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Allergies and sleep problems?

(11 Posts)
gardengirlie Fri 14-Aug-09 21:37:10

Hi I'm new to this so please bear with me! Not sure of all the abbreviations but will do my best!

I have 22 week old DD who has moderate to bad eczema, using oilatum, epaderm, 0.5pc hydrocortisone and eumovate (?). Anyway I just don't understand what's going on. Somedays it seems really bad, others not, so I'm guessing she's sensitive/allergic to something. I am BF and I have started weaning her but very slowly; bit confused about the whole wheat thing too so if anyone can clarify whether you do or don't give wheat I would be grateful.

I just wondered if anyone has any advice or thoughts because she's waking up almost hourly in the night on some nights. Other nights she can sometimes manage 5 hours but it's getting very rare. This has been going on for weeks and I'm barely able to function cos I also have 3yo DD aswell. Has anyone else had this experience?? What can I do?

I feel like I should know cos older DD has some allergies but they presented so differently and so much more obviously - I'm basically v tired and need some advice and support. We do have a very proactive HV - who appears to have her own agenda, and who is not really listening. She's more interested in prescribing different creams rather than helping me through what to do next.

Sorry if all this is a blur but that's kind of where my head's at most of the time! I should add that although she's obviously in pain sometimes and discomfort alot of the time, she's really smiley and chatty but sadly I'm not anymore

If anyone has any advice or anything to share I would be grateful. Thankyou!!

Sheilsie Fri 14-Aug-09 22:46:50

Hi gardengirlie. Sorry to hear about your DD. That must be awful for you both. My DD is 9 months old and has severe eczema (reasonably well controlled by emollients & steroids) and a cows milk and egg allergy (hives/vomiting). She has been on Neocate milk since she was 5 months old (previously BF).

My first piece of advice is to check mumsnet/.../allergies regularly. I've learnt so much from it over the last few months. In fact I think I've become addicted!

My second piece of advice is to insist on a referral from your HV/GP to the local childrens hospital or similar. I had to really push for this, as my GP resisted saying they wouldn't tell me anything different to the GP. But the hospital staff were brilliant, and treated my DD's problems far more seriously than the GP, and prescribed a totally different set of emollients and steroids than the GP. Plus they schedule regular check ups (rather than just hope I go away, like the GP).

Well done for still BF. But I wonder whether anything in your diet is affecting your DD's eczema. Have you tried cutting out eg. dairy to see if that makes a difference?

What clothes does your DD wear at night? My DD wears sleepsuits from, which I like.

Finally, I would continue to take things slowly with the weaning. I'm still excluding loads of foods from my DD's diet - cows milk, egg, wheat, soya, citrus, tomatos, berries etc - many of them just in case. And, even with that, her eczema is all over the place. I have no idea what makes it flare up half the time (although I've noticed that teething and colds don't help). So I hate to think how much worse things could be if I had introduced all of the potential allergens. By delaying introducing certain foods, I'm hoping they won't be a problem by the time I do introduce them.

Hope this is of some help x

girlsyearapart Sat 15-Aug-09 07:55:52

just to let you know I feel your pain! dd2 is 11mo now and we have had some truly horrendous nights "sleep" because of her constant itching and discomfort from bad excema.
Different things have worked at different stages for us. For a while dressing her in sleepsuits from the Snugglepaws site did the trick. Then it was long socks on hands and feet and having the fan on at night.

Now she is wet wrapped every night and has anti histamine before bed which means she sleeps around 80% of nights.

Diet is most definitely a factor for us but she was only referred to a dietitian after she had begun weaning and as I had no idea about food allergies being related to excema I just weaned her the same as i had with dd1. This wasn't helped by the doctors and dermatologist just prescrbing cream after cream and not exploring other avenues.

She has been diagnosed with allergies to cows milk protein and is on Nutramigen AA (I never bfed after first week due to own health issues) She is also allergic to egg tomato wheat plum melon and banana. I wish we'd been referred much sooner as the dietitian is very helpful. They also have lists of which foods to inroduce when to try to limit higher allergy foods.

Another thing we found on a particularly bad night was to walk her around the block in the pram. The cool air seemed to help. All sorts of random sleep practices go on but you'll try anything when you need a bit of sleep!
Hope this helps MN has been a godsend for me as I felt like no one in RL could properly understand x

tatt Sat 15-Aug-09 08:51:34

My allergic child didn't sleep much for the first year and although I remember very little of that year I do remember crying in the doctor's surgery because I was so desperate for help. It did get me a referral.

With eczema it's more often sensitivity than true allergy, which unfortunately makes it far harder to work out what to do. Some evidence that probiotics help (in your diet while breastfeeding, in baby or both - would try your diet) and that wheat should be introduced after 4 months but before 7 months and while breastfeeding to avoid an increased coeliac risk.

Dairy is a common culprit for eczema and either going dairy free or possibly switching to goats milk products may help.

The poor sleep patterns could be because of itching but can also be silent reflux. Raising the head of the cot by putting wood underneath so that baby sleeps on slope is a way of helping with reflux. Don't try pillows on the bed, that doesn't work, although it is possible to put a triangular wedge under the mattress. The inflatable one we tried just went flat so it was wood for us.

Sorry you are going through this.

gardengirlie Sat 15-Aug-09 20:37:50

Thankyou so much to all of you - it has really helped to know that we're not alone in this - can't tell you how much that has helped in itself really grin

Ok, fairly randomly, yes we have raised the head of the cot so I'm pretty sure it's not reflux but DD1 did have that...

