Saturday, 31 March 2018

Dot's cows milk protein allergy story

Dot crawling on the floor

When Dot was a few weeks old, I grew concerned. I noticed that he had a rash over him, he was screaming and arching his back when feeding, especially if it was after I'd had chocolate or something milky, his poops were very explosive and stank of vinegar and he had silent reflux.

I did a bit of digging on the internet and became increasingly concerned he might have a cows milk protein allergy (CMPA). So off we went to the Drs. He prescribed infant Gaviscon to address the silent reflux - now giving a breastfed baby Gaviscon is no picnic, you have to make it up with 15ml water (or breastmilk) and spoon feed it to them before each breastfeed (bloody impossible if you ask me!). I did this once, and decided there and then I wasn't going to do it again, instead I was going to cut out dairy (and soya) from my diet to see if that helped.

A few days later I'd bought all the dairy-free (DF) alternatives I needed and was ready to cut it out. About 3 days later I saw a pretty big improvement in Dot. His rash had pretty much gone, he was calmer and the nappies were improving. Then about 2 weeks later, he was transformed to a totally normal baby, proof that he had an issue with cows milk. But I wasn't sure about soya. I'd excluded that as the protein strand for soya is very similar to cows milk, and if they are allergic to one, they're most likely unable to easily digest the other. About a month after being dairy free, I decided to test with soya - I had some vanilla custard donuts from Sainsburys that were so so amazing, they had soya flour in them.

Within hours Dot was reacting - back to screaming and arching his back on the breast, bad nappies and a very unhappy baby. I now knew I had to exclude soya too, just as I had been, not a big deal.

So far in 6+ months I've only had 2 slip-ups, first one was about a 4-6 weeks ago and it was a bad one. I'd bought some sweet potato falafals from Waitrose (I'd had them before and they'd been dairy free). For what must be the first time since going DF, I forgot to check the label. After 2 days of grazing on them, I thought to check... low and behold, milk was the 2nd ingredient on the list. Dot reacted and was bad for 6-7 days, I felt awful :( I should do better. Then a couple weeks ago, hubby bought some sausages with the weekly shop, I'd always checked them and they'd always been fine, but he'd bought a different brand to normal (Richmond). I saw a FB post in the CMPA group I'm in about how sausages all have soya in... I quickly went online to check the ingredients as we'd had Richmond sausages the night before, and 4 days before that - yep, SOYA, goddam soya, WHY? I'd done it again, failed my baby and he was paying the price :( 4 days of bad nappies, unhappy and lots of tears.

For the most part, it's been pretty easy changing my diet to dairy free, I've even filmed a YT video talking about the swaps you can make, you really do just have to be really vigilant and check every label every single time just in case the ingredients have changed (which happens...).


If you suspect a dairy allergy in your baby, please do go and speak to your GP. It can be really hard to diagnose, but be persistent if you believe that's what's wrong. And if you're breastfeeding, cut out dairy and soya and see if that helps, that should help you whittle it down :) If you're interested in following our journey, I've started a YouTube series called 'Dairy Free Friday's' where I talk about different aspects of a dairy allergy, if you want to keep an eye, our playlist is here.
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