May 2: Happy First Birthday TJ
It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year since the greatest blessing I could ever have dreamed of entered our lives. From the moment I laid eyes on your perfect, handsome self, you captured my heart forever. Aside from teaching me how to truly live life to the fullest, you taught me to savor each and every moment because they really do fly by way too fast. You inspired me to become a better person, taught me more lessons in a year than I’d learned in my life yet, and really put my life in perspective. You taught me to play hard and laugh much because life’s too good not to. Your contagious laugh and infectious smile brightens the lives of so many and is a continual reminder through life’s ups and downs of what matters most in life.
At 12 months, TJ loves to babble especially “dada,” “baa” to Bailey, and now “mama.” Also, he loves playing with his toys especially his sports balls, sticking his fingers in his furry brother Bailey’s nose and petting his paws. While he has loved singing and dancing for a month or so now, TJ has a new found love of Mickey Mouse. In addition, he continues to enjoy bath time and swimming. He is becoming better at walking every day and loves to clap for himself after taking steps. He knows how to tell us when he wants his bottle, when he is all done and when he wants more. During meals, he can also express what he wants to eat and his favorite snack is Happy Baby puffs. TJ knows how to give hugs and kisses and loves to give them randomly too. He has 6 teeth that are fully grown in and six others that have cut through or will soon (so we are told by his doctor.) While he waves hi and bye when he feels like it, he knows all he needs to do to gain anyone’s attention is flash his endearing smile.
Happy birthday to my amazing, little dude! Sto lat! We are so proud of everything you are and everything that you will become. We love you TJ more than any words could ever express. You make the world a better place!
As far as his skin and recent eczema flare up, maybe less is more… His skin has never been better or at least not in awhile so we smile on even more hopeful…
May 6: Iron Levels
On Monday, TJ had blood work done to test for allergies, HBC and lead levels. While we are still waiting to hear back about the food allergies results, his hemoglobin level came back slightly low at a 9.8. In order to be in the normal range, it should be at least 10.5 for babies his age. The biggest cause at this age is an iron deficiency. Therefore, it’s time to iron this little guy up!
Here is a great website that a great friend sent about this ….
Since there’s no time to get upset and only time to believe that there will be positive news, we smile on ….
May 10: Gagging
On May 7, we had TJ’s 12 month appointment with his pediatrician and she agreed in regards to the following:
1) Trying to add in more iron-rich foods before using an iron supplement
2) His 21.2 ounce and 29.75 inch self is doing wonderfully despite all of his limitations. Born at 19.5 inches and 6 lbs 15 ounces, he has gained exactly how he is suppose to. Therefore, his 9.9 iron level is not anything alarming. It should be at 10.4 so we will check again in another 3-6 months.
3) 12 month shots are delayed for another few months since he just had a bunch of blood work done.
4) We are all anxiously waiting for the allergy blood work results! Maybe tomorrow?
5) Wean one feeding (breastfeeding) and replace it witha snack of finger foods….However, continue to breastfeed until we figure out a milk to introduce. (This will be based on the blood work results.)
Anyways, we left feeling super hopeful! We decided we would introduce more iron-rich foods right away including Rice Chex, beef, spinach, etc. On Friday, we introduced rice cakes as a late afternoon snack. I even ate regular pizza minus the cheese on Friday night. Saturday morning I nursed TJ three times and he was still totally fine! We were even more hopeful!
Then, on Saturday when I was at a baby shower, my husband gave TJ a Rice Chex and he instantly gagged and puked up milk. Ugh!!!! Frustration began to set in…. Now what? That was all I could think of on my way home from the shower. Is it the pizza I added back to my diet? Rice Chex? The Augmentin that I had to start to get rid of my ear infection once and for all. I was so confused…
Then, at lunchtime today, TJ had a bite of a turkey meatball that he has eaten almost daily for months. After this one bite, he gagged and instantly spit up/threw up What is this? While we are a bit relieved that it probably isn’t a food allergy, it is still beyond puzzling what is causing this now. Is it a texture thing suddenly? We emailed his pediatrician regarding this and hope tomorrow will bring some answers. And yet we smile on because we have faith that those answers will bring positive news!