At the moment she's in a vest and a very lightweight sleeping bag - guess some people might draw breath but she is SUCH a wriggler that anything else doesn't work and if she has nothing on her she doesn't settle.

Think I'm getting the message that I really need her referred. I just feel like I don't have anything concrete which is how they make you feel - you know, she hasn't choked and vomited in the way DD1 did, she just writhes around and has fairly random high pitch screams along with random flare ups - will they listen to me or think I'm mad?

Also, girlsyearapart I'm glad but really not glad IYSWIM to hear that you had a similar experience with doctors just prescribing creams and not able to think holistically about this. That's my experience of the HV but hopefully she will refer.

Sorry to go on, the one other main thing is that it's complicated for me to cut out certain things in diet because we already have a restricted diet cos of DD1's dairy and egg allergy/insensitivity, so I really don't want to have to cut down further but I guess a food diary is probably one way to go.

Sorry for the blurb but really grateful to hear any of your thoughts, thanks SO much already x
ps long socks on hands, totally agree! x

girlsyearapart Sun 16-Aug-09 07:40:36

Garden- light at end of tunnel dd2 slept last night in a normal babygro ALL NIGHT no itching thought i would cry with joy seeing her in a normal babygro with her hands out.

Yes get a referral. If you keep on at them they give in in the end.. x

bigbellylady Sun 16-Aug-09 07:47:12

we went through the same thing but got dd allergy tested at about 10 months.

The paed told us that if sleep is disturbed a lot it can intefere with growth hormone production and appetite so they may not grow so well either.

We were given anti histamines for night time use which helped a lot.

Dd is 4 now and still allergic to dust mites (she has out grown her egg allergy) so I still give her anti histamines at night sometimes when she is very itchy.

Paula2206 Sun 16-Aug-09 13:43:52

Hi there

First off can I say I sympathise enormously. We have 23 month old who has slept through about 10 times ever. She was dairy intolerant, had severe reflux and now has eczema and allergies. We tried everything, cutting out this, cooling her room, warming her room slightly to see if in fact she was waking due to cold, introducing dairy, cutting it out again, books and blocks under her cot and loads of emollients (only find eumovate works alongside fucidin h when areas get infected).... tried the eczema clothing etc.

Eventually after an allegic reaction (hives etc on NYE) and having been told by a paed cons that we were simply pandering to her at night and she was waking up for attention and out of habit, I insisted on blood test allergy testing for both enviromental and food products... (had to go privately at a cost of £300 odd!) - turns out our d is allergic to cats (we have 2), dogs, sesame and nuts (and we have since discovered also to mould spores such as those on bath mats or which gather in bath toys when not drained endlessly..). She has been prescribed twice daily doses of piriton which has made an enormous difference and we have had to make a huge change to how our cats live with us. (We were advised by a new and brilliant paediatric allergy consultant not to find them new homes as it may be good for her to develop a degree of immunity by living near them).... we are seeing the cons again this week and hope to be put onto a stronger and less sleep inducing daily antihistamine which she takes once a day.

I guess what I am trying to say here is that it is definitely worth insisting on blood tests to see if she is allergic to things in her diet or around her. It is a huge learning curve and we find we are changing things weekly to test her reaction. We tried to gently wean her off the piriton and have noticed a huge negative effect. Plus we find cheese gives her unsettled nights (nightmares or gut ache - not sure). Off course when you add their disposition to night terrors at this age and late teething, plus eczema its a terrible nightly cocktail!

Our d has an older brother (4) who has asthma and I know what it is like being up all night for one and on the go for both all day - utterly exhausting.

Don;t be brushed off and avoid the HV - they are generally too powerless... go and see your GP and insist on further tests and a referral. Your mother's instinct is telling you something isn;t right and it is only right and fair for you both that you get some answers and explore other avenues...

Good luck and let us know how you get on.


girlsyearapart Mon 17-Aug-09 07:21:53

You could've been writing as me Paula! The part about all the different things to try to get them to sleep. You do one thing it doesn't work, you try the opposite. Finally something works and you wrack your brain trying to work out what was different..

Our dd tested 2 on her RAST bloods for the dog but we were also advised not to get rid of him as he would die or she would get over her allergy before we could effectively rid our house of dog.

We also give anti histamine nightly and notice the difference when we don't. She'll be prescribed stronger after she's 1. I was worried about giving it so regularly but was told there are no problems with giving it nightly it's more detrimental for her not to sleep.Anyway yes it's so hard especially when you feel the health professionals are not supporting you.

Hope you got some sleep last night x

gardengirlie Fri 21-Aug-09 21:07:52

Thankyou thankyou thankyou and sorry about the delay in replying.

We have had a really mixed week - typically. She was totally clear as a bell skinwise, smiling and giggling away, 2 days ago. And slept for 8 hours I might add grin Now it's all flared up again, she's writhing around, etc etc and slept for 1.5 hourly intervals hmm

Yes exactly, trying to rack my brains to work out what exactly was different about one end of the week to the other.

Right so I'm off to the doctors then. Tried to catch up with the HV but she was off work - again. Is it me (perhaps it is!!) or do they never seem to be there when you need them?!

Thanks so much for all of this - I know I said it before but just to know I'm not alone in this is great. Here's to getting one step closer to some answers... well I can live in hope can't I!

Thankyou x

Faysmama Mon 24-Aug-09 15:33:00

Some great advice by the other Mummy. We kept a diary, and wrote everything down. It seemed a bit over the top at the time, but it helped us get to the bottom of DS's triggers.

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