July 13, 2009,
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL on July 13, 2009
Did You Baby Outgrow His/her Milk Allergy?
I'm not entirely sure yet, but I think my one year old daughter has a milk allergy. At first, I thought she had problems only to cheese because I gave cheese to her once and she broke out in a rash on her face. I never personally gave her cow's milk because I am still breastfeeding. My husband and the babysitter started giving her cow's milk when she turned one year old about 2 weeks ago and they said they never noticed a problem before. I gave her cow's milk last week because I was running errands, and a few minutes after she drank it I noticed some red spots on her cheeks and by her mouth. They kind of looked like bug bites or scratches and I probably would have thought nothing of it, but since she had a similar reaction to the cheese (the cheese reaction was worse), I'm thinking that it was a reaction to the milk.
She sees her pediatrician next week, but I've just been worrying about this because I don't want her to have a milk allergy since milk is in so many things. For those of you who have children/babies with milk allergies, how serious is their allergy? Do they also have problems with foods that contain milk like breads, cookies, pastries, etc? Do you do all soy products like soy milk, cheese, yogurt? And is this something they eventually outgrew? If so, how long did it take?
thanks for reading.
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B.M. answers from Chicago on July 13, 2009
I agree to speak with your pediatrician. Food allergies/sensitivities are a slippery slope. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between them.
Having said that, my son had a reaction to cow's milk and cheese. We did an elimination diet and it was shown that his body was having a reaction to dairy. That was when he was just past his first birthday.
We eliminated all dairy from his diet and tested things sporadically and he had the same reactions. When he was 5 1/2, we tried again and he didn't have any reactions.
His reaction was severe breakouts (eczema) on his legs, behind his knees, rash on his face and intestinal issues.
We switched to soy and rice milk we used soy yogurt and did lots of substitutions. Now that he has grown out of it, we still use soy and rice milk to drink (I don't feel that he needs cow milk), but he does eat dairy cheese.
Good luck. Allergies/food sensitivities are never easy. If you have any other questions, feel free to send me a personal message.
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L.L. answers from Chicago on July 13, 2009
Our first child was allergic to milk as a baby. I noticed he had REALLY runny poops and it was when I had milk in my cereal in the morning. He outgrew it around two years old. He drinks plenty of milk now. Was your baby allergic when you had milk? they suggest to gradually reintroduce it to the child over a period of months.
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M.R. answers from Chicago on July 13, 2009
You may wish to do some research on the differences between food allergies and food intolerances. Also, check with your pediatrician before diagnosing the issue on your own. Less than eight percent of children under the age of three have a true food allergy. Unfortunately many parents see signs or symptoms of something wrong, automatically jump to the conclusion that there is a food allergy, and then swear off for life all food products that contain the culprit ingredient. That may or may not be necessary.
A food allergy triggers a response in your body that makes your immune system think that the body is under attack by a harmful, foreign substance. As a result, antibodies are produced to combat the substance, causing the immune system to release histamine that can lead to hives, swelling of the mouth/tongue/throat, trouble breathing nausea, anaphylaxis etc. Because the antibodies were produced in response to the food item, the next time the food is ingested (even in a tiny amount) the immune system kicks in and could cause a serious allergic reaction.
A food intolerance can cause many of the same symptoms but the main difference between an allergy and an intolerance is that the allergy, if escalated enough, could be fatal (the swelling of the mouth/tongue/throat can hinder the ability to breathe) and the intolerance doesn't generally involve the immune system and makes a person feel absolutely miserable. People with a food intolerance might be able to eat the food item in small amounts with little to no discomfort and definitely no threat to their life whereas people with a food allergy HAVE to avoid the food item.
Where the food allergy is an immune system response, the food intolerance is a digestive system response. Typically a food intolerance (at her age) is likely due to a lack of a enzyme needed to appropriate break down a food item (this could DEFINITELY be the case for the milk issue; lactose intolerance is the most common food intolerance) or a sensitivity to food additives.
Definitely address these concerns with her pediatrician. In the meantime, your best bet might be to slow down or stop the offending food item until you've had a chance to discuss things with her doctor. Good luck and I hope everything turns out okay!
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M.G. answers from Chicago on July 13, 2009
Yes, but mine was a bit atypical. At about 6 months I switched to formula - my son a guzzler only took 1 ounce and within a few minutes has small dots around his mouth. They went away quickly at least.
After speaking with the doctor, he went on soy formula and did fine. I gave him soy yogurt and cheese as well. I slowly switched to soy milk - using the Enfamil next steps to transition as I found it more portable than soy milk since it is a solid and found Target clearancing out a large stock.
Just tread lightly with food that may contain milk. Find out recommended dosage of Benadryl or whatever your ped recommends and keep a bottle and dispenser with you always! Gives you peace of mind.
I found over time that he could eat yogurt and cheese fine, but kept him on soy milk until he was close to 3. I also found that he'd gave the same little dots as he got older if he ate certain fruit snacks and things (may have been dye related), but we could never figure out what it was - so we made sure to stick natural foods as best we could and monitor the processed foods he ate.
I had the allergy blood test done at a year that did NOT show a milk allergy (yet he got the dots still). At an allergist had the scratch test done on his back at 2 and again showed NO reaction. At 5, I took him to an allergist again as he had gotten hives from what we thought was bananas as an infant and checked the milk again. NO reaction bananas or milk. So I don't put a lot of stock in the test which showed some reaction to foods he ate without incidence on a regular basis.
He is 6 and drinks skim milk (though not a huge milk fan), eats yogurt & cheese regularly and even some bananas now - that took me the longest to do. The allergist said the hives he had as an infant may have been a virus, but she did not think it was a reaction to bananas.
The bottom line though is food avoidance is best as children can outgrow many food allergies (not likely with nuts though). Wait it out until close to 3 and also make sure you wait to introduce foods until recommended time since once there is one allergy there could be more. Be vigilant with nuts and watch the baby fruits since many have combos with berries which my ped said stay away from until at least a year by which time I was pretty much done with baby food.
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