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Could it have been my milk all along?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, Elle was diagnosed with severe food intolerances to Dairy, Soy, and Gluten when she was 7 months old. We went on the elimination diet and things improved but her weight gain has continued to be very slow. We both continued on the restricted diet and we tested foods out one at a time with a few months in between each test. She failed all tests.

Elle is now 2 1/2. I am 27 weeks pg. My milk has been gone for a few weeks now but she still comfort nurses before bed. The strange thing is that Elle is no longer intolerant to anything. We have tested all of her intolerant foods over the past few weeks and she has not had any reactions at all. We are so happy that she is able to finally eat normally. But... why all of a sudden?

So this makes me wonder was it my milk all along that had something to do with keeping her intolerant? I mean it could just be a coincidence but we tested Dairy a few weeks before my milk went away and she had a reaction after just a few bites. She is now eating ice cream cake and macaroni and cheese with no problem at all!!!

So now I am concerned about nursing our new dd when she is born. I need proof that it was my milk before I make the decision not to nurse. I hate the thought of not nursing this baby but I cannot put another child through what Elle went through if it is in my control KWIM?

I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions.

post #2 of 10
i wonder if she is still getting some drops of colostrum and if that is somehow helping her immune system...

during a pregnancy, a mother's immune system completely shifts to be accepting of the "not-self" antigens that may appear in her body from her growing baby in utero. i don't enough of the specifics, but my inclination is that *this* shift has more to do with elle's seeming tolerance of foods.

or, of course, it could just be a grand coincidence since elle is now over 2 and is having her own immune system shift within her body, which is common for kids around age 2+.

i haven't walked your journey, but i believe that for me, the potential benefits of breastfeeding my baby would outweigh the *possible* side effects of not doing so. and you can always change your mind about breastfeeding your new babe after the birth and if you find the same things happening again. every baby is different, every pregnancy is different, every relationship is different, so you really have no guarantee of things happening the same exact way again or not happening the same exact way again.

post #3 of 10
Did she do well when you were on the elimination diet (not testing out new foods, but just eliminating everything)? If so, then it was something in the diet, not your milk itself, that was causing problems. Why there are no diet reactions now suddenly that you've stopped nursing, well I don't know-- but if the next child needs you to be on an elimination diet while nursing, would it be do-able to just eliminate without testing out foods during the nursing relationship? (If it's totally unbearable I certianly won't judge b/c I've never had to do it.)
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you both!!

Yes, she did fine on the elimination diet except for her very slow weight gain (she is still only 23 pounds at 2 1/2) and the few times I accidently had a few bites of something and she would have a full blown reaction (8-10 dirrhea diapers and a diaper rash that made her bleed and blister upon contact even though I changed her immediatly

I would be completly fine being on the elim diet with the new baby, that is not at all what I am worried about. I am jut worried that I did damage to Elle's gut that may never be reversable and I don't want to do that to another baby.

I am commited to bf this baby as long as I know it is safe. It just took so long for Elle to show definate food intolerances (she had bloody diarrhea for a month with that rash) however now I can look back and see that the reflux she had and the sleepless nights with the crying for hours were all signs so at least this time around I will be much more aware of the signs way before I was with Elle. I still get mad just thinking about how many times I had her to the ped and told them all about all of the things that I thought were not "normal" and they just blew me off and blamed it all on the fact that she was not sleeping in a crib:

Elle went through so many blood tests and stool tests and so many other tests I can't even remember. The ped's and specialists put us through so much unnecessary stress making us think that she had some horrible disease and that was why she was not gaining weight. I just never want to put another baby or us through anything like that ever again.

post #5 of 10
amy: and more

when you know better, you do better.

so everything you have gone through with elle, even though it was hard at the time and even though she may have been in pain and discomfort and that made it probably even 10,000 times harder, you have learned more.

like i said, every baby is different so there really is no guarantee the same things will happen with this babe or not happen with this babe.

as for elle, i'm soooooooo glad to hear that she is doing well. and some kiddos are just small. our 2.25 year old boy is only 26ish lbs and not quite 34 inches and is still on the small side. whatever she has gone through, digestively, physically, emotionally, etc., i'm absolutely sure you *DID NOT* cause any irreversible damage, that it was just how it was for her, and you are hands down the best mama for your best little girl.


post #6 of 10
How much of an elimination diet did you do? I ask because this is my own personal theory (from our experience).

I realized dd reacted to dairy when she was 3 weeks old and would scream for hours when I had milk to drink. At 5 weeks I had soy icecream and the reaction was even worse, blistering diaper rash. At 3 months I did the TED from Dr. Sears (eating turkey and pears and rice for 3 weeks) and her symptoms greatly improved but were never quite perfect... she went on meds for reflux at 6 weeks.

