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Going beyond an elimination diet

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been doing the Sears elimination diet for 3 weeks to try and help DS, who is now 8 weeks old.  I've eaten almost exclusively squash (yellow summer squash and zucchini), sweet potatoes, potatoes, rice, pears, and chicken.  Only water to drink.  Olive oil to cook, and salt & pepper to season.  I substituted chicken for turkey since I have good quality chicken available to me locally and not turkey.  I quit eating rice in the last week or so because I thought maybe it was causing some issues.  The more I research this, the more I am convinced that DS has some type of sensitivity/allergy.  He seems to have a lot of the symptoms of reflux as listed here.


I'm now thinking that I need to go through and eliminate each item I am currently eating one at a time to see if any of those are causing an issue.  But, what item should I start with?  How likely is chicken to be the culprit?  I know that it could be anything, so I'm guessing one of the things I am still eating is the issue.


If I stop eating chicken, given that I'm only eating the items listed above, what can I eat to be sure I am getting enough protein and nutrition in general?  I am exclusively breastfeeding, and I have a hard time not feeling hungry as it is.  My supply seems to be doing okay thus far, but I don't want to jeopardize that, or my energy, while caring for a high needs baby.


Other things I have eaten a few times over the past 2 weeks include: beef (plain ground beef patty), peaches, quiona, bacon, and ham.  The beef and quinoa were eaten around the same time, and one or the other seemed to have made DS a lot worse.  I had another beef patty tonight, and now DS has been horribly upset for the last few hours.... so I'm leaning towards beef being an issue, but I'm a little leery of trying the quiona again just in case....


Any advice on how to go about this next phase and keep myself alive?

post #2 of 10

Hugs, elimination diets are so hard. I did it for a while, and could never get to baseline with DS. That said, 3 weeks should be enough time to see a change. Has your DS gotten any better or has he actually gotten worse? Are you keeping a food diary? If you don't eat all of the foods each day (or if you eat a lot of something), it might help you see a pattern. Do you take any supplements? Because some could have soy, corn etc in them in small amounts. Also, iodized salt has corn in it (not sure what type of salt you are using).


As you said, any food can cause an issue so it's hard to pick which to take out/switch first. Do you eat any of the foods a lot or frequently? This is where a diary might help. Potatoes can be an issue, as some people have nightshade sensitivities, and rice (and other grains like quinoa) too. It's hard to take out your main source of protein, but maybe you could switch it out to see what happens (I know you already tried with beef)? I alternated between chicken and lamb. Since you are nursing, use plenty of fat in your cooking too...

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Momo.  I am keeping a diary.  Its so hard to find the correlation!  Ugh.  DS seems to have less trouble passing gas (which was the main first complaint when I started the TED), but maybe that could just be a result of him growing and his digestive system maturing a bit.  He still has gas quite a lot, but doesn't seem to totally hurt/frustrate him as much.  


Our salt is not iodized.  Almost all our food comes from a food buying club, so luckily we have good sources for many things.  I think they have some lamb in stock, so I might get some to replace the chicken for a few days.


I've quit taking all supplements except for probiotics from Klare labs which are supposed to be free from just about all the main allergens.  DS takes their infant formula as well.  I gave him some wellements gripe water last night, but then later read a thread saying that the sodium bicarbonate in GW can actually make reflux worse.... so that may have just made the situation worse.  He was screaming on and off from midnight until 4am :(  I think the beef patty I ate at dinner time must have been what set off the whole episode, because I had not eaten anything else out of the ordinary pattern.


Today I'm going to start with no chicken and see how that goes.  I've been eating a lot of sweet potatoes and squash too, so I guess I will rotate those out too.  If he has a sensitivity to sweet potatoes, would it be likely that he would also be sensitive to regular potatoes, or are they different enough that it would not be the same?


I've known for a long time that my own digestive system is pretty messed up.  I was just starting to learn about the GAPS diet when I got pregnant, so I never did the diet to try and heal myself.  I really suspect that my own messed up gut is contributing to DS's issues in that things are getting transferred to him that would not be if my own gut was in better condition.  Does that sound logical to anyone?  If so, anyone have recommendations on how I can continue to work at fixing the root cause of these problems?


I already see a chiro weekly, and DS has seen her, but I think he needs to see her again.  Also, I'm thinking of making an appointment with a well regarded osteopath in the area.  We have several NDs in the area as well, but insurance won't cover any of those...

post #4 of 10

Why do you suspect food?  If reflux is the issue, was your baby early?  How old is the baby?  


If you are on a strict Sears diet and seeing no results, I would consider talking to your Dr. about reflux.  If reflux is the main issue, maybe some reflux meds would be in order.  I am not a proponent of meds unless necessary but there should have been some improvement by now on a strict TED.  So unless there are other issue, reflux can make for a pretty angry and unhappy baby :(

post #5 of 10

It sounds like you are doing all the right things, with the probiotics and food. Sweet potatoes and potatoes are not in the same family so they are different enough that you wouldn't automatically assume both are out if you have a problem with one. But I would keep experimenting with adding foods back in like you plan to do because it's good to have some variety in your diet if you are not getting to baseline.


