Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No More Chocolate for Me

This is my first child & I'll be honest - I don't have a clue. That's not to say I haven't looked for a clue. I read books; I talk to other, more experienced moms; I regularly do research online. All in an attempt to figure out what the hell I am supposed to be doing with, for and to this child of mine.

It took three or four weeks to discover that her almost-incessant crying was due to gas, as a result of the foods I was eating. It took another week to figure out how to help her with the gas as I was still discovering which foods bother her. Just when we had the hang of that she started spitting up excessively - so badly that she spit up almost everything she ate at night and spent the rest of the time crying. A week or two later I found the solution to that and after 3 days was feeling that I was making progress and finally getting the hang of parenting. Famous last words and they weren't even verbalized.

That very night she was inconsolable and we were up until 3am - a new record - until she was finally comfortable enough to sleep. The culprit? Chocolate, of which I had consumed copious amounts from the afternoon until late in the night. Chocolate, my beloved friend who brings me such pleasure, is now on my taboo food list. The signs had been there for weeks, signs I purposely ignored, choosing instead to eliminate various other foods and administer an almost-daily dose of gripe water to the wee girl, all so I wouldn't have to face the simple truth that chocolate bothers my baby. How did this happen? How did my body create and grow a person who doesn't like chocolate? To be fair, it is not the flavor that bothers her but whatever chemical components that pass into the breast milk. I should have known, I should have seen this coming. During my pregnancy I developed an aversion to chocolate ice cream, opting instead for vanilla-based mixes. When the Girl Scout cookie order form circulated my office I bought a box of every flavor save one, and it was the non-chocolate types that appealed to me. My old favorites didn't taste right and never settled well, although I ate every last cookie of course - who wouldn't? So, as I said, the signs were there, I just didn't want to read them.

We set a new record last night - 5:30 am. Yes, technically that is today, this morning, but in my book the day is not reset until slumber has been achieved, or a new work/school day begun. I am not sure what went wrong last night. When the gas issues started after dinner I reviewed my chocolate-free (sob!) day, looking for the culprits. A small amount of chili for lunch and broccoli at dinner seemed likely, although I had taken Beano with each meal to forestall any negative effects of those foods. When we passed 3 am I decided to try to force sleep, thinking perhaps sheer exhaustion was part of the problem. That lasted about 15 minutes before she loudly filled her diaper. A clean diaper brought smiles and I thought we were on the right track when I fed her and again went to bed, around 4. Which was also short-lived, ending in a large episode of vomiting. All over my bed. And me. And her.

I'm still not sure what provoked last night's tummy ache, from which she hasn't yet fully recovered. Perhaps it had nothing to do with what I ate and was more a result of yesterday's heat, or perhaps it was set off by something else entirely. Sometimes all I can do is record and file away the details of the day, waiting for the next time we have a night like last night to compare the two, looking for the similarities. I do know that these sleepless nights and vomit-soaked sheets don't matter in the least when we finally solve the problem of the hour, when the discomfort has passed and my sweet baby girl looks up at me with those big, brown eyes and smiles. For that, my friends, is worth more than all the chocolate in the world.


  1. The horror! My babies did not like coffee. And believe me, I tested it frequently just to make sure! Have you spoken with the Dr about acid reflux? My D2 had that - the meds really helped - made her into a much different baby. You just have to continually adjust the meds as they gain weight.

  2. Keri - congrats on your blog and welcome to motherhood! It's a wonderful, amazing, challenging experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything! I will tell you that my doctor thought our son had acid reflux but I just knew as his mom that was not the case so just remember to go with your instincts. I do know that broccoli can be a culprit and so can dairy products. You might also ask the doc about using gas drops for the baby - I can't remember the brand we used when our son was 8 weeks old, but they worked well when he seemed to have gas that he couldn't release on his own. Just know it will all get better and their little tummies are just adjusting to all this new stuff. -- Maura