Nursing, Sensitivities, and Learning

Having a baby opens your eyes to see yourself in all kinds of new ways. For me having a baby also opened my eyes to once again look deeper at issues of health and see my own health in a new light.
When my son was born he had colic. He also reacted to a number of things I ate while nursing. I have read before that babies don’t really react to things that the mother eats, but I definitely disagree with this.
I also have found that since having a baby my sensitivities are back, and although they do not seem to be as bad as they were before, they are much worse than they were when I was pregnant. The thing that has really got me through lately is that my husband and I have started to learn how to do muscle testing. Muscle testing can be difficult and subtle and it is best practiced by a trained professional. My husband and I are not professionals and we do not recommend that anyone attempt to use muscle testing on their own as a form of medical diagnoses. We have however begun to study this a little bit and found it to be a helpful tool for informing us about what things might be causing reactions for me. It has been incredibly helpful to take a little bit of the guess work out of struggling with sensitivities. Now instead of trying desperately to figure out what I ate and what chemicals are in what I ate and what I’m reacting to, I can have my husband do a little muscle testing on me and soon enough we have a really good idea of what caused the problem. Because of this most of the time we have been able to pinpoint what I react to and what my son reacts to in my breast milk.
As a new mom I find myself very aware of what is going on in my little baby – when he has a reaction to something I notice. Sometimes I think I notice reactions in him more quickly or easily then I notice reactions in myself. As I’ve watched my son and struggled to figure out how to best keep him healthy I have learned a lot about how my own reactions work and about health in general. He has been a great motivating factor for me to dig back into health and really look at the unhealthy choices we continued to make in our life even with all that we already knew and all that we had already changed.
So, here’s a little bit about what I’ve learned:

  1. Variety is my friend (and my son’s friend). If I eat something too often I will almost inevitably start reacting to it. There are of course a few exceptions to this – for example we eat potatoes pretty regularly and I’ve never had a problem with them. But, for the most part if I eat something multiple days in a row it will trigger a reaction. For example over Christmas I made a big pot of homemade tomato soup and ate it for one or two meals a day for probably 4 days in a row. By the end of those four days my son was miserable and we figured he must be reacting to something. Yep, he and I both reacted to tomato when we tested it.
  2. If I’m reacting to something going without it for a few weeks will usually allow me to be able to have it again, but I need to be careful not to overdo it. Four weeks after cutting out tomato I wasn’t testing as reacting to it anymore and neither was my son. I have since then had tomato every now and then in small amounts without a problem.
  3. I do not always react to everything that is high in salicylates or other chemicals, but if I do have a reaction to something it will almost always be something that is high in salicylates or other chemicals. For example I’ve been fine with turmeric lately (which is high in salicylate), but I recently had a bad reaction to cinnamon which is also high in salicylates (after eating it in various things two days in a row).
  4. If I react to something then my son will react to it. This was really interesting to me and got me thinking a little bit about why this might be. I’m guessing that he gets my anti-bodies from my breast milk and if I react to something and don’t have anti-bodies for something then he would also not get anti-bodies for something and react to it – does that make sense? It actually got me wondering a little bit if supplementing his nursing with feedings of someone else’s breast milk would help with his reactions…?? I don’t know of anyone willing to donate their breast milk and I do really love nursing my baby myself and haven’t ever given him a bottle or wanted to, but I thought it was an interesting hypothesis. Anyone know anything about this?
  5. Just avoiding the things I react to and avoiding all preservatives, dyes and food additives might not be enough to improve my health. I’ve once again started researching food and how food affects our health and I’ve learning some interesting stuff. I just finished reading Nourishing Traditions and I’ve been spending a good deal of time on the Weston A. Price Foundation’s web site. I thought we ate pretty healthy and well, but I’m realizing that there is a lot more we could do in regards to our eating habits that will help improve our health.

Well, that’s the low down on where I’m at right now. Thanks for letting me share again
Health to you and yours –

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Pregnancy and My Health

Well, hello – it’s been a long time.

Lately, I have found myself again digging deeper into health research and thinking about all of you back here at I figured it was about time for a little update.

This past year has brought a lot of changes to my life and a few of those have had significant (you could say even radical) effects on my health. January 2009 I got pregnant and the changes that my body underwent throughout my pregnancy and the first few months of nursing have affected my own journey to health. I’d love to share with you all a little about how pregnancy effected me, but I’m not sure where to start. I guess I’ll just break it down a bit.