May 14: Allergy Update & Time for a New Plan
The blood work results are in and let’s just say, I cried a lot on Monday when I read those emails. After crying off and on for a couple hours, I pulled myself together, reminding myself that his body just isn’t ready yet. In order to process it all, I made the following chart.
To keep myself from losing my mind from fear, I focused on the positive first.
1) Most of his allergies did not get worse. With time, they will go away.
2) Soy, sesame and peanut all went down.
3) We can still do a coconut milk challenge next Wednesday to see if we can add this to his diet.
Now, I must also explain how terrified and confused I am with the dairy allergy increasing so much. From my understanding, this means his body may be or have been exposed to dairy. This is beyond frustrating because both TJ and myself have not have any dairy products since December 23. Or is it that TJ is now bigger and as he gets older his body will make more antibodies?
Of course, I decided to reread the labels of all of the foods we are eating, leaving me with the following questions that I plan to figure out. Is Enjoy Life bars completely dairy free? In the meantime, I have cut them out of my diet. While I love the cocoa loco ones, a weird stomach bug issue that arose on Tuesday helped me cut them out without a problem. What is the difference between labels that read “u” and ones that read “crc pareve?” I also cut out chewing gum in case any of these gums contain a dairy protein. Or is TJ being exposed to dairy at daycare through contact?
I emailed both allergists regarding my concern with the dairy allergy increase. Allergist #1 who we will be doing the coconut milk challenge with on Wednesday suggested making any appointment with him to discuss. Allergist #2 wrote the following, ” Sometimes, the significant increase in specific IgE is driven by age, as kids get older their immune system is making more IgE antibodies. Sometimes it is due to the exposure through skin via eczematous skin or due to a small amount cross-contamination in the diet. Hard to know which is correct in TJ’s case.” She also wanted another appointment.
Therefore, here is the new plan.
1) I cut out those bars and gum.
2) I informed the office at daycare and TJ’s teachers of the severity of his dairy allergy. I also gave a worksheet to hang in his classroom regarding the signs of anaphylactic shock and the actions to take.
3) Plus, we have the following appointments coming up now.
– Appointments at Mount Sinai with a nutritionist and allergist
– Coconut Milk food challenge with Allergist #2
– And although many may think I am crazy, an appointment with a third allergist to review TJ and his results
While we are still breastfeeding, I am concerned about what will happen with his nutrition when I stop. Therefore, I hope we can find a meal plan that will work and find iron-rich foods.
Finally, I am scared of it all. However, I can’t be scared. Instead, I need to have faith that he will outgrow them all and he will be safe in the meantime. I can’t be scared because I have an adorable little guy depending on me. If he can continue to smile, so can I….
May 14: More Hope
Since I refuse to cave into fear, hope and faith are where my eyes need to be…
When I asked, Allergist #2 if children with high dairy allergies like TJ ever outgrow allergy, she responded with, “Yes, children with such high levels do outgrow milk allergy but it takes them longer.”
It’s going to be a crazy couple of weeks but we smile on…
May 15 – Egg in My Wine?!?
As I waited for my husband to pick up our “cheese-free” pizza from our favorite pizzeria in the area, I poured some wine. Just when I was about to have a sip, I noticed this on its label..
This just goes to show everyone who is dealing with food allergies to read every single label even when it seems irrational! The positive thing is that I have no added back my first item to my elimination diet….regular wheat pizza minus the cheese of course and TJ hasn’t had any reactions so we smile on…
May 15 – Food-Pollen or Food-Food Cross-Reactivity
Very interesting article on one of my new favorite blogs about Food-Pollen Cross-reactivity… It leaves me thinking that this jump in milk could be caused by something like the high pollen count.
