Is it too early in my “parenthood” to be regretful of choices I’ve made? I thought I would share with you my two biggest regrets because I have a feeling I’m not the only one: Diet before, during and after pregnancy and giving up breastfeeding early.
1. Diet before, during and semi-after pregnancy
Isn’t it funny (and I’m sure I’ve said this before) that when a woman is pregnant, people tell her that she can eat whatever she wants simply because she is pregnant? I ate whatever I wanted during my pregnancy. Although I tried to maintain a “healthy” diet, I ate many processed foods. Wheat thins, Mini-Wheats, Cookies, Ice Cream, Cheez-its, Chex-Mix, Sun Chips to name a few. I also consumed mostly conventional produce, meat and dairy. There were no mentions of fermented cod liver oil, raw dairy, grass-fed meats and organically grown produce. No sir, just the regular conventional diet for this pregnant mama.
Who would have thought that the dietary choices you make while your pregnant effects the health of your child when they are born? Well really, if you sit and actually think about it, it makes all the sense in the world! Unfortunately, in this day and age, the traditional foods that our ancestors lived and thrived on have been replaced with cheap, genetically modified, and pesticide congested foods. And it’s all about what will sell cheap and quick. Convenience, convenience, convenience and laziness! It’s like we’ve completely disconnected ourselves from our roots. It didn’t used to be like that though. When I was born, food wasn’t so bad. There weren’t billions of pounds of pesticides sprayed on our food annually and there weren’t foods that had been genetically modified to not only withstand being sprayed with pesticides, but also produce the pesticide in every living cell of the plant itself!
Did you know that a recent study showed 100% of tested mothers had traces of the BT-toxin in their cord blood and unborn fetuses? Bt-toxin is the pesticide that ruptures the stomach of any bug that eats it. Mind you, these genetically modified plants that contain the Bt-toxins have had no real long-term safety studies done. That’s right, a toxin that kills the bug from the inside out has not be tested for human consumption. What is that doing to our unborn children? Unfortunately we don’t know. What we do know is that America as a nation is probably one of the unhealthiest nations in the world. Something has definitely changed and since food is literally the fuel for our body, the hormone/antibiotic, genetically engineered, toxic pesticide enriched foods must have an influence on our health (and our babies because that’s where it all starts!).
I guess I just never realized how many toxins we are exposed to and how many I was exposing to my unborn baby. It’s unfortunate the common person is not aware of this. It’s even more unfortunate that doctors aren’t really knowledgeable in the nutrition area.
I know no one is perfect and no mother can protect their child from everything, but it doesn’t change how regretful I feel that I allowed my child to be exposed to these terrible toxins before he was even brought into this world! Not only that, but then exposing him to vaccinations (before his immune system was fully developed), GM-laden formula and genetically modified rice cereal as a first food.
I’m so thankful that about 6 months into his life, I was ready to learn about traditional foods and how important the right kind of food was to ensure a happy, healthy life.
2. Giving up breast feeding early
I breast fed Andrew up until he was about 5 months but it was not exclusively breast milk– we also supplemented with formula (ugh… the thought of it now makes me shudder). I think the biggest problem that faced me was my age. I was young (20), a new wife (also a huge responsibility) and I was essentially putting my life on the back burner temporarily. It was difficult for me to digest.
That being said, I was not ready for the kind of devotion, sacrifice and demanding work that breast feeding entailed. Going into it I knew I wanted to BF because I knew it was best for baby. Both my mother and mother-in-law did not BF so although they were there to support me (thank you mom and Melody!), they had no real advice to give or to really keep pushing me.
BFing was an uphill battle from day one: Bad latches, cracked nipples, exhaustion. My supply was pretty good for the first few weeks but slowly started to diminish. I wasn’t drinking enough water, I didn’t fuel myself with the right food, I supplemented with formula and I was battling with semi-postpartum depression. I was selfish and wanted my sleep. I chose the easy way out and let my husband feed Andrew formula in the morning so I could get those 2 extra hours of sleep. The more lazy I got and gave formula, the less breast milk I had. All of those combined equals a recipe for lowering your breast milk supply.
Well she could pump, you’re probably thinking. Yeah, I could have. I had a single breast pump that was graciously given to me by a family friend but it was pretty old and we had to jerry-rig it to work (put electrical tape around the hose to get it to suction). Little by little it fell apart and eventually I had to hold the button in and hold the pump to my breast at the same time. Not fun. My husband would get on me to pump but I don’t think he quite understood what a pain in the ass it was– especially when you only got 2-3 oz from each breast when your baby was drinking 4-5 oz. If I would have stuck with it, I would have been pumping the whole time Andrew was napping… only for him to wake up and want to be fed again. Time consuming and not fun? Yes. Should I have stuck through it for the health of my baby? Yes. I should have just bought a good one but for whatever reason I didn’t.
Now that Andrew is 19 months old and I am on a real food journey, I have realized how unbelievably important it is to breast feed your baby… and to breast feed them well past the one year mark! I used to think moms were crazy when they BF their baby up to 2+ years but now I know, we are one of the only nations that don’t BF our babies up to 2 years. BFing your 2 year old toddler is looked at as weird and unusual when that is quite the contrary. Breast milk is the best thing for our child and that’s what we should be giving them. I don’t really know why it’s looked at this way… maybe the multi-billion dollar formula corporations have something to do with it?
Oh the baby formula. It’s safe to say formula is simply a toxic, GMO-laden, rbST hormone filled disaster of a concoction. Have you even tried reading the ingredient label of one of those formulas? Luckily around the same time I was enlightened on the Weston A. Price diet I began to make my own formula for Andrew following Sally Fallon’s Raw Milk Formula. It was a combination of raw milk, raw cream, fermented cod liver oil, a probiotic, lactose, nutritional yeast, bovine gelatin, coconut oil and a few other things. Real, wholesome, nutritious ingredients– not to mention I could pronounce every ingredient! It was the second best option after BFing and I am so, so thankful to have had Andrew drinking that for the remainder of his formula days. It gave me a sense of fulfillment because I knew he was getting the next best thing.
I’m not quite sure which one I’m more regretful of because they both are very important. Although I can not change the past, I can learn from it and make better decisions if there is any baby number two. I have to learn to let go of my regrets and move forward. There is still hope of giving Andrew a healthy start to his life by ensuring the right kind of foods he puts into his body. So if you are one of those moms that dealt with my struggles, you are not alone and it is never too late to change for the better!
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul