name of Dr. Stricker. He operated the Clinica Stricker near Avenida Conquistadores in San Isidro, a lovely part of Lima.  Dr. Stricker was from the region of Alsace Lorraine in Germany. 

My mother doesn't know exactly where he received his medical training. But what we do know is that he was obviously a student of the work of Dr. Grantly Dick-Read, the author of the 1933 pioneering work, Natural Childbirth  which was eventually published in 1959 as Childbirth without Fear

Dr. Dick-Read's classic resource on childbirth.
When my mother first met with him (bear in mind this is 1959, when most US women were having babies with "twilight sleep") he told her that she would not have any anesthesia because she wouldn't need it for the natural process which is childbirth. He emphasized that she must exercise daily, and he gave her special exercises to do.  He also told her that she could only gain 18 lbs! (She was tiny to begin with....) In fact, he told her that if she gained more than that he wouldn't be able to be her physician. On that first visit he also told her that I would be breastfeeding right after birth.

During the course of her visits he explained that when she had contractions she would feel a lot of pressure. However, he never once referred to labor as pain. He explained to my mother that she would probably have to work harder than she ever had at anything in her life, but demonstrated absolute confidence in her abilities. 
This is the Lima my mother remembers!

Her water broke at 5:00 in the morning, but she didn't really worry about it because nothing was going on yet. Around 11:00 she called Dr. Stricker to tell him that she was having contractions -- still spaced far apart. Upon learning that her water had broken several hours earlier, he insisted she come in immediately. They brought her lunch (yes, he DID allow women to nourish themselves during labor), but apparently I interrupted her lunch....

It all happened rather quickly once labor really started; I was born in just a couple of hours.  She swears that there was no pain. She was exhausted, but it didn't hurt.  She had two nurses who helped her sit up when she needed to push. I was breach (yes, doctors back then knew how to deliver breach babies vaginally). He told her that the cord was wrapped around my neck and ordered her to push harder or I would die. So she did as she was told. 

Moments later there I was. They didn't even clean me up before laying me on my mother's stomach where I enjoyed my first meal at her breast. She didn't have any idea how extraordinary this birth was  because Dr. Stricker had, from the beginning, told her exactly how she would behave in labor. 

The Plaza de Armas in 1960
Every morning I was brought in to nurse at 6:00, and I nursed as often as I wanted until 10:00 at night. At 10:00 I was taken away to a nursery where I was expected to sleep until 6:00 the next morning. My mother stayed at Clinica Stricker for a week, so by the time we got home, she says I was trained to sleep through the night! 

I must say that I don't advocate separating mother and baby at night, but I do think that the majority of the things Dr. Stricker did were absolutely amazing! I am so thankful my mother had me in Lima instead of in the US! Fifty-three years later she is still one of the very most important people in my life. We talk daily and see each other several times a week. In fact, many days she is right here with me helping mamas at ANM. So next time you come in and see the lovely gray-headed lady behind the counter, be sure to let her know how much you enjoyed reading her birth story!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is a US Postage Stamp Promoting Breastfeeding Possible?

Did you know that there is a website where everyday average US citizens can make their appeal to the White House? It's called We the People. The beauty of this site is that if enough people show interest in a particular issue, the administration will review it and hopefully take some action on it.

There have been all sorts of issues addressed from gun control to the right of states to secede from the Union. We're not going to touch on any of those issues here because that isn't what A Nurturing Moment is all about.

What we ARE all about, however, is breastfeeding and nurturing babies.The following countries have had stamps issued to raise awareness about breastfeeding: Spain, Cuba, Luxembourg, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Uganda, Bangladesh and Greece.

The Luxembourg stamp was issued in 2003 for World Breastfeeding Week. The beautiful design was created by a local La Leche League leader. 

The Uganda stamp was actually issued in 1985, and the Greek stamp was issued even earlier, in 1981. The stamp from Guatamala says "Breastfeeding - a gift for all of life."

Each of these stamps reflects something of the culture found in the country of origin. It's time for the United States to have our own breastfeeding stamp! What a wonderful way to promote and normalize breastfeeding in our culture!  However, we need to get VERY busy promoting this idea if we want to see it move forward. I hope that everybody who reads this blog will do 2 things.

  1. Go to the petition and sign it today.
  2. Promote the idea to everyone in your sphere of influence. If you want to send them to this blog, so they get some background, that would be great. But urge them to add their name to the petition. Anyone who cares about maternal/infant health should be willing to take a moment to sign!
We have quite a challenge ahead of us because we still need 23.537 votes before Feb. 10. But I am convinced there are enough people who truly care about what is best for babies in this country that together, we can help make this happen!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nursing Normalcy

by Sarah Bailey, Guest Blogger

If you were in Parkway Place Mall Saturday afternoon  week ago, you may have witnessed a nurse-in.  Didn't notice?  Maybe you noticed a small group of cute babies with mommies and families hanging out inside and outside of Hollister?  This was a nurse-in.

