Magic Milk and a “mom of the year” moment

]About a month ago, I saw a facebook post where a mom showed 2 bottles of pumped breastmilk side by side, showing that the milk she pumped when her baby was sick was thicker and more yellow, like colostrum.  I’ve always thought it was cool how our bodies know what to produce for nursing babies – whatever nutritional needs that they have in any given time.  I remember a friend telling me (when we were both pregnant with our first), that she learned that the baby will pull any nutritional needs that it requires from the mom, which is how babies can still thrive if their mom’s aren’t eating as healthy as they should be.  This, of course, can create deficiencies for the mom, because the baby will take as much of each nutrient it needs, sometimes shorting the mom.  It’s another reason why pre-natals or a good multivitamin are still important to take after the birth.

On Tuesday night, I pumped before bed and noticed that the milk looked really yellow, but I didn’t think anything of it.  On Wednesday, Marlowe woke up snotty and with a goopy and slightly puffy left eye, but she wasn’t too sick and her eye was fine after I cleaned her face.

marlowe sick

It wasn’t until Thursday when I looked at the bottles of pumped milk in the fridge did I notice the huge difference between milk pumped on Monday (on the left), and the milk pumped on Tuesday – right before she started exhibiting symptoms of a cold.  The bottle on the right when she was first getting sick is so much more yellow and colostrum-like.

sick milk

Also that day, a Facebook post showed up in my newsfeed that breastfeeding creates a vacuum, and the baby’s spit tells the mom’s body what to produce.  Here’s the excerpt from The Stranger blog:

According to Hinde [Katie Hinde, a biologist and associate professor at the Center for Evolution and Medicine at the School of Human Evolution & Social Change at Arizona State University], when a baby suckles at its mother’s breast, a vacuum is created. Within that vacuum, the infant’s saliva is sucked back into the mother’s nipple, where receptors in her mammary gland read its signals. This “baby spit backwash,” as she delightfully describes it, contains information about the baby’s immune status. Everything scientists know about physiology indicates that baby spit backwash is one of the ways that breast milk adjusts its immunological composition. If the mammary gland receptors detect the presence of pathogens, they compel the mother’s body to produce antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies travel through breast milk back into the baby’s body, where they target the infection.

Wow. If this is accurate, it’s amazing.  It really kind of makes sense.

As for my “mom of the year” moment…around 2 am last night, after having nursed Marlowe 30 or so minutes before and replaced her pacifier approximately 300 30 times since I came to bed at midnight, she was still fussing.  I was so tired and frustrated that I muttered “shut up”.  To be clear, this is not something I’m okay with saying to my kids – especially once they are at the age to understand -she’s 4 months old, so I’m quite certain she doesn’t understand (plus she was technically sleeping).  I doubt I’ve ever said it before, and I don’t intend to start, so right after it came out of my mouth I regretted it.  I laid there and thought how ugly it felt to say that to a baby.  She had mostly stopped fussing for the moment and I thought to myself, if she fusses again, I’ll pick her up.  But I still reached over (in the rock-n-play by our bed) and felt her head.  She was burning up.  I picked her up and unfastened her swaddle – her whole body was hot.  Duh…she was snotty and sneezy all day, of course it’s possible for her to have a fever.  So downstairs we came, where I replaced her fleece swaddle with a light cotton sleeper, and checked her temperature – fearing that it was going to be 104 or something.  It was 101.1, so I gave her Tylenol, and went to the couch with her to see if it would come down without further measures (cold cloths, etc).  We both dozed for about an hour, and when I checked it again after 3 am, it was back down to 99.something, so I headed back upstairs so we could get some “real” sleep.  She was fine when she woke today, albeit a little sneezy still.  She got really fussy this afternoon and ran a slight fever, but a little tylenol and sitting on the swing while Jenson napped seemed to have helped that.

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I’m over the mom guilt about telling her to shut up, but it’s a reminder to me that if she is fussing more than normal for her (which is more than normal compared to many babies), something is probably wrong.  It’s not her fault she can’t tell me.  We all have ugly mom or dad moments, and I know it’s not a reflection of my parenting, but it’ll make me think twice before I snap at my kids for something they can’t control.  Telling a kid to shut up is likely to lead to teenagers who won’t open up.

 

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