At our appointments next week, this definitely gave me something else to mention and bring up. Hoping for some clarity, we smile on…
May 16: TJ’s First Birthday Party
The day had arrived! It was my son’s first birthday party today and well I woke up feeling a lot better about things than the day before. Yesterday during our day of many preparations, I found myself fearful of everything. I was afraid to bake or cook with anything dairy or any of his allergies… Which is basically everything. I was fearful he would have too much exposure to dairy and the rest of his allergies today as everyone would be eating the dairy-and-allergen-filled food and kissing him. I was fearful I wouldn’t give the dairy free nut free soy free egg free wheat and gluten free cupcake I made him. And if I did give it, I was worried that he would have a reaction. I was annoyed that everyone would be asking and expecting a baby cake smashing first birthday scene and we would be skipping that act. I was frustrated going on Facebook and Instagram and seeing all the posts of babies eating real food like pizza, waffles,yogurt, etc. It was just a day of feeling angry with it all. I ate so healthy during pregnancy and even breastfeeding and this is the plate I am given. I guess I was just wishing people outside of my situation would understand how difficult this all is. However, before December, I was naive to the severity of food allergies and life style changes that need to be made. Therefore, why would anyone understand? And why did I need them to anyways? We were doing what was best for TJ and that’s all that matters.
Anyways, I made myself snap out of the funk with a little help from my husband who was very blunt about it all and how my thoughts/worries/anxieties were not helping anything. And most importantly, I prayed for strength. I made some buffalo chicken dip and bacon wrapped chicken bites as well cranberry chocolate oatmeal cookies. Then, I made Cherrybrook’s vanilla cupcakes mixing the mix with applesauce instead of butter/oil. TJ’s wasn’t too much of a fan as it landed on the ground shortly after tasting. However, he tasted it and nothing happened! We also introduced blueberries too this weekend and seems to like them and no reactions! Woohoo! Baby steps with food is okay I need to keep reminding myself.
Who needs cake when we have puffs…
After an amazing birthday party, we smile on to a week of answers, guidance, and next steps…
May 18-19: The Confusing World of Allergies
On May 18, we went to a nutritionist and allergist #2 at Mount Sinai. Since we were there already for the nutritionist, we decided to review TJ’s latest blood work with her. It was an all afternoon visit, getting there around 2 and not getting home until after 7. However, we got a lot of promising, encouraging advice and guidance.
1) To start, the next step was to ask our Allergist #1 to do a soy milk challenge instead of coconut milk challenge on this Wednesday (TOMORROW!!!! ugh!!!) This was because Allergist #2 is 99.9% sure he will tolerate soy which will open up his diet a lot! Soy was a 1.1 (level 2 allergy) and coconut milk was a 0.6 on allergy scale (level 1 allergy). However, she said kids pass the soy milk challenge with a higher number than 1.1 which means they can drink and eat soy products.
2) Allergist #2 also said that it is a great sign peanuts, soy, and sesame all went down. Once again she thinks wheat and oat ( gluten ) may not be a true allergies and instead TJ may tolerate them. After a soy challenge, she suggests we line up a coconut milk challenge and wheat one. Then if he passes the wheat, she advised to set up a baked egg one. (Egg is his second highest allergy.)
3) She wants me to continue to add wheat to diet since all I have added back since December is regular wheat pizza from our favorite pizzeria nearby and I only eat this once a week. She also told me to add soy back to diet.
4) Milk/dairy allergy is bad. =( She doesn’t really think it’s due to contact or exposure since we are both strictly avoiding. Instead, she thinks the increase from about 17 (level 3) to 53 (level 5) has more to do with it being his greatest allergy. Since TJ has grown a lot since December, his body is producing more ige antibodies for it. We need to be careful with dairy/milk residue and products touching his skin at day care or even kisses because if he gets hives from it it can cause more of an increase. Also he should avoid places like Starbucks and pizzerias that have steamed or airborne dairy.However, she also was very positive when she stated that he will probably outgrow dairy because most people do but it will probably take longer like maybe not until he is older than five. There are many studies too like a milk patch one that if need be, he can participate in to decrease allergy when he is a bit older.
5) In meantime, the Mount Sinai nutritionist does suggest we use an iron supplement for now even though the anemia is minor and retest iron in three months. This is not what we had planned to do with pediatrician’s help.
