Figuring Out Infant Food Allergies

Today I present a wonderful post from my friend Dionna of Code Name Mama fame. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



Ailia trying her first sweet potato

Today I watched several “old” videos of Ailia (old being in quotes because she’s only six months old as I write this). I remember those first three months of her life being so worn out, so baffled, because she was constantly “sick.”

True, she was born at the end of November, and there were a lot of cold/flu germs floating around. But it seemed like she couldn’t kick it. Constant snot, congestion, coughing, difficulty breathing. And the screaming every night. Oh, the screaming.

I was literally depressed because my baby could not seem to get healthy.

A couple of friends with food allergies asked if I’d tried cutting any allergens out, but I hesitated. Mainly because Kieran and I had also been sick off and on this winter, and I thought Ailia just kept picking up a bug from one of us. (But also, a little bit, because the thought of going on an elimination diet seemed overwhelming. And I had previously cut dairy for my first nursling!)

After about three months of constant illness, I finally cut out dairy.

In less than a week, I started seeing improvements in Ailia’s health.

But hey – it was the end of March, the weather was warmer. Surely it was coincidence, right? I failed to completely cut dairy at first, a little would sneak in here and there. (Butter on toast – how can you not have butter on toast?! Butter on movie popcorn, I must have butter on movie popcorn! There was cheese on that pizza – who knew?!) But eventually, I got almost all of it out of my diet.

I could not wait for two weeks to be up so I could add dairy back in. I just knew it would have no effect.

Also, I really wanted a milk shake.

So as soon as my two weeks were up, I had my milk shake. Less than 12 hours later, Ailia was in the throes of April Snotfest 2012. Le sigh. We concluded she is indeed sensitive to dairy.

Two weeks or so into my dairy-free life, Ailia started reacting again. What in the hell?!, thought I. I’ve cut out dairy! What is this? Fast forward a few more weeks and I realized she was reacting to eggs.

Since cutting dairy and eggs, Ailia has been so much better. The constant snot and congestion are gone. Occasionally we see a flare-up, and I’m left to wonder whether I had a contamination (we do eat out sometimes) or whether there is something else she is sensitive to (I’ve heard soy can be an issue for people who are allergic to dairy).

It hasn’t been easy, but I am so happy that we’re in a different place now.

Also? Cutting out dairy and eggs has made me feel better, too. My pregnancy weight has dropped off completely (that did not happen with my first), I am eating healthier (not as many processed things I can snack on!), and it has made me reassess our diet in good ways.

If your little has food allergies or sensitivities, how did you figure it out?

Have you ever cut allergens for a nursling? How did you feel about it?

Below is one of the videos of Ailia when she was congested due to dairy and egg allergies. Listen to her snuffly (yet adorable) laugh!

And here she is sans snuffles. Even sweeter!

About Dionna:
Dionna is a lawyer turned work at home mama of two amazing kids, Kieran and Ailia. You can normally find Dionna over at Code Name: Mama where she shares information, resources, and her thoughts on natural parenting and life with little ones.

Dionna is excited to share her newest project, a journal for mothers. Order a copy for your own mama! For My Children: A Mother’s Journal of Memories, Wishes, and Wisdom from Amazon or Barnes & Noble – the perfect gift for yourself or someone you love.

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  1. says

    Now you just need to cut twigs from her diet, and everything will be peachy :p It’s great that the apparent sacrifice of giving up dairy and eggs has turned out so well for the family. Do you think you’ll continue even if the sensitivity goes away with age?

  2. says

    My son had horrible food allergies after he received the prevnar immunization. Ten years later he is still dealing with some of the after effects of this. He never received another immunization after that one though. I don’t know if he could drink milk now or not. He doesn’t like the taste of it. Some of the other foods he reacted to he can now eat. Others he can not. Food allergies in children can be really hard to deal with.


  3. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says

    I’ve thought about that, and I am undecided. Kieran still shows a sensitivity to dairy, so for the time-bring, yes. If they ever outgrow their sensitivities, then we will reassess. I do know that we will switch completely to raw milk from humanely treated copied and eggs from few range chickens.

  4. Vidya Sury says

    My eyes are streaming from laughing with Ailia ! Nothing like a baby’s chuckles and giggles to put you on a special high!

    I remember, when Vidur was a baby, turmeric would make him break out in a rash. When he was about three, bakery stuff would always set him off wheezing. It was months before we figured it out. Candy, too – the moment he ate a lollypop, he would start wheezing. Those were tough days, because the doc we saw in an emergency thought he was starting to be asthmatic. Ugh.

    I am glad Ailia is doing well now. I’ve heard dairy increases congestion. Natural remedy-wise, the first suggestion is to cut all dairy when there’s flu/cold/cough to decrease the phlegm. I love everything milk and to me, it seems like literally taking all my choices away!

    But it can be really hard to identify a food allergy. Maintaining a journal, watching everything that goes in…is stressful to say the least!


  5. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says


    I’m so sorry, Kathi. I hope your son continues to heal. We have not done any vaccinations, but I’m glad to read about your experience so I have that in the back of my mind.

  6. Dionna @ Code Name: Mama says

    @Vidya Sury

    I was *so* sad when we went off dairy. I am such a huge cheese lover, and there is this local place that makes the most amazing frozen custard (drool!). But now that it’s been 6 (oh my!) months, it’s pretty rare that I get a serious dairy craving.
    So is Vidur still sensitive to anything, or did he grow out of it?

  7. says

    Allergen elimination is no fun! My son has an IgE allergy to dairy (also beans and squash but we didn’t find that out until much later)and also showed reactions to wheat when I ate it, so I had to eliminate those foods while I was nursing him.

    I thought things would be different with my daughter because she had much fewer medical problems overall than my son. Nope! Dairy, chocolate, corn, squash, and coconut. The elimination process to figure that out was definitely not fun!

    But you know what? Totally 100% worth it :).

  8. Humaira says

    After identifying food as harmful, the body reacts by trying to fight the food—resulting in an allergic reaction with symptoms ranging from relatively benign ones, like hives, rashes and tingling in the mouth, to terrifying ones, like swelling in the throat, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness. Minocycline

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