Authentic is Hard

It has been a while since I posted on my blog. It got me thinking, why is that?

Well… Authentic is hard. Putting authentic words out there in cyberspace is hard.

I am struggling with the idea and the reality of putting my real Just One Mom truth out there.

I don’t know if I am cut out for blogging. I look back at what I posted when I started and it is authentic, kind of. Is that even a thing?

What I mean is, those blog posts ARE the ongoings of what was happening but they AREN’T a reflection of the emotion and thoughts that existed in the moments and in the days that came and went.

I don’t know if I can blog what I really experience. Maybe it is because the moment is different than a reflection on that moment.

To all the bloggers out there who post authentically & consistently, I offer my deep respect.

 

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Love that dog

img_5812I had been told while pregnant that I may feel differently about my dog after having a baby join the family.

Everyone who said that was right!

I love that dog of ours even more!

Now I should probably say we have a strange dog. Anxious, shy, aloof – loving but with his own clear “don’t pet me too much” boundaries.

But he has changed.

This beautiful baby is his baby and his responsibility. He is eager to be near him. He wants to protect him. He wants to kiss his toes (as that is all he has permission to do). He comes to notify us when the baby is crying (as if  we can’t hear him) and paws at us if he thinks the baby needs something. He is our baby’s caregiver and he seems to have a purpose in his new role.

I couldn’t be happier. My dog was my best friend before our baby, but now he is even more.

I am so happy to have him here to help me during the day and keep us company.

So this is my thank you to Mugsy Dog for stepping up and being such a good big brother.

🙂

 

 

Chocolate PB Smoothie

Craving sweet, chocolate deliciousness but really wish it could be healthy too? Try this smoothie.

  • 1/2 – 1 whole frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (raw)
  • 1 cup milk (or milk alternative of choice – I use unsweetened coconut)
  • 2 tbsp flax meal (ground flax seed)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (I use unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp cocoa (I buy the high quality super chocolatey kind at the bulk store)
  • 3 ice cubes

Blend using a high powered blender. Tweak to your taste.

This recipe is safe for mothers’ of children with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergies. Just be sure to check your labels!

A little sleep goes a long way

Last night I slept for almost 7 CONSECUTIVE hours! And let me tell you, that was exactly what I needed. And probably need a little bit more often.

I realized how run down I felt as I almost burst into tears when I was talking to Service Canada on the phone about an issue with my son’s birth certificate. I had had it. But the day was not over yet.

I was exhausted. Overrun emotionally, hungry and feeling pretty crappy. The day was not really any different than any other day, except for the compounded lack of sleep.

I know I am not alone in the craziness that is sleep (or lack there of) when you have an infant at home. And I also know that I am pretty lucky – my little guy (upset tummy and all) often sleeps in 2-3 hour blocks and up to 4 hours when he has his night time formula feedings. Most nights I am able to get in a few sleeps in a row. Usually around 10 pm then after a midnight feed and then after pumping sometime after the 4am feed. But even if I can sleep while he sleeps it is not the same as the good old days when I slept 7+ consecutive hours a night.

I know people talk about the sleep deprivation that accompanies being a new parent, but experiencing it is a whole other thing. Sleeping in little blocks is NOT AT ALL THE SAME AS CONSECUTIVE HOURS OF SLEEP. Even if those litle blocks add up to more hours than you might have previously slept in a night.

And so I have come to realize that the fact that my son ended up having to be exlusively bottlefed is a blessing – as it permitted 7 hours of sleep for me. A first in probably almost 2 weeks. And really I am not sure what I would be like today otherwise.

To all of you out there with an infant at home – my friendly reminded to you is You got this! And if there is any way possible you can sneak in a few extra minutes (or hours) of sleep you deserve it and you need it.

Yes, I am still exhausted, but at least I don’t think I am going to flip out.

ZZZZZzzzzz

 

 

 

Foodie by Demand

This afternoon the Neonatologist confirmed the Cow’s Milk Protein and (potential) soy allergy affecting my 5-week old son. Since we had already implemented the necessary changes to his formula and my diet, and by default his diet – and we had done an accidental reintroduction test (that was when it seems the CMP was not yet out of my system prior to reintroducing expressed breast milk), we mainly discussed managing this allergy.

The trickiest part of this is the sheer number of products that contain either CMP or soy. To check out what elimination of these ingredients entails, see https://goo.gl/iaDWV1 Knowing what I am eating is now priority number 1.

The Neonatologist and I discussed that the most common reason my son’s allergic reaction would either not completely subside or may recur would be due to my consumption of an ingredient he cannot tolerate. If you looked at the list of foods to eliminate, you can likely understand how this might happen.

To say diligence is required here is an understatement. I am now a food label reading junky.

And THANK GOODNESS for the internet.

If  I wasn’t before, I am now a committed foodie.

