dairy & behavior issues? - please share your experience! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 102 Old 05-30-2006, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Did dairy cause behavior issues in your DC? If so, could you share what kind of behavior changes it caused?

My DS was sensitive to dairy and soy until around 16 months, then seemed to outgrow it. Now, however, he seems to have some VERY violent outbursts and tantrums (beyond what I would consider normal for a toddler) and DH and I have noticed that they seem worse for a couple days after he eats large amounts of dairy. He doesn't drink milk (other than nursing, of course) but he does eat yogurt, cheese & butter and will occasionally have food that is cooked with milk.

I thought he had outgrown the sensitivities because they didn't cause mucousy, bloody poops anymore but I'm wondering if I was wrong. Could a dairy sensitivity cause behavior issues?

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#2 of 102 Old 05-31-2006, 11:37 AM
 
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my ds1 was allergic to dairy as an infant. He outgrew the allergy by age 2, ut it caused horrible behavior problems until he was around 4-5.

My nephew is 4. He used to be anaphylactic to dairy. He is still allergic. My sister always knows when a new product is contaminated w/ dairy b/c he will have huge behavior problems, red ears, and some other signs.

I would lay of the dairy, except for maybe an occasional yogurt treat once in a while (no more than once every 2 weeks--play w/ that and see what works for you--if he reacts w/ bad behavior, wait longer, give him less, etc.) He'll likely outgrow this. Actually, I would cut out all daiory for at least a year myself, but I know how hard that is. So if you feel like that's too much, please only allow yogurt once in a while.
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#3 of 102 Old 06-05-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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My ds gets wild and agressive when he drinks cows milk. He has no problem with goat milk (when I get him to drink the goat milk).

I am going to try raw milk at some point and see if that helps. I'm wondering if its something in the processing. I grew up on raw milk and it definitely tastes different than store milk.

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#4 of 102 Old 06-08-2006, 11:11 AM
 
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My son's behavior is profoundly different on and off milk. Lory (wolfmeis) has seen this first hand, as this issue darn near spoiled a weekend get-together for us.

He was not sensitive to dairy, as far as I know, when he was smaller. It has crept up on him over the last year or so (since he was about 3? Maybe starting when he weaned but picking up speed later?) and now at 4, if he's had dairy you can tell by his behavior alone.

The basic difference is lack of inhibition, but I think that this stems from an overall grumpiness and general po'dness that comes with feeling like crud. The difference is that off dairy, he'll respond to me when I call his name once (sometimes a couple times if he's really involved) and ON dairy, I feel like I'm screaming his name all the time to get him to stop what he's doing and listen to me. Off dairy: cool, lets pretend sword-fight. On dairy: well dang, it is just so FUN and SATISFYING to hear you scream, big sis, when I whack you with this stick, that I'll do it over, and over, and over, while my mom screams my name from the patio.

Ugh.

Since cutting dairy from his diet, the hurting-people-on-purpose issue has dissappeared almost entirely (he'll still haul off and whack his sister one during an arguement every now and then, but it is in normal kid proportions). I don't have to worry at parks and playdates anymore (he's still a huge kid, and sheer size makes me nervous sometimes, but his fuse is way longer and I don't worry about him hurting other kids out of the blue anymore).

In short, YES, dairy may be causing your toddler's problems! My son's symptoms are PURELY behavioral (as far as we can measure - I SUSPECT he also gets headachey and PMS-style grumpy but he says he feels normal) and ENTIRELY related to the dairy.

Sorry, I forgot since it has ceased to be an issue - there IS a physical symptom for my son! His hearing was only so/so and he got frequent ear infections and blockages until we cut dairy from his diet. If he has a bunch of dairy (just a little won't do the trick) he also can't hear as well for a week or so. Cutting out dairy would have been worthwhile for this reason alone; we had to yell for him to hear us, say, from the back of the car. This symptom, though, is not visible or measurable the way that bloody stools or hives would be.

He has also stopped wetting the bed at night. This could be due solely to the fact that he is getting older, of course, but the rapidity with which this behavior disappeared, along with the waking up disoriented and wailing, makes me suspect it is allergy-related as well, especially after reading online that dairy allergic kids are more likely to wet the bed to later ages.

There are a host of things that removing dairy from his diet has solved for us. When Lory (wolfmeis) suggested that this might be his problem, and I read up online and saw that almost all of the behavioral and medical issues I'd been pulling my hair over were known to be related to dairy, I was thinking; DANG this is just TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. But it really has solved so much for us, and has turned my son from one of those kids that raises the household stress level to the point where you ask on a daily basis: WHAT am I going to DO with this kid! to a 'normal' kid with normal issues.

