Thomas*

My second allergic child

When Sarah was two and a half, I had Thomas. From day one, I was on the look out for the aversive feeding pattern that Sarah had. But he fed like a trooper – ‘phew’ I thought – relieved that he might have escaped the wrath of allergies.

However, from a few days old, he always writhed around in his cot while sleeping, straining as if he was going to the toilet (but still asleep). I thought it was a bit odd but didn’t think much of it as he never cried and still fed fine.

At 3 weeks of age, I saw ulcers developing on his anus and my heart sank – I knew that he, too, had allergies. He had different symptoms to Sarah because it was his lower gut that was affected.

I wanted to persist with breastfeeding, so I put myself on an elimination diet (excluding all dairy, soy, and wheat). It can take up to  4 weeks for food proteins to be completely eliminated from breast milk – so I did this for 5 weeks to see if Thomas’s symptoms would improve. However, it didn’t work and I was too tired and stressed to continue with the elimination diet. So he too had to take Neocate (a milk-free, amino acid formula)

His allergies were much more severe than Sarah’s – and he was allergic to more foods. He tested highly allergic to milk, egg, peanuts, pecans, and wheat. When weaning him, I also found out he was allergic to soy, cod, kiwi, and strawberries.

In addition to his gut symptoms, he also had severe eczema. At his first hospital dermatology appointment – he was photographed for the hospital archive to illustrate ‘severe eczema’. I had to wet-wrap him every day for 4 months after bathing because his eczema was so severe. Eczema really affected our quality of life; the persistent discomfort, scratching/bleeding, interrupted sleep, took its toll.

There are a lot of things I know now that I wish I knew before having Thomas – I could have possibly prevented or lessened his allergies…for example, the LEAP study which showed that early introduction to peanuts may prevent peanut allergy developing – kinda missed the boat on that one… Or taking probiotics in pregnancy which has also been shown to reduce the incidence of allergy in kids (read ‘help your child grow out of their allergies’).

I was told several times that I am likely to have a teenage boy with multiple food allergies on my hands – he was allergic to nine foods when he was 6 months old, so far he has outgrown egg, wheat, cod, and soy, kiwi, strawberry allergies – my aim is to help him outgrow ALL his allergies.

 

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