Crying over spilt milk

It’s been a while since I last blogged, but a news story I saw this morning has made me angry, and apparently that’s a good prompt to blog again!

The news today is reporting that “bogus allergy tests are convincing thousands of people to take unnecessary treatments and put themselves or their children on inadequate diets, sometimes resulting in malnutrition”. (Full story at the Guardian here).

As some of you will know, both C and myself are dairy intolerant, something which contributed to C’s poor weight gain as a baby, vomiting, stomach upsets and eczema.  

If C eats something containing dairy, within about 12 hours she’s sick. Since cutting it out (under the advice of a paediatrician and nutritionist), she pretty much never vomits, and her eczema has gone away, meaning she no longer needs steroid based creams to manage it.  I don’t need an allergy test to tell me that cutting out dairy is the right thing to do, and until she can manage a dairy trial without vomiting again I’ll keep on doing so.

For me, things are pretty straightforward too. I eat dairy? I get a headache. I eat a lot of dairy? I get a migraine. I don’t eat dairy? No migraines. Ta da!

Just because a food intolerance isn’t life threatening, it doesn’t mean it should be ignored

Sure, I’m not about to go into anaphylactic shock if I eat dairy, and neither is C, but I’d prefer not to spend the next two days with a migraine, or with C throwing up all over me, thank you very much.  Not when I know it can be easily and safely avoided.

Surely more people asking for ‘free from’ options at restaurants should make them more aware and careful about how they prepare and list food?  It certainly shouldn’t be used as an excuse for when they trigger a reaction with an allergic (anaphylactic) customer, with sometimes devastating consequences. Allergy management should be considered equally alongside food hygiene in a restaurant environment.

Instead of suggesting that we should just put up and shut up and leave dairy free to the ‘true’ allergies – or worse, telling me I’m malnourishing my child – how about just helping everyone to be able to choose what they eat with confidence, and make it easier to find trustworthy information about intolerances, allergies and food substitutes?

Rant over. Normal service will resume shortly.

In Trepidation Of Weaning

C is 5 1/2 months now, and now she’s getting better at sitting up it’s dawned on me that she’ll be ready to start on solid food soon enough.

Whilst G was a hungry baby and was pretty much on 3 meals a day by now, we’ve been in no real rush to wean C. Other than not sleeping through the night (although she never really has) she’s not shown many signs of being ready, and if I’m honest it’s all rather too easy just giving her milk!

But we’ll have to get started soon, and we’ve made the first step by starting her in her ‘proper’ highchair, rather than the reclining baby seat, so she can get used to it. As you can see from the picture, she’s loving it!

But I’m actually quite nervous about starting to wean her.

I’ve written before about how I’m on a dairy free diet as we suspect C is cows milk intolerant – I haven’t eaten much dairy in more than a decade as it gives me headaches, and when I have eaten it (I remember pancake day being the moment of realisation!), C rewards me with copious amounts of vomiting. We also suspect a soy intolerance and possibly egg as well, as she seems to vomit more when I’ve eaten these, although of course it’s possible that it’s just a coincidence or that she’s just a sicky baby generally.

But so far she’s never come into direct contact with any of these foods, so I’m a little nervous about how she’ll react when she eats them herself. I don’t think she has an actual allergy (she’s mostly ok in herself and doesn’t suffer with rashes or eczema for example) but it’s so hard to keep track of what I’ve eaten and when she shows symptoms that we won’t know for sure until we try her on them herself.

We’re currently waiting for a dietician referral to come through which hopefully will help us nail any food intolerances she’s got, and work our way around them. And in the early days of weaning we’ll have no real reason to use any of our suspect foods anyway. So hopefully we’ll figure it all out in due course.

Whilst I don’t want her to have to struggle with a special diet, I’m secretly also nervous that she’ll be fine on all these foods when she starts having them! It’s not uncommon to grow out of early intolerances, and we’ve tested a few times so it seems pretty obvious to us that the vomiting is linked to what I eat. But I have visions of the paediatrician and dietician laughing me out of the room and telling me it’s all in my head.

I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge if we come to it. And if we do, there’ll be a huge slab of dairy filled chocolate cake waiting for me on the other side.

That should make me feel better about it, if nothing else.