6) The nutritionist also provided many good brands and products for allergy free products like pancakes and waffles, etc …Some of these include Orgra Crispi Rice bread, Authentic Foods Rice and Corn Flour, Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flour, King Arthur, Brothers All Natural and Cherrybrook Kitchen. I will post more about these products once we purchase and try them out.
7) The next time we get blood work will probably be in October/November to test levels. Allergist #2 gave specifics of what to test for like peanut components, casein, and whey proteins. These will give a better understanding of his peanut and dairy allergy and they will be able to better predict his chance of outgrowing. A casein allergy takes longer than a whey protein allergy to outgrow.
We will also give Culturelle probiotics twice a day instead of once and follow up with both of them in four months
This sounded great until we reached out to Allergist #1 and our pediatrician about all of this. Here is where it all becomes a tough call…We have two conflicts.
1) SOY VERSUS COCONUT MILK CHALLENGE
– When we asked Allergist #1 about switching, he said, ” I estimate 50/50 chance of passing soy. We can certainly try it this week. If there is a reaction, I may need to give him an injection of Benadryl or epinephrine. It is not necessarily dangerous, but I just wanted you guys to be mentally prepared for the potential risks.”
– That is much different that Allergist #2′s outlook of 99.9% chance of passing with his level.
2) IRON SUPPLEMENT OR NOT
– Our pediatrician who we LOOOOVE does not agree with an iron supplement. Since his level is only 9.9 and he is not symptomatic, she suggests rechecking in a month or two and agree to an iron supplement if he is lower then. She explained that iron is absorbed much better with foods rather than a supplement. She even discussed it with her colleague and he agreed with her.
– The nutritionist provided this though.http://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/0301/p624.html
It is 7:30 on the night before TJ’s 8:30 am food challenge and we have no clue what to do. I just pray that the right choices are made clear to us.
SIDE NOTE ABOUT DAYCARE/LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF THE SEVERITY OF FOOD ALLERGIES:
When I informed TJ’s teachers that he was going to be out tomorrow due to his first food challenge of coconut milk or soy milk. One of TJ’s teachers asked me, “Oh he can’t have cow’s milk ?”
Mind you, this is after I have been constantly keeping the teachers and office staff informed and updated about TJ’s allergies and levels. I have spoken to each teacher individually in the past. In addition, I recently explained to them the severity of the dairy allergy. I also gave the office staff a print out about the signs of and steps to take with anaphylaxis, asking them to hang it in his classroom. It is still not hung…I will be adamant about this once we are back at work and day care on Thursday. I will be “that mom” because if I’m not, who else will have his back.
Praying for answers as I struggle to smile on but I know that I have to for my little guy who still smiles on and on even when stuck in city traffic …
May 19: Rent an Allergist?!
With all the new foods we need to start to introduce, I wish we could rent an allergist for a month or heck, maybe even a year! Tonight, we tried adding Earth’s Best Whole Grain Rice Cereal to his pears as a added source of iron and noticed his cheeks were reddish so I panicked and stopped. If only we could rent allergist/nutritionist/pediatrician to live with us for awhile, I would be much more relaxed with it all. Yet, we have to have faith and smile on…
May 20: Soy Milk Challenge
Today was our first food challenge! Showing up with both coconut milk and soy milk, we still had no idea what we would choose! However, once we got there and spoke to Allergist #1, he was ultimately the one who said to go with the slightly riskier option of soy!
Since I myself had no idea what a food challenge entailed until today really. Let me recap our morning.
8 am – arrived at Allergist #1
8:10 – met with Allergist and decided to go through with the soy milk challenge; With that, he informed us of the potential risks and that soy was riskier than coconut. He usually is more conservative. Places like Mount Sinai are more daring for lack of better words. However, his success rate at passing food challenges is about 95% due to his conservative practices. And as much as I would love to claim that I am the daring type, I have and probably will never be that. Instead, I tend to go with the conservative approaches on things even with all of this food and breastfeeding stuff including drinking some wine only at night when I know there are at least 6-8 hours before he nurses again and doing a strict elimination diet through all of this food allergy drama. Anyways, back to the morning’s events.
