Allergies, Eczema and Carrots!

When Bay was just 10months old I fell pregnant again. My husband and I were delighted and we couldn’t wait for Bay to have a sibling so close in age to love and play with. I remember my husband and I discussing whether we thought this one would also have allergies and intolerances and what it would be like with the both of them needing specialised diets. We came to the conclusion that it would be OK if they did and we would cope, but ‘please, little one, if you are going to have food issues, please let them be just one or two or even the same as your brother to make life just a little easier for us’.

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Kk was born on 20th May at 7.10pm. In those first moments he was so calm and contented being held in my arms and didn’t really cry at all, he looked so adorable and angelic and it felt truly magical. Very different to how Bay came out – screaming and squishy faced with hands the size of shovels! (Exactly what I had always envisioned!) I still daydream about that first moment with Kk, even now a year on. I think about what could have been; what kind of baby he would be had things been different; whether his big brother would have coped better with having a baby brother who continued to be as happy as he was in those few minutes.

Not long after, I breastfed my hungry little baby and watched with delight as he latched on so easily and took his first meal. Little did I know that everything would change from then on. Other than a short nap in his daddy’s arms around 10pm, Kk was awake pretty much the entire night. He just cried. The midwife said to keep breastfeeding him as he was a big baby (4.5kg) and probably just hungry, and I trusted her as I didn’t have any other options. During that night Kk was sick and did 5 consecutive poos! I couldn’t believe it! There I was, on my own in my private room (which I originally thought was bloody amazing!) struggling to breathe after having given birth to a MASSIVE baby and not slept for over 24hrs, changing my screaming baby’s nappy for over 45mins! Yes that’s how long it took….I was an absolute mess and I just wanted to lie down and close my eyes!

He finally fell asleep in his brothers arms!

I thought he would sleep after that but he just continued to cry. In the following days Kk was a very unsettled baby. He didn’t want to be held, he hardly slept and, regardless what position we put him in, he just cried.

After spending virtually the entire first night of his life breastfeeding, my milk production had gone into serious hyperdrive and not only did I have an enormous amount of milk but I was also suffering from an over-active letdown. This meant that my poor baby was having to cope with milk spraying with such force that he was choking, pulling off and then copping an eye-full! As for me, I was in agony! The force by which the milk came in was such that I was crippled in pain and in tears! This continued several times a day for 12weeks. Yes, 12 weeks! Unreal! It was almost unbearable! Who am I kidding, it actually was unbearable!

I remember early on in the first few weeks feeling over the moon about leaving the house and going to see our good friends. The giddy school girl in me had taken over and I could feel my smile stretching uncontrollably across my face! It continued so long that my jaw was starting to hurt but I was just so god damn happy to see friendly and familiar faces. It took a minute or 2 before I realised exactly why my jaw was hurting so much as I snapped out of my trance and noticed that Toby was staring at me in a bizarre way. There I was, standing right in front of him, after just walking through the door and saying hello, squeezing both my boobs whilst grimacing with clenched teeth! What a weirdo I must have looked!

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Calm cuddles with my gorgeous boys

During the next few weeks, Kk was violently sick; suffered severe diarrhoea and spent most of his waking hours screaming (most of the night too). Hubby and I started by taking it in turns to settle him in the night but it didn’t take long before Bay started waking too as the screams were horrific at times. Before we knew it, we had Bay waking 5 times a night and Kk hardly sleeping at all. We were both utterly utterly exhausted! Yet life still went on: today’s disappeared; tomorrow’s came and we just plodded on!

After spending every spare minute I had researching, I came to the conclusions that he either had allergies; he wasn’t getting the right consistency of breast milk due to the above issues, or both. I followed all the breastfeeding advice online and I cut out dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts and soy. He was still screaming, being sick and the diarrhoea continued. It was a nightmare!

When Kk was 14weeks old we finally had his paediatric appointment. I was completely broken by this point and couldn’t handle hearing both of my kids screaming anymore; watching my baby be constantly sick and sleeping for just 10 mins here, 20mins there – averaging around 2-3hrs of broken sleep a night. The paediatrician was reassuring although thought he may have a dairy allergy due to the rash forming around his mouth and sent us home with a prescription for Neocate, a hypoallergenic formula. As much as I wished to continue to breastfeed my son, I felt utterly relieved that he was going on to formula for the sake of his health. It was like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I couldn’t wait to get him started on it.