The good news – I love to cook and I LOVE food. And, I have already found a few ready made snacks that meet the strict criteria of this elimination diet and the demands of a busy infant-determined schedule. Fig bars and kettle corn have a new special place in my heart!

As for real meals – tonight I made stir fry for supper. It’s easiest to ensure diligence with fresh foods. And I would say our dinner was fantastic. It was fairly simple – rice and wild rice mixture topped with broccoli, snap peas, green beans, peppers, bok choy, carrots, ginger, and chicken. Cooked in a sesame/olive oil blend with ginger and chili flakes. Now to be fair, that is not really anything out of the ordinary here. BUT….I am proud to say that I looked up and made my own stir fry sauce. A soy sauce substitute. As I could not find any sauce that did not contain soy and so I took to the internet. Here is what I ended up with:

Stir Fry Sauce (soy and dairy free) 

  • -1/4 cup of stock (it asked for beef, but that can’t work here so I used PC Organic Chicken)
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 molasses (I used blackstrap)
  • a pinch each of ground ginger, white pepper, and garlic powder
  • a tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/4 water

Boiled over medium-high heat until 3/4-1 cup remained. Add to your stir fry to suit your taste. Adapted from http://www.livestrong.com/article/488353-stir-fry-sauce-without-soy/

This was pretty tasty. Not so much when I stuck my finger in it and tasted it, but when it was combined with the actual meal. I am looking forward to having it again tomorrow.

Food allergies can definitely be a downer. Time, expense, lost favourites, etc.

BUT here is the thing. Mindset.

I am choosing to find the positives in this. The biggest one is likely how healthy our household will be.

Holding My Breath

Today marked the second attempt at reintroducing breast milk to my infant son.

This was already a stressful prospect during the anticipatory conversation with our Family Doctor about this plan back on Monday. Actually doing it today = even more so. This was compounded by the fact that yesterday afternoon we stopped seeing visible blood in his diapers. What a relief. But I went ahead with the trial today and I continue to hold my breath.

Actually doing it today = even more so.

This was compounded by the fact that yesterday afternoon we stopped seeing visible blood in his diapers. What a relief. But I was committed to the reintroduction plan, as risky and torturous as it felt. And so I went ahead with the trial today. I continue to hold my breath.

I continue to hold my breath.

So far, so good. We are about 10 hours into the reintroduction and a couple of dirty diapers. Let’s hope this progress continues for the sake of our baby and for the relief of knowing with certainty we have figured out the problem.

Tomorrow we see the Neonatologist about all of this. Hoping that will help.

Fingers crossed.

Happy Valentine’s Day

It is Valentine’s Day and we are ready to celebrate…accommodations made to support the progress of Grayson’s tummy.

We did manage to get the new dad in our lives a little gift. The original plan was a take-out meal from a little Italian restaurant we had wanted to try. I thought he would enjoy it and for some reason, I had creme brulee on my mind (although I have only eaten it once in my life!). But that plan got shelved in order to meet the requirements of the Cow’s Milk Protein elimination diet.

I had scoured the internet for other ideas, but with awesome outings and dining off the table, for the time being, there weren’t many likable options left.

So….we got a little something cute and cuddly at the drugstore (our short walk destination).

I am pretty confident this cute little gift will be special and loved because sometimes it is great to get something out of the ordinary and different than other years!

With dad taken care of, Grayson and I ventured out on a walk today and got Grayson’s little gift. His cuddly gift is a multisensory dog that can hang from his stroller, bassinet, or his rocking chair. As he grows he will likely enjoy grabbing and shaking it. I think it is pretty cute and made the day feel special!

My gift from Grayson is that he is much happier today and his diapers have improved significantly. Although we will see what happens with the reintroduction of expressed milk tomorrow, for today we will celebrate.

Incredible how parenthood changes how we celebrate. Our little family is a great way to celebrate this day dedicated love.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Sticking with it

Yesterday, 48-hours post-elimination of cow protein and soy from my diet, we reintroduced expressed breast milk to our baby. The outcome was horrible. Early on things seemed to be okay but then blood started appearing again. Later afternoon/early evening there was a pretty terrifying diaper full of blood. The diapers that followed resembled those we have become accustomed to over the last few days. That being so, we decided to stop giving him my milk and return to the hypoallergenic formula until we could meet with the doctor.

Early on things seemed to be okay but then blood started appearing again. By 5:15 pm there was a pretty terrifying diaper full of blood. The diapers that followed resembled those we have become accustomed to over the last few days. Which are not to celebrated, but certainly a relief from the 5:15 pm one off. That being so, we decided to stop giving him my milk and return to the hypoallergenic formula until we could meet with the doctor.

The doctor and I spoke first thing this morning and she has assured me that from what I am telling her, and despite how terrifying it looks, this is how this allergy displays in infants. It is strange that that should be a relief.

