Allergies Part II: In Which I Give Up Bread

 

So cute, yet so allergic.

So cute, yet so allergic.

You know that kid whose mom is always saying, “No, he can’t eat that”? The kid who seems allergic to air, who isn’t allowed to have candy, and who, when everyone snarfs cupcakes, get some hippied-out spelt substitute? Yeah, that’s my kid. Actually, that’s all of my kids. We fell into the world of allergies and intolerances fast and hard with our oldest, who had a severe case of milk/soy protein intolerance (MSPI) – so severe he was almost diagnosed as failure-to-thrive. This is the second in a series about allergies, intolerances, and how our family deals with the multitude of issues all three of our boys – and I – suffer from. 

So let’s talk about Snuzzy, baby #2.

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MSPI tends to run in families. As an infant, Bear had to drink soy formula. My mother quit nursing after one month because I wanted to nurse every.single.hour – I’m amazed she kept it up that long. And my dad once commented that newborn babies poop green.

Green poop often equals allergy. And constant nursing also can equal reflux, because breastmilk is a mild antacid. Reflux often travels hand-in-hand with MSPI.

Couple that with Squeaky’s issues, and let’s just say that Snuzzy had the genetic cards stacked against him from the start.

But hope springs eternal, as does the love of cheese, so I waited it out. At two weeks, Snuzzy was refluxing. Unlike Squeaky, his seemed to be of the projectile variety, leading to lots of stains on lots of cloth (Sorry, ladies I sold wraps to around that time. Didn’t see the barf stains. My bad). He developed the other classic signs of MSPI: facial rash and yellow, scaling cradle cap; green, mucus-filled poo with occult blood; red bull’s eye rash around the anus that wouldn’t go away. And yes, super crude newsflash: a baby’s butthole area should be skin-colored, not red (this borders on oversharing, but rest easy, children of mine reading this in 2020: I’m not posting pics).

Before his rash got bad.

Before his rash got bad.

So when Snuzzy hit two weeks old, I stopped dairy and soy again. We didn’t mess with Zantac this time, either – straight to Prevacid this time. That meant dosing around meals again. You know how a newborn eats all the damn time? Try pinpointing two windows per day at least an hour and a half after the last feeding and a half hour before the next one. Then try making said squishy bundle drink the Prevacid. Sweet squish becomes a roiling octopus of rage, and you’ll feel like history’s greatest monster as he screams and you try to shove needed meds down his throat. Snuzzy became a champion spitter. That spitting left the eternal dilemma: dose more now, dose more later, or wait until the next dose? You know what I’m talking about, reflux mamas.

Oh, it’s so super awesome. Also, Prevacid stains brown. It might look white at first. But that spit stains to brown, people.

The milk- and soy-free diet helped some, and the Prevacid stopped the screaming. But Snuzzy’s rash and poop didn’t clear up completely. A month into the diet, with no more improvement, and I knew some other allergen caused his symptoms.

So I had to do a fucking TED.

I don’t like to use the f-word, but “TED” should always be prefaced with the word “fucking”, because it deserves it. Here’s what you eat on a TED, and continue eating until baby’s totally symptom-free:

1. Turkey

2. sweet potatoes

3. squash

4. rice

5. salt and pepper

AND THAT’S IT.

It’s not even worth typing a list of things you can’t eat, because that list comprises every single food ever except the ones listed above. It’s so, so, so sucky. Also, did I mention I hate squash? Because I hate squash. Luckily there’s rice milk and gluten-free rice krispies. I didn’t even lose weight, because I only ate carbs.

There’s not much to write about an elimination diet, other than a) it sucks really hard, and b) you crave every single food except the ones you can have. Eventually you sort of resign yourself to it and just pour pepper on everything.

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Skeptical Snuz.

At two weeks, Snuzzy’s face and poop cleared. He looked normal. He pooped normal. The offending food had left our systems. And so we began the miserable and scream-inducing task of trying to figure out what that food was.

Except it wasn’t one food.

At the height of his intolerances – until about 4-5 months – Snuzzy had problems with milk, soy, gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, citrus fruits, raspberries, and melon. Luckily, he tolerated soybean oil and peanut oil, so Five Guys wasn’t out of the question.

I ate a lot of eggs and bacon.

And in the middle of that diet, something weird happened. That postpartum butt acne? Gone. The eczema spots on my toes disappeared. The tiny bumps on my arms and legs – keratosis pillaris, which I’d had since childhood – those disappeared too. I felt more energetic. I had fewer mood swings. I dropped weight.

When I added bread back to my diet, the crying jags started. I wept like a pregnant woman watching a puppy commercial. And I broke out like a teenager.

I realized that I, too, was gluten intolerant.

Damn it.

Try explaining all of the above to your well-meaning, but skeptical family members who think you may have drunk the crazy kool-aid. I ended up going paleo because hey, I was pretty much paleo anyway, only with rice. I cut down on white potatoes and eventually, when Snuzzy was about seven months, added in milk.

I think I threw a party for cheese. It consoled me for the lack of bread. I still would shiv someone if I could eat a real biscuit without consequences.

I did lose all the baby weight, though.

As for Snuzzy, he still has lots of allergy issues, which we’ll talk about in another part of this series. But at least his intolerances aren’t as bad as his little brother’s. I’ll talk about that fucking TED (remember, TED always gets the f-word before it) in the next installment of the allergy series. And yes: I’ll post that biscuit recipe. Eventually.

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