8:20 – TJ drank a sip of organic unsweetened soy milk from his sippy cup. He liked it and wanted more especially since he was starving. He was not allowed to eat after his initial 6 am feeding to ensure he would drink the soy milk. TJ was totally fine. On the other hand, I was sitting there holding back the waterfall of tears that was about to overflow. Holy lump in my throat. I don’t even know how to begin to explain how it feels to sit there and watch your child be given something he may be allergic to and to be told that he may have a reaction that requires Benadryl or an epi-pen. Oh wait, the worst part is that my husband and I had to give him the milk. Then, the allergist leaves and that is the last we saw of him!
8:30 – The allergist’s nurse came in and checked TJ out. Then, when she said he was fine, TJ drank more of the soy milk. I would say probably about 1/2 ounce. Then, she left. This is when we set up camp. We put down a blanket and toy mat, unloading all of TJ’s toys. Then, we played as we waited for another ten minutes.
8:40 – The nurse came back in and instructed us to give him more of the soy milk. TJ drank about an ounce. Then, she left and we played. I went and got my pump because I would have to pump since TJ would be missing a feeding/bottle. Strangely enough, as annoying as pumping can be sometimes, I have gained a love for it too and it has truly become second nature to me. Looking ahead, I can’t even imagine what it is like to not have to pump several times each day .. anyways back to the challenge…
8:55 – The nurse fully inspected him and we gave more of the soy milk. Then, I left to pump in another room as Timmy played with TJ.
9:15 – The nurse checked TJ out again and they gave another 3-4 ounces of soy milk. We waited again for ten minutes.
9:25 – He fell over and bumped his face lightly on the ground, making part of his face red. So, of course, I went and got the nurse afraid this was turning into a reaction. Nope, just me being over-caution.
9:30 – Then, around 9:30 we were cleared to go wait in the waiting room. So, TJ practiced his walking skills and of course made lots of friends by flashing his contagious smile.
9:50 – The nurse checked him out again and he was cleared to eat some food. So, he snacked on puffs, apples and a banana. Every 15 minutes, the nurse checked him out. He did randomly get some red marks and one time it looked like a hive on his face but both times it had been after he rubbed his face or one time after he spilled over onto the carpet. His sensitive skin makes things so much more complicated!!!
10:45 – TJ was checked out in the examining room by the nurse and we were cleared to go home. We were told to monitor him the rest of the day to make sure no random hives or new red spots develop.
TJ PASSED THE SOY CHALLENGE!
So now what??!?! I am beyond excited but it’s more complicated than most would think.
1)I emailed Allergist #1 regarding some questions about food and also trying to line up our next food challenges, thinking it will be pea and then coconut since they are both very low allergies and have the greatest chance of being tolerated. He mentioned that people book six months in advance so I wanted to get some on the calendar.
2) We ordered Baby’s Only Toddler Soy Formula to start to add into his diet since it has a greater amount of iron in it to help with his slight anemia. However, as I was emailing our pediatrician an update and to ask to meet with her regarding adding this and also continuing to breastfeeding or weaning or whatever she recommends…I noticed something in the ingredients… IT CONTAINS COCONUT!!! ha! Nothing is ever easy.
3) Then, we email both allergists asking about this formula and what to do since it contains coconut.
Allergist #2 says just give it at home, TJ will be fine!
Allergist #2 explained that food allergies are primarily caused by protein while oil is a fat. Kids with peanut allergy technically could eat food cooked in peanut oil. Soy allergic children can eat foods containing soybean oil or soy lecithin for the same reason. Therefore, he isn’t concerned about the coconut oil either.
4) I guess we can gradually introduce this Baby’s Only Toddler Soy Formula to a bottle a day. While I plan to double check with the pediatrician tomorrow, we are thinking of starting by adding one ounce to one of his normal bottles of breast milk tomorrow. Then, gradually adding more to this one bottle each day. Tj needs to contain to consume soy at least 2-3 times a week to keep up his tolerance to it. However, we can give it every day too.