For those of you who haven’t had experience with Neocate, it is absolutely and utterly vile! The smell alone is enough to make you heave and I knew, from already going through it with Bay, that it would be a long process. This time was different though – he screamed so hard, as if being tortured! We tried several more times over the next few weeks, but to no avail. By this point the rash had spread around his face and down his chin. Kk screamed hard throughout the nights and scratched his face, sometimes until it bled. We gave him numerous medicines and used creams to settle his angry skin.

Eczema from allergies Eczema from allergies

The weaning process was just painful! We couldn’t tell which foods he was reacting to or not as he already had all the symptoms and so, after a few months of getting nowhere and feeling utter despair, we realised there was only really one option – I had to go through the weaning process too! I cut out nearly all foods and went right back to basics – carrot, sweet potato, pear, raisins, salmon and chicken. The result was incredible and for the first time in his life, at 10months old, he had beautiful soft cheeks, he smiled and laughed throughout the day and started sleeping for longer stretches at night. Bay started to calm down too and even started to play with Kk without trying to hurt him. I LOVED this time SO much!

The eczema has gone!

As a family, we had seriously struggled to cope with the hand we had been dealt until then. My husband had changed jobs; we had moved country; we had hardly slept for 10months; we had 2kids who spent most of their days screaming (for different reasons); we were away from all family and friends and we had no support network. So this moment, when we had our happy and contented little boy back and our lives started to feel like ‘this is just what it should be like’, was a moment to cherish. It really was! Because, of course with all things baby related, it didn’t last long!

It turned out that Kk had allergies to all other foods! ALL OTHER FOODS! We tried giving him Neocate again but he had an allergic reaction to it. It was only then that we understood why it felt like we were torturing him when he was just a baby….because we were! We were all devastated and in shock!

Allergies reacion
Reacting to Neocate

After a couple of weeks living on just plain carrot, sweet potato, pear, raisins, salmon and chicken, I was finding it hard to care for myself let alone my kids too. It was around this time we decided we desperately needed some help and were lucky to find the most amazing au pair who not only helped look after the kids, but recognised that I was in need of help too! I lost so much weight and I couldn’t bare even looking at myself in the mirror, I was so gaunt and ill looking that, one day, my husband said to me, ‘you’re going to have to start eating the chicken fat and skin’. Just hearing this made me want to vomit, but I knew he was right.

Within a week I was dipping my carrot and sweet potato chips in the fat and drizzling it all over my meal as if it was a delicious sauce. It became second nature to eat the skin and, for the first time ever, I actually started to enjoy it. Both Kk and myself were so hungry though that for lunch alone we could polish off a whole roast chicken between us. Our food bill was astronomical and god knows how many chickens we got through a week – it’s not a thought I like to have.

It didn’t take long before I started to dread eating the same foods day in day out and sometimes I just sat staring at my plate of carrot and sweet potato, feeling slightly nauseated. Despite being absolutely ravenous, I just couldn’t bare the thought of eating one more shitty carrot! I wanted to throw the plate away as hard as I could in utter frustration. I didn’t blame Kk when he did throw his and I couldn’t ever get upset with him for having done it either.

The screaming started again. This time, Kk was crying because he had started to realise there were many more foods he could be eating that he was being denied of, especially when he saw his brother eating foods such as rice, pasta, bread and eggs. I know how much I craved these foods and no matter how much I ate, I was never fully satisfied. I felt so sorry for my poor little Kk but I had to stay strong and be a tough Mummy! ‘I’m sorry Kk, you can’t have it, it will make you ill’. These seriously crappy words have been on replay for months now and will unfortunately continue to play like a broken record for the foreseeable future.

Meal for baby with allergies
Care for a carrot?

I don’t know how I managed to do it, it was all a bit of a blur to be honest and at the end I was a complete nervous wreck, but I continued this diet for 3.5months. (However, the months prior to this I also had, what I thought to be at the time, a very restricted diet.) It was then that we had our next paediatric and dietitian appointment. I had been counting down the days to this appointment. Normally I go into meetings like these with low expectations as then there can be no disappointments and often I leave pleasantly surprised that I had learned something new. However, this one was different. I couldn’t have low expectations for this meeting. For me this appointment had to give me answers! I needed answers, I needed advice, I needed help! I had no room for disappointments and I wasn’t prepared to leave without ….something. Just something!

The advice that we were given was so unbelievably simple, yet was a whole game changer! I couldn’t believe it. Why hadn’t I even thought of it myself? (Probably because I didn’t have the energy to think at all, about anything!)

I got started the very next day and a month on – I am filled with hope!

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24 thoughts on “Allergies, Eczema and Carrots!

