Allergic to Baby?

Updated on November 17, 2011
★.O. asks from Saint Petersburg, FL
24 answers

I've had stress hives off and on (rarely) since 10 years old. I became higlhly allergic to dust mites, pollens, molds and animals with fur after the age of 18. I take alternating doses of zyrtec and claritin. Even with my 13 cats, this allergy med regime works 98% of the time.

Since the baby has come home (1.5 months, baby is 2 months), I've had hives spring up at east 2 times a week, if not more. It's mainly hives over and under my breasts, underarms, and lips would swell. The last few times, it was more widespread... crease at hips/thighs, face, scalp, arms and palms. The allergy meds do not work unless I take one of each at the same time and even then, it takes awhile to go away.

I don't use any new lotions for baby, using the same detergent... only thing is I give him a shower 2 times a week with the Johnson's Natural Baby shampoo. The episodes do not seem to follow the day I give him the shower.

I mentioned to his Pediatrician if she's ever known someone to be allergic to their baby's saliva, spit up, skin, etc... and she said no. So has any other Mom had a similar situation and ever find out what it was?

A new picture of Corrin and I are up on my profile, if any care to see my 'angel'. The picture he's wearing angel wings.

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So What Happened?

I will look into the post partum hives and change the baby shampoo. I've kept the same diet and we use fragrance/ brighteners/color free soap - so I doubt it's those. I did have some nasty heat rash during the pregnancy, but it's not been back since I gave birth. This hives issue didn't happen with my 1st child, so that's why I'm a bit confused why it's happening now.

As for the cats... I've had 3 of them for over 10 years, 3 of them for 6 years and the remaining 7 I've had for over a year and ALL 13 were present during my pregnancy. The cats are not in my home and have not been since I was 7 months pregnant - 12 are in a wonderful newly built (by my husband) covered back screened in porch. The one cat that continues to spray is outside. My cats are not the issue.

Getting rid of the cats, which I consider my furry children and in which I gave them my word of honor that I would care for them until their death, is not feasible. I take pet ownership VERY seriously. If the cats really are part of the problem to my hive situation... then I guess I'll have to live with it. Getting rid of my furry kids is not an option.

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answers from San Diego on

13 Cats??? Was that a typo? Sorry, I'm not a cat lover but it sounds to me (If that was not a typo) that you have more issues to deal with than just hives.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

I have heard of allergies or reactions to other people (boyfriends/spouses) but not children (the company I work for does allergy testing). So sorry you are going through this.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on


I think it's the THIRTEEN CATS!!! If you are allergic to any animal with fur - you are deliberately putting yourself into a situation that will cause stress and other reactions...

You are NOT allergic to the baby - you are allergic to the CATS!! GET RID OF THE CATS!!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I'd switch to your own shampoo, just to be safe (if you're worried about his eyes, just use swim goggles).

Allergies can disappear, appear, get stronger, or weaker following pregnancy or birth. If while you were in the NICU they weren't around, I'd suspect you either picked up a new one to something at home, or one of your old allergies has gotten stronger.

OR, that it might "just" be the stress of a new baby. Completely taking out the lack of sleep (HUGE stressor to your system), a baby's cry is the EXACT decibel level to CREATE stress in adult humans (it's the same tone/pitch torturers use). We're *wired* to stop babies from crying (and it's why even people who love kids go batty on planes with a baby crying). AND (you're going to hate this part, so lets hope it's not the source in your case) I have known 4 women who are HIGHLY allergic to their own breastmilk. Worse than you are describing... the specific proteins made them extremely ill in two cases, anaphalaxis in one, and caused blistering and skin degradation in the 4th. Some other women are only somewhat allergic to their breastmilk... either to the proteins or sugars... causing less life threatening but highly aggravating symptoms.

Sudden allergy-LIKE (or flu-LIKE) symptoms can also be an early warning sign of PPD (your body not responding well to hormone fluctuations). So just as a heads up, if things start going sideways.

So happy you guys are back home and doing (mostly) well!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think Cheryl nailed it. 13 cats is beyond excessive!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Stationed Overseas on

It could be your hormones or just plain old stress. It doesn't have to be something enviornmental. Your own body does crazy things during and after pregnancy. And the stress of a new baby could make you break out as well especially if you are already prone to hives. But to answer your question, no I have never heard of anyone being allergic to their own baby.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I admire your devotion to your fids. I feel the same and would suffer much for mine. I hope you can work it out. Can you get allergy shots?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Allergies and sensitivities can occur at any time during a person's life. And sometimes they can fade away with no apparent explanation. And stress can exacerbate existing allergies.

Hope you find a solution. I would probably die if I even had one cat in the house.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Maybe try a different baby shampoo? Try California Baby or Cetaphil. Also, even if you didn't try anything new, maybe there's something else in the environment that is new or maybe you developed a new allergy. For example, do you ever use a dry cleaner and could they have changed something? Or has your detergent brand changed formula? Could you be allergic to baby's diapers? Have you tried cloth, washed in your own detergent?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Stress can activate a rash and so can heat. It could be that. I'm not sure of anything else. I wish I had more to say.
Oh..I'll go look at your angel. :-)

EDIT: GORGEOUS GORGEOUS GORGEOUS!!!! What a beautiful picture of you and your sweet pea! :-D

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

so cute picture and baby!
Now to your question.
I have heard of allergies changing over time and it could be your body chemistry all out of wack still from delivery.
Could it be heat/ sweat related?
I have been known to have heat rashes. and the places you mention , well most of them are places one would get sweaty, or hold more heat.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I wonder if it's hormones? I just "googled" postpartum hives, and apparently it's kinda common. Check it out - maybe some moms who've had the same problem will have solutions or "survival tips" for you. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I agree with the already written good advice.
YOu mention you bath with baby bath of Johnsons. i love Johnsons as well, but it contains some fragrance. maybe try a fragrance free product like Cetaphil. Ask your dr first of course.

best of luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It seems..... to me, that the "stress" of having a baby, is triggering your Hives.