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#5 of 102 Old 06-08-2006, 11:22 PM
 
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My ds is allergic to dairy (casein and whey products -- not the lactose). We just found out about it, oh, maybe 6 months ago. He'll be 5 in October.

If he does have even the tiniest bit of casein or whey, he will have violent outbursts, he'll be irratable ... just plain hard to handle. All of his problems are behavioral.

After reading Is This Your Child? by Doris Rapp about 6 months ago, I realized that he most likely had this allergy since he was born, I just didn't know what kind of symptoms to look for and none of his doctors ever mentioned anything. I feel really bad that for 4 years he was suffering with his allergies, getting punished for his behavior, had multiple ear infections, went through surgery to have tubes put in his ears and an adnoidectomy, had what I would call colic as a baby -- all because of his allergy to milk. I'm just glad I found out when I did instead of putting him through many more years of this.

Being CF has changed our lives. LITERALLY. It almost seems too good to be true as Niki mentioned, but it's TRUE! My cutie pie was hard to love sometimes because of his behavior. But now, he's as easy to love as any other cute 4 year old with big brown eyes and long eyelashes -- he's a mama's boy now! LOL

I'm also suspecting that my dd, age 7, may have a casein and whey allergy as well. She just may show it differently.

Your son's behavioral problems may be contributed to a dairy allergy. I would highly recommend reading Is This Your Child? by Doris Rapp. There is a ton of really great information. And at least that's a starting point for you. My library had the book, so you might want to check yours. There is also a lot of information on MDC regarding this, you just need to search for it. Good Luck! And keep us updated!
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#6 of 102 Old 06-08-2006, 11:57 PM
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Certain kinds of dairy cause severe behavior problems with my older daughter, Sierra who is now 6. She had bad colic when she was born due to undiagnosed gluten/casein sensitivity. She had other problems as well, but mainly we could tell by her behavior that something was wrong. We raise dairy goats, and she can tolerate raw goat milk, but *not* raw goat milk that has been cooked in bread for example. It has to be *completely* unheated. She also cannot tolerate cow milk, and neither can I. If she gets a bit of heated goat milk, she becomes a completely different person. I have almost called 911 a couple of times it was so terrifying. She will turn very red with blotches all over her and scream nonstop for around a half hour. She acts like she doesn't know who we (her parents are) and is very afraid of everything. She runs and hides in the dark while screaming and screams "No mommy!" or something similar sometimes, other times I don't even think she knows who I am. Anyway, eventually she lies on the floor arching, etc. Anyway, I kind of figured it was from the raw goat milk I added to our bread that day, and tried to remain calm. But anyway, that was when she was two. Now she sometimes reacts to things, though we *never* will give her heated dairy again lol, with similar behavior but not as severe as the above incident. But she will get more aggressive and scream more and act very inconsolable and upset/angry. Many times eventually just collapsing on the ground and screaming "mommy!" all the while motioning violently for me to get away from her. Very upsetting, but only happens maybe once a year now that we know the foods she can't have. Anyway, I have seen and heard of other children having behavioral type reactions to food allergies, and I think the best way to test it is to remove completely the offending food for at least a month to see if their is a differnce. Anyway, good luck.
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#7 of 102 Old 06-09-2006, 12:15 PM
 
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Ah yes, and if your child is dairy allergic, most definitely do NOT give him a yogurt every couple weeks, it will be a HUGE setback. Soy yogurts are more expensive but practically a food group of their own in my DS's world. They are delicious AND have the added benefit of not setting you back all your efforts.

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#8 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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If the dairy protein is not able to be digested properly (and this means damaged gut/impaired digestive function), the peptide acts like morphine in the body.

The autism community has studied this extensively:
http://www.autismndi.com/faq/

Houston Peptizyde enzyme has been tested as the only enzyme available for breaking down the caseomorphin peptide that causes behavior issues.
www.enzymestuff.com
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#9 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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nak

thank you so much for your input, mamas! i thought that he had outgrown his dairy sensitivity because it didn't cause mucousy, bloody poops anymore but i think i was wrong.

i'm going to request doris rapp's book on interlibrary loan when i go tomorrow, i appreciate the recommendation.

he seems to crave cheese - a lot! is this typical, to crave something that causes problems?

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#10 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 04:35 PM
 
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Both of my boys crave things they are allergic to. Its like a drug addiction for them.


 

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#11 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 10:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneS
If the dairy protein is not able to be digested properly (and this means damaged gut/impaired digestive function), the peptide acts like morphine in the body.

