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Milk Allergies & Weight Gain in Babies

Sep01

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Advice Smackdown ArchivesAmalah, oh help …

My daughter is allergic to milk: when-milk-touches-my-skin-I-break-out-in-hives allergic (no anaphylaxis, thank heavens!). At her one year doctor’s appointment today, she weighed 17.25 pounds. Up from 9 months, when she weighed … 17 pounds. She’s not a big gainer, that one. Her doctor said he’s not terribly worried, because she eats well and is very alert, active and looks healthy (I’ve been making all her food, inspired by someone who writes an advice column, hm, I wonder who that could be). He just said he would like her to show some healthy weight gain by 15 months, otherwise we’re looking at blood tests.

I’m nursing, which he thinks could be part of the issue, because sadly, there is no gauge on the sides of my breasts telling me how much she’s eaten, so who knows how my milk supply is (although I can hear her swallowing). She eats about a cup of food for each meal, plus a couple snacks. Meals consist of fruit or veggies with organic rice cereal, sometimes ground turkey mixed in. She nurses 3-4 times a day. What else can I do? Cook her veggies with olive oil? See if a stick of butter makes her break out? Go with soy milk? Doc also didn’t seem terribly concerned about the hives (although he hasn’t seen them) and told us to give whole milk a try (she’d only had ice cream and frozen yogurt – blasted grandpa!), which we did and ta-da! Hives. The only alternative he gave was soy milk.

So, help? Will she grow out of this? Is there a cumulative effect from milk exposure, meaning she’ll only get hives now, but it will be a full-blown reaction later? Will we see the glorious return of the knuckle dimples if we can just fatten her up?

Thanks!
I’m Itchy Just Thinking About It

GET THEE TO A NUTRITIONIST.

I’m kind of surprised your doctor didn’t mention that as a possibility or an option — we’ve had that suggestion brought up at a couple of Noah’s check-ups already, mostly because his diet is so danged picky and restrictive. His doctor just thought we’d find some extra diet advice helpful, and offered some local suggestions. I assumed that was a standard procedure for children with identified food allergies — especially for a milk allergy. Call your doctor back and tell him you’d rather NOT take the wait-and-see approach and would like some guidance NOW about how to handle the milk allergy and your daughter’s diet. Personally, I’d ask for an allergist and a nutritionist. An allergist with lots of childhood food allergy experience will be able to answer your questions about how to best substitute the milk proteins and fats…and whether she’ll outgrow the allergy. And hell, if it actually really IS a milk allergy and not a series of hive-y coincidences…I’d kind of prefer to know that before just going, OH HEY HERE’S SOME STRAIGHT-UP WHOLE MILK, LET’S WATCH WHAT HAPPENS.

(For the record, we spent a month trying to isolate what we thought was a food allergy in Ezra after a couple hive outbreaks. Turns out it was two separate and entirely unrelated — and completely harmless — viral rashes. I didn’t know viral rashes could manifest as full-on scary hives like that. I assume you had to cut all dairy out of your diet while nursing? Is she prone to eczema? These are all things to be talking to an allergist about, especially because if it IS a real honest-to-God allergy, you’re going to need more information and hidden-ingredient food-label education as your daughter moves on to more and more table food.)

Anyway. So besides all that, your daughter’s diet sounds really good! To me, in all of my armchair non-expert glory, it sounds like she’s getting plenty to eat, and is just a skinny little thing. I have two of those myself. And it’s SO COMMON to see very little weight gain between nine and 12 months. SO COMMON, which I guess is why your doctor is going with the “I’m not concerned…yet” stance of semi-non-helpfulness. Babies this age are incredibly active: crawling, cruising, even walking, and they’re just too BUSY for storing baby fat anymore. If it weren’t for the milk thing, I’d simply tell you to start adding in some Omega-3 fortified olive oil or margarine whenever possible, and start introducing more meats (chicken, lamb, etc.) and pour yourself some wine. But since she DOES have that allergy, I can’t help but think that there are EXPERTS out there who deal with this sort of thing ALL THE TIME and can quickly and easily get you the answers and advice you really want and need right now.

