This is Cheryl’s breastfeeding story. Cheryl was on a strict elimination diet and struggled to keep weight on herself. Cheryl’s baby needed collaboration with me, her Pediatrician, her Pediatric Immunologist, her Dermatologist and finally a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. Together, we were able to support Cheryl, to successfully breastfeed her baby who will turn one, in a few days. Happy Birthday, K! **Sometimes it takes a village of health care providers to help feed your baby:
“My breastfeeding journey with my firstborn started out rough, but after a month of persevering (mostly because I didn’t want to pay for formula), we found our groove and went on to successfully nurse for the first year. In anticipation of the arrival of our second born, I thought back to the challenges, but reassured myself that this time around, I would know what I was doing, and things would go much more smoothly.
Our baby surprised us by arriving nearly a month early, but thankfully had no long term medical issues as a result. Although breastfeeding again had a bit of a rocky start, it was much better this time around, and we figured things out within a couple weeks. I was thankful and thought I was out of the woods. Little did I know that our challenges had just begun. My quiet, content baby turned into a screaming, back-arching baby who was in obvious pain.
She had digestive issues, skin issues, and was clearly unhappy. At a loss, I fumbled through various attempts to help her, going mostly on the knowledge of friends who had seen similar symptoms in their babies. I figured out that dairy was a problem, eliminated it from my diet, and again thought I was home free. My baby did improve, but she obviously continued to have reactions, showing up mostly as severe eczema, rashes and cradle cap. I met Jody through a friend, and she was able to help me walk through some diet elimination. Her expertise quickly helped me find the additional foods that were irritating my baby, and within a month of meeting Jody, our skin issues drastically improved.
Ever since then, Jody has been invaluable to me, available at any time to help me walk through so much more than just the skill of breastfeeding. She has given guidance on when & how to try reintroducing food in my diet, when & how to introduce solids to my little one, when to push for more specialist appointments and opinions. She really has been my cheerleader for every aspect of my baby’s first year of life.
What impressed me the very most was that soon into our first conversation, Jody said “We need to find a balance of caring for your baby’s needs, but also maintaining your sanity.” She has stuck to that all year. Every time we talk about a change, she asks me how it will affect me, if it’s something I feel like I can do, and we weigh whether it’s the best option. She regularly checks in with me to see how I’m doing – physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Recently, I heard breastfeeding described as a skill and that, like most skills, we learn best and improve the most when we have a coach. That’s what Jody has been to me – my cheerleader, but also my coach. I wish now that I had known right from the beginning that even the best of breastfeeding experiences could benefit from the expertise and care of a coach. What a difference it can make!”