Although we were small in number with just over a dozen Tennessee Valley moms, dads, nurslings, and siblings participating, I think we perfectly represented what it means to nurse in public. Wearing our babies in slings and wraps, we met outside the store, walked around inside a bit, and sat in the big comfy chairs, shopping like any other customer.  The only difference is we nursed our babies while doing so.  No one stared, looked, or even seemed to notice.  One security guard was around at first, but he quickly lost interest. We were normal shoppers.  And that's what nursing in public should be.

Nationally, almost a thousand people gathered at 140 Hollister Stores in malls around the country on Saturday, January 5 at 3:00 pm.  Canadians organized and participated in 4 Hollister stores.  In Virginia Beach, VA, over 80 protesters showed.  A Texas location drew an impressive crowd of over 50 people to the nurse-in at the mall where Brittany Warfield  was screamed at by a Hollister manager on December 26, 2012.  He created a scene by yelling that she could not nurse her baby in front of their store.  She knew her rights, but was humiliated while she discreetly nursed.  This specific incident fueled this Hollister Nurse-in, planned entirely via social media outlets.  Friends, acquaintances, and strangers came together across two countries to back up this mother and support a woman's right to nurse in public.  Facebook entries indicate that nursing in public rights are receiving global attention, with posts and comments hailing from as far away as Australia. 

Most of the nurse-ins this past Saturday were comparable to ours.  Five or less moms and babies participated at many stores with no drama. Just a normal day out with baby, albeit carrying a copy of our rights  in our back pockets should we be challenged. 

Unfortunately, a few moms needed their copies of these rights on Saturday.  Most notable was a small group questioned by security guards at Concord Mall  in Delaware. The mom and nursling pairs participating in the nurse-in were told to stop breastfeeding or leave by mall security. The security guards called the police, and the guards followed the mothers around the mall.  The event was called "an eyesore" on the mall's Facebook page, and a subsequent post contained a sexual slur   The page has since been taken down, and the mall is denying involvement of any of its employees in these offensive posts.  After making a call to the mall myself stating I was writing about the event in a blog post, I was advised to wait until the investigation was completed for an official public announcement on their website.  Coincidentally, I checked their site and this statement  posted within hours of my call. It states that the mall intends to comply with breastfeeding laws and issues an apology for the inconvenience at the nurse-in.  The security officers have reportedly been removed pending investigation. The mall denies having an official Facebook page, and claims to be in the process of reporting violations for the crude unauthorized posts.

The moms at Concord Mall were harassed.  Although the law protects the right to nurse in public, most state laws lack an enforcement provision.  This means that moms who are harassed for breastfeeding in public have absolutely no recourse in most states.  Moms are unable to take legal action against the harasser.  Wondering why this matters?  Imagine missing a flight, being unable to console your sick baby in a hospital, or being interrupted while peacefully eating a meal you purchase in a restaurant because someone is interfering with your rights.  This site  provides detailed accounts of just a few of the actual situations in which recourse is certainly justifiable. 

Should you find yourself challenged while breastfeeding in public, continue nursing confidently and ask for the owner or manager of the business.  Administrators are more likely to have appropriate training and may end the confrontation immediately.  Have a copy of your rights with you at all times.  Note the names of the people confronting you, and snap pictures with cell phones if possible. If harassment does not cease, you may call the police as the harassers are breaking the law by interfering with your right to nurse in public.  Simply stating to the harasser that you intend to call the police may be effective in getting them to bug off.  Unfortunately complete strangers or family members may also comment unfavorably on your decision to breastfeed in public. Be ready with responses  and talking points  if you feel inclined to defend your choice.

Working together, we can raise awareness of rights to nurse in public and hopefully prevent confrontations from happening to nursing moms.  Nurse-in events are an effective vehicle for raising awareness even though enforcement provisions are few and far between for now.  Corporations are forced to quickly disseminate information or provide sensitivity training to their employees on laws about breastfeeding in public or face the consequences of unfavorable publicity for inappropriate responses to nursing in public and organized nurse-ins.
Being a Nurturing Moments follower myself, I know this post is reaching the choir.  Participating in this nurse-in may not have fit your schedule this past Saturday, but you can still help normalize nursing in public. Here are six things you can do to make a difference:

1)  Nurse confidently in public, knowing your right to do so is protected by law.
2)  Support other moms who nurse in public.  Should you see a nursing mom being harassed in public for nursing, go stand by her. . Bullies are less likely to continue attacking a mother with support. 

3)  Report any harassment to the Nursing in Public Harassment Hotline - - 1-888-NIP-FREE.  Learn why reporting is important here.

