Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Start of New Diet: Day One

First of all, thank you all for all of the advice and information!  It has been a big start as I've begun to figure out how to proceed today.

Today is the day...  I'm starting the elimination diet and then gradually reintroducing various possible allergens to see how Patrick handles them.

I'm definitely up for Paleo type recipe suggestions.

And here are a few more details on why we (the pediatrician and I) think this is a food allergy and not a skin allergy, which, I'll admit I desperately wish it was (the girls and I all have pretty severe skin allergies to any sort of fragrance and in Sadie's case there was the whole flame retardant debacle that sent her to the ER).

The reason is this: when Patrick nurses, a portion of the time, his little face turns red.  And then hives start to appear all over him.  And he starts to swell up until his whole little face looks puffy.  Nursing, with the exception of his hives yesterday while I had the peanut butter out, is the only time he's had the reaction... hence my concern.

It's the swelling part that really had me worried.  I'm used to hives from skin reactions.  The swelling part?  Not so much.  He also seems to be getting sick and spitting up a lot more, and since he previously didn't really spit up at all, it has me wondering if it's related too.

I am planning on adding white vinegar back into our laundry routine to see if that helps, but other than that there aren't really any fragranced anythings that touch his skin (I do put some scentless Burt's Bees baby lotion and Aveeno Baby Lotion on him, but his reactions have never coincided with their application).

I do want to look more into the whole probiotics thing for both of us, since I was on such heavy duty antibiotics during the pregnancy and during the delivery and because he was taking antibiotics last week after the whole toe incident.

As for yesterdays non-nursing rash it happened in a way that made (and continues to make) me very nervous...  He was asleep in his basinet, rash and swelling free.  I made the girls sandwiches.  The girls ate their sandwiches in a separate room from Patrick.  I cleaned up the kitchen and I washed my hands.  Patrick started to cry and I put a binkie in his mouth.  My hand touched his cheek.  I continued cleaning and looked over and noticed his face rapidly becoming covered in hives and swelling up.... and I reached for the cortizone...  Which is why, at this point, it's just not worth it to me to have peanut-anything in the house.  I'm hoping that if we completely avoid it now it may go away or not develop into something severe at this point... That also happens to be where my quest to find any other allergens comes from.  His reaction is fairly mild at this point and I'm hoping if we identify and eliminate the triggers it will stay that way and (I'm praying) go away.

And I kind of wonder about when he was born: he had a horrible, horrible rash.  The doctors called in "newborn rash" but commented on how it wasn't quite right for newborn rash and how it was like this other rash and that other rash but every single one was off by something and not quite like what he had (the pediatrician and one of the med students even brought out a book and spent a while questioning me about it and showing me pictures of various rashes that were all slightly different)...

Yesterday as I sat thinking about that rash I couldn't help but remember that the day before he was born we went to a local restaurant that has buckets of peanuts on the table and I ate a bunch of peanuts.  It's probably completely unrelated or impossible (can babies be allergic to things when they're still in the womb?) but it just strikes me as odd.

And that's pretty much where we stand right now...


  1. We'll be praying for you Cammie. I hope you figure it out soon.
    As far as paleo recipes go, the most important thing is to make sure you get plenty of protein and fat, otherwise your milk supply can suffer on such a restrictive diet. I would start with cooking EVERYTHING in olive oil and adding olive oil to everything. Later on, you can add in coconut oil and see if he reacts tot hat. I would suggest cooking up big batches of chicken, beef and turkey and keeping it already cooked in the fridge so you can eat it for meals. You could also pre-cook rice and potatoes (but sweet potatoes and white potatoes cook fairly quickly in the microwave). I would eat the potatoes and rice with plenty of olive oil.

    Also, you've mentioned making lots of popcorn lately, so I wonder if corn could be a trigger as well?

    Also, I would give probiotics to Patrick as well. The allergies are likely because his little gut is so messed up from all the antibiotics you had while pregnant and then the antibiotics he got for his tow. In my experience, a round of antibiotics can definitely be the "trigger" for an allergy to occur (or make it worse).

