Food Allergies: Bye Bye Milk and Eggs

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As moms we are sort of prepared for curve balls. It seems like just when I get comfortable with our current situation before I know it something new is thrown our way!

Our most recent curve ball was thrown a couple weeks ago when it was confirmed Morgan (our 15 month old) is allergic to milk and eggs.   On the surface I thought, well, no biggie, until I realized just how MANY things have milk and/or eggs in them!!!

I know there are a TON of parents out there with kids with food allergies, so I would LOVE your tips & comments.

So the curve ball wasn’t completely from left field.  When Morgan was a baby she had bad colic and reflux.  Since  I was nursing exclusively I sort of thought she might have a food sensitivity to things in my breast milk. I started paying attention, and if I had cereal for breakfast, about 4 hours later she would be MISERABLE.

The lactation consultants at Milkalicious suggested I cut out all dairy, tree nuts & berries and it seemed to make a big difference.  My colicky baby turned the corner at month 4 and me,  nursing with a dairy-free diet, had about 6 – 7 great months, where she was overall a very happy baby. Payback for the first 4 months of hell for sure!

But I never knew FOR SURE if it was in fact a food thing, because a lot of babies grow out of colic around that time anyway.   But what I did know is I didn’t want to chance it, so I remained dairy-free until I stopped nursing.

Then, around 10 – 12 months her irritability kicked in again. I blamed it on teething, separation anxiety, hurdling so many milestones like walking, etc.  But now that we know it’s a food allergy, it makes TOTAL sense as this was the age we started her on more and more solid foods and I weaned from nursing.

A little after her first birthday, I tried giving her a sippy cup with whole organic milk to try.   She took a sip, then immediately spit it out. Then watching what happened I thought “uh oh” she might have a milk allergy. EVERY spot where the milk touched her body turned into white welts and a red rash.

So of course I didn’t give her any more milk and at her 12 month doctor appointment I showed a picture to my doctor that I took with my iPhone and she referred us to a pediatric allergist to find out if there were other things she was allergic too.

It was weird, as we had been giving her cheeses, and different things with milk in them and on the surface it seemed like she was OK with them.

So at the allergist they did a skin test on her back to test for 16 different things.  It was awful when they had to prick her back, but it only lasted a second.  We held her and waited for the results. The milk and egg test spot swelled up almost immediately.

On a scale of 0 – 5, she was +4 for both milk and eggs, which is a pretty strong allergy. The milk I knew, but the egg one was a surprise.  I just thought, “thank God we took her to get tested.”  I wouldn’t have known for sure, except for the obvious whole milk, but we were told to avoid ALL things with milk or eggs in them.

We were sent home with hand outs, including lists of words that could mean “milk or egg” and it was apparent we were going to have to become major label readers.

It’s a bummer.

It didn’t FULLY hit me until we were at a party recently and I didn’t have lots of her own food packed.  She started doing the point and “num num” sound wanting food and there was really nothing there she could have. No Goldfish, no Pirate’s Booty and certainly no birthday cupcakes. And I got a little sad, I have to admit.

But it’s all a learning process and from now on I realize I have to pack a bag of her own special snacks to bring to parties and anywhere I go.

And, lucky for me, my friend Melanie is the owner of Sensitive Sweets, a bakery specializing in cakes and cupcakes for for those with food allergies.  Melanie has been a wealth of information as her son has severe food allergies.  I am going to have her whip me up a yummy batch of milk-free and egg-free cupcakes so I can freeze them to take to parties from here on out.

And eating out hasn’t been an issue that much yet, but this seems like it is going to be a real challenge.  Guess we will cross that bridge when we have to.

The Good News.

My family eats pretty healthy overall, but there were snacks in our cupboards that I have been giving to Emma that I thought were semi-okay.  Then I started reading labels and it SHOCKED me just how many things have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them!