Readers, on the off-chance the OP’s doctor and/or insurance won’t cooperate, can anyone recommend some good online resources for parents of kids with milk allergies?

__________________________________________________________________
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About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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26 Responses to “Milk Allergies & Weight Gain in Babies”

  1. Katie Sep 01 at 12:29 pm Reply Reply

    I could have written this letter. My 1 year old was given a stern talking-to at his well-baby visit last week, for only gaining 2 ounces since his 9 month visit. He has sensitivities to milk, soy, and eggs, so my diet over the last year has been pretty restricted. our doctor recommended that i add olive oil to all of his food, and have him eat avocado every day. I’m also nursing, but give him pumped milk at daycare, so I know how much he’s getting, and it’s A LOT. I’ve also changed my approach to food from “it’s for fun” to “ok, it’s time to eat your ground lamb mixed with oil and avocado.” If he’s not into it, I try again a little later, but I’m more serious about him eating, than just playing, if that makes sense. Good luck, I feel your pain, and am sending you good thoughts!

  2. Bethany Sep 01 at 12:55 pm Reply Reply

    By trial and error in the 1st month, we discovered my son couldn’t tolerate dairy. By the time he was 5 months old, I had him allergy tested (against the pediatrician’s advice) and found out that he has an egg allergy. He didn’t test positive for milk, but after more experimenting, he doesn’t tolerate it. Also through extensive food journaling, I’ve found he can’t do berries or carrots. I COMPLETELY understand how scary hives are. My son had a couple really bad bout of them too. I got him to an allergist and they recommended http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org. It’s a very helpful online resource. My son also struggles with weight gain. Although on the plus side, since we nursed, it meant I couldn’t have all the milk and egg stuff too. I lost 75 lbs by my son’s first birthday! I digress. I think the nutritionist is a great suggestion. I would also see if your insurance would cover a visit to an allergist. Allergies are scary and shouldn’t be messed around with, especially in a little one. You never know when it might go from just hives to something more serious. The allergist we see does the experimenting in the office that way if something does turn serious, we are already with medical professionals. On a side note, I know how Amy feels about giving small children soy. I used almond or rice milk and now use Lactaid, always calcium fortified. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  3. Stefanie Sep 01 at 1:02 pm Reply Reply

    My 9 month old has milk allergies too along with poor weight gain.  She’s around 16 pounds.  We noticed quite a bit of weight gain when we started her on chicken fingers (I make my own with crushed up kix for a coating) and avocados.  I counted her calories for the day and she is getting around 1500, so I try not to worry too much about her small size.  We have a pediatric gastroenterologist that we see which has been SO MUCH more helpful than our pediatrician, who was wonderful, but had reached the limit of her knowledge.  I second Amy’s rec to see an expert!

  4. Stephanie Sep 01 at 1:10 pm Reply Reply

    We are in the throes of food allergies. My daughter had major swelling of the lips from one bit of baba ghanoush that necessitated a trip to the ER (eggplant dip) — turns out she’s severely allergic to sesame. She also breaks out in rashes from eating peas and has tested positive for other legumes — lentils and chickpeas. I would definitely recommend talking to an allergist. My pediatrician wasn’t sure it was necessary, but we pushed after the blood test results came back. We’re now about to do some food challenges, when we give our daughter some suspected food allergens (in her case, soy, cashews, legumes) and see if there are any reactions. This will be done in an controlled environment (the doctor’s office), so that if there are issues she’ll be taken care of. Food allergies suck, but especially ones like dairy and soy that are just so prevalent in everything!

