May I introduce you to Jane Catherine Sherman, a long time client, who has spent the last year learning the ropes of being a new mom while juggling her role as wife and a full-time career. I have had the pleasure of working with this sweet family pre and post baby. I’ve watched these past months with both curiosity and great respect as several of their beliefs regarding the “right way” to care and feed baby have been challenged one by one and pushing them to open up to alternatives not so widely accepted.
As they have navigated these changes so beautifully as a family, I asked Jane Catherine if she would be willing to share their story. I believe it to be insightful and encouraging for expectant and new moms as well as grandparents.
Join us for the next four weeks as this new mother exposes some real life situations that can and did throw even the most well researched parents. Their story clearly depicts the importance of remaining open and not attaching to fixed ideas of the right way with our children. I believe their sweet daughter has only just begun to lead them down a path of shedding old concepts and opening to the new.
To know me is to know I’m a planner, so, of course, I had everything planned out for how I would feed my daughter once she was born. It seemed simple. Breastfeed exclusively until she was six months old, then slowly start incorporating nutritious, whole foods into her diet. But alas, as with all things pregnancy and baby, nothing goes according to plan.
Fast forward ten months, I’ve just had my healthy, eight-pound baby who wants nothing more than to eat constantly, and after the first weeks I have nothing to give her. I’m bone dry with no milk in sight. If pregnancy taught me anything, it taught me that your body has a mind of its own, and there is no sense in forcing it. So, I turned to the next best thing – formula. Or, so I thought.
My husband and I spent days agonizing over what formula to get – soy, non-soy, organic, non-organic, sensitive stomach, etc. We even thought about ordering overseas for a goat’s milk based formula. In the end, we opted for an organic, cow’s milk based formula, which was the best fit for our budget and dietary practices. Unfortunately, this was not the best choice for our daughter’s digestive system.
She spent the next 6 to 8 months of her life constantly battling painful constipation and gas. We researched tons of at-home remedies and tried even more from warm baths, prune juice, pureed prunes, and finally suppositories. And forget about sleep. She would wake up multiple times throughout the night each time for two hours at least. I will always have a not-too-fond memory of my husband running to the nearest 24-hour drugstore at 2:00 a.m. in search of infant suppositories while I tried to comfort a crying baby who had been up all night miserable from constipation. We spent our days hoping for dirty diapers and more often than not they didn’t come regularly. According to our friends with kids, this was a normal part of baby growing pains. We were told babies could go a week without a bowel movement before we had to worry. Some even recommended adult medications like Miralax. None of this felt right in my gut. She was an otherwise healthy baby, so surely there was a more natural solution.
We reached out to the Homeopath that had supported me through my pregnancy and her suggestion was a Gemmotherapy protocol to support healthy elimination. Our first step was starting her on a small dose of Fig and Walnut extracts two times a day. We quickly saw improvement with more regular, non-painful bowel movements. But, even with the Gemmotherapy, her digestive system still needed more support to deal with the formula as she was often waking at night with discomfort. After another discussion with our Homeopath, we made the difficult decision to slowly start weaning our 6 month old off formula and replace it with an organic, no sugar added coconut water and a well balanced diet of plant based foods. She would still have some formula but in much smaller quantities until we could wean her off completely. To say we were nervous is an understatement. Everything we had been told and read said that formula was the gold standard for nutrition after breast milk. What if she doesn’t get enough vitamins? What if it stunts her development? What if she becomes a sickly baby? We had all the fears you would expect from parents deviating from the pediatrician recommended norm. But, we kept going back to the idea of how could something supposedly so good for her make her a miserable wreck?
We immediately saw positive changes in her digestive system. Within a day, she started to have regular daily bowel movements without any pain, and she started to sleep more soundly through the night. And, as every parent knows, a baby who gets good rest is a happy baby.
As new parents, we tend to hang on our pediatrician’s every word as if they have all the answers. But, sometimes we just have to go with what feels right in our gut. The combination of Gemmotherapy and coconut water worked better than we could have hoped, and our daughter continues to thrive and develop successfully without any of our fears coming true.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about feeding babies and toddlers and keeping them symptom free, I’d love to hear from you. Guiding new moms and families is one of the favorite parts of my job. Are you new to the Gemmotherapy products mentioned in this series? If so here is an article to get your started. I am looking forward to sharing more of Jane Catherine’s story with you next week when she makes some decisions regarding solid foods.