How I Found Out My Daughter Has An Egg Allergy

How I found out my daughter has an egg allergy

When I think of children and allergies I think puffy faces, difficulty breathing, severe rashes and Epi-pens. My family’s experience of food allergies has been a very very different one to that. I want to share with you our story.

My daughter was born at 40 weeks and 5 days in a pretty amazing but intense birth. We were lucky enough to not need any intervention during the delivery and after a bumpy start, we were able to start our breastfeeding journey. She was a happy little feeder but things took a turn for the worse when at 10 weeks of age, I was diagnosed with a massive breast abscess. It measured 7cm x 8xm x 4xm and required immediate hospital admission and needle drainage. Disgustingly and amazingly they removed a total of 125ml of pus from my left breast over 3 separate aspirations. During this time I was on a long and heavy dose of antibiotics.

It wasn’t until I started to feel well again, that I realised just how sick I was. My happy little feeder wasn’t bothered as I had been breastfeeding her pretty much non stop for the past month as I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else! She was fat and happy!

Fast forward to when Possum (my daughter) is around 6 months of age. I was standing in the kitchen, Possum on my hip, munching on some strawberries. Possum reached out, grabbed the strawberry from my hand and ate it! And so began our Baby Led Weaning journey.

I had read lots of info regarding babies and allergies as Legoman (hubby) and both our families have multiple allergies and figured our children would most likely have at least one allergy too. The info I had read and in discussion with our GP, supported the idea of early introduction of foods likely to cause allergies. So we basically didn’t limit what “type” of food she was offered but rather just made sure it was a suitable size, shape and texture for her.

One of her first foods was egg yolk. I had read of its wonderful nutrition for bubs and it was a lovely soft texture and easy to hold onto. I would fry up an egg and peel away the white to offer the yolk. One day, when Possum was about 7 months old, I offered her an egg yolk as I had done multiple times before, only to have her sit far back in her high chair as if she was trying to move away from it. I was a bit confused and just sat with her for a little while. After a couple of minutes she gobbled up the whole thing very happily! I thought nothing more of it and soon after put her down for a nap. She went to sleep well, and an hour later I heard funny sounds coming from her cot. I walked in to find her covered in vomit and looking distressed. I immediately picked her up only to have her vomit down my back. She sounded really snotty but was breathing well. But not crying at all. I tried breastfeeding her, only to have her vomit all the milk straight back up as well. I was starting to panic. My daughter was not a vomity kind of baby. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Possum then kept vomiting another 4 or so times, fluid pouring out of her. I called Legoman, packed the car and drove her to the local hospital. But by the time we got there, she was her happy normal self again. Utterly confused, the three of us went to a local park to have a bit of quiet time and fresh air.

After discussing it with Legoman, we both just put it down to a bad egg and didn’t think too much more of it. Just to be safe, we didn’t offer her any more egg for another a week or so, and when we did there was absolutely no reaction.

Other things were starting to happen though. Possum went from waking once in the night, to twice, to three times, four then five. She was very clingy and easily upset. Her weight seemed to level out. My once butterball of a baby was starting to look lanky. When I took her to the doctor she had dropped from the 50th centile on the growth charts to the 15th. For a baby feeding as much as she was, something wasn’t right. We had a couple more episodes of vomiting in her sleep, which weren’t associated with egg or any other consistent foods. She also then developed a horrendous nappy rash, which had large raised pock marks. A doctors visit and a couple of swabs later, nothing was identified as a cause. It wasn’t until a girlfriend said “That’s what happens to my girls when they eat something they are allergic to” that a penny dropped.

Possum had food allergies. But what the hell were they??

Ambitiously I took it upon myself to put Possum and myself on the RPA elimination diet, which looks at reducing intake of natural food chemical ie amines, salicylates and glutamates. This diet was also gluten and dairy free, but included egg.

