When Henry was a newborn, he slept too well. I never thought that was even possible! But he’d sleep all through the night, and I actually had to wake him up to nurse. He is such a big baby that I was really worried about diminishing milk supply if we went that long between feedings.
And then, without me even realizing it, something changed. He stopped being able to sleep well. He began waking numerous times each night, sometimes just to spit-up when I picked him up. It was getting worse and worse, and I was feeling more and more out-of-control… and exhausted. It’s really hard to love someone when you’re sleep deprived.
All this time, in the back of my head, I wondered, “What if he doesn’t like all the milk?” His dad is unique in our family in that he doesn’t tolerate milk very well, and Henry seems to take after David much more than any of our other children ever have. What if all this dairy I consume is making him uncomfortable?
So twelve days ago, I gave up all the dairy products, which is where the irony comes in.
I was hoping that, within the first couple of days, he’d be feeling better and sleeping better. I was hoping that it would reduce the frequency of spit-up. I was hoping that, if his tummy felt better, he’d be less clingy.
It was kind of a lot of pressure to put on a glass of milk and a slice of pizza.
He does sleep better sometimes, but it’s very inconsistent, and the reality is that we have also developed some bad sleep habits. And he could use a white noise machine.
He is waking less often specifically to spit up, though he does still catch me unaware sometimes. However, he’s an active little guy, and the problem has not diminished at all during his waking hours. I guess we’ll just have to keep waiting for maturity of that muscle group.
And I’m his favorite person in the whole wide world. He’d rather be with me, up in my arms, than anywhere else on the planet. No other person is as beloved, no other arms as comforting, no other activity as intriguing as the one I’m engaged in. The lack of dairy in my diet has not diminished any of my enchanting qualities, and Henry is still as insistent on being held as ever.
So, in the absence of miracles, we have to look at the small details.
He is happier during the day. Almost right away, he quit crying through the evenings. At night, when he wakes, I think it is less and less from discomfort. He has managed a couple of long naps, too, which have been non-existent in recent months. And the frequency of dirty diapers has unexpectedly dropped.
The dairy-free diet does seem to be having a positive effect on Henry. And it’s not quite as challenging as I thought it would be.
We’ll keep going with this new adventure and see how it all plays out.