Anyhow, I think the early damage was what caused her from never being perfect (abx in labor, early exposure to dairy via my milk, etc).. so when we got to "pretty good" on the TED, we started trialing things.

I got significant reactions to 10 foods/food groups while we added things.. dairy, soy, garbanzo beans, pork, citrus, all melon, all red berries, peanuts, pineapple, and uhh... ack can't remember.

Anyhow, she had a + skin test for peanut, which sucks, and the GI and allergist both agreed that she has significant intolerance/gut reaction to dairy/soy (and garbanzo). Her symptoms were reflux, diaper rash, green mucousy poo, etc. I'm sure you know the symptoms well enough.

Once we did reach that "good enough" and testing phase, and I got to the point where I had a decent diet, we started her on solids too. Then I retested some of those rxn foods, and found that she tolerated them in my milk, and after she was 1 we let her eat some of those foods too, and she tolerated tehm as well...

What I think happened was the damage from dairy/soy was so significant that it caused other rxns from the other foods that weren't really true reactions, just aggrivations.. and by letting her gut heal for so long she is now able to tolerate eating those foods as well.

SO, had I never "contaminated" her gut so early, shewould have probably tolerated those other foods just fine... maybe the break you gave your dd gave her body time to heal as well.

I hope my dd outgrows the dairy/soy (and peanut) soon, as it would make life easier, but honestly we cope with it pretty well.. and we cope with accidental exposure just fine most of the time, though the rash is still ugly when it happens.

I am 19 weeks preg, and I am now eating some cheese a few times a week and I've had icecream 2x in the last 2 weeks for hte first time in 18 months. I really am limiting myself to the "I must have cheese or I will die" cravings, and not just eating it for fun, and I am taking a calcium supplement because I know I don't get enough calcium right now. I hope that the "cheese or die" cravings will get less and less as this pregnancy goes on as I'd like to really limit the new baby from exposure as much as possible, and I plan on avoiding dairy/soy like the plague until at least 6 weeks or longer if I can... I figure giving the new baby that chance, even if the chance of him/her not having any rxn is pretty good, is the best (and least) I can do.

I also will refuse abx in labor if I transfer to a hospital. I think that was the most damaging thing that was done to my dd, not the foods in my milk. I've found that to be true of many friends who have kids with dairy/soy issues.. they don't get abx in labor OR they ahve very quick labors so the abx exposure is small, and the 2nd or 3rd kids are fine.

Good luck!
post #7 of 10
I wonder about how you are going to substitute an infant formula for breastmilk if the issue was allergies. Infant formulas are made out of cow's milk or soy, two of the allergens you listed. I can't see how not nursing is going to be a better choice than nursing, as the main way to feed a baby from birth.
post #8 of 10
I just wanted to let you know that when I figured out dd was allergic to peanuts, I felt soooo bad. Dd was always really spit-uppity. I realized when she was about a month old that tomato sauce had an effect on her. What I didn't think of was the peanut butter sandwich I ate daily (and sometimes with pb&j waffels for the morning.) I'm not an expert on allergies, so I can't answer if it was the milk or not.

Also, the only formula you would "want" to try with your dd's history are the hypoallergenic ones. I think they cost something like $30 a can and don't last long. Nurse from the beginning and do an elim diet if needed, but every child is different.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!

lisa2976: I had antibiotics at 37 weeks pg for a sinus infection, had them again durring labor because I was Group B positive, and then again at 3 weeks post partum (and nursing) for a finger infection that I picked up in the hospital I have already discussed with my midwife the fact that I do not want any antibiotics this time around however she said that if I am Group B positive again I will have to have them again : I really have to look further into this because I really really don't want them. I have been wondering for a while now if it was all of the antibiotics that caused her to have her intolerances. Of course the ped won't admit to anything. It is really frusterating.

post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by captain optimism
I wonder about how you are going to substitute an infant formula for breastmilk if the issue was allergies. Infant formulas are made out of cow's milk or soy, two of the allergens you listed. I can't see how not nursing is going to be a better choice than nursing, as the main way to feed a baby from birth.
That's the off the shelf stuff, there are a number of other options such as Neocate and Elecare for highly allergic babies which do not contain dairy or soy and are corn based but so broken down that its considered near impossible to react but it does happen on occasion.

To the OP:
I know how you feel, I'm totally for BF and nursed dd#1 till she was 5 for health reasons but she had multiple severe food allergies and it was hard. I seriously batted around the idea of formula feeding #2 but ended up with something I can live it. She's 3 mo and we already know she has problems with gluten, dairy, corn, eggs and legumes (avoiding soy just b/c dd#1 was so allergic) so when I screw up she gets Elecare for a few days while I pump and dump (I don't have freezer space for milk I wont be able to use) and get the bulk of the proteins out. Maybe a compromise like that would work? That way she's not suffering and you still keep BF'ing when its safe (that doesn't mean you can intentionally cheat though!).
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