Wednesday, November 4, 2015

a milk allergy

About a month and a half ago [or so] I started thinking that there was something wrong when it came to feeding Oliver. He would be hungry and want to eat but when it came to actually eating, he would just cry and scream, stiffen his body and just not eat. Even though I knew he was hungry, he wouldn't eat. We struggled with it for a lot longer than we should have before I figured out what was going on. Because he didn't scream and cry every time he ate, it seemed sporadic. Or so I thought. Because I hated that he was in obvious discomfort and pain I did the only thing I could think to do and that was start a food diary. Maybe the problem lay within what I was eating. So I carefully wrote down what I ate and drank and when he would have a fussy/crying nursing session to see if there was a correlation. After a few days I decided that milk or things I ate with milk products in them seemed to be a common thread in his fussy eating.

So I cut milk out of my diet, no more ice cream, milk, cheese, yogurt... anything. Though, I still ate things milk was baked or cooked in: bread, mashed potatoes, pizza... One night while I was still "experimenting" with this diet change I had mashed potatoes that had sour cream or milk in them thinking it might be fine since it was cooked. No. One of the next few feeding times Oliver was crying and screaming and it was terrible. I decided it must have been the milk. That same weekend I ate some pizza, the next morning Oliver was super fussy while eating and then a little while later he threw up everywhere. A lot of throw up. It was awful. He had thrown up the week before but I didn't realize until that point that it was probably from the pizza.

It was at that point I decided to cut all dairy out of my diet. It takes a few weeks to get all of the dairy out of your system so I marked my calendar and started reading all of the labels. Bread, crackers, chips, rice mixes, muffins, cereal, lunch meat... you name it. I read the label and anything that had milk in it was out. This is also when I realized that basically everything has milk in it.

A day or so after I decided to cut all dairy out of my diet I talked to one of my sisters who has a baby with a milk allergy and had already experienced this milk allergy thing with one of her other kids. She told me she had just talked with her doctor about milk allergies in nursing babies and ran through a list of potential symptoms: rash, congestion, fussy when eating, refusing to eat, snot looking green poopy diapers... among other things. The only thing Oliver didn't have, was the rash. We talked about him and the symptoms and I decided for sure that he had a milk allergy.

After a few days of cutting all milk out of my diet I noticed a huge change in Oliver's behavior when it came to eating, he actually ate and didn't scream and cry every time he ate. His diapers started looking more normal and he stopped throwing up. Who would have thought? Since that day I haven't had any dairy - no butter, no milk, no yogurt, no ice-cream, no chocolate... nothing with dairy in it. Even though I miss being able to pop a goldfish in my mouth while Emerson's snacking on them or bake with a little more "freedom", I am learning very quickly what I can and cannot eat. I'm also learning how to substitute things for dairy. Sometimes substitutions work and sometimes, they really don't. One thing is for sure, with all the Halloween candy that is hanging out in our cupboards and all of the holiday food that is going to be made and consumed over the next few months, I won't be able to eat the majority of it, but I'm pretty sure my waist will be thanking me :) haha. There's always a silver lining. Kidding. Kidding. The silver lining is having a happy baby boy who is actually able to eat without getting upset and/or sick.

In the weeks to come I'm going to do my best to share some dairy free recipes I've tried and loved and some processed foods [because I love how handy they are to have around] that are dairy free. Because this is a space I come to share what's going on in my life I wanted to make sure to include this, since it is, after all, a pretty significant part of my life and Oliver's life.

If you have any favorite dairy free foods I'd love to hear what they are!


Natalie | Mrs. Janney | said...

Henry had a milk allergy when I was nursing as well. IT SUCKED! I love dairy, so cutting out all dairy was like torture. Actually, it wasn't too bad once I got used to it. Mainly I ended up cutting out all processed foods because like you said, they have milk in them. When we got pizza, I got mine without cheese and with lots of veggies. It was still really yummy that way. If you are looking for dairy free recipes, you might want to search Paleo stuff. Most of those recipes are dairy free.

Hang in there!! Once Henry was about 6 months old, I was able to start eating yogurt and phase it back in.

Jessica (The Newly) said...

Right there with you, sister! Poor Vivian went through several weeks of fussiness, eczema, upset tummy, diarrhea, spitting up and more before we finally figured it out. It was awful to see her so upset, so although cutting dairy was hard, it was SO worth it. If you don't already do almond milk, start now! You can do it on cereal, in smoothies, in homemade waffles and pancakes - it's a substitute that doesn't feel like a big sacrifice! Also, on an encouraging note, now that Vivian is 6 months, things are a lot better. I still avoid dairy as much as possible, but it doesn't have near the affect on her that it used to. I can eat a piece of pizza now without it upsetting her, so it seems like she may be outgrowing it (praise Jesus!). We are also on formula now along with breastfeeding, as my supply just didn't keep up this time around. If you need a good formula for a milk allergy - and hopefully you won't, as it's expensive! - Similac Alimentum is the way to go! Let me know if you have any other questions!!!

Lauren said...

I truly thought that Nora might have some sort of milk sensitivity early on because she was fussy & had lots of other symptoms...but for me it ended up being an oversupply issue and she wasn't getting enough of the hindmilk.

I'm glad you have figured things're right, having a happy baby is definitely the best thing, but man...that would be so hard! Good luck momma! I know we can do pretty much anything we need to for our babies!