The autism community has studied this extensively:
http://www.autismndi.com/faq/

Houston Peptizyde enzyme has been tested as the only enzyme available for breaking down the caseomorphin peptide that causes behavior issues.
www.enzymestuff.com
We need to be careful with our terminology though.... an enzyme deficiency and an allergy are widely different things. They may to be similar with the way they present, but they must be managed entirely differently.

You can't feed an enzyme to a child who is allergic to dairy and expect it to make it all better. It's dangerous in a child who is anaphylactic and takes weeks to recover in a child who is behaviour-mucuous reactive.

(janeS, I have nothing at all to disagree with in your post, I just wanted to clarify the difference between insensitivities and true allergies. )
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#12 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 10:38 PM
 
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Lory

And Sonja, I found Karen DeFelice's book www.enzymestuff.com to be way more helpful in explaining behavior and the entire digestive system and what to do about it. I think Doris Rapp's book is rather outdated.
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#13 of 102 Old 06-11-2006, 10:59 PM
 
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Wow
My dd is going throu somkething like this I think. SHe has this rash on her body since birth. The drs say it is a milk allergy. Her behavior is so totaly out there. She has alomst been kicked out of school.

Gotta go sorry children need me
will post more later

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#14 of 102 Old 06-13-2006, 05:27 PM
 
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IN brief- when I completely eliminated dairy from my daughter's diet, people asked me ifI'd put her on Ritalin.
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#15 of 102 Old 06-16-2006, 09:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikirj
Ah yes, and if your child is dairy allergic, most definitely do NOT give him a yogurt every couple weeks, it will be a HUGE setback. Soy yogurts are more expensive but practically a food group of their own in my DS's world. They are delicious AND have the added benefit of not setting you back all your efforts.
I would check out www.westonaprice.org,and see what it says about soy.U may change your mind.
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#16 of 102 Old 06-16-2006, 11:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Jlo777
I would check out www.westonaprice.org,and see what it says about soy.U may change your mind.
Without going into too terribly many details, we are mixed race and have, among other things, a racial history of eating soy.

The site you listed has several 'iffy' claims about how awful soy is and I'm inclined not to believe it.

We do keep the soy down, though, because I am concerned about the estrogen lookalike issue that may become relevant if I were to replace all the meat and dairy in his diet with soy. He has soy ice cream and soy yogurt, and the rest of the substitutes we use with any kind of regularity are not soy-based; we mostly use oat and grain milks.

And come now, something he IS allergic to vs. something that MAY be bad in theory...no-brainer. Besides, the majority of the slams on soy on that website come from very large-volume substitution cases, most of them based on soy formula (that is a LOT of soy compared to my DS' little 3 containers of yogurt and 1/2c of ice cream per week).

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#17 of 102 Old 06-16-2006, 12:02 PM
 
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Okay, now I'm wondering if my 3 yo has a dairy allergy. I lurk here a lot and starting reading the Allergies b/c my 9 mo old has allergies to something and this particular thread reminds me so much of my older daughter. She was kicked out of preschool in February for repeated aggressive behavior-including biting, hitting, kicking, etc. She also has these major hour long screaming temper tantrum fits over everything. She loves cheese, yogurt, and milk but I don't let her drink a full glass of milk b/c she will throw up. A little bit in her cereal seems fine but no more than that at a time. She also had horrible acid reflux as a baby but the peds never even suggested to me that it might be a problem with dairy. Hmmm.... well as I have an appointment with the allergist in a few weeks for my baby I'll ask then. Of course if it turns out to be allergies then I guess we can stop going to the child psychologist!

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#18 of 102 Old 07-06-2006, 11:49 PM
 
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#19 of 102 Old 07-21-2006, 04:42 PM
 
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My oldest is a monster w/dairy. Literally, he runs around screaming and going "raaaaahhhhh!" and all that But, he also feels and looks like crap. The rashes alone are horrible. He doesn't sleep well and cries in the night. I thought he had night terrors before eliminating dairy b/c he would sit up (still sleeping) and just SCREAM. It was bad. Now we've gotten rid of almost all the dairy besides what we feed him thinking it is safe and finding out that it isn't when he reacts. But the behavior issues alone... He is a much calmer, NICER human being when dairy is gone.

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#20 of 102 Old 07-21-2006, 07:02 PM
 
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My daughter is most definitely sensitive to dairy. Unfortunately, dh eats it and it is kind of hard for me to keep it away from her. We are going to be more strict about it though. She doesn't eat huge amounts of it now, so it doesn't affect her too badly. When she ate larger amounts though, she exhibited ADHD like symptoms. We could absolutely tell the difference when we cut the dairy out. When she eats more dairy, we can tell.
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#21 of 102 Old 08-13-2006, 11:23 PM
 
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I never noticed any behavior problems in my DD (she is only 2 years old, we found out about the allergy when she was 1 year old.)