  5. Christine Sep 01 at 1:14 pm Reply Reply

    Amy, Are you sure you aren’t a pediatrician in real life? :D

    I agreed with pretty much everything you’ve said.  I’d just add in a few things.  
    1) Try to make sure that nutritionist is familiar with pediatrics.  While nutritionists are all familiar with adults, kids (especially toddlers with their food transitions and special needs) are definitely different.  I have issues even in my pediatrics unit when the pediatric RDs go on vacation and the adult RDs sub for them.  It just doesn’t work, they get very confused by the needs of a growing child.  Most children’s hospitals will have outpatient nutritionist appointments that you can arrange for, and often you don’t need to be referred by your own MD (though, I’d check about this just for the insurance reasons).  
    2)  I would definitely see an allergist and ask to be tested for the milk allergy.  They can do skin and/or blood testing for allergies, and while this age group can be hard to test (even the blood work isn’t always accurate) the allergist will be able to narrow things down quite a bit, the ice cream reactions could have been from additives, who knows? 
    -You’ll also need to ask the allergist if the allergy is for whey or casein (2 milk proteins), or both.  My brother developed an allergy to both in his teens, he now needs to be very careful about eating out and any preprocessed food he eats.  Otherwise he goes into hives, starts vomiting and lately he’s started swelling.  So, you need to know if your little one can tolerate one or both proteins, because this will make buying things like bread more complicated in the future.
    -Given that your little one is developing hives to dairy products, it seems pretty likely to me that this is an allergy that will worsen with more exposure.  Which means you need to have a few Epinephrine pens around.  They are little portable needles filled with epinephrine (yes, scary, but life saving), and you jab them into the thigh to inject with the medication.  There are versions for kids (EpiPen Jr), and you should have one around always.  One in your purse, one at home, one at day care, one at Grandma’s, etc.  Don’t leave them in the car, the heat is bad for them.  I’d use them if a reaction gets bad, then call 911.
    -You should also avoid the more common “bad” allergy foods until you see the allergist.  Those include peanuts and eggs, and sometimes strawberries are on this list as well.  Those with 1 food allergy tend to have more, and the allergist will test for them.
    -You’ll want to look for a Pediatric Allergist if possible, though this is less of an issue than the Pediatric Nutritionist.  To become an allergist you do either 3 years of training in pediatrics or 3 years in Internal Medicine, then there are shared allergy fellowships (2 years).  The Medicine people will see kids during that fellowship, but they usually don’t have the interest that someone Peds trained will in the kid issues, nor do they have the General Pediatrics background.  You should be able to see what residency your doctor did on-line before you even make the appointment.
    -I’d try to see the allergist before the nutritionist, this will give you more of an idea what you do (or don’t) need to avoid.
    3) This sort of allergy does have an association with eczema and asthma, they just tend to run together.  It doesn’t mean your little one will develop either condition though.

  6. Rachel Sep 01 at 1:17 pm Reply Reply

    Don’t get thee to a nutritionist; get thee to a Registered Dietitian. Any fool can say they are a nutritionist, since its not a legally protected title. Registered Dietitians have to complete at least a bachelor’s in nutrition (your nutritionist doesn’t even have to have a high school diploma, most dietitians have master’s degrees nowadays) and a dietetic internship where they gain hands-on experience in a variety of dietetic settings. These internships and university programs are regulated by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. CDR also keeps track of all the continuing education hours required to continue to be an RD. Just FYI.

  7. lolismum Sep 01 at 1:18 pm Reply Reply

    You can certainly add more meat to her diet. And fish. She should be able to eat salmon or some other fatty fish. Also, at this point (1yr), you can move away from the tasteless steamed veggie/ mashed fruit meals and move towards regular table food, mashed up with a fork or pulsed in the blender for ease of eating. I would make rice with a little olive oil (and season it) and I would make meat stews with lots of veggies and a little olive oil. The whole family ate the same thing. You can buy a whole chicken and make broth and don’t skim the fat. Add a little to vegetable dishes, rice, pasta etc… And yes, 9-12 months is when children slow down in weight gain. Keep nursing, keep giving her real food. She will be fine.

