When Theo was six weeks old the doctor suggested that he might have an intolerance to milk or a cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA). He’s exclusively breastfed so that meant it was the milk in my diet that was causing him problems. I’d taken him to the GP because he’d been straining to poo and then screaming out in pain, that had gone on for a couple of days but then he hadn’t done a poo in 24 hours which was really unusual as he’d been going about 7 or 8 times a day before that.
The GP checked him over and commented on the tiny spots and rough skin on his cheeks. This has been developing since he’d been born and it wasn’t bothering him. A few spots would come up in one place one day, then the next day would have gone and come up somewhere else. His cheeks had got gradually rougher and weren’t inflamed. I’d just assumed it was baby acne so I felt awful when the doctor drew attention to it and said it was a sign of a food intolerance coupled with the constipation and tummy pain.
He advised me to cut milk out of my diet for a week or two and see what happened. I found out afterwards through my own research that it actually takes three weeks for cow’s milk to leave your system and then a further three weeks to leave baby’s so it’s important to remember that results may not be immediate.
Children with an intolerance to cow’s milk protein are also likely to have other intolerances, including soya as it is very similar in structure. I cut out milk and soya from the start because I didn’t want to have to repeat it all in six weeks if he still had symptoms.
Within a few days of changing my diet, Theo’s digestion had returned to normal and his rash had faded loads. It took about a week for it to go completely so CMPA seems highly likely.
Recently it’s started to look like Theo has more intolerances. He started trumping loads in the night and seemed to have tummy ache so after some more googling it seemed like it could be wheat – I’d been eating All Bran every day for breakfast and having wholewheat wraps. I tried cutting out the wheat and there seemed to be an improvement.
A week or so ago we ended up at the hospital because he had blood in his poo, after a thorough examination and some blood tests they suggested it was probably another food intolerance. I eat eggs rarely and there had been a couple of days where I’d had them which coincided with Theo being incredibly grumpy so that seems like the most likely culprit.
It’s very difficult not knowing exactly what is and isn’t ok to eat and it makes the prospect of weaning him very scary. If he’s having a reaction to these foods when they’re filtered through breast milk, how will he react to an allergen when he encounters it directly? The doctor hasn’t been particularly helpful and has just said to see how he reacts when we start weaning, if we have issues he’ll refer him. That seems a bit cruel though, he has to be in pain before he’ll do anything to help? I guess we’ll just have to see what happens. We have a few weeks yet before we’ll start weaning and he told me to google the milk ladder to follow when trying to reintroduce milk – sage advice I’m sure, good old Google as recommended by medical professionals! *rolls eyes*.
I’d written this post earlier today but this afternoon we had to go to the doctor again because Theo spit up with a burp and there was brown blood in it. He loves to scare me it seems! We took him to get checked over and thankfully, he’s fine. Whilst the doctor was sympathetic and very interested in what I had to say about the intolerances and how I came to the CMPA conclusion, unless he’s screaming in pain they won’t investigate it. She seemed to say a lot to me without really saying anything, I just feel fobbed off.
I’m going to continue to chart our food intolerance journey. My next post in this series is going to be about my new dairy free diet and the best milk alternatives that I’ve found to make life a little bit easier! If you have any CMPA experience it would be great to get some advice or if you have any questions on food intolerances in babies let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.