Our Food Allergy Story: Chapter 1

When I look at photos of my son at four-months-old, I can’t help but think of the milestone that marked. Not the kind that you read about in parenting books and not one I realized until two months later. It was at four months that my son – my exclusively breastfed son – started exhibiting symptoms of a food allergy.

It began with eczema and I think it bothered me more than it bothered him. I tried different lotions and bath soaps and nothing seemed to make it better. I asked his doctor who quickly dismissed it as a weather-related. It was fall in the mid-Atlantic. It wasn’t weather-related.

Then, my already-not-a-great-sleeper got worse. He wouldn’t sleep unless he was being held. We tried cry-it-out. Didn’t work. We tried the swing. Temporary relief. I resorted to co-sleeping because it worked and saved me from completely losing my mind.

In December,  I went to a breastfeeding support group meeting. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed my son until he was six months old because I had read it helps prevent allergies and my husband hit the food allergy jackpot when he was a child.  We were almost at the six month mark but the last two months had been a nightmare. At that meeting, I met a mom whose son was experiencing the same things mine was and she had discovered that he was allergic to milk, a culprit I was starting to suspect.

So, on New Years Day, I cut dairy completely out of my diet and two weeks later my little guy’s skin cleared up and he started sleeping better. I scheduled an appointment with an allergist – the same one I’d seen as a kid (oh, yeah, did I mention I had a milk allergy as a child, too?) – and at seven months of age my son was diagnosed with allergies to milk, eggs and peanuts.

It still baffles me that a child who has not eaten a solid food can be allergic to it. But the science explains it. His little body was still developing his immune system and decided that the dairy proteins in my breastmilk were the enemy.

I’m sharing this story with you now, during Food Allergy Awareness Week, to bring attention to this health issue and to reach out to other moms also dealing with food allergies. I will continue to share more about our struggle with food allergies. I invite you to share your story, too.

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