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5 month old allergic to eggs, wheat and nuts - should I continue to bf and other Qs

(8 Posts)
Legaleasy Wed 05-Feb-14 17:14:45

Hopefully in the right section, but just that really. DS has had severe eczema since 4 weeks plus silent reflux type symptoms and after skin pricks last week he's been shown to have the above allergies. The allergy consultant we saw last week has recommended weaning now which my HV is dead against (DS was 6 weeks prem) but my problem is really if I should continue to bf at all. He had formula topups initially which were stopped pretty quickly but then has had weight issues since Xmas (I suspect because of the allergy issues) so I've introduced formula again to the late feed to try and get his weight back up again and using what I express during the day to try and ensure my supply stays up and that seems to be working. He's also still waking twice a night, seemingly hungry and often windy, which after 5 months is pretty exhausting.
I've started to alter my diet to take out the allergens and happy to continue to do so if necessary but is there really any point? Egg in particular is a really difficult one to try and eliminate entirely for example and if I move to formula alongside weaning now, at least I can control what goes in. On the downside I have enjoyed bf, and finally feel like I've got the hang of it! Plus I assume bf continues to have benefits past 5 months.
The eczema side has improved considerably since we started to see a consultant dermatologist but I obviously would like to get to a stage where we are less reliant on the topical steroids we have been prescribed, therefore I'd be interested to hear from anyone who had a similar issue (not necessarily with the same allergens), what they did about bf and how difficult it was to alter their diet. More specific Qs I have are:
1. Any tips on resources when weaning allergic children.
2. Recommendations for a brand of formula for a windy and allergic (but not dairy) baby - I assume I can try any of the brands but would be interested if some have worked better for others.
3. Any dos/don't/tips when weaning an allergic baby earlier than 6 months (I know to do things slowly, no meat, dairy etc before 6 months).
Thanks all.

nosleeptillbedtime Wed 05-Feb-14 17:28:49

Can't answer your specific ques but I continued to bf whilst excluding dairy, eggs and soya. I am glad I did, even though initially tried to get on formula. I am really enjoying bf now (10 month old son) and it is really helpful to soothe him when he is anxious or upset. So if you enjoy it there is no reason not to continue.
It was difficult to eliminate these foods which were the mainstay of my diet as I don't eat meat ( do eat fish now), but now it is second nature and the absence of cake helped me get back to my pre pregnancy weight! In fact I don't think I will start eating dairy again as the male calves are removed from their mothers at birth which I find unbearably cruel after having my son! Anyway, that is an aside.
As for weaning, your Hv may not approve but there is nothing wrong with weaning at this age. But you will not be able to wean if your baby is not ready. We tried on medical advice after four months but got nowhere really. Despite persisting our son is only now really starting to eat solids and then only small amounts. So your baby will dictate when weaning really happens.
If your baby is windy he prob. Is still reacting to something in your diet, as that is what happens with our son.

Superworm Wed 05-Feb-14 20:11:30

DS is allergic to dairy and soy. I'm a coeliac so I'm currently gluten, dairy and soy free.

I won't lie, it has not been easy. BFing an allergic baby has been very tough at times. My diet is massively restricted and a soy is in absolutely everything!

Having said that, I'm still BFing at 22 months. The key for success has been eliminating every last trace and any possible contamination. DS is very sensitive which I completely underestimated for months. I know exactly what I can and can't have these days so it easy.

A plus side to doing it with DS as it were, is that I realise exactly what he can and can't have and how restricted his life will be if he doesn't outgrow them. I think that's made weaning much easier and I'm more creative.

greenbananas Wed 05-Feb-14 20:45:21

Sorry you're going through all this.

It's surprising that you have been advised to introduce food early. Babies usually have a growth spurt at about 4 months, and start to feed more frequently as a way of building their mum's milk supply (breast milk is made on a supply and demand basis). More frequent feeding is only very rarely a sign that they are not getting enough milk - it's just that they are 'placing their order' for the next few weeks of growing. If your baby was 6 weeks premature, then maybe he is having his growth spurt now.

Your health visitor probably sees babies who are having a growth spurt on every day of her working life, so she is used to dealing with this issue and I can understand why she is bemused. Is she concerned about your baby's weight? It's normal for babies to drop a centile or so, so long as they are still gaining weight overall.

Waking twice in the night is totally normal for a baby of five months old. Their tummies are still tiny and it's much more unusual for a baby to be sleeping through at this age! Don't worry, they all sleep through eventually smile

If you are happy to eliminate problem food from your own diet, there's no reason why you can't continue breastfeeding for as long as you want to. It's not easy following a restricted diet, but it is possible. I think wheat is a particularly tricky one, but I did manage to exclude dairy, eggs, nuts, peas, lentils, beans, sesame, mustard, bananas, onions, garlic, tomatoes, citrus and a few other things from my diet for a long time. My view was that if it was good enough for ds then it was good enough for me, and that it was good practice for cooking meals that he could eat.

Eczema can be caused by many things, but my ds's eczema was totally related to diet and cleared up when I realised what he was allergic to. Might be worth keeping a food diary.

In answer to your questions:

1. I wish I knew! I found these boards as helpful as anything else!

2. They are all the same, so pick any brand of formula you like. If any ingredient is proved to have a beneficial effect, then it has to be included in all brands by law. If there is any ingredient in one brand that is not in the others, then there is no real evidence that it has a beneficial effect.

3. It sounds like you know what you are doing (e.g. introducing low risk foods first, and very slowly). Talk to your hv about this.

By the way, breast milk is much more high calorie than most weaning foods (ten times more calories than baby rice or pureed carrot) and is also a complete, balanced food. The same is true of breast milk substitutes.

Good luck. .

greenbananas Wed 05-Feb-14 21:25:53

Been thinking through what I said about all brands of formula basically having the same recipe. .. actually, some might contain soya, so please do check ingredients carefully if you decide to introduce formula! !

greenbananas Wed 05-Feb-14 21:28:07

Except that the problem with soya was on the other thread I have been reading, and not with your baby - Oh dear, as you were! Think I'll go to bed now blush

Legaleasy Wed 05-Feb-14 22:08:04

Thanks all, great advice. Greenbananas - yes growth spurt has gone through my mind as well but he's been massively unsettled and windy all day and has just had a screaming fit through wind this evening (v unusual as usually sleeps 7-11pm no issue) plus is very itchy. The only thing I can think of is the mildly spicy chilli I ate last night as I've cut wheat, egg and nuts since last week. I'll start keeping a food diary though, good idea, and start reading the threads on here!

nosleeptillbedtime Thu 06-Feb-14 16:51:46

There is the allergy uk website amd I think they have a phone line.

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