Dinner on Day 1 was a simple egg and white rice pie. All it was, was egg, rice and chives. I don’t know if it was because she was starving but Possum gobbled up a lot of the pie for dinner. When I undressed her for her evening bath, her entire trunk and back was covered in a very fine rash. I posted a photo to social media and the consensus was an allergic reaction. So no more egg, not until we saw a specialist.

I abandoned the elimination diet after a week as it was unbearably hard and I found myself hungry and angry most of the time. It was also the week of Possum’s first birthday.

So off to the GP for a referral to an allergy clinic.

Possum had a blood test, perfectly normal.

Then we attended a large teaching hospital for Possum to receive skin prick testing for over 30 different allergens. This is when we got our answer!

Possum has allergies to egg yolk, sesame, fish, hazelnut and pecan.

All foods which she and I had been eating regularly.

Immediately both Possum and I took all these things out of our diets. Her sleep improved. Her mood improved and she started to grow. And grow a lot! 4cm in one month!

I felt a huge amount of relief to finally know what was causing my daughter’s body so much distress. I felt frustrated and sad that these foods were no longer going to be part of our family’s diet. I felt hopeful that one day she would outgrow some of them.

She is due for her egg challenge now at nearly 2 years of age. It has been booked twice only to be cancelled at the last minute by the hospital due to no beds. So we keep on waiting to hear what may happen.

Possum has been amazingly calm and accepting of her dietary limitations. No tantrums and no fuss. I think it helps that she and I have the same rules for each other (as a breastfeeding mum I don’t eat her allergens as they can be passed on to her through my breastmilk). It can make birthday parties, going out to eat and general play dates hard. We always pack plenty of our own food incase there isn’t something suitable and meal planning has eased alot of stress. We have learnt to read ingredients on EVERYTHING, as quite often allergens are snuck into foods unsuspectingly.

I am grateful Possum’s allergies are not anaphylactic. But the chronic stress her body was experiencing was a horrible thing to witness.

I hope our story has given a different perspective on what having a child with food allergies can be like. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a message below.

***Like my blog? Have new posts delivered to your inbox! Just Follow on WordPress!***

***Come join in the fun at my Facebook Page! Lots of info on food, baby led weaning and family fun!***

Advertisements

Baby Led Weaning – 17 months on

Baby Led Weaning - 17 months on

Once upon a time, way back in the golden olden days, I had a baby. A gorgeous butter ball of a 6 months old baby.

I now have a lanky chatterbox toddler!

I did a post 8 months ago (that maths is correct yeah? Dad??) to reflect on our Baby Led Weaning journey. And here we are now with our gorgeous Possum about to turn two (!!!) next month. Safe to say we are past the sweet potato wedges and patties phase and into the “I’m a little person with my own little palate and no you can not make  me eat that roast potato” phase.

In my previous post I had talked about Possum dropping down on the weight centiles and not being quite sure why. Was Baby Led Weaning to blame? The answer was a big fat no! Turns out she has multiple allergies and a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the food I was offering her was actually stuff she was allergic to. Our beautiful Possum is allergic to egg, fish/seafood, sesame, hazelnut and pecan (no great loss with that one IMO). So once we had that figured out, care of blood tests and comprehensive skin prick tests, we were then able to keep her on a modified diet. The amazing thing was she then had a massive growth spurt not long after! As if her body was saying a huge THANK YOU for finally understanding what it needed. The sad part was, as I was and still am breastfeeding it meant couldn’t have any of those things either. No more pad thai, no more fish and chips, no more sesame snaps. Hello to reading the ingredients on EVERY SINGLE THING when you do the grocery shopping. I still do read ingredients lists religiously because companies are constantly changing their ingredients without telling you. All of a sudden the rice crackers we had been buying, plain rice crackers, had sesame seeds listed in the ingredients list. Well that explained the angry nappy rash!

Anyway! I digress!