First trimester: I really didn’t notice any improvement in my sensitivities beyond what I had already achieved before becoming pregnant. I had pretty bad morning sickness and severe fatigue – neither of which are uncommon, of course. I pretty much just ate what sounded good to me. If I did react to things it was difficult to tell because I just felt nauseous, tired, and ache all the time anyway. I did realize pretty quickly that many of the vitamins I had been taking where either not good to take during pregnancy (because of being herbal) or made me feel nauseous. I was able to continue taking a prenatal vitamin, omega vitamin, calcium, probiotics, and magnesium. Overall, I really didn’t like first trimester and basically just survived it. I did notice, however, that my hives were slightly better during first trimester.

Second trimester: My hives became unbearable during second trimester. They were almost the worst they have ever been – or at least it felt like it. I also broke out in a weird rash on the back of my legs and buttock, which my sister also had when she was pregnant with her son but not her daughters. The nausea still came and went during second trimester, but got a bit better. As far as food goes I really didn’t watch what I ate nearly as much during this trimester. I still avoided really processed foods, and obvious chemicals, preservatives and food dyes, but over all I started to eat whatever I could get my hands on. This was mainly because I wasn’t gaining weight quite like I should and I was a bit worried. I had been about 10 pounds underweight when I got pregnant and I knew that being underweight when you conceive and not gaining as much as you should can contribute to problems, particularly early labor. So, I ate whatever I wanted during this time and most of the time I felt ok, although not great. I did have what seemed like a constant cold during second trimester, which looking back now, may have just been me reacting to things.

Third trimester: I finally liked being pregnant. Almost exactly the day third trimester started my hives went away almost completely, the nausea stopped, I felt like I had more energy, and I didn’t feel sick all the time. I continued to eat what I wanted, but now all of a sudden I felt really good – maybe even better then I’d felt before I got pregnant. My theory is that my body just really liked the hormones that came along with this last trimester, but there were also some other things that might have influenced how I felt. Not long after starting my third trimester we went back to the states so that we could have the birth there. I was able to see my doctor there multiple times a week. We were living with my parents, who were anxious to put some fat on me and made sure we ate balanced, healthy meals with a lot of variety. I finally was gaining some weight which was great. I also had access to more health food stores and started drinking all natural electrolyte water, which helped with the dehydration I had struggled with throughout my first two trimesters. I started to feel well enough to pick up my yoga practice again. I also started taking a vitamin supplement to help support my thyroid which I think did help a lot too. Overall, things were really good third trimester and I wouldn’t have minded being pregnant a little longer if it hadn’t been for the terrible Braxton Hicks contractions I started getting all the time the last few weeks.

Birth: I had an amazing birth experience and if you want to read more about it I wrote my whole birth story HERE. I was really worried that I would react to any kind of pain medication since I have in the past, so because of that we started researching natural birth and home birth options. The more we researched the more we knew that it was the way we wanted to go. So, we had a beautiful home birth and I would definitely do it that way again. I felt very aware during the birth and had no problems with hives, headaches, congestion, or any of the other reactions I have struggled with most days of my life.

Postpartum (the first six weeks): The first six weeks after giving birth are sort of a blur. I remember being incredibly emotional and often crying. I remember being anxious and worried about the baby. But, overall I remember feeling pretty good. I continued to see my doctor regularly, take all my vitamins, and eat well. I continued to not have hives or other reactions. In fact those first few weeks if it hadn’t been from the sleep deprivation and the emotional roller coaster I would have felt really good.

There is a lot I could share about my health and also what I’ve learned about health in the past 7 months since giving birth. And plenty that I could write about in regards to nursing and having a sensitive colicky baby. So, I’m going to stop here and save all that other stuff for a future post which should be on the way soon.

So, for now I’ll simply say that pregnancy was quite the roller coaster for me in regards to my health and for the most part I’m glad it is over. I had always hypothesized that I would feel better while pregnant (and had a few doctors also predict that), but for me that wasn’t really the case – at least not over all. I did feel remarkably better during third trimester, but the rest of my pregnancy was not really a notable improvement over my normal health at this time in my life.

Well, I look forward to sharing more soon!

Health to you and yours –

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