5) As far as my diet, I plan to continue to breastfeed as we do this transition period just in case. Plus, it has been working for both of us despite the diet. I would not take back going on the elimination diet of wheat, soy, sesame, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, oats and barley for the world. I do not regret doing this at all! In my heart, I know that I have been able to help TJ in so many ways. I will also add soy and more wheat to my diet though which I am very excited about. Despite what many people may think, I truly learned to enjoy my restricted diet over the past five months. Back in December when I started it, it seemed impossible and I thought to myself that I would never make it to my goal of breastfeeding to a full year. However, with all of the challenges, I knew in my heart that in our case, it was what I needed to do. Now as we get closer to 13 months, I am forever thankful that God gave me the strength to do this.
While my breastfeeding journey is not over yet and our journey with food allergies is certainly not over yet, today was a huge step in the process! To all of those who have been and continue to be by our side through all of this with your words of encouragement and prayers, all I can say is THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!We are definitely smiling on with some soy…
May 21: A Brand New Plan
As of today, I am starting to feel even better about soy and TJ’s allergies in general for many reasons.
1) I spoke with the director and office staff at TJ’s day care regarding his allergies. I expressed my concerns about the following:
- This week, one of his teachers asking me, “Oh he can’t have cow’s milk?” This is after I informed all of his teachers and the office staff/director about his allergies, giving them a sheet with a plan of action back in December. And then again, I informed them of the increased levels of his dairy allergy. I also constantly give them updates about what we learn about all of it. COW’S MILK?!?!? I needed to make sure that everyone who cares for my son every single day when I am at work is aware of his allergies and how to react. Or else, I was and am really considering going on a leave from work for June so I can focus on keeping TJ safe.
- The day that I picked TJ up for his last round of blood work earlier this month, he was sitting next to another boy. They were so close and definitely able to get each other’s food. TJ was eating puffs as his little buddy was eating goldfish! No adult was watching. Goldfish has both wheat and dairy in it. Part of me thinks he may have ingested one. But who knows….I will never know but maybe that is why his level jumped. His skin was awful that afternoon when I picked him up so who knows.
I explained to them that I did not want to sound like the “crazy mom.” However, instead I need to be his advocate and I need to feel as though he is safe when I am not there. They responded so well and totally agreed. When I picked TJ up from daycare, I was informed that all of his teachers were spoken to about his updated allergy status and that they even spoke with other teachers about other students with allergies. In addition, they will be hosting another training about it all this summer. I feel so relieved.
2) I received this email from Allergist #1 this morning regarding introducing new foods and TJ’s increased dairy level.
“I recommend no new foods for 1 week after introducing soy. If he seems well, no eczema flares, normal stools, can then introduce a new food. Spinach, beets, kiwi, pineapple are very uncommon allergens. I feel it is reasonable to introduce them one at a time at home.
In terms of the milk numbers. It is a complex answer. The numbers can be variable, and change somewhat week to week, month to month. If the temperature July 1, 2015 is 78F, and the temp in July 2014 was 65F. This does not mean global warming is out of control. The important thing is the trend over time. Also remember that the numbers do not directly correlate to the severity of the allergy. A class 2 allergen is not necessarily “safer” than a class 5. Thus this does not mean TJ’s milk allergy is getting more severe. My take away is that he is not outgrowing the allergy as yet, and it may be harder or take longer for him to outgrow the allergy.”
For some reason, this made me feel much better and hopeful about the increased levels. And I really believe he will defy what the statistics show and outgrow much sooner. All I have to justify that belief is faith and that is all I need.
3) I scheduled the next four food challenges based on the recommendations of Allergist #1 and our pediatrician who, as a side note I must say, that I love more and more every time I speak with her. We also have a plan for when to retest iron/hemoglobin levels and some allergies.
