Sugar and Breast Milk

Are you a chocoholic? I certainly am. I love chocolate. I love chocolate milk, chocolate cake, chocolate ice cream. I love chocolate. If you ask my daughter what mommy’s favorite food is she will say “chocolate!” She knows me very well.

She has developed my love for chocolate as well. If I try to sneak a bite of chocolate in another room, when I return she looks around and says “I smell chocolate. Are you eating chocolate, Mama? Can I share some of your chocolate?” It’s hard to resist when she asks so politely. But I do try to limit her sugar intake. She is satisfied with just a little taste and we leave it at that. I wait until she is asleep to continue with my chocolate treat.

She loves chocolate milk and we do share a glass of that every now and then. One day she asked me for chocolate milkies. I had to laugh out loud. I knew she was joking when she proposed the idea and it was so cute. I told her “I wish I could make chocolate milkies. Then we could have chocolate milk whenever we wanted!” She laughed.

When my daughter was 3 months old we traveled to the US so that she could meet our family and friends. She was great on the 14 hour flight and nursed like a champ the whole way. People commented on how quiet she was and what a pleasure it was to fly with such a “good baby”. I told them it was all thanks to breastfeeding. We were going to home to spend Christmas and New Years with our families and we were very excited to introduce them to our little angel.

If you remember from my previous post, I had suffered twice from mastitis before this trip and I was concerned with it happening again while we were traveling. I was careful to nurse her as much as possible and not to let her fall asleep without emptying my breast. As hard as I tried, it started happening again. We were almost to our destination city when I started to feel the fever coming on again. Thankfully I nursed through it this time and Violet was able to unclog the ducts herself without me getting an infection from it.

I remembered the words of my LC about diet and I tried so hard to be careful with what I ate. I didn’t eat too many fried foods and I tried to keep up my intake of water.

Unfortunately, I am crazy for Christmas cookies! I had not been home for Christmas in 5 years. I had not tasted my Aunts delicious, chewy, chocolate chip cookies in 5 years! I had not let her peanut butter cookies melt in my mouth for 5 years! I had not feasted on the fabulous fudge, brownies or peppermint bark made family members for FIVE YEARS. I was ready.

Several of my aunts kindly prepared me my very own gift bag of sweets. Usually these are reserved for only their siblings. I have a huge family. My father is the oldest of 8 children. I have 5 Aunts and 2 uncles. All of them are married with children and many of their children have children. We are a very close knit and very large family. To give you a picture, we have to use a church rec hall for our Thanksgiving dinners. Christmas Eve is our big celebration for the holidays. If my aunts had to prepare cookies for each family they would have to start their baking in September to be done by Christmas Eve. My point is, for one of the grandkids to receive their own bag of cookies is a big deal! I am sure they did this because I am very rarely home and therefore I was given special treatment! 🙂

I was so very pleased with my loot that I decided to take them up to my bedroom that night. I couldn’t risk someone else mistaking them for public cookies! I set them on the dresser and got ready for bed.

At 3 months old Violet was still nursing every 2-3 hours. The bed in the guest room at my father’s house was a pillow top and extremely comfortable. Violet started waking every 45 minutes and we couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t stay asleep. She would seem so peacefully asleep and then wake screaming. I would nurse her back to sleep and then sneak a cookie treat.

The bed was so comfy for my husband and me but by 3 in the morning I realized she was waking because she was sinking into the bed! Very scary events could have occurred had I not been staring at her while I ate my cookie treats. (And I don’t mean to make light of this I was seriously glad that I was awake and watching her to find that this bed was not suitable for a baby of her age.

Co-sleeping is a very important thing to me and safety is the number one priority when you do it) Finally we decided to take cardboard from one of the Christmas boxes and put it under her to help her stay stable. That got us through the night. I had finished half of my first package of cookies by morning.

The next day we decided to fashion a bedside cradle of sorts. And by cradle I mean a shallow metal basket that was used to hold a wine gift that my father received. We lined it with blankets and made it soft. Violet slept much better in her basket bed and so did my husband and I.She did, however, still wake every two hours for her feeding. At each feeding I would also treat myself to a cookie.

By day three, Violet started having diarrhea. I was confused and worried about this since we were traveling. She started out with 3 diarrhea diapers on day 3. By day 4 she had 6. I was freaking out! So my brother called his kids’ pediatrician, who was also our pediatrician when we were growing up. They asked about my diet and what I usually ate and what I was eating now. The nurse said that the change in my diet could definitely cause her to have diarrhea. She asked if I had been eating a lot of sugar…. I was soon found out.

My midnight snacks were no longer a secret. She outed me with her diarrhea. I felt terrible! I felt like the worst mother on the planet! I had no idea that too much sugar in a mother’s diet would cause diarrhea for a nursing baby. I never would have eaten as many cookies if I had known. My husband was shocked and I had to ask him to remove the cookies.

Luckily, her diarrhea was not accompanied by cramping or fever or any other symptom. She just had watery poop. Her bottom did get irritated though. And that is when I discovered the best wipes in the world! (see side link) She never had to go to the doctor as she was never dehydrated. She still nursed and made wet diapers frequently and so that was never a worry.

Everyone jokingly poked fun at me and helped lighten my mood by reassuring me that I actually was not the worst mother in the world, just a mom with an extremely sweet tooth. I learned an important lesson that trip. Too much of a good thing can be really bad. No more gorging on cookies.

After Violet’s diarrhea subsided I allowed myself only one sweet a day and learned how to balance my cravings with my baby’s needs. My husband forgave me, my daughter forgave me and I forgave myself. After all, I am only human and we all make mistakes. We are never as perfect as we hope to be but we can do our best with what we’ve been given and hope that that is enough.

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