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4MO baby difficulty breathing - allergies or CMPI? Some reassurance or tips welcome!

(10 Posts)
hrod Sun 23-Feb-14 19:30:22

Hi guys,

Thanks to all of you who answered my questions just after new year about our LO. It was massively helpful - we remain in searching mode, trying to find out exactly what's wrong, but it feels like we're getting there.

Basically, DD2 has been unsettled since birth (she's now 4 months): difficulty gaining weight at the breast (I now exclusively pump - sooo much fun); chronic cough when crying; breathlessness; stomach trouble; difficulty sleeping in the day then conking out at night; bouts of uncontrollable screaming. We've also been admitted to hospital twice because of bronchitis.

I cut out dairy when it got really bad at new year (after too much Christmas choc!), but have had a few lapses - the odd cake from the bakery. DD2 seemed to react immediately, so I've literally had to cut out everything - all processed food with any trace of dairy or soya in. She's now much more settled after my new super-strict regime, but one thing is still really bothering us: her breathing.

She's started wheezing recently, in addition to the chronic sneezing, coughing and breathlessness. It's worrying me: I think she may have developed asthma. It's so bad that in the morning, when she hasn't fed for 5 hours and is really hungry, she can hardly drink because she's so breathless. I know that cow's milk protein intolerance can cause respiratory problems but we're now wondering whether she has other allergies. it's all a bit new to us as neither I, DD1 nor DH have any allergies. And we don't have pets. We've taken the feather duvet away and are going to get her out of the wicker moses basket as soon as the new bed arrives tomorrow.

Does anyone have any thoughts on what else could be irritating her airways? The Dr's have been quite slow to diagnose any intolerances or allergies...

And for anyone who's been through something similar - does it get better??? I feel like we're somehow scarring DD2 by it carrying on like this - she's just so unhealthy looking at the moment.


changeforthebetter Sun 23-Feb-14 20:24:04

Gosh sad No advice but bumping for you brewbrewbrew

greenbananas Sun 23-Feb-14 21:09:27

How scary for you.

I remember your previous thread. You were concerned about tongue tie - but there is no way that would explain the symptoms your baby is experiencing now.

Ds1 used to wheeze a lot, very frightening sometimes, and he had horrible eczema at this age. He was diagnosed with bronchiolitis and a series of chest infections. He was bf, and he improved a lot when I cut out milk and eggs (obvious culprits) but continued to be very poorly until I had cut out a lot of other foods as well. He turned out to have a lot of food allergies.

It is possible to continue breastfeeding a baby with multiple, undiagnosed food allergies (i have breastfed ds1 for years now) but quite honestly it is difficult. Specialist formula is one solution, but if you want to keep on pumping, you will probably need to keep a very detailed food diary, and log all reactions to what you eat. You may find yourself living on a very limited diet for a while (but don't worry about the nutritional content of your milk because your body will basically rob itself to make milk for your baby).

Have you been referred to a specialist in paediatric allergy? Not sure how things work where you are, but really think you do need to see a specialist. Can you push for a referral?

greenbananas Sun 23-Feb-14 21:11:53

Should have said... If your baby is having serious breathing difficulties, please go to A&E.

hrod Mon 24-Feb-14 11:57:28

Hi guys,

Thanks so much. it makes me a bit teary that busy mums can be bothered to find the time to write: I really appreciate it.

You're absolutely right about A&E: that's what i've got at the back of my mind all the time - that she might suddenly have some kind of attack. Luckily we live in a city in germany with two hospitals right on our doorstep, and so far DD2's only had stable and relatively low-level breathing difficulties (bar the bronchitis where she got really bad and had to go on oxygen. But we were already in hospital then).

The idea of a food diary is a good one: I'll try and start that today. It's worth saying that she's a totally different baby from even one week ago, since I've been much much stricter with my diet.

We're being admitted for a series of tests at the paediatric unit in a couple of weeks - they're going to test for food allergies, and I rang them today to ask if they can test for other allergies such as feathers. My MIL was hospitalised with an asthma attach when she was DD2's age because of a feather duvet, so that might have been a contributing factor.

Greenbananas - how's your DS now? Was this something he grew out of to some extent, or does he still have allergies and breathing problems? I just hope that DD2 will get stronger and start to cope better with it. And what other foods did you have to cut out? I've heard that citrus and strawberries can also be irritants.

One thing's for sure: when I stop BFing, I'm going to go for a pizza with extra cheese followed by an ice cream! Oh, and a bottle of prosecco.

greenbananas Thu 27-Feb-14 19:58:52

Hi hrod, how are you doing? Sorry I've been offline for days.

