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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:33 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 24
Location: Vancouver Island
I'm new to the forum and am really struggling with allergies/eczema with my 8 month old. I'm not sure where this topic best goes, so thought I would start here!

I'm breastfeeding my son while on a restricted diet (no egg, dairy, soy, wheat, nuts, green peas, berries, fish, rice and yam), but there are still so many unknowns interms of what he reacts to it is really hard to know what is setting him off. Our allergist thinks it will be easier and less stressful for me to put my son on formula to eliminate the unknowns that he ingests. Breastfeeding is important to me and he is supporting that, but was hoping for me to do an intense elimination diet and then introduce foods back in to get an idea of what is safe. The dietitian we consulted with wasn't terribly helpful and the list of foods to eliminate she came back with was less that what I'm currently eliminating.

I know this is all muddy water and there is no evidence for allergens getting through to breastmilk (except for a few), but does anybody have any further info in this area?

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 11:21 am
Posts: 684
Location: Cobourg, ON
I breastfed my allergic daughter for 15 months. We knew by 8 months that she had some allergies. I did not restrict my diet really (other than milk products) - just hers. In hindsight, I would have restricted nuts from my diet also. She had many reactions from 8 to 24 months. We realized that if someone touched her after eating her allergens, she would react with hives and some swelling. Once we got everyone around her washing hands and being more careful, the reactions decreased. That age was hard to because everything goes into the mouth!

My daughter was skin tested at 14 months and tested postive for milk, eggs and peanuts. We would have done it sooner but there was a 4 month waiting time to get into Sick Kids. Can your child be skin tested for some of these foods? It might help you widen your food choices.

I have read many articles about breastfeeding and allergies and there does not seem to be any consensus on it. There is a discussion somewhere on the forum about dealing with ezcema. Your restrictions are huge! It must be difficult for you to eat. Have you thought of getting a second opinion from another allergist? Are you able to eat well enough for yourself and the baby given your restrictions? Do you have a history of allergy in your family? What symptoms has your child experienced?

Trust your instincts - you know your child best - if you feel breast is best - hang in there!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
k-rae,

katec said it best
Quote:
Trust your instincts - you know your child best - if you feel breast is best - hang in there!
You will be constantly told to do this or not to do that just do what you think is best for you and your child.

I am a mother of four. Two girls = no allergies. Two boys = yes allergies. With my first son I ate and did everything I did when I was pregnant and breast feeding my two girls. My son is allergic to peanuts/nuts, sulfa and legumes. with my second son I avoided all peanuts/nuts during pregnancy and while brest feeding which I did for two years rather than a year as I did with the other three. He is still allergic if not more so. To peanuts/nuts and legumes.

I would definately go for a second opinion and keep going to get more opinions till I found someone I was comfortable with. I have never dealt with them but you may want to contact la leche league they may have some info in regards to breastfeeding and allergies.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
This is a tough one. Eczema as I understand it may not have any particular triggers, but then again, perhaps your baby's eczema is triggered by food allergies. Would you be able to try formula for a week or so and then go back to breastfeeding if there is no improvement with the eczema? (I'm not sure when milk production stops, so I'm not sure if this suggestion is even possible.)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 24
Location: Vancouver Island
wow`- thanks for all the great support. I'm having a defeated day and it is great to have the encouragement!

I've tried formula with my son when he was 4 months (eczema was really bad), pumped to keep up my supply then gradually switched back over to breast once I had eliminated the first round of foods. Unfortunately, I used soy formula which had been recommended to me. It took 5 really hard weeks to get back to full time breast. No real change in his skin.

At 7 months we did a RAST because of a severe reaction to barley baby cereal. The pediatrician requested the blood test to check environmental and food allergens, mostly things that I had been avoiding, but also rice which I started giving my son the month before. The results showed antibody levels that were quite high for almost everything.

So we've banned the dog from the house (except the laundry room) and have been vacuuming like crazy (we also have a 2.5 yr old who is a very messy eater!). And really there are just so many unknown factors that could be setting him off. The hard part for me is everytime he has a flare up I think "what did I eat". I'm getting better at just accepting flare ups for flare ups, but it is so hard not to obsess.

They think that my son might also have a carbohydrate intolerance as he hasn't been able to tolerate the few solids I've tried. He's also not tolerating Alimentum or Nutramigen. We have a can of Neocate to try supplementing him with due to poor weight gain.

So while I'm a completely dedicated breastfeeder it is really hard not to feel like it is all hopeless and at least if he is on formula, then there is one constant, known entity that we deal with. The Allergist has been good and wants to support whatever we decide. I think it is just so hard to be hit with so much information from so many professionals and then to try and weed it all out to decide what is best for us.

I think I need to work through some of the emotional aftermath that I am in in order to look at it all more clearly!!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
I hate to add to your list of things to avoid but if you haven't aready you might want to concider the products which you use on him such as shampoo and moisturiser.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:03 pm
Posts: 105
Location: Coquitlam
Good point _Susan_!!!