  8. Chaya Sep 01 at 1:18 pm Reply Reply

    We have a bunch of food allergies that manifest in eczema, and I would echo the nutritionist, and seeing a specialist (we actually used a pediatric immunologist after being pretty disappointed with the allergist we originally saw).
    It never hurts to have experts involved, although your ped is probably right, that if she is developing nicely the weight is not a huge thing per se.
    Good luck!!!

  9. Rachel Sep 01 at 1:19 pm Reply Reply

    Also: nutritionist and registered dietitian are not interchangeable terms.

  10. Amy Sep 01 at 1:22 pm Reply Reply

    If it is an allergy, you might want to find out if it is an allergy to milk, or lactose. My 2 1/2 year was reacting badly to milk when I weaned him, and we have had great success with lactose free milk. Sometimes goat’s milk is easier too. It is supposedly more similar to human milk than cow’s milk is. My boys were very skinny for their first year (9 month old weighed in at 16 1/2 pounds at the last visit), but my older son turned into a giant at around 1 1/2. He loves eating, and the weight really picked up when he got to eat all the foods the rest of us eat, in the quantities he wanted. Hopefully your daughter’s weight will pick up as well.

  11. Samantha Sep 01 at 1:37 pm Reply Reply

    I’m not sure I can offer advice, but maybe something about my experience will help. I have a 2 year old daughter (25 months). She’s really small too. At 9 months she weighed 16 lbs 8 oz and at 12 months she weighed 17 lbs 12 oz. So whereas she was gaining like a pound a month before that, she only gained one pound in 3 months. Like Amy said, I think this is really normal.

    My daughter had a milk allergy until the age of 15 months. My understanding is that most children outgrow milk allergies by 1 year, but if they have not by then, they will before the age of 2. My pediatrician said the same as yours at our one year visit – go ahead and give her milk and see what happens. If she reacts, don’t give her any more until she turns 2. Like you, I wasn’t too keen to try that, so I didn’t. At around 1 year old I know she was still allergic because I messed up and ate some vinegar and salt potato chips (thinking, hey, why would vinegar and salt potato chips have milk in them?) and she vomited and broke out and the whole nine after I nursed her. This was pretty much what always happened if I ever ate any milk or hidden milk, and I know the correlation because for the long expanse of time that I didn’t ingest any, she didn’t vomit or break out. and every time I messed up and did, she did. Around 15 months we did an allergy blood test (for other reasons) which showed no milk allergy, so I knew that it was safe to introduce it. We did it slowly, but oddly she was just not into milk products. Even now, she can take them or leave them, and I think that’s related to earlier reactions that she had. To get her to actually drink cows milk today would be, like, a miracle. I don’t worry about it though because we still nurse in the mornings and at night and she’s pretty good about eating other things that have calcium like beans or broccoli. 
    I would also make an appointment with a nutritionist (not really an option in my rural area), but please know that there are entire cultures that don’t drink milk or use milk products and also lots of people who practice vegan diets – all of whom are just fine. So, even if this does turn out to be a long term allergy, your daughter can thrive without it. 

  12. HereWeGoAJen Sep 01 at 1:51 pm Reply Reply

    I certainly think that the specialists are good ideas. But my daughter gained only two ounces between nine months and one year. She learned to walk at nine months and kind of shot up and slimmed down. And she was sensitive to milk (red marks around her mouth when I fed it to her and hives once when I got a little loose with the cottage cheese) but she grew out of that around eighteen months. Of course, her sensitivity was never that bad. She could handle a little milk or cheese, so I just kept giving it to her in small amounts. Around eighteen months, she stopped having the red splotches where milk touched her, so I let her have more, slowly. She no longer has a problem at all and drinks/eats all she wants. (She’s almost twenty-one months now.) I was the same way as a child, though I threw in more projectile vomiting, if you listen to my mother’s stories.