  1. Wow! When my youngest was born he was lactose intolerant until he was two. His doctor told me that some kids grow out of it but I wonder sometimes if he was every lactose intolerant or if it was just my milk. I was only able to nurse him for a month when the doctor told me to switch to formula, which thankfully, wasn’t the stuff you mentioned. My son is a very picky eater that his doctor says has to do with sensory issues but he thankfully isn’t allergic to anything. I can’t imagine going through that with both of your babies. I’m so glad they are both healthy now and I hope that life is a little easier for you now. I wish you and you family the best! #bigpinklink

    1. Thanks Michelle. I’m glad your boy doesn’t have any allergies but picky eating can be a challenge in itself! My youngest is still allergic to nearly everything and has a mild reaction everyday but I’m hoping we may be on the journey to him being able to start tolerating a few more foods – fingers crossed!

  2. Wow, I can’t even imagine how hard it has been on all of you or how exhausted you and your husband must be. Poor little guy. My daughter was allergic to formula and here they called it Isomil and you are right the smell is horrid.#bigpinklink

  3. Oh my gosh! I feel emotional reading this. I dunno how u guys coped. And i really hope things are on the up for u all. There’s not exactly much weight on u to lose!! Wish i could have helped whilst u were in the uk. Had no idea how bad it all was, love ur blogs and well done for all the sacrifices u have made. Most people and indeed mums will have no understanding of how difficult it must have been. Loads of love n hugs to u all! Xx

    1. Thanks Hun! Yes…I was pretty thin, eek! Just starting to get my energy back now so coping a lot better. I don’t think anyone quite understood what we were/are going through so it’s good to finally be able to write it all down! Hope you are well and thanks for the support and encouragement xxx

  4. Hi there, your post came up on my feed and I thought I’d read it since our situation was very similar. At 9 months, our boy could only eat apple and rice. I searched high and low, trying to find diffferent forms of these foods to make life vaguely interesting for him. We did manage to BF until 18 months, with me on a very limited diet. I thought you might like to check out my blog for some recipe ideas. It is worth all the effort when you see the great improvement in their skin, and presumably their insides too. Keep up the great work! http://www.allergyfun.com/2015/09/amazingly-simple-allergy-free-slow.html

    1. Wow, only apple and rice? That must have been hard! Did he outgrow any allergies? Thanks for the link!

      1. Yes, he has outgrown heaps!!! There is hope 🙂 He used to react to milk, soy, egg, wheat, oats, tomatoes, peas, pumpkin, chickpeas, lentils, onions, all seafood. Now he can actually eat cow’s milk, wheat and peas. He still reacts to soy, citrus, pumpkin, some white fish, prawns.. pretty random stuff. But the great thing about introducing foods at such a slow rate is that you really know what they react to. He is an absolutely gorgeous boy (not biased!) and is developing fine. He is actually extra tall, so his restricted diet hasn’t had a bad effect. Instead, I believe giving him only what his body was ready for at the time has meant that he can concentrate on growing, not being sick. Here’s another of my posts to help you along xo http://www.allergyfun.com/2015/11/allergy-education-when-to-start.html

        1. So glad he is starting to have more foods. I loved reading that!! 🎉💖

  5. Oh my goodness… I don’t even know how you got through this, I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like… I was exhausted just reading it. The tiredness, screaming, worrying about rashes and food-what a strain that must’ve been on you all. Luckily we have no allergies in our house, and I feel so grateful for this after reading your story. It sounds like you’re finally getting some answers, and I’ll look forward to hearing how you’re all getting on!
    #bigpinklink
    This Mum’s Life recently posted…A Reflection of Emotional AbuseMy Profile

    1. To be honest, I’ve no idea how we have either, ha! Every day is a struggle but somehow we manage to get through each one! One thing I know for sure….we won’t be having a 3rd!! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  6. Hi, just in case you are based in London….try to book am appointment with Dr. Adam Fox, he is paediatric allergist and the only person who helped us. My daughter had egg allergy. Her cheeks pretty much like your son’s. Dr Fox is expensive but worth all the money.

    1. Thanks Misa, yes I have heard good things about him and you are right, he is incredibly expensive. Luckily I managed to see a fab paed and dietitian here in Melbourne 😊👍

  7. Poor little guy! I’m fortunate my boys don’t have allergies. So sorry you have to go through this.

    Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  8. I think more and more people are getting allergies now a days unfortunately, me and my son both have an intolerance to wheat and gluten. He was really ill when he first got symptoms at 1 he was in hospital for a couple of weeks.

    1. Hey Mark, sorry to hear that. I truly hope your son is well now and outgrows his intolerance, or at least manages to cope ok with excluding them!

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