I know I promised not to write anymore on the subject, but circumstances have conspired to induce me to take to my laptop once again. It’s now been five months since I stopped breastfeeding BB, and in those months I have felt so under the weather that I hardly remember what it’s like to feel on top of it.
It started with an eye infection which took three GPs to diagnose correctly, quickly followed by an ear infection requiring two separate courses of antibiotics. Then there was a tummy bug which lasted a full 4 weeks, forcing me to cancel social events and sending me to bed, twice. Oh, and then there was a nasty mouth ulcer.
At first I put the feeling of general malaise down to the ‘fug’ of new motherhood, broken nights that lasted more than a year and running around after a toddler. But surely the fug oughtn’t to last two years. And, on reflection, feeling like I’ve been knocked over the head with a cricket bat by mid afternoon every day isn’t quite right either.
So (ignoring Misery Guts, who wittered something about socks and sandals and snake oil) I went to see a nutritional therapist, who within half an hour of questioning me about my diet and lifestyle and the events leading me to her door suggested this: by breastfeeding BB for 21 months without giving my body the right nutrients to support it I had become deficient in the vital vitamins and minerals needed to support my immune system, hence the infections and bugs. And extreme tiredness.
Apparently women who undertake extended breastfeeding (that’s six months or more) should supplement their diet with iron and zinc (news to me). So she prescribed me a cocktail of high potency supplements including fish oils and probiotics (shake me and I rattle) and sent me away with an eating plan to replace everything my poor body has lost: nuts and seeds, dried apricots, prunes and green leafy things to be consumed daily, no dairy to give my tummy a break and rebalance the ‘good’ bacteria, no caffeine and no alcohol for three months. (They’re ‘anti-nutrients’, meaning they directly interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals). Three months. That includes Christmas…
The result? I don’t know yet, I’m only a few days in. But the irony is that breastfeeding, which made BB so healthy, appears to have made me so unhealthy. And it could all have been avoided if I’d only furnished myself with – and, I’ve got to say it, had the midwives and health visitors furnished me with – the right information in the first place.
Of course I’m not a doctor, and I realise all of the above may sound like hocus pocus, but if anything you’ve read sounds familiar and you’re open to a holistic approach, look into it. Perhaps, like me, you’ve spent motherhood running on empty…