This is going to be a long post, and I am not sure what advice I am looking for, more than needing to get this all out to a group that understands what a big deal this is to me.
I BF my first DD until age 4 and she weaned on her own. No allergies. I BF my second DD until she weaned on her own at 2.5 when my third DD was born. She had what we thought were traditional allergies, battled what we thought was reflux....my diet was limited and she was a beating to nurse. But we made it. My third child came and was sick from the start. BFing was like I was torturing her. We say LCs, drove out of state to a specialist LC/Ped/Allergy specialist. I was cutting everything from my diet, raging against GI Drs and allergists that babies are not allergic to BM....I ended up down to 4 foods for 6 weeks, and she was still so sick. At this point she had gone through all naturopathic and chiro related Drs, upper GIs, swallow studies, ENTs, etc. I had lost 30 lbs. We trialed elemental formula prescribed by the GI for 3 days while I pumped. She was SO much better. Went from crying 16 hours a day her first 8 months, with significant developmental delays due to the crying and pain, to a "normal" baby. For the next month I pumped and fed her the elemental formula. Went back to BF on my 4 food diet. Sick again. So so sick. Repeated this over and over and finally went full time elemental formula just before a year. She was Never attached to the breast...she hated everything revolving around eating, so the change was no biggie for her. I was emotionally devastated as I had fought so hard. I felt like I lost my ability to comfort her. Like I had lost an arm. But from a health stand point, it was the right decision.
During this time my 2.5 year old started having awful stomach pain, returned to the vomiting we had left her first year, trouble swallowing food, etc.
Long story short, both girls were scoped by the GI, biopsies, and diagnosed with Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Diseases...affecting different parts of their GI tracts. We travel to an eosinophilic disease clinic out of state now for treatment. One is now 5 and cannot have dairy, soy, wheat, beef, corn, egg, nuts, fish, tree nuts, citrus, etc. The other is still reliant on elemental formula at age two. She reacts to proteins in everything, which is likely why she was ill from the few foods I was still eating. Both girls are still struggling, need nighttime attention every couple hours of more all night.
And hello surprise baby 4, who is 8 months. A son. :) He has "reflux", and I have pulled dairy, soy and wheat due to bloody poop and vomiting. He is not nearly like my last one, but of course we wonder what is making him sick...traditional allergies of an EGID like the girls. He is miserable to nurse, just a beating...there is no warm fuzzy there for me. When he does get a bottle. it is elemental formula.
I am SO tired of retracting my foods and wondering what is making my kids sick. Baby 4 is still bothered by something. I don't know what. What happens if we get to age two and he still is sick and we have to pull all food like we did with my now 2 year old? Let me tell ya, it is hard to tell a toddler you now can't eat. I am starting to become irritated by him needing to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. He won't sleep unless he is attached. Which is a huge problem since I am up cleaning vomit of my two year old half the night. I haven't slept 2 hours straight in years. I am tired of managing so many special diets. I am tired of wondering how much of his problems is food or just baby stuff.
Part of me really wants to move to elemental formula, get him to a baseline now, as an infant, so we KNOW what his safe foods are and don't go through the two year beating of making his sick with food trials. But then we get moving through the day, I make a bottle, and he doesn't want it and well, nursing is what I know. It is so normal for me. And he is so attached to it. If I had a wand and could convert over night, I honestly think I would. I have overnight hospital stays with the older kids this year and he cannot come.
My mom heart is torn. There is not much I would not do to BF my kids, but after watching my other kids be so sick for so long, and knowing I could avoid that with him...well, I am not sure which decision is the most selfish at this point. I almost feel like I am BF to heal me vs what is best for him.
Not sure there is a right answer, but needing to vent that out to a group that understand how heart wrenching this is.