When the panel of doctors informed me that my baby is allergic to my breast milk, my heart dropped to the floor. For the past 7 months of my pregnancy breastfeeding became my religion, I just wanted her to have the best.
At first, I had no clue about breast milk; how it arrives nor the amazing benefits. I remember in my 1st trimester I made a WIC appointment to get some extra healthy food during the pregnancy. I quit my job not too long after I found out I was pregnant because I was suffering from extreme morning sickness aka hyperemesis gravadarum aka “you’re not that sick, suck it up.” I remember throwing up at least 5 times a day trying to find foods that my body could tolerate. So with no job and no sanity I made my way to the WIC office where I met with one of the workers, a mother of three and huge supporter of the breastfeeding movement. At the time I had no connection to the whole thing, it’s always been one of those things where I thought “could I really make milk, really…”

I left the appointment so enthusiastic about what breastfeeding and breast milk, I called my mom up to let her know about the breast milk revelation of mine. “Hey I’m gonna breastfeed, I didn’t know about it at first, but it’s made especially for the baby so why not and its free!” I just loved the fact that it’s free and provides the baby with the nutrients need to survive its first year(s). She wasn’t excited as me as she told me that I was breastfed. That was the first time in my pregnancy I was on a natural high.

Fast forward to 6 weeks after Xariya’s birth, we were getting geared up for her discharge from the NICU and she had a huge setback. Distended belly and constipation; it actually happened 3 times since she was born. For preemies, it’s best practice to include formula to supplement with the breast milk to provide babies with the nutrients that they missed. She went from formula to formula and when nothing worked we tried breast milk only. Unfortunately, that didn’t work either due to my diet. “If you want to continue to breastfeed you can’t have any dairy,” one of the nurses said. I remember wondering if that’s even possible, mentally and literally. The diet is pretty extensive, to the point where I can’t consume any traces of milk protein so label reading and letting go of ice cream.

Right now my baby is on EleCare, the best thing that has ever happened to us. She is doing great pooping and peeing with ease. This formula has the protein already broken down so as the formula makes its way to the large intestine, my little one doesn’t have to work as hard. All hope isn’t lost, as she reaches a comfortable adjusted age, we can try the milk challenge; I have a ton of milk waiting for her in the freezer with her name on it! Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but I’m blessed that there’s a way for her to still get what she needs.

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