So Baby Led Weaning is all about, well, weaning. As any introduction of food is seen as the beginning of the shift for a child from a purely milk (in our case breastmilk) based diet to a fully food based diet. I am proud and also a little freaked out to say we are still breastfeeding. I say freaked out because I am also 24 weeks pregnant! I never in a million years thought I would be a tandem breastfeeder but that is kind of the direction we are heading at the moment. I have had some horrible horrible experiences with feeding aversion prior to falling pregnant which made our breastfeeding relationship hugely stressful and made me want to wean cold turkey. Thankfully the pregnancy actually helped to mellow things out. And here we are. Possum seems to be slowly cutting out her first thing in the morning feed which is nice, though some mornings she will ask “I want just a tiny little bit of mummy milk”. If we are home she will still have a feed before her nap and then has another feed before bed time at night. She doesn’t always feed to sleep anymore which is another bonus as it meant Legoman and I actually went out one night BEFORE she went to bed! Amazing!

So our Baby Led Weaning journey continues. It looks a heck of a lot different to 7 months ago! Let’s see where we will be in 7 months time!

How is your Baby Led Weaning journey going? Are you where you thought you’d be?

To the Mom of a Nursing Toddler

Baby Led Weaning is exactly that, letting your baby lead the way as to when they will fully wean from breastfeeding to solid foods. For alot of people this involves feeding a toddler. An experience very different to breastfeeding a baby. This lovely blog piece really captures the spectrum of emotions I know I have experienced as a mother of a nursing toddler. To all mothers out there, you’re doing something amazing. Much love xx

Wendy Wisner

IMG_5832-0

It’s ok that you’re the only one who can get your child to take a nap.

It’s ok that you’re the only one who can put your child to sleep at night.

It’s ok that you can’t imagine a night away from your child.

It’s ok that you can imagine a night away from your child.

It’s ok that you sometimes resent your child’s very big need for you.

It’s ok that you sometimes feel so full with radiant love when you think of your child’s very big need for you.

It’s ok that your child always, sometimes, “still” nurses in the middle of the night.

It’s ok that you offer to nurse your child when you are tired and you want to sit still on the couch for a few minutes.

It’s ok that you offer to nurse your child to ward off a tantrum.

It’s ok that…

View original post 312 more words

Baby Led Weaning – 9 months on

My beautiful little Possum is now over 15 months old. I absolutely have a toddler for a daughter now. No more baby! She walks! She talks! She tries to feed her baby doll! Before giving birth I always wondered how the heck I would manage parenting a toddler vs a baby. I know it’s very early days, but can I just say toddlers are awesome fun! Crazy, frustrating, hilarious fun 🙂 Much prefer them to babies at this stage.

Na-na for Baby

Na-na for Baby

When Possum was 6 months old she grabbed a strawberry out of my hand and started to eat it. And so our Baby Led Weaning journey began.
9 months down the track and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how it’s all gone thus far.

Alot of people steer clear of BLW (Baby Led Weaning) because they think a) their kid will choke to death and b) that their bub won’t get enough to eat. I can safely report that Possum has absolutely had her fair share of gag moments, but has navigated them all safely. Once or twice I have swiftly gotten her out of her high chair to have her cough up the massive chunk of watermelon and then shove a new piece in her gob straight away. No tears, no stress. Just a little tot who loves her watermelon! In terms of not getting enough to eat, I breast feed Possum on demand which at the moment equates to about 3 feeds in 24 hours, 4-5 if she is teething or just having a rough day. She also eats three meals and has two snacks. With all of this she is only on the 10th centile for weight but is an otherwise healthy, happy and growing little lady.

So what have been the wonderful things along the way?

  • Watching her learn so much every time she eats. She now holds things up to her nose to smell them!! Seeing this makes me so so proud! In the early days it was the amazing fine motor skills that blew me away. How quickly she learnt how to hold and eat banana and avocado without mashing it all over herself. The way she can pick up a single green pea.
  • The photos! So many great pics of smiles and mess and food and mushroom juice that looks like beards and avocado that looks likes dentures…. ah such sweet memories.
  • The human peeler. The food goes in with peel. Mouth moves around. Peel comes out. Amazing.
  • No pureed mush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! From day one, most of the things that Possum has been given, have been exactly the same as what we are eating. This has meant a bit of a shift in how we eat and how we plan our meals, but this has led us to be more prepared and also eat healthier throughout the week. It’s nice to see how she likes different foods prepared and what flavours she really enjoys. Easy to distinguish when they’re not all mushed in together.
  • She can partially peel a mandarin!!! If you get her started she will do the rest. The other day she even walked over and put it in the bin (we may never see her do that again until she’s 21…). She also pulls the green leaves off her strawberries. Awesomeness.
  • She will eat and entire pear. and I mean entire. She even tried to eat the stem one day. Generally she searches through the grocery bags to see what she can chomp on while I put stuff away. Hurray!

