Dairy allergies – the first round

My journey down this path stemmed from the birth of my daughter. She was born with an allergic reaction to cow’s milk protein. While it took a number of months to diagnose this as a baby, it took about 4 years before she was able to readily digest it without issue.

For any mom searching out there about how to calm a fussy, crying baby I want to tell you the symptoms we experienced in hopes that I can save you some of the anxiety and stress associated with this.

My daughter was born with what was described by other mom’s and the post-partum nurses as baby acne, cradle cap, AND eczema. And in the time after returning home from the hospital those conditions only worsened. She also cried much of the time at the hospital, even to the point the nurses commented on it…and could only offer sympathetic reassurances that things would eventually improve.

Upon arriving home, I began to log her feeding times, which side she was nursing from, and for how long she would nurse. Being a new mom I was terribly fearful she was not “getting enough”…which as I understand is common in new breastfeeding moms…even, I believe, in second and third-time moms! So while my confidence was not high, I was particularly detailed in documenting it all. Especially since the crying we experienced in the hospital was not improving.

Here is what I noticed (and I was strictly breastfeeding):

  • Her skin was not improving. Some days it appeared worse than others. (I began to wonder if it was irritating to her but I couldn’t see any indication of that, outside of crying.)
  • The cradle cap was very thick – on her eyebrows, ears, and scalp.
  • The baby acne covered her entire face.
  • She had “tough” skin on her shins and arms.
  • If she wasn’t nursing, she would begin to cry within 10 minutes or so.
  • I would put her back on the breast but within 10-15 minutes she would fall asleep….only to awake and begin to cry again(!)
  • She was never very “aggressive” while eating…she would hang out on it all day, going back and forth from gentle nursing, to sleep, to only short periods of being awake and then crying again.
  • Also, the crying, or “colicky” behavior that is most often read about was not occurring during the evening only – it was all day/night.

Along with logging her feeding, I was also working very hard on developing a sleep routine. She eventually began sleeping the longer hours at night, starting with around 4 hours at a time – then with the intermittent sleeping throughout the remainder of the time. I was working toward a morning nap and an afternoon nap – and for as long as I could get her to sleep, I would! (I didn’t wake her to feed because she was already sleeping so little anyway, and nursing the rest.)

After about 3-4 weeks of this, I took her to the pediatrician with my concerns. After the typical suggestions (on getting babies to sleep, feeding routines, etc…) and an assurance they could see nothing physically wrong (outside of the skin issues – addressed with creams or lotions), I was sent home with no answers. And not long after this, maybe a few more weeks, we noticed little threads of blood in her diaper. They were so difficult to notice but her Dad caught it one afternoon while changing her diaper. It was at this point I realized she was truly have stomach issues.

This was around her second month, and three pediatricians later,  after receiving negative results from an FOBT, we were blessed with another pediatrician, mom of 3, who suggested that I remove milk/dairy from my diet. After one week off dairy I started seeing a noticeable difference in her skin. It was almost night and day difference as the acne first started to disappear, then the cradle cap. But because it was so severe to start, it was easy to see even the slightest improvement.

The colic/crying/fussiness, however, was not as quick an improvement. As I learned, it takes about a month to eliminate cow’s milk protein from first, the mom’s system, and then followed by the baby’s. So it was suggested that to resolve the crying may take longer. And it was, truly, after about 2 months of eliminating dairy from my diet before she seemed to improve (sorry to say, for any mom out there looking for answers).

I returned to work at 4 months and the daycare provider felt things were going fine for her. And it was also around that time that I started to notice a “happier” baby. So it definitely seemed to be a good month that the issues she was having in her stomach began to subside – her skin, however, I believe was a good indicator that the milk protein was definitely an issue, which gave me hope to continue down that path for longer.

We both ultimately gave up dairy for at least another two years. While the story doesn’t end here, I’ll write another post of it’s recurrence and how it affected us and reinforced my original beliefs.

If you’ve read my post, this is recall from quite a number of years ago so I had to update regarding her stool, because I was thinking that didn’t appear until later….and my memory is not so good these days. That said, however, I have medical records to prove how good my memory probably is without having looked back at them, just might take a rewrite or two.

Which, by the way, every writer/blogger/speaker, etc, is human. It’s pretty much a God-given right to be allowed to filter your words. Meaning, personal journals, electronics, etc. should be a private space. Imagine if every thought of yours came out in public?….ah…not a one could imagine.

Thankfully, the Lord has many verses regarding this very thing and, while, there are of course reasons to clear impure thoughts from your mind, he also makes many, and more, reference to “guarding one’s mouth”, watching the words that “pass one’s lips” – the actual physical action of talking, blogging, tweeting, and facebook commenting to make your thoughts public. (Yikes.)
Proverbs 10:19: Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but he who restrains his lips does well.

1 thought on “Dairy allergies – the first round

  1. Pingback: Dairy allergies – the second round | True Threads

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