From the start, DD was a high-needs baby. She cried constantly. The only time she wouldn’t fuss was when she was nursing, but minutes after that she’d be screaming. It was evident that she was in pain. Her diapers never had the “seediness” that most breastfed babies exhibit. At first, the doctor had me cut out dairy and said if she didn’t show improvement in one week, then that wasn’t the culprit; so when she wasn’t better then, I dismissed the dairy theory.
She nursed for two years and was more interested in drinking my milk than cow’s milk. Still, as she ate more solids, I started to notice that she’d never had a formed bowel movement. NEVER. She developed a habit of hunching over in pain and curling her feet up under her, and she’d hold her breath. I could always tell when she was about to be sick. She began to have some eczema on the backs of her arms and on her cheeks. When I brought her to the doctor again and told her symptoms, she dismissed it as “toddler diarrhea” and extra-dry skin–after all, we’d already eliminated dairy for a week.
Once she was done nursing and moved on to drinking more cow’s milk on a regular basis, she began to have diarrhea twice a day, every day. She was losing weight instead of gaining it, and she was generally unhappy. I took her back and insisted that something was wrong. At that point, we were referred to a GI doctor.
I made the mistake of letting him know we’d already “ruled out” dairy. His blood tests ruled out gluten intolerance. We had to go through stool samples (which showed she was not digesting fats) and were sent for a sweat test for CF, which was negative (thank goodness). He gave us some medicine in case she had a parasite that just didn’t show up on the cultures. No change. Then we went on vacation and she came into contact with very little, if any, dairy. It was a week of vegetables and fish and fresh oranges…no dairy products. And for the first time in her life, she had normal days and normal stools. She was not in pain. We returned home, started eating cheese and yogurt again, and her problems returned.
At the next GI appointment, I relayed this to the doctor, who said it would be hard to tell if the medicine was having delayed results or if dairy really had been the problem all along. We decided to go on a two week trial of no-dairy. About a week and a half later, she was like a new little girl! That was in June, and we have had almost no problems in those months at all! We’ve done some trial and error testing of our own to see what she can tolerate, and learned that she really can’t tolerate dairy in any form, even if it’s just casein, even if it’s cooked, even if it’s trace amounts. She’s not even four yet, but she’s learned to ask if something is “special” for her, and she knows to tell people she can’t have anything with dairy. She has already gained four pounds and her skin is clearing up. Her personality is blossoming, and for the first time ever, she is HAPPY.
Wow, thank you for sharing your daughter’s food allergy story. What a roller coaster you’ve been on, but yay for the improvements you’ve found!