However she had a terrible time sleeping. She would wake every 2 hours of the 1st 14 months of her life and insist on nursing.

Once I managed to get the dairy out of mine and her's diet she finally started sleeping well. She sleeps great now, but we have noticed that slip ups result in her waking up and crying and wanting to nurse at night. This hasn't happened in a many months, and if we had a dairy exposure with a big rash we gave her benedryl before bed and that helped.

So to answer your questions, I don't know, but I am going to keep an eye out for it as we allow more dairy and she "outgrows it" if she has behavior problems I will try cutting it out again.

I know it is going to be very hard getting used to milk not being evil any more. :
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#22 of 102 Old 08-14-2006, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I have eliminated most of the dairy and have seen a change in DS' behavior. Without the dairy I don't see as many of the violent outbursts and uncharacteristic rages that I was seeing, which is good. I knew my sweet little boy was still in there somewhere! I'm going dairy & soy-free again myself (4 week old DD is also sensitive to dairy and soy) so that will make it easier to keep him dairy free if all the meals are dairy free.

Thanks for your input, mamas!

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#23 of 102 Old 08-14-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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Glad to hear it is working out for you!

We've found that even a tiny amount of dairy will cause a very noticeable behavior reaction for our DS, so if you're holding back and still letting your DS have dairy every now and then, you may want to go the extra last bit and eliminate it 100%. It made all the difference for my DS when we got really serious about it. And now if he's had something, we can tell by the reaction he has beginning later that day, it is really awful; we've had several 'mystery' reactions when we've eaten out, and it sucks that he is that sensitive, but on the other hand, it is good to know that we were right (that there is a definite and completely noticeable effect when he's had dairy). If feeling like you're depriving him is holding you back; consider, he feels far better when he doesn't have dairy, you are actually doing him a big 'ole favor. My son has never had a problem being denied food, and I think it is just because he FEELS the effect of the dairy...it sucks for him as much/more than it sucks for me.

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#24 of 102 Old 08-14-2006, 12:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LadyBug & BabyBug
Well, I have eliminated most of the dairy and have seen a change in DS' behavior. Without the dairy I don't see as many of the violent outbursts and uncharacteristic rages that I was seeing, which is good. I knew my sweet little boy was still in there somewhere! I'm going dairy & soy-free again myself (4 week old DD is also sensitive to dairy and soy) so that will make it easier to keep him dairy free if all the meals are dairy free.

Thanks for your input, mamas!
My niece (7 yrs) has been dealing with this since birth. She still gets whiny and super sensative when she has been issued dairy. I take her for my sister a weekend about every other month. I know her allergies are taxing and she needs a break now and again.
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#25 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 03:10 PM
 
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My son is like many of the DCs described here...when he has dairy, his behavior is just intolerable. We tell people he's "allergic" because that's what people can understand. When we have tried to describe it as "sensitive" people don't get it, or think we're imagining an association that doesn't exist (because you know kids NEED milk and only a crazy parent would deprive them) or they think it's lactose intolerance and we just need to buy lactose-free products, etc. People understand the word "allergy" to mean DS just can't have milk. Even I didn't understand until recently that it was not truly an "allergy" in the immunological sense. With all due respect to parents dealing with more immediately life-threatening allergies, I think I need to continue to use the term that is most meaningful to the people I encounter who may be in a position to serve my son food (i.e. family, friends' parents, preschool workers, etc.). The fact is -- in my state a preschool/daycare facility is REQUIRED to serve every child milk at lunchtime unless they have a note from a doctor stating the child has an allergy to milk.
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#26 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 03:20 PM
 