I don’t know much about this, but I know it seems pretty bad for you.  Even things like graham crackers, salad dressing & ketchup have it in them.  Shocked.  I told my husband we are purging our kitchen with anything with HFCS in them. So this allergy will end up helping ALL of our family by eating “cleaner” and a little more pure.

And, thanks to stores like Trader Joe’s, Mother’s Market and Whole Foods, there are a TON of options out there that are alternatives to the traditional dairy.  Again, a whole new world, and I end up shopping better for the entire family.  Did you know you can buy rice milk or yogurt?

After 2 weeks of clearing her diet, her skin cleared up (she had a chronic mild rash on her cheeks & trunk) and she has been in a MUCH better mood.    So, it is working, which is the most important thing.  I just wish I had figured it out sooner.

So moms! If anyone out there has dealt with food allergies and has any tips/advice/suggestions I would love to hear your story.  I am just starting this journey and would love to learn from those that have paved the way before me!

XOXO
Jen

21 Comments

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21
  1. 1
    Mindy says:

    My 6 month old was misdiagnosed as having the dairy/soy allergy. It was very hard at first but after searching the Internet and using cook books from the library it got much easier. I also joined my states allergy support network. After testing we found out it was wheat and peanuts. Allergies are hard but there is a lot of support out there!

  2. 2
    AnnieB says:

    any thoughts or suggestions for ecema? I have been wondering if it may be a food allergy???

  3. 3
    Jennifer says:

    The only things that I would say is keep up with the allergy testing and that she may outgrow it. My daughter went into anaphylactic shock after a teaspoon of scrambled eggs and we knew from then on out our lives would be different. She was allergy tested and came back mildly allergic to cows milk, very allergic to all things soy, obviously allergic to eggs(her reading was a 7) and then to our surprise peanuts was tested and she came up a 70. Imagine if she had been given peanuts? We now label read and carry an epi-pen. Dont assume that because your first two kids were allergy free that your third will follow suit. On a positive note her allergist is having her do a “food challenge” on the 9th of November with a bite of hard boiled egg. Pray and cross yours fingers that she may have grown out of this one. Another thing to remember is FLU SHOTS. They are cultured in eggs as a preservative so if you even THINK your child may have food allergies, have them tested before you chance it with the shot. The shot is intramuscular and can be deadly for kids with eggs allergies. Ecema is indicative of allergies but not always food allergies. They can be enviornmental as well. Hope my ramblings made sense 🙂

  4. 4
    Holly says:

    Yup, food allergies here as well. Both of my daughters have allergies to tree nuts. And I have to carry Epi-pens with me everywhere. Not sure where you went for the pedi allergist; I was NOT impressed with the first one that we went to for Ava. Then, when dealing with eczema on my 2 year old, her pedi suggested that we allergy test her as well. I got a different name for an allergist and we took both girls one Saturday morning. The doctor was with us for an hour and 45 minutes! He was amazing!! He gave us a few MINOR things to do for Nina and her eczema cleared up almost immediately!! For instance, adding baking soda to her bath water. Using ONLY vaseline on her skin, as some of the other lotions (we were using California Baby) have possible \’allergens\’ in the ingredients. Anyway, I can\’t say enough about this guy so if anyone wants his info, let me know and I will be happy to supply it.

    If anyone needs labels for school- labeldaddy.com has awesome labels! I ordered some for my kindergartener with her name on them- they are dishwasher and washing machine proof! They also have ALLERGY ones. So on all of her eating garb- lunch tote, plastic containers, etc- there is a huge label that says that she is allergic to tree buts. So far none of them have come off when washing (although I hand wash anything plastic). And the clothing labels have not come off in the laundry.

    So Jen, yet another thing we have in common!! 🙂 How is Emma doing with her arm? Are you still avoiding parks?

  5. 5
    susie says:

    my son has egg and peanut allergies so i feel your pain.(the egg is the worst). i feel like this whole issue is so complicated and i don’t know if what i am doing is the best for him! i’ve been teetering on looking for a new allergist, would you recommend yours??