  13. Alison Sep 01 at 3:09 pm Reply Reply

    This all sounds familiar to me too. I can tell you what we did:
    1. Didn’t worry at all about the weight gain. I’m skinny. I was a skinny kid. My kid was skinny.
    2. Attributed the lack of weight gain to starting to walk a bit on the early side.
    3. Did soy milk for a while- my ped recommended the Edensoy Plus type, which is the most fattening. While there are non-soy options (rice milk, etc) they are not nearly calorie or nutritionally dense enough for a little one.
    4. Kept checking, a little, on the dairy allergy. 90+% of kids outgrow this one by age two. Mine did- maybe yours will too!
    Good luck.

  14. mk Sep 01 at 3:48 pm Reply Reply

    Keep breastfeeding! My sons have all had MSPI (milk soy protein intolerance). The older 2 “outgrew” the “allergy” by 15 months. There are several cookbooks for mama’s to adjust their diet and babies. If it is a milk protein intolerance they will outgrow it. If it is a true allergy to milk, they ususally outgrow it a little later. Go to an RD. Check out some MSPI recipe blogs for helpful tips. I would avoid soy milk- I drink almond milk, gives kiddos coconut milk yogurt. Good luck.

  15. Jaymee Sep 01 at 4:46 pm Reply Reply

    Here’s my question…… What does it mean when your kid breaks out in a bottom rash after having milk, but nothing happens when he eats cheese/yogurt/breastmilk(and I drink a lot of milk myself)? Is that still a milk allergy? I know it has to be caused by the milk, because we did the ‘give him some milk and see what happens’ thing. Everytime we gave him milk, his next diaper change was accompanied by a rash on his butt. Milk = rash Cheese/Yogurt/Breastmilk = no rash.

  16. Jen Sep 01 at 10:03 pm Reply Reply

    When you talk to an RD ask them about coconut milk. Many people with milk allergies use it as a substitution for certain things with great results. It’s fatty but its healthy fat and fat is good for babies. Check out http://www.thenoureshinggourmet.com. The girl who writes it has young kids and talks a lot about nourishing foods in general and I’ve seen a bunch about dealing with dairy intolerance/allergy. 

  17. I'm Itchy Sep 02 at 12:53 am Reply Reply

    Thanks for all the advice! I’ve been so worried and it’s great to actually have some ideas to go off of. All the advice helps tons.
    Oddly enough, I did cut dairy out of my diet for a while, thinking it would help with gas, but I’ve been eating dairy now for several months without any problems. Oddly enough, my mom had to go off dairy when she was nursing me and my two siblings, but none of us have milk issues now.
    Now, my daughter DID have major eczema at 2 months that landed us in the ER of the local children’s hospital (thinking oozing sores and total body rashes) and led us to a pediatric dermatologist. So I guess we just need more -ists in our lives?

  18. I'm Itchy Sep 02 at 12:55 am Reply Reply

    Oh, and we’re close to a wonderful pediatric hospital, so I hope finding an allergist will be easy. And covered by insurance.

  19. Kathie Sep 02 at 3:33 am Reply Reply

    This all sounds very familiar to me, as well. My son (now 2) was allergic to milk protein at that age, and just wasn’t gaining weight, how ever much he ate. In the case of a milk protein allergy, soy milk is also contra-indicated, as the proteins are apparently very similar. Our dietician did however recommend giving goat’s milk a go, as the protein in that is apparently very different and much easier to digest. I started out by using it, as I was still breastfeeding at that point as well, and then I started trying Toby on it directly, with a goat’s milk yogurt, and he actually never seemed to react to that at all, and it just seemed to give him those extra calories he needed to start packing on the weight.Also, he’s totally grown out of it by now, if that’s any consolation. So yeah, find out what it is about milk that your little girl is allergic to, and if it’s protein, maybe give the goat’s milk a go.

