As a breastfeeding mom, having a baby with food allergies or intolerances can feel overwhelming. You might be realizing how hard the journey is or how much lack of science-based information or lack of support or...well you get the idea. We started Free to Feed to help nursing mothers through this challenging time in their lives.
We want to share our success stories with you! So you know it is possible to have a positive experience with this diagnosis, and you can keep breastfeeding. For years, Dr. Trill has been helping mothers figure out what foods are causing symptoms in their baby and helping them reintroduce foods when their babies are ready.
Today, we’ll be looking at first-time mom Lauren and her son Beck’s journey. It wasn’t a smooth start, but after a consultation with Dr. Trill – their journey changed. Lauren finally found some answers and guidance on how to get her and Beck through this.
First Symptoms of Baby Food Allergies
Lauren first noted symptoms in her son at around 6 weeks old. She was exclusively breastfeeding and started to notice green mucousy stools. The more it happened the more concerned she was as a first-time mom.
And it kept happening.
She was Googling like a madwoman like any good, concerned mother would. She wanted to know what was causing this reaction in her sweet baby, so she could fix it.
She started contacting her pediatrician for answers and didn’t get much help. Lauren was persistent though and began to send pictures of Beck’s diapers to his pediatrician.
Lauren then started to see what she thought was blood in his stool. She was very worried and after sending many diaper photos to his doctor, they referred Beck to a pediatric GI specialist.
Beck’s only real symptoms were his mucousy stools and pooping a lot. He didn’t have persistent rashes, colic, vomiting, or any other major symptoms of baby food allergies. He was gaining weight and was a happy baby.
As Lauren waited for Beck’s GI appointment, she saw a lactation consultant to see if she could find any answers there. They weren’t too concerned with his mucousy diapers and told her she didn’t have an oversupply of breastmilk, which sometimes can cause mucousy stools.
Lauren was looking forward to the GI appointment in hopes of finding answers and guidance on how to help Beck.
Even in the Medical Field Baby Food Allergies Are Confusing
At the pediatric GI appointment, they said Beck had infant food allergies. This was the first time Lauren was told this. His doctors recommended cutting dairy, soy, eggs, and shellfish. They also mentioned gluten being another trigger food but said, “that one’s really hard to cut.”
Lauren had zero guidance on how to do an elimination diet but was determined to keep breastfeeding. She cut out dairy, soy, and gluten. She also tried periods of cutting eggs and shellfish to see if they were triggers.
She tried on her own for months looking for the trigger foods, all while little Beck wasn’t improving. Lauren felt like she was “shooting in the dark.” After months of trying to pinpoint his trigger foods, she was both unsuccessful and stuck on a limited diet. She continued to monitor his triggers and symptoms but it was hard and inconsistent.
Lauren reached out to the pediatric GI specialist again after Beck’s diapers got worse with more blood and mucous. At their second GI appointment, the doctors told her, “Figuring out baby food allergies can be hard.” Then handed her a sample of hypoallergenic formula.
Lauren wasn’t impressed and wanted to continue breastfeeding, so she kept looking for answers.
Finding Answers on Baby Food Allergies and Intolerances
Lauren luckily stumbled upon Dr. Trill when a mutual friend shared something Dr. Trill posted on Instagram. She couldn’t believe after almost 5 months of trying to figure this out on her own that someone else had so much information and guidance.
Beck was now 7 months old.
She did a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Trill and was blown away by the information she provided.
“I learned and had a more productive conversation in my 25-minute consult with Dr. Trill than all my previous appointments combined with Beck’s pediatrician and GI specialist. She was so helpful!”
Lauren learned about hidden dairy and soy names. She thought she had cut those out of her diet but without guidance, she didn’t know all the other names these foods can go by.
For example, citric acid and natural flavors can contain what’s called “hidden soy.” It's a processed version of soy but still causes reactions in babies with food allergies or intolerances.
Dr. Trill recommended Lauren cut the top 12 infant food allergies. Lauren was determined to help Beck and keep breastfeeding, so she was willing to do anything.
She cut the top 12 baby food allergies and Beck’s poop went from green to yellow in just 5 days! He still had mucous and his gut needed to heal, but Lauren knew she was finally on the right track.
Lauren switched Beck’s pediatrician to someone who really listened to her as a mother. The pediatrician confirmed she was making the right choices in Dr. Trill’s recommendation and encouraged Lauren to continue breastfeeding.
Finally – someone else was listening!
Dr. Trill recommended Lauren take Beck to an allergist when he showed a severe reaction to oats. The allergist also confirmed Dr. Trill’s recommendation had been the right path. At 8 months old, he didn’t test positive for any of the IgE food allergies. This means he could possibly grow out of his intolerances to these foods. Fingers crossed!
You can read more about IgE allergies on our blog, What You Need To Know About Infant Food Allergies.
Beck is almost 11 months old and still intolerant to many of the top 12 baby food allergies. Lauren didn’t bother trying to add dairy or soy back into her diet since those are the top two allergies and intolerances. She now knows Beck has reactions to egg, chicken, beef, tree nuts, oats, and fish.
It’s important to see fish on this list because it shows how unique each baby is. During the elimination diet recommended by Dr. Trill, Lauren was able to pin-point fish as a trigger food.
Beck can have gluten, legumes, corn, and she recently introduced peanuts without a reaction. Gluten alone has opened Lauren’s diet up so much. “I eat all the bread now!” she says.
Lauren is still happily breastfeeding and enjoys her new diet.
Advice For Parents Who Just Discovered Their Baby has Food Allergies
Lauren advises parents, especially moms, “Trust your gut...no pun intended! If you want to continue breastfeeding, you absolutely can. Depending on the type of allergy, hypoallergenic formula is not always the answer. Find a specialist to work with. If your doctors don’t ask you what you want or don’t support your desires and decisions as a parent, don’t be afraid to switch doctors.”
“You know what’s best for you and your baby. Follow your intuition. If you can, get your partner or the people in your immediate life on board with your plan. It’s much easier with support. Also, it gets easier to adapt to with time!”
The Motivation for Breastfeeding Through Your Baby with Food Allergies
Lauren shares with us her motivation to continue breastfeeding her son as long as she wants. “I’m currently motivated by the results I have seen from this diet, but what motivated me at first was the deep desire to offer my son and myself the many amazing benefits of breastfeeding.”
“Breastfeeding helped me with postpartum anxiety, and it’s providing my son with antibodies and immunity which feels particularly important during a global pandemic. I’m also motivated by the bond that my son and I have from our breastfeeding journey, as well as my ability to stay disciplined with a diet I never could have seen myself sticking to! I actually enjoy it now!”
What Do You Wish People Understood About Infant Food Allergies or Intolerances?
Lauren wishes others knew babies with food allergies or intolerances are, “complex, challenging, and in many cases very serious. Even a small amount of food can harm or throw off little ones because they are reacting to the proteins in the trigger food. Every baby is different and has different needs. The research around allergies is growing and evolving every day. The best way to support babies with allergies is to support the mamas in their parenting journey and respect their decisions.”