Infant Allergies

Here we go again.  When my older daughter was about three months old, she used to cry and cry 20 minutes after nursing and she was unconsolable.  She was fussy, threw up a lot, hiccuped frequently and needed a lot of attention.  Being first time parents, we didn’t know what “normal” was and just thought it was part of growing up.  One morning in April, I saw what looked like blood in her dirty diaper and immediately called her pediatrician. They tested the stool and indeed, it was blood.  After confirming that there was no fissure in the area, our pediatrician informed us that the most common cause of blood in stool in infants is an a cow’s milk protein allergy.  So she had me cut dairy from my diet and we returned to have baby’s stool tested for blood.  It was there again the second week so she had me cut out the top six allergens from my diet (dairy, soy, wheat, peanuts, eggs, and shellfish) and we returned after a week to see if there was still blood in her stool.  There was.  So the doc put her on a super broken down formula to rule out that it wasn’t something other than an allergy. If she still had blood in her stool after having formula for a week, we’d go see a GI specialist.  Luckily, no blood was found after being on the formula for a week.  The doc said we could still breastfeed but that I should continue to keep the top allergens out of my diet and add them back slowly to figure out what the allergy was and to give Miss K. some time to grow out of the allergies.

Because allergies are often genetically inherited, we knew that there would be a good chance that Super S would have them too.  We’ve been sensitive to the signs and I cut out dairy several weeks ago.  Super S definitely hasn’t been as fussy as Miss K. was at the peak of her allergic reactions but we noticed she’d cry after feedings (presumably around the time the breastmilk was running through her system and inflaming her gut).  She also had been a loud sleeper in her earlier weeks (having watery sounding breaths and gasping).  We noticed she hiccuped often and for long periods.  I had a heavy let down response and she gagged at almost every feeding, gulping to keep up with the milk.  She seemed to be having some sort of silent reflux and when I asked the pediatrician about her bubbly saliva, I was told that it was reflux.  I changed the way I fed her to a decline (her feet were lower than her head) and only fed her on one side per feeding to give her more hindmilk.  I started removing dairy from my diet.  It seemed to help quite a bit. She was only fussing after a few of the feedings and she was sleeping better.  She had her 10 week appointment and everything was hunky dory.

Last Saturday night, I changed her diaper and saw blood.  This time it seemed to be more bloody than I remember Miss K’s.  Because we had seen this before, we didn’t freak out but wanted to make sure it was an allergy and not something else.  Luckily our pediatrician’s office is open for a few hours on Sunday and we were able to take her in.  They tested the stool and yep, blood.  Luckily for us, our pediatrician was the Sunday doctor that week and she seemed confident that it was an allergy.  Enough to say that unless things got worse, we’d check her stools again at her four month appointment (which is still six weeks away).  She didn’t think it was necessary to try the rule out method we did last time and told me to cut out just dairy.  Well, I had *mostly* cut out dairy several weeks prior.  I think it might be soy so I’m going to keep it out of my diet as well.

I haven’t been strict with the dairy-you know how it is…a little cheese here, a bit of butter there.  But I’ll eliminate it from my diet in every way I can.  And soy too.  The thing that’s tougher this time around is that I’m a vegetarian now.  So last time when we would go out to eat, I could always get meat sauces or grilled chicken.  Now the options are much more limited (and honestly, not all that fun).  I’m mostly vegan but with the elimination of soy, it’s pretty tough.  Like last time, Asian food is mostly out since it almost always has soy.  So are most processed foods.  On the flip side, it really helps that my hubs is vegan.  It’s not such a leap to make when he’s not eating any dairy or meat because we know the meals we make at home will be vegan.  I won’t have to make separate meals for everyone.  Going out will be a bit more challenging but we’ll make it work.  I can’t lie though…I’m a little intimidated…what the hell am I going to eat?

This week I’m planning on making quinoa khichadi, bean enchiladas with no cheese, garlic seitan, panzanella salad with pizza rolls, and pasta with either a veggie marinara sauce or avocado sauce.  Of course on Sunday I saw some people eating ice cream cones.  I’ve never wanted one so badly in my life!  Oh wait, that’s not true.  The same thing happened the first weekend I changed my diet for Miss K.  We had gone to Catalina and people were walking around with these hugemongous waffle cones stuffed with ice cream.  I wanted to knock down a teenager I saw and take her mint chip cone.  But I didn’t.  I just ate an orange.  How sad.

My biggest concern is that my baby is ok.  Like her big sister, she seems to have a happy disposition and since she doesn’t really complain, I want to make sure she’s comfortable.  And my biggest fear is that we’re assuming it’s an allergy but it’s something else.  For now, I’m modifying my diet and we’ll see how it goes.

I realize that I could probably avoid this whole diet change song and dance by just feeding my bub formula.  But I don’t want to if I don’t have to.  There’s nothing wrong with formula but my preference is to give her the benefit of breast milk (and there really are sooo many).  I just can’t help but have mixed feelings about the breast milk. On the one hand, it’s so good for her but on the other, I feel like the milk I produce is inflammatory poison.  Melodramatic, I know…but I feel like there’s something wrong with my milk even though the allergies are inside my daughters’ bodies, not mine.  I’m so blessed to have a healthy supply but it’s so unfortunate that it’s not sitting well with my girls.  I just want Super S. to be healthy and comfortable.  She’s so incredibly cute with her little smile and laugh and superhuman baby strength.  I just hope I’m doing the right thing and doing things right.

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