Especially if you are using Dove soap. I used Ivory Snow for all my kids clothing for the first year. But then I discovered my youngest son he was reacting to it. I switched to tide and he has been fine ever since.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 24
Location: Vancouver Island
We use spectro gel as a cleanser and vaseline (and vaseline creamy) as a moisturizer. All approved by the derm and allergist. Laundry soap I've changed a few times all hypoallergenic, no change. I'm very peticular about cleaning products in my home too and keep it quite simple with baking soda or vinegar for the most part.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 919
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Hi k-rae and welcome! This is a difficult situation for you - I remember feeling so distraught and overwhelmed when my young son was reacting like your son is. It is so challenging when you cannot identify the trigger(s). My youngest child (now 4 yrs old) has multiple food allergies including many on your elimination diet, and several seeds as well (sesame, sunflower, poppy and mustard). Is there any possibility your son could be reacting to seeds? As you are probably aware, sesame appears on Canada's top 10 most common food allergens. Our son had horrible eczema as a baby - there were many triggers (due to multiple food allergies). One of the triggers we learned of was the infant baby cereal! It had sunflower oil in it, and we had no idea he was allergic to sunflower seeds (and oils).

I certainly don't want to see you unnecessarily eliminate any further foods, but as I saw no mention of seeds, it just got me wondering. BTW, my son's allergies are: peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, egg, fish, shellfish, sunflower, poppy, mustard, green peas and pineapple (also cats and horses). Avoiding sesame is very challenging, requiring baking of all our own breads etc.

We do not bathe our son in any sort of soap - we use only Aveeno bath oil on his skin and hair. For washing of his clothing we double rinse everything and never use fabric softener.

Our son's allergies are now well under control, and he now has beautiful skin. It was a big challenge to get to this point, so I really feel for you & your son going thru this.

I hope you find out what your son is reacting to VERY SOON!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I have found that switching to ecover laundry detergent over ivory snow has made the biggest improvement in my daughters skin so far...that and switching to aveeno. We had been using baby dove...bad...contains almond oil. Even dish soap can contain milk, heavy fragrances and petro-chemicals. Lots of "baby products" are heavily scented too! The use of natural cleaners (once again ecover) in all areas (dishwashing, cleaning the bathtub) can help on the reduction of exposure to harsh chemicals.

I am starting to feel like, if a manufacturer or a product (soaps, lotions etc.) does not list ingredients it is a god indicator that they are either concerned that knowledge of the ingredients (like animal fat in ivory soap) may harm sales or that they are not concerned with giving allergic consumers the knowledge they need to make an informed purchase.

Even for a child who has allergies, who eats only foods they are okay with, eczema can still be a problem. It does not always have a direct cause...or cure. Even if you do everything you can to eliminate food triggers, or chemical triggers...it does not always go away entirely.

Both for myself, and my friend with an allergic child...we found that if the babies eczema flared, or created small hives around the mouth during or after a feed...that was a good indictator that a food in the mothers diet was contibuting.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 24
Location: Vancouver Island
Thanks for the tips! I've actually just eliminated sesame in the last few weeks and tomato, which I think was helpful. He's been teething this last week and just cut a tooth, so perhaps that was part of his recent flare. I'm going to have to try the aveeno bath oil. Thank for the hope!!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 4:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
I use Spectroderm, and I notice that it contains PEG almond glycerides which might be a concern for the nut allergic. (I'm going to finish the bottle and then I probably won't buy it again)


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 10:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:23 pm
Posts: 11
Location: Milton, Ontario
Hi there, I'll throw my two bits in along with what everyone else has already said. First I can't compliment you enough that you've stuck with the breastfeeding and such a tough diet as well!! As if having a little one isn't a challenge enough.

My situation is so similar to yours, my son Bryce had eczema head to toe. His 2 GPs, and dermatologist couldn't find a cortisone cream to relieve it and the itching was tremendous. The cream they finally found to work caused, amoung other things, stunted growth! I was also breastfeeding and had removed diary from my diet which helped his colic but not his skin. When he was 6 months old I consulted a naturopath who identified Bryce's problems as allergies - until then I had been told there was no connection between his skin and allergies. The naturopath put me on a restricted diet of no egg, dairy, gluten, citrus, coffee and sugar and gave us some remedies. Within a month Bryce's skin had cleared up. He has flare ups now but they fairly easy to deal with and his skin is clear and looks really really good.

Bryce is also allergic to petroleum and minerial oil so I use calendula cream and a couple of other herbal ones that keep his skin moisturized and an all natural liquid body wash.

I am still breastfeeding - Bryce is 15 months now but I suppliment with a product called UltraClear made by Metagenics it's hypo allergenic and dietarily balanced but not intended as a formula, only a feeding suppliment.

Hang in there and don't give up, we've all been there, but if you look you will find the solution for your little one. I hope it works out for you and good luck!!

Bryce's Mom


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2006 10:22 am
Posts: 24
Location: Vancouver Island
Wow - what incredible results you saw with your diet Bryce's Mom! How did you find your naturopath? I was seeing one initially, but infants weren't an area of specialty for her. There were a few recommendations that were made that didn't end up working well (soy formula) and I haven't been back since.

What brand of calendula cream do you use?

How did it go introducing solids? We've been trying lamb the last few days and it seems OK so far.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Brycesmom,

Please share what "natural" body washes and products you use. We have had great success in "going natural' and avoiding harsh chemicals. I am always on the look out for more great natural petro-free, animal free products.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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