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So here's a question -- given our son's very obvious casein issues, and my DH's severe ADD, I would very much like to do a trial of no-dairy for DH of a month or so just to see how that might improve his mood/attentiveness/borderline depression. I dropped dairy once I realized how bad it was for DS (also I was still nursing and didn't want him getting it through my milk), but I have not had any success persuading DH to do a true trial of elimination. I sort of got him to agree to no dairy at one point about a year ago, but after less than a week he proclaimed that he didn't feel any different and so there was no point. Honestly he was still having cream in his coffee, the occasional cheese, trace amounts of dairy in bread and other processed foods, etc., so it wasn't a true trial at all. It kills me that we pay over $100/month for prescription ADD meds (Strattera and Lexapro) which if you ask me are a huge waste of money because frankly I don't see any change in his behavior to be quite honest. Not to mention the Nexium he takes for his chronic heartburn (hello, also commonly linked to dairy-sensitivity). I just feel like if he would give no-dairy an honest genuine shot we could really see a positive difference in so many aspects of his health and just his whole life. But he is a real foodie and he is so horrified by the idea of permanently giving up dairy that it seems like he just doesn't want to know. He is also the one who does most of the meal shopping and prep, and he eats out for lunch almost every day, so there is no way for me to try to eliminate dairy for him. Has anyone else been in a position like this?
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#27 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 03:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday
People understand the word "allergy" to mean DS just can't have milk. Even I didn't understand until recently that it was not truly an "allergy" in the immunological sense. With all due respect to parents dealing with more immediately life-threatening allergies, I think I need to continue to use the term that is most meaningful to the people I encounter who may be in a position to serve my son food (i.e. family, friends' parents, preschool workers, etc.). The fact is -- in my state a preschool/daycare facility is REQUIRED to serve every child milk at lunchtime unless they have a note from a doctor stating the child has an allergy to milk.
Wednesday I would bet you a carton of soymilk that if you were to have him tested, he would show up igE allergic to milk. Sometimes this is how allergy manifests with dairy (and wheat as well.) If you're right about casein intolerance, that still warrants a medical exception.

I ran a FA support group in Charleston and I learned more than I cared to know about it from a little boy named Drew. His mother had him tested because he was showing so many upper repiratory allergy symptoms they even got rid of their dog. Once they saw the allergist, he told them it was a severe milk allergy. His sinuses had gotten so impacted he had to have surgery. Their family and school weren't very supportive because it wasn't manifesting in hives or dramatic attacks, but his was indeed an anaphylactic allergy (more than one system involved) and as such, covered under the ADA.

I bring that up because you can file an IEP with your school and make certain they understand how important it is. They don't have to make him drink it, they just have to make it available to him. At which point your IEP steps in nicely and says "back off buddy."
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#28 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 04:04 PM
 
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Re: your dh.

I have ADD and I take concerta. It makes a huge difference for me, but I have been on other meds that didn't touch it or made it WORSE. There is a "ritalin rebound" that some of these meds have that actually make the symptoms WORSE at the end of the day when they are wearing off. Strattera in particular made me into a huge dry-mouthed TROLL and I couldn't tolerate it more than a week.

If dh is a foodie (I am a chef) perhaps you can approach him with it this way. 1. Your son is clearly allergic, moreso than dh may understand. It would be supportive and nurturing to try to learn how to cook things that the whole family can enjoy together. Omitting it from your household is a smart, caring thing to do. 2. Cooking without dairy is a huge creative challenge. I have done this recently (no reactive milk allergies here), and it is AMAZING what you can do without dairy. Some of the substitutes (like my experence using sunbutter instead of peanut butter) actually taste and work better than dairy itself.
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#29 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 04:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
I bring that up because you can file an IEP with your school and make certain they understand how important it is. They don't have to make him drink it, they just have to make it available to him. At which point your IEP steps in nicely and says "back off buddy."
Thanks for that information. The preschool he currently goes to is great--the director is totally understanding that he can't have dairy and also that we prefer not to overload him with soy. We send a soy yogurt each day because he likes yogurt and I feel there is a health benefit to his consuming probiotics, whereas I don't perceive any benefit to soy milk at all. (Our doctor was pushing it since he doesn't drink cow milk and when I was like "why?" her big argument was that soy milk is "fortified." Um...can't I just give him a multi-vitamin then? Whatever.) Anyway I really don't see a need for him to have two servings of soy product at lunch each day so we sent one of those shelf-stable soymilk boxes to preschool that doesn't have to be refrigerated and they keep it on hand so if necessary they can show that soymilk is "available" to my son. But it is not actually served to him iykwim. I am really glad that the director is so flexible.

As for public school, I think the rules are not so strict. We are hoping DS will get into a charter school that is all crunchy parents anyway, and that does not have a cafeteria--so all lunches are sent from home, which I hope means we will have a little better control over what DS will be eating than a more typical public elementary school.
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#30 of 102 Old 08-16-2006, 06:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfmeis
Re: your dh.
Cooking without dairy is a huge creative challenge. I have done this recently (no reactive milk allergies here), and it is AMAZING what you can do without dairy. Some of the substitutes (like my experence with sunbutter) actually taste and work better than dairy itself.

Can you tell me more about sunbutter? Where do you buy it? I use earth blance and like that pretty well, but I am always interseted in allterntives.

Thanks.
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