    Nom nom nom

    Nom nom nom

  • It’s amazing how she isn’t fazed by stuff. Near choking experience… meh! Just shove more food in once it’s out!
  • Opportunity for communication has led to her language exploding and her using sign to let us know when she is finished. Makes meal times easier, and even easier for the grandparents when on baby sitting duties. She can now say toast (more like toooooooooooooooooast), strawberry, cracker, mushroom, na-na, cheese, apple, ice, peas, noodle. she has a word for butter (she eats butter in chunks like cheese) but I can’t think of it…
  • How the mess has gone from crazy to minimal. We use two wipes to clean up now. One for me and one for Possum to help (she says “wipe wipe wipe” when she’s finished and loves to help clean the chair, herself and of course my face!). Sometimes I don’t even bother with a bib! So wouldn’t have thought that was possible 9 months ago!

    Spag bol without a bib! It can be done!

    Spag bol without a bib! It can be done!

  • The friendly pair of Currawongs that comes to our garden to eat the remains from under Possum’s high chair. One only has one eye, I am particularly fond of that one 🙂 They aren’t scared of us now, so hang around while we are outside. Possum gets very excited to see them and waves and says “hi!”.
  • It was so so worth it! So worth it. And Legoman totally agrees too.

And the not so great bits…

  • Some days I wished I had an open mouthed, spoon fed, garbage disposal unit. Oh how easy life might be….. Outings really were a bit tricky in the middle there. But we battled and got through and here on the other side it is much much easier.
  • The mess. It’s a love hate thing the mess. It’s fun to watch. A bummer to clean up. We quickly devised a system. We use cloth wipes and kept a stash with the bib stash. We also went to op shops and stocked up on old tablecloths for under the high chair. We use a milk crate (just don’t tell the milk companies…) to put all the grotty wet wipes and tablecloths in and wash every couple of days.
  • Worrying about weight. When Possum was only breastfed she was on the 50th centile. Now she is on the 10th. And we are all trying to figure out why! I wonder if the same thing would’ve happened had she been a spoon fed baby. But then again she is happy and her development is wonderful. Just has made me a bit of a worried mummy.
  • Allergies. We are trying to figure out if Possum has an egg and possibly fish allergy. She came out in a rash after eating egg as well as having a massive vomiting episode after another meal of egg. Plus two other vomiting episodes after fish…. but then again she has also had fish and egg other times without any issues. Bamboozles my brain… Initial blood tests have all come back as normal so fingers crossed…. Just means no egg or fish at home. Poop. Two things I love. I am certain this would be the same whether we did BLW or not as there is such a strong family history of allergies unfortunately.
  • Sometimes I do feel a bit like a wanky parent saying “oh we did Baby Led Weaning (insert smug smile here)”.
  • I went in to BLW thinking I would never have a fussy eater. How wrong was I. We have certainly had to battle a phase of not eating any vegetable other than mushrooms (random!) and being just a carb junky. But once again that phase passed. But be warned, BLW does not immunise against fussiness!

And the big questions is… Has Possum weaned? No, not yet. And as long as I have this amazing milk making super power, and Possum keeps asking for it, then we will continue along this amazing breastfeeding journey we are on together. I am so proud of us for continuing despite newborn issues, blocked ducts, a breast abscess, returning to work and life in general. I would like to take a moment to say a massive thankyou to my wonderful husband for being a constant support. Without him I don’t know where I’d be. Thank you Legoman for being a rad dad!