How is the food diary?

I know what you mean about a&e always being at the back of your mind. We live fairly close to a hospital, and every time we have had to call an ambulance it has arrived impressively quickly. Hasn't happened often though smile

In answer to your question, ds1 still has severe allergies, but these are under control now and I don't live in fear the way I used to. We carry epipens all the time, but have only had to use them once. He rarely has breathing problems, although he does have to take preventer inhalers every night and morning. He is basically a normal little boy, who knows he eats differently and has to take special care but doesn't let it affect his life particularly. His school is amazing, and the teachers include him in everything, adjusting activities wherever they have to.

I had to cut out loads of foods - lived on meat, broccoli and rice for weeks (despite being vegetarian before ds1 was born). The most random foods seemed to affect him. Some, like citrus, made sense with what I had read, but he turned out to be allergic to all kinds of peas, lentils and pulses, and I wasn't expecting that!

Having a child with allergies is difficult, and I think it is most difficult when they are very young and you are constantly worrying about their future. As time goes on, the safety checks get automatic and you get into a kind of routine with the whole thing. I'm constantly amazed by how blasé ds1 is about the whole thing. .. It is just his life and he gets on with the whole thing without ever being particularly bothered. (The other day, a friend asked if they could play his mouth organ, and he said "of course you can, but have you eaten yoghurt today? ")

After years of breastfeeding and avoiding dairy and other foods, I don't crave them any more. But I would like to be able to drink wine without checking the ingredients grin

Let us know how the tests go. ..

hrod Wed 12-Mar-14 19:49:17

Hi there, my turn to apologise: we've had lots of visitors staying who keep borrowing my laptop in the evenings when I would normally write!

It's really useful to hear about your experiences greenbananas - and reassuring to know that life goes on. I met a woman the other day whose 3yo DD had a severe allergy to egg and I was so impressed at how matter-of-fact she was about it all. The whole family has had to adjust a lot, but you just do and life carries on.

Things are going much much better with DD2. She's a totally settled, happy baby now. Her dry/flaky skin on her face is the only remaining symptom. We haven't been admitted to hospital for the allergy tests yet - we're booked in for April. But I went to see an excellent homeopath here in Germany who did a series of tests including a stool sample. The lab results showed that DD2 was suffering from systemic candida (thrush) as well has having too little e-coli bacteria in her gut. She also had an elevated level of something which is commonly found in the gut of babies with allergies (can't remember what it was and the document's in with the sleeping baby!). Anyway, she prescribed a month of e-coli supplement called Mutaflor in addition to Adicalir which helps combat the thrush. We're due back in a month where they'll do another stool test to see if things have improved. I ran it all past our paed too, and she things it all looks like the right thing to do based on the test result.

Obviously, I'm still hoping that DD2 will grow out of her intolerances. So far, the food diary is suggesting that she struggles with citrus and chocolate (dairy free); along with cow's milk protein, soy and egg. I'm eating loads of meat and lentils, which keeps me full up when DH is snacking on chocolate! But I've also realised that cutting certain things out of my diet and family dinners isn't the end of the world either.

AllergyMums Thu 13-Mar-14 21:55:48

Hi - We had similar with DD. Ended up on inhalers for asthma and antihistamines for hayfever (post nasal drip runs down their throats and they cough constantly). DD finally (aged 7) diagnosed with reflux which causes coughing. We've allergies too but the coughing was mainly reflux so do get that checked out.'s hard but once you get to the bottom of it there is light at the end of the tunnel (and sleep).

hrod Sun 16-Mar-14 16:22:21

Hi Allergymums, when did you get an inhaler for your DD? They say here in Germany that 4 months is too young for a baby to have asthma... but it sounds like that's what it is, from the wheezing etc. She also gets really out of breath when she's having tummy time - when you turn her over, there are these big indentations under her ribs.
She does still reflux sometimes - no outward sign of it, I can just smell the stomach acid. But it seems to have died down a lot after I've cut out all dairy and egg from my diet.
I do feel like we're so much more settled now and can have a normal life, but the wheezing/coughing does still worry me.

AllergyMums Mon 17-Mar-14 09:20:23

She was six months old when she was on inhalers. One of the indicators was that if we held her upright against our shoulders she'd sleep; if held in our arms in the traditional rocking baby hold, she'd howl.
Sorry...don't quite understand tummy time? When she's lying on her tummy?

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