  6. 6
    gillian s says:

    Jen, I follow your blog and my 16 month old was diagnosed with a sever milk allergy at 6 months. We have NO food allergies in our family, so it was a shock. The difference in our stories is that our son, Declan showed absolutely no signs of any problem with my dairy filled diet when nursing. He was overly happy, healthy and growing like a weed. While on vacation in Cabo, I was at the spa and my husband gave him a bottle of Enfamil and he had an anaphalactic reaction. Mexico is not the place to have this happen! I returned from the spa to a vomiting baby, covered in hives, having trouble breathing. Luckily, I nursed him and within half an hour he was much better. He did fall asleep shortly thereafter and our allergist told us we were lucky he didnt go into full shock when sleeping. Upon returning to So. Cal we searched high and low for a good pediatric GI and a good pediatric allergist. After numerous appts without helpful advice, we found Dr. Yoshi in Lake Forest. I think the woman from Sensitive Sweets also goes to Dr. Yoshi. If you didnt go to him, you might want to. He is amazing. I added fish oil and probiotics (a specific strain was recommended) to my diet. After I finished nursing, Dec went onto Neocate, which we were lucky enough to get covered by insurance (thanks to Dr. Y). I also use a hypo allergenic probiotic (i can get you the company as many over the counter have traces of milk) and flax seed in Dec’s food daily. At first I was devastated and had no idea what the child would eat as we consumed so much dairy as a family. But, to your point, I too noticed the HFCS in all foods and have eliminated it and we eat so much healthier as a family! There is a great facebook page called “Go Dairy Free” with awesome recipes and I got the Food Allergy Mama’s guide to baking, which has saved us as my little on lives on blueberry and zucchini muffins. Weelicious.com also has some great recipes we modify with rice milk. As I read more and more about cows milk, I even give my allergy free 3 year old rice milk. He loves it! There is also a so.cal allergy support group that sends around interesting articles. We buy the cupcake and choc. chip cookie mixes that are dairy free and they are delish. Good luck! Its a challenge, but has been a great thing for our family in terms of becoming a healthier one! Feel free to email me with any questions!

  7. 7
    melissa says:

    SUPER interesting. My daughter has allergies and asthma and I noticed when she was about 18months that she would get a little rash around her mouth on one side. She just started getting it again (a year later) and we read it could be CHLORINE or BLEACH reaction from baby carrots (I know, sick) or dishwasher soap (again, sick). We’ve eliminated the carrots and tried a natural soap, and still have the same issue. I really love your site and appreciate all the helpful comments from the readers.

  8. 8
    Jen says:

    You guys, these comments are SO SO SO helpful! Please keep them coming! I appreciate each and every one of you taking the time to respond!

  9. 9
    Melanie W says:

    Jen, I am so sorry you are dealing with this now. You know I had to be dairy free with Hawken for the first 10 months. Now he seems fine, but I thought I would recommend the vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies at Trader Joe’s for a treat – they are absolutely amazing! Just in case you are on the road and don’t have Melanie M’s cupcakes available. We don’t really do sweets often, but those are to die for. Try not to stress, you will get used to the diet changes. I still don’t give Hawk much processed or dairy stuff and he hates eggs so we do lots and lots of avocado, beans, and fruits and vegies and cereals. I don’t think they know what they are missing too much yet! Good luck. xoxo

  10. 10
    Dara says:

    Jen,
    Your story is just like mine…colic, reflux, food allergies. Even down to the 4+ on the scratch test! The good news is that my son did outgrow his food allergies (still have almond to test though!). I hope that happens for your little one as well.

