<<Studies have shown decreased bone mineral densities and nutrient deficiencies in mothers on inadequate "allergy prevention diets".>>
That’s interesting, Jane. I did the elimination diet while nursing dd. Not the total elimination diet—just avoiding the top 8 allergens plus a few. I had my bone density tested just for fun after I’d been on the diet 1 ½ years. My midwife friend said that bone density scores are usually much lower while breastfeeding than they are after weaning the child. My bone density level was much higher than it had been before I got pregnant.
I don’t really trust doctors anymore, either. Except for a few—one of which is dd’s allergist.
Here’s my story. Warning—It’s very long.
I ate pretty healthy before pregnancy, but with the nausea and general feeling like crap, I reverted to junk food like I ate in high school—fish sticks, McDonald’s, bagel bites, ice cream, etc. Then we moved when I was 4 months pregnant from Ohio to Washington, right after we went on a three week road trip South. Took two weeks to drive to WA so we could sightsee. Ate lots of fast food as I needed to eat every 3 hours. And from the poor diet and sitting in a car, my legs swelled from the knees down. We got to WA, bought a new house, had the downstairs finished, so I got major paint fumes, new carpet offgassing, etc. Diet got worse if possible cause I was stressed out about not knowing anyone, being so far away from family, etc. Took the glucose tolerance test and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Went to the gestational diabetes class offered by the hospitals—worthless information. Found the plus size pregnancy website and educated myself on dealing with gestational diabetes. For the rest of my pregnancy, I controlled my blood sugars by diet alone and started making connections between the amount of carbs I ate and how I felt. Because I had gd, the ob decided that I would need to be induced two weeks early just to make sure the baby didn’t get too big. I switched to a midwife at 37 weeks, but still ended up getting induced 1 week overdue. I’m still not sure it was justified. Dd was born with a high respiratory rate, so she was rushed off to the nicu. Was given a bottle of glucose water and then a bottle of formula to try to lower her breathing rate. I didn’t get to try to breastfeed until she was 5 hours old.
By 4 days of age, she had lost more than 10% of body weight and my milk had not come in. I was told I had to supplement with formula. When I rented a pump, the lc told me to stop nursing for 2 days and just pump and bottlefeed. After two days, I saw her again and she said to use a supplemental nursing system and supplement with formula. One of my friends told me to go to bed with the baby and just nurse nonstop, so I did that. My milk finally came in when she was one week old.
I had lots of breastfeeding problems and was finally told that I must just have sensitive nipples and that’s why it hurt. One lc had suggested nystatin just to see if it would work, but I didn’t try it. I now wish I had because I think it might have helped.
Dd had a rash on her face constantly but we were told it was normal baby rashes. Her cradle cap started at 7 weeks and just got worse and worse. Then the eczema slowly started and was pretty bad by three months of age. Her poops also abruptly changed to being very smelly around 3 months—the ped said it was normal. And as far as poop goes, she only had about one bm a week from the age of 1 week.
I started talking to different people and one of them suggested food allergies. So on my own, I read about allergies and elimination diets and pulled all dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, seafood, citrus, tomatoes, and berries from my diet. I consulted with a naturopath and tried following her program, but I saw no change. Dd was absolutely miserable. She would wake up every 15 to 30 at night to scratch and the only way I could get her back to sleep was nursing. She couldn’t be left alone during the day because she would do nothing but scratch. Dh was out of town, so I was on my own. At five months, due mostly to lack of sleep, I let the ped talk me into giving dd a round of antibiotics and oral steroids along with using hydrocortisone cream on dd. In a sense, the drugs were a godsend. Her eczema cleared, the cradle cap disappeared and she started sleeping. Her eczema did come back in a few spots, but was nothing compared to what it was like before. The ped said that keeping her moisturized was the only thing to do. She definitely didn’t believe it was an allergy issue.
At one point before the medication, I tried putting a probiotic paste on dd’s eczema. She immediately broke out in hives, started screaming and scratching and started swelling. Turns out it was a diary form. I was finally able to convince the ped to do allergy testing and she tested allergic to wheat, dogs, and milk. Her milk score was in the anaphylactic range. The same week I found out, one of dd’s playmates stopped breathing when he was given one bite of yogurt. So, I was convinced of the need to completely avoid her allergens. I continued avoiding the main allergens on the advice of her allergist. I have also found that she is extremely contact reactive to milk.
I didn’t start her on solids til about 8 or 9 months and kept taking her off of them because she would get extremely constipated. And she reacted to sweet peas. Finally at 1 year, when she would cry and cry when she saw us eating, I gave in and started giving her table food. Turns out her constipation with baby food was a fiber thing. She actually started having daily poops with table food.
We have continued to avoid the main allergens with her. She was just tested a month ago and tested in the anaphylactic range to eggs and peanuts and also tested allergic to almonds and cats. And I really wanted to try the scd. The allergist wants us to avoid all nuts until at least 4, and even though that could be overly cautious, I think I will. Nuts are not necessary and I don’t want to risk anything.
Oh, and dd is anemic. And she weaned herself in December. And she reacts with eczema to spinach, and she reacts with diaper rash/diarrhea with most legumes. And she can’t wear anything other than 100% cotton and gets rashes from our carpet. Oh, and I had silver fillings replaced when she was six months old with her sitting on my lap the whole time. And I was still nursing her.
Dd has been on probiotics several times for a long time, but I never saw a change. I did probiotics and digestive enzymes for a while and didn’t see a change, either.
I do believe that leaky gut in the mom makes a big difference in allergies, but that’s just not something you hear about from doctors or even alternative sources dealing with allergies. There is currently a discussion of this theory on kidswithfoodallergies.com.
I believe in the value of elimination diets. I don’t think they are necessarily bad. I don’t believe in the total elimination diets although I do understand the appeal of them. You do see an improvement in your child much quicker, and sometimes that’s more important at first. I know that I could not have survived much longer on the amount of sleep I was getting.
I do agree that finding the root of the problem and solving it is the answer. I think ideally the answer would be finding the triggers and avoiding them while changing the diet and taking supplements to heal the gut. It literally pains me to see kids suffering from foods that cause reactions, “but it’s okay because they need the nutrients and it’s too hard to find alternate foods.” (I’m thinking specifically of a friend whose baby has obvious signs of milk allergy, including extreme constipation, gas pain, failure to thrive, eczema, etc. but is being reassured by the doctor that it’s just colic. Colic still at 7 months old? And the symptoms completely disappeared in the week the baby was tried on Neocate. But of course that’s too expensive to stay on, and it’s just colic and he’ll outgrow it.) I digress.
I am finding with myself that I do much better off sugars and grains, but I haven’t made the commitment to fully changing my diet, yet. And I do want to change dd’s diet, but I haven’t made that commitment yet, either. Right now I’m seeing all the negatives about it—she can’t have dairy, eggs or nuts. She won’t drink anything other than water, is currently eating no veggies, will only eat a few fruits. Potatoes and rice flour waffles are such a staple right now. And the fact that we’ll be moving in three months, and it would be very hard to do the scd while moving. I just need to sit down, start looking at the positives, and do some planning. Convenience is one of my weaknesses—having homemade frozen waffles I can just pop in the oven, getting French fries from the drive through when we’re running our errands, etc.
Finding this thread has really been an eye opener for me in lots of ways. I have learned so much from you all.