4)  Plan to attend a future nurse-in for your area, with a nursling or not.  Support from family, friends, and moms with weaned babies is very helpful.  Join a new Nurse-Ins group on Facebook to be sure to learn about any upcoming events. 

5)  Use social media to spread the message. Feel free to share this post or an article of your choice. The more people see information about nursing in mainstream media, the better educated the public will be on nursing in public rights.

6) Help by advocating for an enforcement provision.  You can get started here

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It's a Nurse In!

by Sarah Bailey, Guest Blogger

Have you ever wanted to attend a nurse in?  The first time I heard about a nurse in after I started breastfeeding, my curiosity was piqued.  If yours is, please join us Saturday, January 5 at 3:00 at Parkway Place Mall in the Hollister area.   
RSVP here.
Nursling or not, your support is needed and welcome.  This nurse in has been organized a response to one mother's recent experience while   nursing in public.  She sat on a bench outside of a    Hollister in a Texas mall to breastfeed her baby. A manager of the Hollister store created a scene by yelling and telling her she could not nurse her baby in front of their store.  Even though she knew her rights, she was humiliated while she discretely nursed.   If we all work together, we can help raise awareness of rights and hopefully prevent this from happening to other moms who choose to breastfeed in public.

Come on out and enjoy the fun on Saturday while promoting a mother's right to nurse in public at the same time. Chances are you and baby will make new friends!  Events are being held nationally and are open to anyone.  

Find more information here 

** Photo courtesy of

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


by Erin Atkins, guest blogger

Image from Shutterstock.com
My daughter is eleven months old and doesn't sleep at night.  Well, she doesn't sleep in one long stretch anyway.  We still probably get about ten hours of sleep, but it’s usually not for more than about two hours in a row.  And I say “we” because baby E sleeps with me since it’s the only way I can manage shut-eye with her frequent stirrings.  I've mastered the art of side-lying nursing, so when she awakens throughout the night, I immediately offer my secret weapon.  I like to refer to this process as my snooze button.

Up until about a month or two ago, I was embarrassed, annoyed, and frustrated by the whole situation.  My husband and I have spent months trying to figure out ways to get her to stay asleep.  We tried various techniques and sleeping arrangements.  We tried decreasing her stimulation throughout the day.  We tried wearing her.  We tried wearing her out.  We encouraged more naps, fewer naps, earlier naps, later naps.  I read several books on nighttime parenting and tried to play with every different variable to coax her to a long night of slumber.  We've done the noise machines, music, silence, darkness, night lights, pacifiers, blankets, “lovies,”… the list is seemingly endless.  I finally came to the conclusion: this is just how she is.
Getting eight hours of consecutive sleep is not the line at which I draw my parenting limit.
With this final revelation has come confidence and empowerment.  I have spent many sleepless nights pleading with God that I get a good night’s sleep, but over time, I am starting to understand that God has chosen me out of all the moms in the world to be this non-sleeper’s parent, and it’s a role I should take seriously and gracefully.
Photo from Motherhoodthetruth.com

As a result of this new-found revelation, I have altered my approach with other moms who inquire into the sleeping habits of my child.  I was recently asked by a well-meaning mom, “So, is she sleeping through the night?”  Now, for those of us with kids who don’t sleep ten hours in a stretch, it conjures up feelings of inadequacy and shame, as if I have failed as a parent.  And normally when someone asks me this question, I find myself making all sorts of excuses: “Well… she’s a high-needs baby;” “Well… I didn't sleep through the night until I was a five, so she was destined to be a non-sleeper;” “Well… she’s teething.”  I then usually get into how it’s not so bad because she sleeps next to me, and I can nurse her to sleep blah blah blah.  Regardless of my explanation, it’s almost invariably met with the same response, “Oh wow.  I could never do that.”

Most of the time, I would let the conversation end there or move on to a different topic, but this last time, I had a sudden revelation about parenting.  This time, when this particular mother informed me she could never get up more than once a night with her little one, I simply asked, “Really?” 
Photo from Neuroanthropolgy.net

Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.  Heck, I would LOVE three hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I don’t exactly look forward to being woken up multiple times a night by my active baby girl, and there’s certainly a big part of me that wishes, hopes, dreams of one day getting a full night’s sleep.  But is waking up throughout the night something I’m unwilling to do for my daughter?  Absolutely not.

It was at this moment that I thought, there is nothing I wouldn't do to meet my daughter’s needs, and instead of being embarrassed or worried about admitting my child doesn't sleep through the night, I should be honored that God knew I could handle it.  Getting eight hours of consecutive sleep is not the line at which I draw my parenting limit.  I am baby E’s mom 24 hours a day, so if she needs me at night, so be it.  It’s my job, and I love her.

Erin Atkins is a stay at home attorney who is enjoying time with her first baby. She is blessed to be able to work from home, and loves watching baby E develop, going on play dates, and traveling with her family.