In an article published in GetSurrey.co.uk, Samantha Holloway shared why she has to feed her baby daughter foods that people consider unhealthy and how she’s ridden with guilt because of it.
Samantha’s daughter Agatha was born 3 moths premature on New Year’s Eve 2007. She was not breathing and the doctors took 90 minutes to resuscitate her.
A few weeks after she was born, Agatha suffered a brain hemorrhage, chronic lung disease, an open heart duct, life-threateningly high blood pressure and an immature gut. Having an immature gut meant that she was unable to drink milk. Three months later, the Holloways were able to bring their daughter home (in Cobham), though she was on continual oxygen until last October to help her breathe.
Mrs. Holloway and her husband Neil were instructed by their daughters doctors to "build up their little girl before winter" to lower her risks of developing serious chest infections.
On the advice of her pediatric dietician, Agatha has to feed on "ultra-high-energy foods" such as: "porridge with clotted cream, toast smothered in chocolate spread, roast pork, mashed potato with added cream, full fat yoghurts, chocolate biscuits, vegetables in olive oil, bagels with full fat cheese, rice pudding and fresh cream custard."
And this is what causes the 35-year old mother to feel so much guilt, saying "You want to give your child everything that is healthy and lovely. I have a really good diet so it’s very confusing for me when I’m told the best thing to do is to give my child as many calories as possible. It’s the opposite of everything I’ve learned."
But though the little girl lives on a high fat diet, Mr. and Mrs. Holloway make sure that she consumes good fat and foods that are low in sugar and salt.
Dieticians have informed the couple that their daughter won’t suffer from "any long-term adverse effects" of such a diet.
Mrs. Holloway said that dieticians talk about their daughter’s diet as "maximizing calories in a healthy way."
"She has to have protein twice a day, which means meat so she has roasted carrots and roast duck or pork. Instead of giving her a piece of celery, I give her a piece of avocado, which has seven or eight times the amount of calories in it."
The Holloways believe that it is important to raise awareness about their daughter’s diet, despite their fear of being judged, to help families who are going through the same ordeal. "It’s really quite common among premature babies but parents don’t speak about it for fear of being judged," Mrs. Holloway said.
"I’m hoping that by reading these parents won’t feel guilty for feeding their child fatty foods if that’s what they have to have."
Mr. and Mrs. Holloway launched a fundraising project called "Agatha’s Appeal" to raise £25,000 to purchase an incubator for St. St George’s Hospital in London, where Agatha was born. The couple is appealing for runners to take part in the Letterhead half-marathon on the charity’s behalf.