I don't think it is anything topical.
As you said... since you were a child, you have had STRESS Hives.
It is still, apparent.

I would seek a Naturopath Doctor. And then, see how you can, problem solve your stress. And stress management.

Your Hives... are STRESS INDUCED.
Having a baby, being a Mom... is stressful.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

When the hormones change it can cause us to become allergic to things we weren't before. I suggest using Prolief from Arbonne it will help those pregnancy hormones get back in balance. PM me for more info on hormone imbalance. Just because they say natural doesn't mean there isn't anything in there that you are allergic to. Most OTC products have added ingredients including mineral oil, animal products and preservatives. Hope you find relief soon.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I believe this will come out wrong - but it is said from the heart - I think you are deluding yourself if you think that cats aren't the problem. Doesn't matter if they were there with you before the baby or after...

You have stated clearly that you are allergic to animals with fur. They are animals with fur.

Your body can and will change after giving birth...doesn't matter if it didn't change when your daughter was born - every pregnancy is different...your body has changed. Whether you want to admit it or not - the cats seem to be the issue.

I'm an animal fan - huge animal fan - so I know that these cats are like children to you - but if you want to survive without hives, you may have to get rid of the cats...their dander will travel...and yes, they ARE in your home...screened in porch is still connected to the house..

however hard it may be - you need to get rid of the cats - for your health - you will have to have a team of professional cleaners to come in and clean the carpets and furniture as the dander can linger. Wipe the walls down with a cleaner that you know you don't have a problem with...

I know it's hard. Your best bet is to get rid of the cats.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The stress and exhaustion of a new baby could have something to do with it. I get horrible ichy skin when I am tired an stressed and I got a horrible PUPPS (pregnancy related) rash at the end of my pregnancy and it took 2 weeks after delivery to heal. I survived on benedryl and cortizone cream (given to me in the hospital) but your doctor may give you something better. I hope you feel better soon--it can make you crazy to be itchy all the time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Pamela
Just my 2 cents. My son was allegric to Johnsons' products. He came out in a rash and I switched to aqueous cream.

Your picture is fab.
I am 38 weeks gone now and really ready for this girl to come.
B. k

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

After each baby your body changes so much. Each time is so different. Talk to your doctor, you may need to change up the med regimen since your body has changed. It's also possible that it's temporary and as your postpartum hormones even out the problems will disappear. Good luck to you and congrats on your new baby!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Your meridans are blocked in some areas. Could be gall bladder, kidneys, liver, heart, lungs? Emotional baggage.... Go see a good acupuncturist or NAET provider. Also newborns get baths not showers....too alerting and not calming.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It is most likely not the baby =-)

It could be however something that you were exposed to in the hospital. You may never know the trigger, and it may last for a while.

My brother and a friend both had similar allergy issues spring up. Both had to take 3 allergy meds all at the same time or the would have the symptoms you describe. The doctor said that they were exposed to a 'perfect storm' of allergy issues for themselves and tho the initial exposure is done their body still thinks it needs to fight off something.

For both of them, they had issues for about a year, then one day my brother forgot to take one of the medicines, which usually means trouble, and his body did not react as badly. Now he is medicine free and has been for about 4y.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I just saw your post here and there is something that no one else mentioned. I bet your adrenal glands are out of balance, which is typical of post-partum. You need to support your adrenal glands naturally.

Also, there are natural forms of anti-histamine. However, anything that dries up your nose will also dry up your breast milk. I do not know if you are breast feeding, but the the drugs will definitely effect your little one and your breast milk supply. If you are not breast feeding I can tell you the natural histamines.

I know you are changing the soap---the rule is if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin or your baby's skin. The skin absorbs anything you put on it. So if it says do no ingest, then you shouldn't put it all over your body, either. Johnsons's is actually one of the most toxic things out there. Some good choices are Dr. Bronner's, earth Mama Angel Baby, mi essence, or bumble and bee are good options.

Finally, everything you are experiencing is caused by underlying emotional issues. Your symptoms will not go away unless you deal with the suppressed emotions that are causing the symptoms. It is clear from the fact that you have 13 cats that you have issues with experiencing unconditional love. While I applaud your commitment, 13 cats is most definitely not normal. Why would you be willing to hurt your own health to take care of something/someone else? If you do not love you, no one else will. If you truly want your physical symptoms to balance you will have to face those things that the 13 cats are keeping you from facing. I know that it is truly hard---been there, done that---but it will truly change your life for the better, therefore changing your son's life for the better as well.

If I can help (since I've been there) please don't hesitate to ask.
Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

I don't really have any advice about the hives, except maybe to use a different bathing product for baby. My kiddo breaks out in eczema if we use any johnson's or method products. So we use California baby now, fragrance & die free.

I just wanted to say that there's nothing, in my mind at least, unusual about having 13 cats. At one point, we had 4 cats, 2 dogs, 3 hamsters, 9 chinchillas, and 17 guinea pigs.

Some people have a lot of love for non human animals - it doesn't mean there's pathology behind it.

I also admire your commitment to your companion animals - too many people think pets are disposable and rehome them at the slightest inconvenience.

Could your skin just be really dry? I occasional get hives/rash when my skin is very dry.

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