  20. Me Sep 02 at 5:36 am Reply Reply

    This exact same thing happened to our daughter – huge, scary hives all around her mouth when we first introduced milk. So we stopped, saw our family doc, who referred us to the pediatric allergy clinic at our hospital. It took 2 months to get a n appointment and we did soy etc all the time until then. And we saw the doctor, who was convinced it sounded like a milk allergy, did the tests…and….it wasn’t! He said that babies can grow out of allergies extremely quickly and in his view she was allergic but had grown out of it. WE gave her a little bit of milk at home that day and no problem.SInce then, no problems with dairy. So don’t assume that hives = allergy and condemn your daughter to a life without dairy. Get her tested!

  21. Jennifer Sep 02 at 11:01 am Reply Reply

    Whole milk gave my daughter diarrhea and she really just didn’t like it (threw her cup when I gave it to her). I drink almond milk, but she didn’t like it. She didn’t like coconut milk, either. I gave hemp milk a try and she LOVES it. It has a good amount of fat per serving and has no known allergens. It is pretty expensive but we can deal with that since my daughter only drinks ~16 ounces a day AT MOST. Anyway, the OP might find it worth trying.

    http://livingharvest.com/hemp-101/nutrition

  22. NinaN Sep 02 at 12:54 pm Reply Reply

    My understanding is that hives is in the same family as an anaphylactic reaction and repeated exposure to the allergen could lead to one. If it was a rashy reaction (such as eczema) than it would just be a skin reaction. Luckily, the only food allergy that we deal with is strawberries (???) and it “only” causes eczema. I’d be going to an allergist and getting an epi pen if I were you.

  23. Allyson Sep 03 at 10:24 am Reply Reply

    Not sure if little babies are allowed this, but two words: Coconut Milk. It’s fatty, good for you, and doesn’t have soy, dairy, eggs or wheat-all of which I react to (not to mention onions-aren’t I a joy to eat with?) Thank god my dairy allergy is mild-so I can cheat on it. I eat coconut milk ice cream (and almond based ice cream, too) and it’s pretty good. Might be something to consider? Whole foods even sells it in cartons, milk-style in DC, where allergies apparently rule the world.

  24. Tiffany Sep 04 at 5:33 am Reply Reply

    Whooo Boy – another person in the dairy allergry club! <— this is my attempt to make this a cool club. Did it work? I have been dairy free while breastfeeding since Oct, my son just turned one we had blood testing done and soy was negative and dairy was equivical not positive, not completely negative BUT there are lots of false positives and we have never had hives, he had all GI symptoms, gass, blood in the stools, etc. Anyway what have I learned in a year?? KEEP BREASTFEEDING! The older your baby gets the more your breastmilk becomes full of good ol' fat so continue to breastfeed 4-5 times a day is plenty for a one year old and its a great source of fat, protein etc. My go to source the Forums on the Le Leche League website you have to create a user id / password then go to the forum for "Allergies and the breastfeeding family" and TADA Lots of help! Lots of recipes and lots of people who totally get the struggles of having an allergy prone babe. If you search the this particular forum for "40 grams of fat" you will find a WONDERFUL source of infomation about adding fat to an older baby's diet who deals with lots of allergies. It was so helpful. You can try soy, but 30-50% of kids with a dairy protien allergy also have an intolerance to soy so maybe get tested first? I hope this helps. Know you are not alone. Seriously, Le Leche League check it out. OH OH and a dairyfree brownie receipe below it kicks butt and it was a godsend when I was craving chocolate. (and I didn't use the coconut) http://www.godairyfree.org/Recipes/Dairy-Free-Desserts/Coconut-Brownies-Gluten-Free.html

  25. Crystal Sep 06 at 5:37 am Reply Reply

    Hey, sorry I’m late to this smackdown. I actually KNOW STUFF!!!

    My best advice to the LW is to get a referral to a gastro. They’ll check your baby’s poop for signs of allergy (usually blood…even it’s invisible to the naked eye, as my daughter’s was).