    Also, since you are fairly sure that he is allergic to peanuts and peanuts are in the legume family, I would be cautious about other legumes and introduce them slowly.

    Once you try out sunflower seeds, then sunbutter may be a good alternative to peanut butter (I know how much little ones can depend on that staple food)

  2. I think you may be on to something with the antibiotics theory.

  3. prayers for you as you refine your diet for your precious gem.

    here are a couple of links to check out.

    cosmetic database gives a hazardous rating to all things that can put on our skin. -

    my clean recipe book on pinterest -

    i've listed links to a few websites where i find great recipes -

  4. It definatly is possible to have a reaction to nothing but peanut "fumes" in the air, with no direct contact. I have read of children who are so highly allergic to peanuts that they can only go out in public with a specially trained peanut-sniffing dog who "checks" rooms for them before they enter, because even one peanut in the room can make them go into anaphylactic shock. Basically from a chemistry perspective, anything with a smell has a vapor pressure, so so small fraction of it is present in the air. My mom was actually so allergic to poison ivy that she could get a rash from going outside while someone was burning poison ivy on a bonfire!

    It is definately a good idea to try to eliminate food triggers for Patrick's rashes. Although hives/swelling on skin by themselves are just annoying, repeated exposure to allergen triggers (especially triggers that are occuring "systemically" rather than just from contact exposure) can progress to hives/swelling that affects the airway - which I'm sure you know about as someone with asthma. My little brother used to get hives with exposure to allergens, but if he kept getting exposed to the same things, he would start to have breathing problems. Keeping him away from a certain trigger for a while would calm down his sensitivity to it, so we used to go through cyclical periods where we couldn't visit anyone who had a cat (even if they shut the cat in a room the residual dander would set him off), and he would have to wear a mask just to walk from the house to the car to keep out pollen and grass smells.


  5. Did Patrick receive newborn vaccinations at the hospital? And if so, did his rash start before or after? I ask because your account jogged a memory of my 5th child's birth. They had just started giving newborns the Hepatitis vaccine immediately after birth (not necessary for low-risk but convenient for docs). My daughter had an immediate reaction that included terrible hives. I did extensive research because she was sick for 6 weeks. No one could do anything for her because it "just needed to work itself out" and most dismissed it as a random colic/newborn thing. But my research uncovered that her symptoms were totally consistent with a hep vaccine reaction, especially the hives.

    At any rate, I'm not trying to say that it was the vaccine for your son but it could have been. Also, there are certain vaccines that allergic babies should not get and Hep is one of them. The fine print will usually say something about not getting the vaccine if you have an egg allergy, etc. But how is a mother to know during the first 12 hours of life??? We have had two other children with specific vaccine reactions (neither have food allergies). One was immediate and severe (causing the doc to cancel the second dose) and the other was two months of local swelling and muscle fatigue. Otherwise, my kids are healthy as horses. I am not anti-vaccine but I recognize that there can be negative affects for individuals. We choose to wait now until the little immune systems are a bit more developed.

    Sometimes the vaccine and child are fine but a baby's body can be a little bit overwhelmed with all the stuff going on inside. It can take weeks for the immune system to completely get a handle on one shot series. Soooo... I just thought I'd add those thoughts. I hadn't thought of it until you mentioned his rash at birth.

    Prayers continue for you as you undertake this journey.

  6. Sweet potatoes and squash are foods that will help you keep your calories and good carb count up to help maintain milk supply. Lots of prayers headed your way!

  7. I think you are wise to keep peanut/nut products out of the home. I don't want to scare you, but my son has had two reactions from coming into contact with people. One had eaten a bag of peanuts a while earlier; but had washed her hands. The other had eaten a candy bar several hours before and had washed his hands multiple times since. However, both touched my son and caused reactions with hives. It's scary when you start to worry about what other people have eaten and if they will touch your child. I have had to prevent him from shaking hands during Mass with people who let their children snack during Mass. You have to come up with the line between prevention and paranoia. I consider it prevention to keep all peanut/nut products out of the house. Boy, do I miss my Recees Peanut Butter Cups!

  8. Scary to have allergies like this! I will keep you all in my prayers.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!