We have decided to stick with the formula until Wednesday when I will reintroduce my milk again. We are heading to see the Neonatologist on Thursday again, so the thinking is this will allow us more information.

It may be true that this is how the allergy presents, but my goodness is it ever difficult to see the pain my baby is in. I hope that we are able to resolve this for him so that his tummy can mend and he can be at ease. Sticking with this plan will be hard to do but hopefully will pay off.

 

Finding Food

Eating foods that are Cow Milk Protein- and Soy-Free is trickier than one might think but definitely doable. I will also add that I can’t eat any nuts, with the exception of peanuts… so protein sourcing is in the forefront of my mind (dairy was my previous go to).

The good news in all of this is that I LOVE to cook and I love to eat good food. I have been compiling recipes for a homemade cookbook – inclusive of only those that I have actually made, often tweaked and love.

So here are a few tasty recipes that I enjoyed today and will continue to eat down the road.. even when I am free to return to eating whatever I choose. Cookbook update required.

High Protein Pancakes 

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 banana
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts (subbed for 1-2 scoops of protein powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp flax meal

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Use 1/4 measure to form pancakes over medium-high heat in a non-stick pan (can coat with coconut oil, if desired). Add blueberries, if desired. (I used frozen blueberries and raspberries). Serve hot. Top with real maple syrup and/or peanut butter.

Makes 8-9 pancakes.

(adapted from pinchofyum.com)

Green Hemp Smoothie 

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 – 1 1/2 handfuls of frozen spinach (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 pear, cored
  • 1 cup hemp milk

Blend on smoothie setting in a high-powered blender.

Serves1-2.

Homemade Hemp Milk 

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 4 cups cold water

Blend. Use low setting in a high-powered blender. Strain using cheesecloth. Store in covered jar in fridge for 3-5 days.

 

Noting my opinion:

these protein pancakes are best eaten immediately. I do make the whole batch and refrigerate the extras, which I eat like bread the following day, but they taste better day 1 hot of the pan.

the smoothie is tasty. I find it quite sweet, but not over-the-top. I prefer the hemp milk made using the low blend setting and then strained, as the taste is milder than when I have used the higher setting (i.e., there is more is to strain out)

Bon appetit!

Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)

 

img_5785

All this expressed milk and anymore I pump today goes down the drain. As does the just-opened $26 tin of formula.

Seriously.

It made me want to cry (again) that here we are again with a complex feeding challenge. Not so much out of sadness but out of frustration and generally feeling pretty crappy about the whole thing. But, probably like any new parent, I will do what I have to make sure my baby is happy and healthy. So say goodbye to all that hard work. And onward and upward. Thank goodness I am truly a determined optimist 😉 It looks like I will make it to one month of breastfeeding….as that is Monday!

So what is my personal coping strategy for this latest feeding obstacle? (also a latest emotionally draining experience)

I am having a glass of red wine. Ahhhhhhh. A big one.  Pretty sure I have earned it. And it is of no consequence or risk to my amazing baby because all my milk is garbage until 10 am tomorrow morning. So red wine, a chicken breast and plain Lay’s potato chips for supper!? I don’t see why not!

Yes, I am serious.

We are fairly certain that Grayson has Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA). No, no not lactose intolerance. Totally unrelated, actually. This is not a remove or augment the dairy food group issue. This removes a whole lot of foods from my diet and replaces our formula with a specialized hypoallergenic version. The list is extensive of food items that include milk protein and/or soy. The soy removal is an additional precaution until we revisit the specialist from NICU next week. Apparently, soy is second to cow’s milk as the likely culprit of the symptoms we have seen in our little guy.

So I am eliminating dairy and many other foods from my diet while I breastfeed my baby (see this link if interested: https://goo.gl/iaDWV1). Lay’s Plain chips are the only indulgence left….and indulge I will! (they happen to be my favourite anyway. ha!) In addition, I bought the new formula at the drugstore. Crazy how inflated the costs are for this formula compared the previous one. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – there is no alternative so I will pay what I have to.

For the record, though, the markup on this specialized formula compared with the one we were using is $6. On top of that, this container has a cool 561 mL to the 765 mL of the former. So, the regular formula was 3 cents a gram, while the one we now must buy is 6 cents a gram. TWICE AS MUCH. Oh, and they are made by the same company.

So our journey continues. I hope that this dramatic change to our eating will resolve the feeding difficulties once and for all. Our poor little guy could do without any further challenges. And to be honest, so could I.

I am taking the evening to review the document linked above in order to figure out what I might eat in the days ahead. I must confess that milk protein seems to have been a staple in my diet. It probably is in most people’s. For me, the one upside is that it was primarily through the dairy food group.

Wish us luck as we venture forward. And to the evening and weekend ahead, cheers.

cheers

Photo retrieved from https://liquormart.co.nz/blogs/news-liquormart-co-nz/red-or-white-wine-which-wine-goes-better-with-your-meal (Feb. 10, 2017)