11.23.2009

baby week - elimination diet for food allergies


I received this story from my friend Lesley, she is the co-designer (together with her twin sister) of the collection: kice kice. We have had a kind of ongoing kinship about food but when she shared the difficulties she had with her first child I thought this would be great blog to share with everyone. I hope this is a big help to you and I know that even knowing about it and being able to reference friends to her has been helpful! She has a vast knowledge after working with all three of her kids on various food allergies. The good news is that her middle child grew out of her trouble and her oldest has gotten much better.

Lesley's story: A few months after having my first child, I discovered how changing my diet greatly changed the quality of our life and my daughter's happiness. Often times, babies have an intolerance to certain foods, and eating these foods while breast feeding is essentially feeding that to your child. Using the elimination diet, I have found what works best for my children and have realized how important it is to listen to my body and feed it nourishing and supportive foods. While the diet can be a bit difficult at times, this inconvenience greatly outweighs having an unhappy baby. This is how I discovered this process and the progression of my diet with each child.


After
giving birth to my first child I had a natural connection to her; taking care of her seemed fairly easy. Two weeks later she began to get fussier and I spent the next two months of my daughter's life holding her, bouncing on a ball, walking around, or doing squats to keep her happy. She would only sleep in my arms. Every time laid her down she would pull her legs up and cry with a piercing cry. This was my first child, I did not know this was not normal and wondered why no one told me babies were so much work! My mother came to visit at one month and was concerned about my daughter's stomach because it was always tight. She told me my daughter seemed like she was in pain. My daughter was exclusively breastfed so her poop was supposed to be thin, but it was almost like water with little seeds on top. We went to the pediatrician who told us everything was fine; the seeds on top indicated it was not diarrhea. A few weeks later while changing her diaper I found blood in her stools. Her pediatrician told me to eliminate diary from my diet: to read labels carefully because there are many things such as casein and whey that are derived from dairy. Two months later her poops were better but her crying had intensified. My pediatrician who told me my daughter was reacting to the heat of the summer. I told my pediatrician it still felt like something was wrong, she replied by asking me if this was my first child. I left feeling like an over-reacting first time mother and continued our routine holding, bouncing, and doing squats with her.

We went on our first family vacation.
Eating out was difficult because I am a vegetarian. I had to find foods that were dairy free and ending up eating mostly just salad. Much to my surprise my daughter was much happier and stopped crying all the time. I had tofu one night and spent the whole night holding my daughter. It was apparent she was also reacting to soy. When I eliminated dairy from my diet I increased soy to add more protein. This is when I learned about MSPI (milk, soy protein intolerance). It is an intolerance to the protein in dairy and soy that is passed through the breast milk (or formula). If the baby is sensitive he or she will be colicky. Dr. Sears has an elimination diet to follow if you think this is the case. Most babies outgrow this intolerance from 6 months to a year. Mine was very sensitive and still has problems with too much dairy or soy (she is 5). I eliminated diary and soy from my diet before giving birth to my second daughter. She was much happier than the first baby. After a few weeks she had very bad acid reflux. She could not sleep on her back; she would spit up and choke on it. I had her sleeping in a slightly elevated bouncy chair. I talked to my doctor about this (a new doctor who is sensitive to food intolerance). She told me we could try medication or I could eliminate a number of things from my diet. I went on the elimination diet and slowly started adding foods back into my diet. I found out corn was causing her acid reflux. She would also break out with eczema when I ate rice or potatoes! By the time she was 6 months old she had outgrown this.

Now I have my third child who is 4 months old. I began breast feeding with a restricted diet. She began sleeping through the night at 2 weeks and is much happier than the other two babies were. I pay close attention to what I have eaten if she becomes fussy or starts spitting up more.
It is very important to talk to your doctor about food elimination if you think you are having a problem. Remember to keep your diet healthy. Through this diet I have a better understanding of what makes up the foods we eat on a daily basis: eliminating these foods eliminated most processed foods. If you child is sensitive to dairy, keep in mind that beef has the same protein as dairy. I have been able to find lots of recipes as substitutes for my favorite foods. Coconut milk is a great substitute to cow's milk and makes really creamy ice cream.

The most important thing from all of this I learned was to follow my instincts. I had suspected this was not normal from the beginning but listened to my doctor who questioned my experience as a mother. If your doctor won't listen to you, find another doctor who will. This is a growing problem with babies and food elimination will make your life much easier if your baby has a
food intolerance. Keep an open mind to this process - once you know what you can eat, it's just a matter of being disciplined.
Thank you very much Lesley!
any comments made I will direct to Lesley to answer
If you want to see the Kice Kice collection on Nonchalant Mom click here.

4 comments:

Ry Sal said...

Our elimination was very similar to yours. Dairy and eggs first.. Peanuts and tree nuts second... As it turns out he was allergic to all three.

Fran said...

I’m lactose intolerant and have always dreaded the holidays, as all the food seems to be loaded with dairy. After a recommendation of one of my friends, I found this nutrition coach named Rose Cole who has a holiday cookbook and has tons of dairy free recipes. Her site is www.RoseCole.com/HolidayCookbook

snitch-snotch said...

I just found your post and was so moved as I remembered our experiences. My baby daughter struggled with every type of food for so long - even fruits. We eliminated to a diet of just rice and a few root vegetables (alongside a special single protein allergy formula) and slowly but surely we successfully built her tolerances. Thanks very much for this article, I was prompted to post about it myself today - http://snitchsnotch.blogspot.com - and credited you with it. Thank you

Crying Baby Help said...

Reflux may trigger the baby to cry but in order to prevent it, there are ways to follow such as keeping the baby upright after feeding, using wedge pillows and trying not to lie the baby after feeding. In a way this can help to stop the baby crying.