– May 27 – Pea Challenge
– July 10 – Coconut Milk Challenge
– August – Blood work to retest/check iron and hemoglobin levels; wheat allergy; peanut and dairy components
– September 25 – Wheat Challenge
– October 7 – Sesame Challenge
4) Then, I also spoke with TJ’s pediatrician about passing the soy challenge and our next steps, and even about how I am very hesitate about stopping breastfeeding. I never thought I would make it to 12 months of breastfeeding; let alone getting upset at almost 13 months and thinking I don’t really want to stop. Anyways, she still strongly stands against using an iron supplement for now and thinks adding some of the organic soy formula fortified with iron and the new foods that we will and are currently adding to his diet will help. She is the one who said to retest in August and reevaluate from those results. She also encouraged me to continue breastfeeding as long as works for TJ and I. So, I am going to just take all of this day by day and see what happens with the transition to soy.
5) Last but far from least, I gave TJ some soy milk for the first time at home today by myself. He only drank 1/2 ounce and it may seem like nothing; however, this is a huge step for me. I put my fear aside and had faith that everything would be okay.
With that, we drink some soy and smile on…
May 22: “Manufactured on Dairy Equipment”
Today, I woke up feeling even more confident and positive about the introduction of soy to TJ’s diet. The plan was to add 1 ounce of Nature One’s Baby’s Only Organic Soy Formula for toddlers to his 11:30 am bottle. Then, tomorrow, we would add 2 ounces and so on until this bottle is solely the soy formula. However, as I prepped his lunch, I noticed the label of the formula stated “U – Pareve Ingredients – Manufactured on Dairy Equipment.” WHAT!?!?!?!
From everything that I have been told, foods with this label are not safe for people with food allergies. Since TJ is allergic to dairy, a label like this means cross-contamination is possible. However, why did both an allergist and a nutritionist tell us to use this formula? I sent the information to my husband who then emailed both allergists, the nutritionist, and our pediatrician.
While we wait to hear back from all of them, we used organic soy milk instead. I mixed 1.5 ounces with 4 ounces of breast milk in a bottle. However, he only drank about 3 ounces because he has been eating a lot of food today! Yay!!!
- Breakfast – a banana and jar of apples mixed with a lot of buck wheat
- Lunch – a turkey meatball (that we now make with buck wheat, sweet potatoes, and canola oil and TJ seems to enjoy much more)- squash and sweet potatoes and then some blueberries with apples and buck wheat
It is a great relief that he is starting to eat more solids and his chewing has also improved a lot in the past week. Hoping that this will all help to increase his hemoglobin/iron levels.
Earlier in the week, I had left a message with a representative at Organics Happy Family about their products. I had found the following link that lists the allergies present in each of their products. However, I also saw that on their rice cakes, it mentioned that it was “produced on equipment that also handles soy and milk.” I noticed this as TJ ate one of the rice cakes and loved it! I wanted to check to see if this is the same with their puffs that he loves and eats daily. There was nothing on the label but I wanted to double check. According to this chart, both puffs and the rice cakes we purchased contain none of the top allergens which includes dairy.
Right after I discovered the formula label, a representative from Happy Family called and said that all of their products including the puffs are manufactured on equipment that also handles dairy and other allergens. However, they don’t put that on their labels because it is not required by law. (Only in Europe where the rice cakes are produced is that required by law.) However, they follow strict cleaning and testing codes before packaging products to make sure that they are free of the allergens that they have listed on the chart above. Why is this all so complicated!?!
So now, we will just smile and laugh on at how confusing the world of food allergies is as we wait to hear back from our doctors….
May 23: Getting Over My Pouch Fear
As silly as it may seem, I have had a fear of giving TJ another food pouch of any sorts since his allergic reaction to the apple yogurt one. I am fully aware of the fact that many, if not most, of these pouches have no dairy or his allergies in them. However, every time I saw one, I relived giving him that yogurt pouch back in December. Therefore, I just avoided them. It is not time to get over this fear. So today, we went to Whole Foods and bought some. Making my husband reread the label over and over again like I too did, I also made him watch me give it to TJ. I sound crazy! I know I do; however, this crazy mom never wants another experience like that ever again!