It makes total sense what you say about your digestive issues. If the proteins from food that mom eats is not fully digested, it's in the breastmilk and can bother the baby, whose digestive system is still immature. I'm not saying this to make you feel bad (I didn't know this either until my naturopath told me and it really made sense why I was not seeing immediate results from the elimination diet). My naturopath helped both of us even while I was breastfeeding and you are already doing most of it. By taking out foods and adding gentle things to address digestion (like probiotics) for yourself, you are already doing something to help you too. I have read that one should not do the intro GAPS while breastfeeding, but maybe you can try to incorporate some aspects of it, like doing bone broths (with chicken if beef doesn't work)? I drank A LOT of bone broth based soups.


I too had digestive issues before I got pregnant and never addressed it until after he was born. It's never too late! Taking out the foods I was sensitive to helped a lot and two years later, things have improved for me and my DS is doing much better as long as he avoids foods he is sensitive and allergic to (he has both IgE allergies and intolerances). 


I do think it's okay and good to get different opinions. My DS worked with a naturopath, osteopathic/cranio sacral therapist while seeing a pediatric GI and allergist at one point. As the PP said, if your DS is in a lot of pain from reflux it doesn't hurt to get an opinion. In our case, the GI prescribed meds based on symptoms (I chose not to do any of the invasive testing) but it didn't help DS. But I'm glad I crossed it off the list as something I tried.



post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

scsigrl, yes, DS was born at 35w 6d.  Does him being born early play into this?  I'm still learning about all these things.  Reflux really only came into the conversation since DS's 2-month check-up this past Wednesday.  Previously I though that when he spit up, if it didn't seem to bother him then reflux wasn't an issue.  While when he actually spits up it doesn't seem to hurt him, now that I've learned more about silent reflux, it does seem like he has silent reflux going on.  


Food issues were my first thought since at first the only thing we really noticed (or knew to notice) was fussiness and lots of gas.  He's got the redness around his anus, which from what I read usually accompanies some type of food issues.  His poops have been inconsistent.  They used to be the normal seedy yellow, but they've gone through stringy, mucousy, green, you name it in the past few weeks.


As much as I hate it, I'll probably ask his ped for a prescription this coming week.  Oh, and I made an appointment with the DO today, and turns out their office is not going to accept any insurance come November.  I can still submit it to the insurance on my own, but obviously that will be a pain and won't be covered the same since he won't be in network any more.  Grrr.

post #7 of 10

Preemies can often have issues with reflux.  It has to do with the development of the sphincter that keeps the food down.  


As I said, I am not an advocate for unnecessary medical intervention.  In this case, I would be looking into the reflux before doing anything else drastic.  I know it isn't ideal and as a PP mentioned, it may not be the issue but it sure is worth a try.  

That said, I would not pull anything else yet.  If you choose to medicate for reflux, ask the Dr. about how long till you would see improvement.  If you get the meds soon and feel like you can stay on the TED *just* long enough to get to where the meds would be working, I would do that.  If you can't,  maybe try adding some high fat foods to keep you going.  Keep up the food log so you can note any changes and hope something works out!  


Hang in there!  You are doing great!

post #8 of 10

I would switch out the foods one at a time, if  it were me, but that's mostly hindsight. Both of my kids were given reflux meds but when I figured out the foods, they came off them, because it was the food causing the issues. And on a TED, my DS would still have had all his issues since he was sensitive to rice, and chicken, and white potatoes, and pears. I used gripe water with my DD2 and it helped a lot, but what are the ingredients in them - is there citric acid? is it from corn? You sound like you're on the right track. It's an anxious time, that's for sure. And some people do the reflux meds while they're figuring out the foods, like we did (there was enough other symptoms to still figure things out, for us).

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone.  I'm going to call the ped in the am for meds while I continue to sort out the food issues.  I've been off chicken for a few days now.... so I guess its just time to start trialing each item.  Appointment with the DO isn't until the 30th, unfortunately.  I've also put out feelers for good holistic, pro bf docs in the area to work with.


Anyone have experience taking digestive enzymes while bfing?

post #10 of 10
For my EBF daughter I have to be careful with meat sources. I found out processed meats like cold cuts- and maybe your hamburger- also contain fillers. My DD doesn't have a problem with the meat itself, but if it also has wheat in it or if it was marinated in something soy or corn based she reacts. She too had reflux symptoms and a ton of gas, but based on my research there isn't a whole lot you can do for reflux other than changing BF positions , keeping her propped up, etc. My naturopath said the meds they put babies on for reflux aren't good for them so I dIdnt want to go that direction. I gave her a homeopathic remedy instead that definitly helped. Now at 7mo her reflux symptoms are mostly gone. But we still have issues with processed/prepared meat.

Btw i think the best advice I can give is to trust your instincts. my ped told me to eat anything I wanted, which I tried for a week, and the results were awful.

Also, make sure when you eliminate dairy, eggs, soy they are not a hidden ingredient. For example in Salad dressings, breads, gluten free & vegan products.

Also you can try rubbing castor oil in clockwise motion on his belly to help with gas. And you can maybe put him on probiotics too.
Edited by Zenmama1 - 9/19/11 at 2:40pm
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