Dying To Self, Yet Again

Growing up, I would watch my grandmother closely.  She would stand in her kitchen with her hand on her hip and look straight in the mirror at herself (she had a large mirror in her kitchen!) and say with determination, “I tell you, me…”  Then she would launch into some issue she had with something or someone, some beef she needed to get off her chest.  Inevitably she would start to laugh because everything my nana did always ended with a good belly laugh.  She was a great lady and I miss her.

So imagine me right now with my hand on my hip, looking straight past you and talking to myself in the mirror…  “I tell you, me…  I am SO annoyed right now by the fact that I can’t go and eat at a restaurant without having to opt for, basically, lettuce.  I am on a limited diet while breast-feeding due to my baby’s dairy and soy sensitivities and it reduces my menu options dramatically.  “Here is your leaf of lettuce, ma’am.  Hope you enjoy it.”  Ugh!  Lettuce.

The reason all this is coming to the surface–the girls and I have to hit the town for a few final errands before our boys get home.  My husband and three oldest have been enjoying a few days in Maine while the girls relax at home.  Among the errands we have to accomplish is a trip by a local chain restaurant to pick up a gift certificate for a friend.  “Hey,” I thought to myself, “Why don’t we just stay for dinner and enjoy a final meal together.  That would be fun!”  (Yes, my thoughts even had an exclamation point!  I was excited by this prospect–dinner out with the girls!)  This restaurant happens to be one of my favorites, but my hub has had a few bad experiences there, so we usually don’t choose to eat there as a couple.  This would be the perfect chance to enjoy a meal with him out-of-town.

Being the dutiful, breast-feeding mother I am, (ahem), I went ahead and looked on the restaurant’s website to find out allergen information before heading out.  You’d be surprised what random things have dairy and soy (pretty much everything, but, oh yes, lettuce.)  Just the other day I was making myself some hot tea and thought to randomly check the ingredients just to be sure.  Soy lecithin.  It’s an emulsifier and it’s in everything.  Some babies don’t seem bothered by it, but baby G still has blood in her stool, so we’re trying.

So I pulled up the allergen menu and looked through the items recommended for people avoiding dairy.  It looked nice and there were still a good amount of options from which to choose.  Great.  Then I scrolled down to the list for people avoiding soy.  There were literally, probably ten items listed there.  Ten.  And many of them were extras like pico de gallo and guacamole.  Then I did the unthinkable and cross referenced the two lists.  Guess what.  I could have a burger without a bun or fries or onion rings, but (you guessed it) lettuce.  It would be a burger sitting on an empty plate with a piece of lettuce and maybe some ketchup.  I’m splitting at the sides, it’s so annoying.  It almost makes me want to log off and open a can of hypoallergenic formula.  Almost.  I am annoyed for two seconds.

Then as I type I hear my sweet little one upstairs and she’s awoken and is crying for her mama.  And all my annoyances melt away.  Because she’s totally worth it.  She’s worth years and years of life without dairy and soy.  She’s worth plates and plates of plain burgers with just lettuce.  Having the chance to breast-feed her is such a privilege and knowing I’m boosting her little immune system and providing for her is second-to-none.  It makes her strong and healthy and have a happy life and that gives me life.  All of my angels are worth any and every sacrifice I could ever offer.

For I am called to live out His legacy, to abandon myself in this life for others, namely my children and family, friends, even strangers.  It’s not about me and never has been.  To God be the glory in all circumstances, especially petty ones involving food allergies, chain restaurants, and lots and lots of lettuce.

  • http://aspiringameliorant.blogspot.com Kathy

    Kudos to you B-mama. Dietary restrictions are so hard, especially when you’re extra hungry because of breast feeding. Or am I the only one who wants to eat everything in sight when my kids are nursing?

  • Erica

    Thanks for the post! I have gone through similar dietary restrictions while breast-feeding both of my boys. The first time around, I was on a “cave man diet” and could literally only eat 6 foods for 2 months before SLOWLY adding a new food one at a time. In the end, it turned out that the tummy troubles my babies had seemed to NOT be related to anything I was eating. It’s amazing what we mothers will do for our children! Thanks for helping me to see that I was not alone in some of those very tough moments when formula was starting to sound very good.

  • Helen

    I hear you, B-mama! I had to eliminate dairy and soy when my daughter started getting blood in her stools when she was 9 weeks old. It was hard initially because I love dairy and, as you say, milk products are in so many products, but in the end I discovered oat milk and found it to be a very satisfying alternative to cows milk. Why pay to eat lettuce (and rice!) at a restaurant? In the end I just didn’t bother. You may be heartened to know that, in our case, it didn’t end up being a milk protein intolerance. Baby’s stools cleared up at 6 months: the moment I introduced solids! I’d been doing the ‘lettuce diet’ (ha!) up till then, with no results, and the doctors were starting to pressure me to stop nursing and switch to a hypo allergenic formula – something I really, really wanted to avoid – so thank God the mystery bleeding cleared up when it did!

    I like your Grandma’s idea of standing in front of the mirror to let of steam, by the way!

  • http://www.buildingcathedrals.com Katrina

    Bethany, there’s nothing easy about giving up dairy and soy – you have a great attitude! Introducing solids also helped Caroline with her issues, and I re-introduced dairy into my diet around 10-11 months of age with no problems. I find it so interesting that your doctor suggested eliminating dairy from your diet, because my pediatrician was so wishy-washy about the whole thing!

  • Sarah

    I had to give up dairy until around 10-11 months with our first. And I love cheese and milk so much!! It was not a diagnosed issue, but our little girl was much happier when I was off it (possibly undiagnosed silent reflux). Anyway, I can’t imagine adding soy to the list as well. You are awesome and your girl will benefit from your sacrifice, and hopefully in a few short (!) months you’ll be able to indulge again to your heart’s delight. That first complete burger will taste great!

  • Texas Mommy

    Oh, B-Mama! I totally sympathize! You are making a great sacrifice for your daughter!!

  • Laura Kasemervisz

    Thank you for the beautiful, HONEST post!
    Another possible cause of rectal bleeding is foremilk-hindmilk imbalance; more on this from Dr. Jack Newman: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-CBB. Another book I found helpful is Dr. Bryan Vartabedian’s COLIC SOLVED. It’s primarily about reflux disease but he also discusses food sensitivities and foremilk-hindmilk imbalance. Best wishes!

  • Laura Kasemervisz

    Thank you for the beautiful, HONEST post!
    Another possible cause of rectal bleeding is foremilk-hindmilk imbalance; more on this from Dr. Jack Newman: http://www.breastfeedinginc.ca/content.php?pagename=doc-CBB. Another book I found helpful is Dr. Bryan Vartabedian’s COLIC SOLVED. It’s primarily about reflux disease but he also discusses food sensitivities and foremilk-hindmilk imbalance.


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