Magical Booby Milk

So many times in the past 11 months I have said out loud, “Thank God for boobs!”. Being able to breastfeed my daughter has been one of the greatest gifts I could have ever received. It hasn’t always been easy, we had 4 days in hospital after she was born learning to feed and then 10 weeks later we were back in hospital to have a 7 x 8 x 4cm abscess drained from my left breast. But here we are 11 months later, back at work, and still feeding! Hurray!

Feeding is such a delicate issue in mummy circles. I wish it wasn’t, because every single one of us is just trying to do what we feel is best for our baby and ourselves. I have heard people talk about their different struggles and can truly empathise with how hard feeding a little baby can be. I have had times of crying on the phone to my girlfriends threatening to cut my boobs off and fling them out a window. I have had times where the thought of having my daughter feed makes me wince in dread. I have had times of enduring over enthusiastic niplash (where your baby flings itself off to look at something). I have also had times of having my daughter drift off into blissful sleep whilst feeding. I have had times where the only thing that will soothe her is a breastfeed. I have had to wait in hospital emergency rooms for hours and hours on end, so grateful for my boobs.

And after coming out the other end of all those hard times, I am so glad we kept going. The benefit (for me and my family) has far outweighed the crap that we went through.

Why the blurb about boobs? Because I hope someone reads this and it strikes a chord with them. Or the day they start their breastfeeding journey they remember something I’ve written and it helps them to ask questions, find support and find a solution for them.

Our mothers group talks boobs often, and this week it has been all about supply. How do I boost my supply? How to I tell if my supply has dropped? We were comparing what works for us, when I remembered a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks, Leon, for George’s Breastfeeding Bread! I am doing a sneaky cut and paste job, but here is the recipe. May your milk flow forth and nurture!

George’s Breastfeeding Bread

(abridged, for the full thing check out Leon):
330g spelt flour (or wholemeal)
170g white flour
5g fast-acting dried yeast
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. aniseeds
1 tsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. fenugreek (ground)
40g pumpkin seeds
40g sunflower seeds
2.5 tbs. olive oil
300ml warm water
extra sunflower and pumpkin seeds for the top (the recipe calls for pine nuts as well, but I typically don’t have those on hand, so I simply omit them)

Grease a loaf pan, mix all the dry ingredients together (except the extra seeds for the topping) in a large bowl, add the oil and water, and knead in the bowl briefly. Put the dough in the loaf pan, cut gashes across the top for the extra seeds and let rise for a few hours. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. Turn down the oven to 400 degrees and bake for another 20 minutes.

As an aside, I haven’t actually baked this… I never had supply issues. But it sounds delicious! Would love to hear if you’ve made it. Would also love to hear your breastfeeding stories, like hearing birthing stories, I’m addicted!

The 7 things I love about Baby Led Weaning

We have been doing baby led weaning for 4 months now, not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things. But it feels like ages already! I was set on doing Baby Led Weaning after seeing how well some of my friends babies had done with it and how easy it really was. The more I read about it, the more it made sense. I had plenty of people tell me “She won’t get enough”, “You’ll need to supplement”. But as a mumma who was feeding on demand and already had a very wakeful baby, I thought we’d just see how we went… And so the journey began. One sunny day, a week shy of being 6 months old, and Possum grabbed a strawberry out of my hand and shoved it in her gob! If that’s not showing signs of readiness then I don’t know what is! So into the high chair she went (I would highly highly recommend the Ikea Antilop). And we haven’t looked back since.

4 months down the track, am I happy with the decision we made? Heck yes! Is LegoMan? Certainly is! And Possum? Couldn’t be happier! But why do you love it so much? Here’s the 5 reasons why…

1. COMMUNICATION. Baby Led Weaning is as it sounds. Led by your baby. Which means following your baby’s lead in terms of when, how much and what she or he is eating. You don’t start on a calendar day. You don’t start because your baby is watching you eat. You start when your baby literally is putting food, not toys, in their own mouth. Once you’ve started you just keep following their lead Here is a picture of the signs of readiness taken from Gill Rapley‘s Baby Led Weaning book.