    The four most common baby food allergies are…
    1-Dairy (and OY is it in EVERYTHING)
    2-Soy
    3-Nuts
    4-Egg

    I’m somewhat surprised that given your daughter’s issues with milk you haven’t been told to go non-dairy which were the first words out of my daughter’s gastro’s mouth.

    If you want to keep nursing, you might try going dairy free. But be CAREFUL and READ LABELS…it’s in almost damn near everything.

    Most (not all) dairy allergies are outgrown. Follow your docs advice on this.

    Mine was allergic to more than dairy…anyone who says they can pinpoint the allergy exactly is extorting you for money. The blood tests at this age have absurd rates for false positives and no one wants to go through the hell of dealing with a peanut allergy when one doesn’t actually exist–the test just told them so. When it was more then dairy, they just tell you to keep all 4 allergens away.

    In our case, the allergy was diagnosed at 5ish months, so I elected (WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR ME–NOT TELLING ANYONE WHAT TO DO) to move her to a formula that was just broken down amino acids for children with food allergies via doctor’s prescription.

    At 10 months we were allowed to introduce soy (but, interestingly enough, not soy milk) to her. That went fine so we introduced dairy in two stages. That went fine. We haven’t introduced egg yet (straight egg…she was cleared for egg cooked into a bread or cookie or whatever after she passed the dairy test). We were supposed to wait until 4 for peanuts, but she kept getting into foods with peanuts in them and never had an issue so now we give her pbj and whatnot.

    Although E grew out of her food allergies (as many children do) she never did well with weight gain. There is a theory (as good as any) that because eating was always painful for her (did I mention she also had reflux until like 18 months? FUN), that she just ate enough to live and didn’t want to eat.

    My kid was 14 pounds at a year. So her gastro put her on an appetite stimulant, which got us over the hump of her not “liking” to eat. We did some fairly invasive testing because we were about to move abroad and I wanted to be absolutely sure that her issues were not biological…luckily for us, they were purely behavioral.

    However, this was not a get out of jail free card. I sort of expected her to plump right up. But the truth is, my kid is small. She’s in a low percentile for height and has yet to crack the 3rd percentile on weight. But she’s healthy and happy and at 22 month may have finally hit 20lbs….huzzah.

    I think you need to listen to your heart and maybe chat with a gastro and his/her nutrition/feeding team. You’ll still need to make the choices that are right for YOU and YOUR FAMILY (I’ve ignored our gastros advice plenty when I thought it was wrong for us).

    Things will be okay.

  26. Tina Sep 14 at 11:04 pm Reply Reply

    I wish I would have seen this earlier! You got a lot of good advice, and I just wanted to mention a few pieces of my daughter’s story to try and be reassuring. She was diagnosed (by a pediatric allergist/immunologist) with allergies to milk and eggs when she was around 14 months old. I was still nursing her – thank goodness – and I went on the dairy-free egg-free diet too. She was simultaneously diagnosed with failure to thrive – she weighed right around 13 lbs. And we were told that in addition to dropping dairy and eggs, we needed to increase her intake by 1000 calories a day. She was already a big eater!

    Anyway, she started eating tons of hot dogs (kosher, so there’s for sure no dairy mixups), and pounds of veggies and pasta, and lots of ‘junk’ food – baked goods I’d make with the vegan butter from the health food store. And she went on 12oz of prescription single chain amino acid formula a day (hugely expensive – 125$/wk. in 2002, not covered by insurance). And she didn’t gain weight any faster, but we were sure she was getting plenty!

    She met all her milestones on time or early, and eventually the docs decided she was just small. We were given an 80% likelihood that she would outgrow both allergies if we strictly kept her away from them (each exposure can cause a larger harder to outgrow response), which we did, and by age 4 she outgrew both allergies entirely.

    Best of luck to you!
    (Oh, and we never had an anyphylactic rxn, but we did get a bunch of epi-pens just in case!)

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