Thursday, April 14, 2016

Embracing the Elimination Diet

It wasn't long after the birth of our second daughter that we realized that she was going to give us a run for our money. Our oldest daughter was a very easy baby. Once I accepted the fact that breastfeeding was not her thing and agreed to pump around the clock, we were good to go. She hardly ever cried and hardly ever got sick. She was just a happy, content, independent, healthy, growing baby.

Our second daughter is the opposite... she loves to nurse, is very fussy, and has already been sick and hospitalized in this short seven weeks she's been here! With our first daughter we felt like we had it all together. Now my husband and I walk into appointments with the pediatrician like deer looking into headlights and beg for recommendations to make life easier for all of us!

About three weeks into life with our new baby, it was clear that something was going on beyond fussiness. She was already on prescription medication for reflux which seemed to be helping but something was just still not right. I called the pediatrician's office in tears and they asked us to bring up a few full diapers that they could use to test for a milk protein allergy. My husband made the drop-off and I quickly got a call from the nurse telling me there was blood in her stools, indicative of the allergy, and that I needed to eliminate all dairy and soy from my diet. Say what?! I asked what formula to purchase. She told me not to do it. My babies tummy was already stressed out and she predicted that introducing a formula in place of breastmilk would only cause more difficulty as it would be even harder for to her digest.

I'm not sure if you've ever looked at the foods you eat and the drinks you drink and really studied the labels, but if you do, you'll see that many of them contain milk and soy! I was told that soy lecithin and soybean oil were still okay but other than that, I needed to be completely dairy and soy free because of this milk protein allergy. She'll likely outgrow it in a year or two, but until then, if she's drinking my milk, it has to be free of her allergens, which means what I eat needs to be free of them too.

To make a long story a little bit shorter, after eliminating dairy and soy from my diet for 2 weeks, we retested her diapers and saw improvement. Great news! The not so great news was that she was still miserable after feeding until she could finally, as painful as it was, get rid of whatever she had consumed. It was heartbreaking. The pediatrician then recommended that I eliminate some other common allergens from my diet such as peanuts, eggs, and tomatoes. On my own, about a week later, with the help of the Joneja Allergen Chart, I also eliminated wheat. Now, seven weeks into life with this baby, we are finally seeming to settle down and she is smiling and enjoying life a lot more often - even between feeds!

I'm not going to lie. I miss my old foods! But, I'm embracing the elimination diet - eliminating the top food allergens from my breastmilk - and finding some delicious recipes that work for my whole family (because who wants to cook several different meals at once?). I'm still new to this but look forward to sharing some of my meal ideas and recipes with you! Stay tuned!

Do you have a dairy-free, soy-free, peanut-free, tomato-free, egg-free, or wheat-free recipe you love? Please share it here!


  1. I'm glad you figured out what was going on with baby! For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why my babies hated bottles, pacifiers, and would throw up after eating. Turns out most, if not all, had some degree of a tongue tie. We had our youngest revised, but my 5-year-old still struggles with some things.

    1. That's so interesting! I'm glad you figured out what was going on with your babes too! I wondered about a tongue tie with mine because nursing was so hard on ME at first. Every time I googled, I'd read about that. Those issues seem to have resolved for us now though, thankfully!


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