    I know it feels like milk is in everything. I was shocked that it’s in taco seasoning and some deli meat! I got used to carrying safe treats in my purse just in case we were somewhere where big Sis got a treat. Oreo cookies are milk and egg free (our saviour!) In and Out is the BEST when you need a quick meal. You can tell them your child has a dairy allergy and they will clean a part of the grill especially for their burger. Red Robin and Chilis are two other great allergy friendly restaurants. The Kirkland brand wheat breat (Costco) is also completely dairy free. An hooray for Otter Pops and slurpees….not healthy at all but when we go out for a treat and big Sis is getting ice cream, it helps.

    If you need any other tips, feel free to email me!

    And the absolute BIGGEST help has been the Kids with Allergies forum. Honestly, so many of my questions have been answered. What deli meat is safe? Should I also have my son get a Rast test (blood test). How do I keep the epi pen cool enough in the summer. http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/community.html

  11. 11
    Holly says:

    DR. DENIS YOSHI is the same allergist that I was talking about as well! LOVE him! He was beyond thorough and I cannot say enough positive things about him. We originally saw an allergist in Huntington beach- He was awful. gave me absolutely NO information after JUST telling me that my daughter had a +4 allergy to tree nuts. Didn’t even want to give me an Epipen but I pretty much demanded one. I am an RN so I knew that I needed it. Anyway, if you need an allergist, Dr. Yoshi is THE BEST!!

  12. 12
    Melanie W says:

    I also forgot to share this website for a list of things at restaurants (even fast food suggestions) that are dairy free (not sure about egg, but it helps!): http://www.godairyfree.org/Table/Dining-Out/Fast-Food-Restaurants/ and yes, Red Robin became a close friend at malls like Irvine Spectrum. They have a special allergy menu!

  13. 13
    Jen says:

    I am seriously overwhelmed by the WEALTH of information you guys have given me. Thank you for taking the time to share with me what you have learned! I am going to be exploring all the tips. HUGS!! XOXOXO

  14. 14

    The latest and greatest therapy for some patients with food allergy is oral immunotherapy. After 5-6 months some patients can eat milk, egg and peanut daily with no problems. Check out some of the national allergy org. sites, or our site for more info.

  15. 15
    Jen Imus says:

    My daughter was diagnosed with the EXACT same two allergies at the EXACT same age. She is now 8 years old. What I can tell you is that you will survive this. I remember feeling so overwhelmed. I would be happy to chat with you further… My daughter has outgrown her milk allergy, but we are pretty sure the egg one is here to stay. The one thing that will save you is the Egg Replacer product sold at Henry’s, Sprouts or Whole Foods. It allows you to bake almost anything egg free (and what you bake actually ends up tasting BETTER than if you use eggs believe it or not). Hang in there! And we should talk soon!

  16. 16
    Holly says:

    I also meant to add: I joined the FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network)when Ava was first diagnosed and that was a wealth of information for me as well. (www.foodallergy.org)

    You receive newsletters in the mail with all kinds of tips/stories/recipes and you also get emails anytime there is a food product that is ‘recalled’ because of an undeclared nut/milk/egg/etc.

    Thanks Dara for the forum recommendation! The tree nut allergy has been fairly easy to manage since it is pretty straight forward. I cannot fathom having to deal with an egg or milk allergy- I give you moms kudos for that!! But now that my oldest is in kindergarten, I definitely lose a bit of that ‘control’ over what goes in her mouth. I am definitely going to check out that site!

  17. 17
    melissa says:

    Hi Moms
    A friend emailed me this link and thought I should write about our daughters experience with food allergies. About the time my milk dried up, our eight month old started to get terrible rashes – particularily around her trunk, arms and legs. Pretty much everywhere. I started to take things out of her diet, but nothing would work.

    I finally took her to her pediatrician, knowing that it was food allergies and didn\’t think he could help much. Anyhow, her pediatrician, Dr. Bob Sears – yes, the famous Sears family in San Juan, recommended a naturopathic doctor – Dr. Weinard of neurowaves. I took her and would not have believed it if I didn\’t experience it myself. She was muscle tested and had about 10 allergies. And to really random things like dust, feathers, trees, turkey, our dog\’s hair, etc.