TJ ate some of a banana blueberry pouch and we both smiled as I took a sigh of relief…
May 23 – “The Day I Stopped Judging Parents of Children with Food Allergies”
May 23: Toddler Formula Update
As TJ is starting to eat finally eat more solid foods, his 12 pm bottle/nursing session is almost gone. This is where we have been giving him a 4 ounce bottle of soy milk with breast milk since we have been waiting to hear back from our pediatrician, allergists, and nutritionist as to what to do with the toddler formula that is made on equipment that also handles dairy. Here are there responds…
Allergist #2 – said to follow whatever the nutritionist recommended which was Nature’s One Babys Only Organic Toddler Soy Formula
Allergist #1 – said it should be minimal risk
Pediatrician – said that we should continue to give the Happy Baby products that we have been giving TJ despite the company using the same machinery for dairy. She researched it as we did too and their cleaning practices are regulated by law. She did not mention the formula. (I must mention again that I love her! She emailed on Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. I think that just shows how dedicated she is her patients.)
Nutritionist – said ” As far as I know, all of the soy formulas (and many of the hypoallergenic formulas) are manufactured on dairy equipment. The only dedicated dairy-free facility formula are the Neocate lines of formulas. I recommended this one because it was organic. I don’t have as many patients on this brand as the more common brands but I can say, that to my knowledge we have not had any child with milk allergies react to the soy formulas due to cross contact. Does the company test for milk in their final product?”
– She usually recommends Similac Go & Grow Soy Toddler Drink.
The Even Newer Plan Now (This plan always damn changes. So much for being a planner…)
1) We bought and tried to give TJ some of the Similac. He took like three sips. Tomorrow we will try to give him a bottle of breast milk with an ounce of the formula around 9.
2) I feel beyond guilty about giving formula and honestly I have no idea why? I am not against formula and have never been. This is seriously harder than I ever imagined. I say this ad I am still continuing to breastfeed for 3.5 of 4 feedings. Not sure why I feel this way or what to do….
3) Call Nature’s One again on Tuesday and ask the specific question that nutritionist asked.
4) Drink lots of wine and by lots I mean two glasses …..how times have changed
5) Despite feeling very uneasy, I promise to smile and believe on …
“Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please.
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me.
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me,
Cause You meant what You said when You said,
You’d never leave.
Carry me, carry me, carry me now.
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground.
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out,
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now.”
– “Carry Me” by Josh Wilson
May 24-May 27: Pea Challenge
TJ’s skin is not doing well. His legs had an eczema flare-up after we went and played outside. Poor guy has been off Zyrtec for his upcoming food challenge which is probably why he has had some random isolated hives and the flareup in general. Plus, he is definitely intensely teething. Still, it is beyond frustrating to not know what the specific trigger(s) is/are. In my head, I am still worrying about the added soy. However, the allergist does not believe it has to do with the soy or food in general. I continue to pray for some kind of answers or at least to feel as ease with these challenges and introducing new foods to his diet.
TJ passed his pea challenge! However, we were beyond confused and frustrated with his eczema. The day started with TJ having a skin flareup even before we left to go to Allergist #1 for the pea food challenge. We had to distract him so he would not scratch at the problem areas. Then, when we drove to the office, my husband had to sit in the back to keep him from scratching. Soo stressful! Anyways, then the allergist said to go through with the challenge. At the start of the challenge, an isolated hive showed up on his neck then soon resolved itself. A random hive or two popped up over the next couple of hours. However, according to the allergist, TJ passed!
While part of me was excited, a greater part of me was beyond stressed about the eczema flare up and random hives that continued throughout the day and evening. All I want to do is what is best and all of this is beyond confusing…
TJ has been back on his Zyrtec and while his skin is not the best, he is less bothered by it! I could actually drive in the car without having to be halfway in the backseat trying to prevent him from ripping apart his legs. Plus, there were no hives today! Both the allergist and our pediatrician suspect that the hives and skin irritation was related to him being off the Zyrtec. For some reason, I am finally feeling at peace with this explanation. Maybe all of this is mainly a hyper skin sensitivity issue and not so much about the foods. Of course, he still has several food allergies for now; however, his sensitive skin is the main issue just like his daddy. We also switched back to CeraVe cream for his skin. Finally feeling excited for new foods, we steer and smile on…