From now on, I plan to post a “tbt” on some Thursdays regarding some of the earlier signs and experiences through all of this.
To start, in our case, predicting food allergies during the first few weeks or even months was really impossible. First of all, because I myself never had a food allergy, I never considered the thought that I may have a high-risk baby. I now know that a baby is considered high-risk for food allergies if at least one parent or sibling has allergies. TJ has no siblings yet; however, a dad who is allergic to fillet fish and walnuts. While I did know about these allergies before TJ’s anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, I did not know that my wonderful husband was also allergic to eggs as a baby and child, and suffered with horrible eczema until the age of 8. In fact, his eczema was so bad as a baby that he had to be held 24/7 to prevent him from scratching and getting infections. Maybe that is why he also did not sleep through the night until he was 3. (A fact I just learned today.) Not to mention, he was allergic to regular diapers and needed to use cloth ones. So yes, TJ and any other children I may have one day are all considered high-risk.
Secondly, I do believe that TJ was born with these allergies and that is was nothing that I did or did not eat while pregnant or breastfeeding that caused it. While TJ was born was eczema, I was told by doctors that it was common in babies and that he would probably outgrow by the age of 1. I have read studies that show that symptoms, incidents, and the severity of eczema are all often reduced in babies who are exclusively breastfed during the first months of life. Since I breastfed TJ exclusively for 13.5 months, his eczema and skin reactions were not an issue until October when he was five months old. Coincidentally, that was also the month when I introduced solids. Knowing what I know now, I would have and would wait until six months of age to introduce solids for any of my children. His body just wasn’t ready. It was and is just too pure for the foods we eat these days.
Lastly, I do believe that he had some signs of food allergies early on, but the tricky part was that they are symptoms common among most babies.
- SPIT UP: While TJ never projectile vomited (minus the one time he had the stomach bug), he did spit up A LOT! In fact, we both needed to have wardrobe changes throughout many days. However, because he always gained weight nicely, this spit up was never an issue to doctors.
- ECZEMA: Looking back, TJ’s eczema did tend to flare up after nursing. It was never a horrible flare up that seemed to cause him discomfort. However, certain areas would become slightly red and irritated. It wasn’t until he was five months that this eczema started to cause him discomfort, sometimes even resulting in hives and red rashes.
- LOOSE STOOL: At a breastfeeding group meeting, I remember a mom discussing her daughter’s stool and everyone having a conversation about poop. I had never spoken about poop so much in my life as I did during those first few months. Anyways, I did not even think twice about it when TJ continued to have loose poop. Many of the other babies started to have different kinds of stool when they started solids. Instead, introducing food to TJ’s diet did not bring any change for him. Instead, he always had loose stool that also called for many wardrobe changes. However, there was no blood in it so no one thought that food allergies was to blame.
Looking back, I do believe that these three symptoms were signs of food allergies. Although they were not to the extreme level or to any level that caused anyone including doctors to worry, they were present in a modified version due to breastfeeding. Or at least, this is my theory about them.
From now on, I would and would recommend others in similar situations demand (nicely of course), for allergy testing to be done before introducing high-risk foods or any solids for that matter to their child’s diet. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about this wild world of food allergies…