    Dr. Weinard uses this technology from Europe that has been around for over 20 years. She got treated for each allergy with this technology – sometimes he can combine allergies – like onions and peppers. After her last session, all of her exczema went away. And this is after months and months (about 6 months) of trying to get rid of it.

    Dr. Sears refers his patients who have allergies to this Doctor because he has seen this result many times. Dr. Weinard is in San Juan Capistrano. http://www.neurowaves.com phone: 949.363.8250.

    Basically, the way it works is by \"telling\" the brain that the allergen in the body (ex: soy) is no longer an allergen. So the body does not treat it as such and does not have these reactions to the allergens. Like I said, I would not have believed it unless I saw it myself. At that point I was open to anything. So glad I had an open mind because now for the rest of Kate\’s life – she will not have an immune response to allergens that I might not have known she had. Good luck!

  18. 18
    Beth says:

    Oh, I feel your pain. My 18 month old was super colic for the first 6 months! It was awful Dr. Sears had me take out all dairy, tree nuts and berries as well. I stayed dairy-free for 13 months. The weird thing is that all of his allergy tests keep coming back neagtive. It’s very clear he has an issue with milk, he gets a rash and will have frequent BM’s. We are still at 18 months trying to figure out if he has any ohter food/alleregy issues.

  19. 19
    Samantha says:

    Well, I can share everyone’s pain here. Our youngest has proven to be allergic to 5 out of the 6 major allergens. We now carry an EpiPen around with us for fear he will have another severe reaction to foods. I cannot for the life of me get help from a medical standpoint. We have been told that blood RAST testing is not truly conclusive and may have many false positives as well as not determining the severity or lack thereof of each reactive food. No one has been interested or suggested a skin test.. and we know he reacts to certain things by process of elimination.

    Our son had been through a liver transplant approximately one year ago, but there is no support with the doctors that the medication is causing these things. I know he reacts to corn and there is corn syrup is everything.. almost 🙂

    Anywho, yes. this is a new path. I currently continue to BF and plan to until he’s 2 years old. At present, we test foods by introducing a small amount at a time or skin testing it on his arm first to see if he reacts. It’s not a perfect science, but we have done it this way because getting 5 foods tested at a time with a blood test is too invasive. We stick to what we know and I get creative as crazy. Here’s my latest:

    Organic ground beef (Trader’s)
    Spinach
    Garlic minced onion
    shredded carrots
    Oatmeal (to hold it together) or Rice Hot cereal.

    Brown in Canola oil (only one I’m sure he’s ok with)
    pop in the oven for 15 minutes or so until cooked thoroughly…

    He loves them.

    So, I’m with ya!!! Thanks for this post, it is a wonderful resource to the above mentioned allergist, holistic practitioners and others mom’s who are “going through it.” It’s a lonely road.

    Warmest hugs,

    Sam

  20. 20

    Beth says that Oh, I feel your pain. My 18 month old was super colic for the first 6 months! It was awful Dr. Sears had me take out all dairy, tree nuts and berries as well. I stayed dairy-free for 13 months. The weird thing is that all of his allergy tests keep coming back neagtive. It’s very clear he has an issue with milk, he gets a rash and will have frequent BM’s. We are still at 18 months trying to figure out if he has any ohter food/alleregy issues,can anyone comment on this?

  21. 21
    gillian s says:

    Not sure if you went to Dr. yoshi, but my son was just retested after 1 year of complete cow milk avoidance. We gave him multi-vitamins, hypoallergenic formula, rice milk and probiotics. We completely avoid milk, even baked into things (ie cookies, muffins, etc). He was a Severe 4+ anaphalytic to milk and this week his allergy was evident, but right in line with the hystamine! One more year of avoidance and we hope to be in the clear!! Yay! Keep up the hope, it will get better!

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