Image

I am amazed at how well Possum can tell me when she needs a drink, what she needs/wants to eat, when she is finished, when she doesn’t like something. As long as you are offering a healthy a balanced variety of food and offering milk feeds on demand, then you don’t need to worry about how much or what they are putting in their mouths. One day Possum will eat a huge amount of food at every meal, but then the next she may just eat a little bit. You never know, you just need to be prepared. It’s great for your baby to be listened to. It’s helping them feel like they have a say which means meal times aren’t a battle. There is no fight to be won or lost. You are just having a conversation.

2. EASY. It really is so very very easy! Make food, offer food. You start with real food, no purees (unless the meal is a puree anyway, like soup or porridge). Possum started with roast sweet potato wedges, cucumber sticks, watermelon and pear. All things we could sit down and enjoy with her. As she has gotten older it has stayed easy, just the volume of food has increased dramatically. She really does eat the same things we do, with the occasional thing made especially for her (when our meal isn’t appropriate for her, like having take away). Eating out and about is messy (it’s always messy!) but you share wherever you go.

3. CHEAP. I think we bought one packet of baby cereal at a friend’s suggestion early. We made it twice. It was a waste of money. Other than that we haven’t had to buy any special baby food, blenders, steamers or fancy freezer trays. She uses her two hands and drinks from an open mouthed cup. She does have a baby spoon for eating things off a spoon, but I’m sure a normal tea spoon would work. Or a carrot stick. Or a cucumber stick. Even the times I buy her a piece of salmon, it still works out cheaper than buying packets of baby food.

4. HEALTHY. Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is now gold standard with dieticians. The reason? Kids that have done BLW have a lower incidence of obesity. They are learning to recognise and respond to when they are full. They are learning to listen to their bodies needs in terms of nutrition. They are learning to listen to their hunger cues rather than just eat because it’s the “right time”. This is where feeding on demand and BLW go hand in hand. The milk feeds fill the gaps where they might not want food that day. Their nutritional needs are still being met. People worry that their milk, for some reason, at 6 months is no longer “enough” for their baby. That suddenly it loses nutritional value. Not so. Your breastmilk magically changes to suit your babies needs as they grow. So at 6 months it is different than at 3 months. Check out this list of wonderful facts about breast milk at different ages.

6. LEARNING/EDUCATIONAL. Wow, so much learning! Social skills, language skills, fine motor skills, oral skills. Plus all the wonderful learning through touching, smelling, tasting food. The first time Possum had avocado was hilarious. She was literally green from the waist up. It was everywhere! I don’t even know if she ate any! But then a week or two later, she had learnt how to pick it up and eat it without it turning to absolute mush in her hands. If you put 5 different things in front of her, she will look at them, touch them, maybe taste them, before she decides where to start. She recognises food as food. If we go to the fruit and veg shop, she reaches out for her favourites because she has seen them on her tray. She has put raw ginger in her mouth, there’s a whole lot of learning in one mouthful!

7. SOCIAL. We always try and eat together. Whenever she eats, someone is eating next to her. She learns that meals are to be enjoyed and shared. They deserve time and attention. It’s a time to play, sing, smile, talk, watch the world go by. Possum is a leisurely eater and can sometimes take a full hour to eat her meal. I really like this about her. It can be super frustrating, but I don’t want to rush her (not unless we have to of course!).

8. FUN. It has been crazy, messy, silly fun! From the time some avocado made her look like she had funny buck teeth, to her trying sushi for the first time (she didn’t come up for air until the whole thing had disappeared), to the times she doesn’t want to use her hands and just eats straight off the tray… like today…

Image

I have so many photos on my phone of her eating because she is happy, having fun! I love that she sits at the dining table with us and just joins in the fun. Part of the family.

I honestly hope this helps sway you or someone you know towards trying Baby Led Weaning. Enjoy!