If you have been following me at all – on this blog or on instagram, you would know that I’ve been dealing with hives. They come and they go and until now I have been completely at a loss for what could be causing them. Last night, I put all the pieces of the puzzle and think I have come up with the answer. Breastfeeding is triggering the hives.
How do I know this? Well, when I am in practice seeing clients my hives completely go away. This initially led me to believe it was an allergen in my house. We then took a trip and were away from the house for 5 days, but I had zero relief from my hives. The second piece of the puzzle was diet. Usually, I’m quite conscientious about what goes in my mouth. On my recent trip to Australia, I wasn’t as picky and pretty much went with the flow in regards to food. It wasn’t my intention to have it continue when I got home, but it did. Dairy was the top of my list because I was completely dairy free for many months after Coen was born. Gluten is always a culprit as I know that I have a sensitivity to it through testing. So I started the whole30. A couple of days in, there was no change to my hives outbreak. The third piece of the puzzle was that when they originally started, they would be worse when I woke up in the morning. Then a couple of weeks ago, they started getting better upon waking.
What changed? We moved Coen to his crib and I stopped feeding him at night. Coen doesn’t come to work with me and he takes a bottle while I’m gone, so most days I go 6 hours without feeding him. Then last night after feeding him for the second time since coming home from work, I felt the hives really kick in. After a quick google search, I found that it’s quite common during postpartum breastfeeding. Usually it happens early on in postpartum, but for me I had been under some stress since coming back from Australia and couple that with not eating well and BAM! Hives.
One thing to note here is that breastfeeding is not causing the hives. It is the trigger. That may seem like semantics, but bear with me here. For 10 months I breastfed without one single hive. If breastfeeding was causing the hives, then I would have had them all along. But I didn’t. What I have now is an immune system that is compromised from excess stress, both chemical and emotional. It’s up to me to rebuild my body through sound nutrition and self-care to allow myself the correct response to feeding Coen. I could choose to give up breastfeeding, and the hives may or may not go away. But, if I do that and they do go away, I have lost my feedback for whether I am on the right track nutritionally and emotionally. Your body is always giving you signs and signals. Symptoms are the alarm that something is wrong. Suppressing them or avoiding them doesn’t make the issue less real, just less present.
So, I’m continuing on with the whole30. It’s a great way to reset the body. I’m going to do some reading about what I can focus on in my diet to help my system chill the fuck out, and I’m going to listen to and nurture my body and mind to make sure that I’m in a great place emotionally. Oh, and I’ll continue to get adjusted by my chiropractor once a week (or more) to make sure all my systems are getting the messages they need to function properly.
A head in the sand approach will never get you the outcome that you want, where are you doing this in your life? Know that you’re not alone and can reach out whenever you get stuck or just want someone to vent to.
Update 3/13/19: I have now been supplementing with cod liver oil, evening primrose oil, vitamin D, consistently taking my prenatal and continuing on with the whole30. As of yesterday, I am almost hive free. There was one spot on my leg when I woke up this morning but it was teeny tiny. Guys, listen to your body, seek out the answers and work diligently to implement. Results won’t be overnight, but consistent action will get you what you want!