Monday, August 10, 2009


Catching up on the allergy front but first a pic-

{My grandparents gave him that duck and he LOVES it. It quacks a song and he smiles every single time he hears it.}

When I last updated about allergies I was feeling pretty defeated. I needed a break from focusing on it but that didn't happen. I did divert some of my attention and time to getting my end of the month paperwork done. Time well spent since I'm feeling less stressed.

We spent a weekend cleaning. THOROUGHLY cleaning! We did all the cleaning while Ethan napped or was in another room to prevent reactions from dust/dander being kicked up into that room. We had our carpets professionally cleaned. We had our heat pump serviced and filters changed. We looked into a HEPA filter for our HVAC system but the options were out of our budget. BTW, in a previous post I mentioned reading a suggestion about putting cheesecloth over registers. Our HVAC service company did not think that was a wise choice as it would make the system work unnecessarily harder and could cause damage.

I ordered some Allerpet to hopefully cut down on the dander (thanks SAnon for the rec. I've been thinking about you & hoping that things are going well). We've continued vacuuming often. The cats continue to be confined to half of our upstairs. We do not take Ethan into that part of our home. We wash our hands and change our clothes after petting the cats.

We're on day 4 without Hydroxizine and I can't really be sure if our efforts are making enough of a difference. Ethan is itching and rubbing his eyes. I know that as long as we have the cats then we are going to have more and more dander in our home. They're dander will remain even if they are not here but at least it would stop increasing. We're facing the sad reality that if our efforts are not enough then we may need to find new homes for our girls. It breaks my heart to even think about it but it may be something that we have to do. Others out there might suggest to take the avenue of treatment instead. Personally, I can't continue to medicate my son. It's not just the fact that we are putting medication into his body without knowing the possible long term effects, it's the additional issue the medication is creating - a learned behavior. It is a FIGHT to get the medication in him. He shivers as if he just took the most foul tasting shot. He continues to make a face and shiver for more than a half hour after we finally get it into him. Then he continues to fight you if your hands go near his face. This is troubling when we have to put MORE medication on his cheeks to treat his eczema, which the allergist believes is due to his cat allergy. He reacts the same way when you try to put something in his mouth. This is quite upsetting when he needs to EAT!! So, right now our plan is to wait and see if our efforts are enough and if they aren't we need to find suitable homes for our cats. Again, this is such a difficult decision.

I decided to have myself tested for food allergies and a gluten intolerance. Once I stopped eating the Rice Krispies (that contain gluten) I felt better and Ethan slept a little better!! I've been reading that a mom's leaky gut can cause a child's allergies/intolerances/symptoms. Another page that gives info on leaky gut. Interesting stuff! I don't know if I have a leaky gut. I don't think I have symptoms but I'll be very interested to see if I test positive to any food allergies.

I've been trying some new foods and recipes. Quinoa has been a nice grain addition. It has been helping me eat less rice. I've found cereals made by Erewhon. The Rice Twice and Corn Flakes are favorites. Check out what FEW ingredients there are! I never imagined I'd be eating these cereals. About 2 years ago I was eating Reese's Puff's cereal almost daily. Check out the difference of ingredients. Hard to believe that I actually like my new cereals after eating sugary cereals but I do. I've also used this site for recipes. I love that you can search recipes free of offending allergens. I think the following recipe is from that site too. It turned out to be a spice cake when using cinnamon instead of cocoa. MMM.

1 1/2 C. rice or buckwheat flour
2 heaping Tbs cocoa (I took the suggestion of another baker and used 2 tsp cinnamon instead since I don't know if Ethan would react to cocoa. I eliminated it weeks ago.)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 C. sugar (I'll use less next time)
1/2 C. oil (I used olive and it was good)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C. rice milk

Bake in a greased 9X9 cake pan at 350 for 40 minutes (needs the whole time).

YUM!!! Even Matt liked it. I'm anxious to trial cocoa b/c I hear this will taste like brownies. It will be quite a while until we get there though. We have other, more important things to trial before we get to cocoa.


  1. I love his pics! He is soooo cute - what personality! Looks like he is sitting up fine unassisted. Mine is still not doing that. He is a bit behind due to his slow weight gain, I think. Seems to me that mine hits the milestones as his physical development (weight) goes up. My son started out great - 8lbs (and, I'm petite)but was only 15.5 lbs at 6 months :( I'm sure it's because of my limited diet. I've been trying to eat and eat, but I just can't seem to gain weight either.

    Wow! I think it's great that your husband helps w/your son - keeping the dander down, etc. Asthma is no fun. What you're doing now will probably help prevent that..

    My son's rash is under control (definitely the diet since environment hasn't changed). Still some hot spots, but they are not oozing for now and look like they are healing. So, today is a good day. Oozing/bleeding makes me want to cry. Of course, tomorrow, it could start to flare again. Sigh. I've tried the Quinoa too. It doesn't sit well w/my stomach, but it's supposed to be really healthy. I also started to make bone broth - throw some turkey legs into a pot and boil away w/veges. That seems to help. Have you tried okra?

    I read about the mother having a leaky gut too and have been thinking of getting tested, but all these tests/food/environmental pre-cautions are adding up. MSPI/MFPI baby is expensive! I ordered a gene test for gluten sensitivity from enterolabs for my son. No one in my family or husband's family has any food related "sensitivities" so I'm thinking this is a waste of money, but I have to know for sure. Sigh. This IS expensive.

    I have something similar to cheese-cloth over one vent - in the baby's room only. I went to a GI yesterday. She wasn't that helpful - poo-poo-ing my belief that the baby has MULTIPLE intolerances. She thinks it's just Milk/Soy only. I told her I think he has corn intolerance, and she didn't believe that. Of course, Elecare and Neocate both have corn syrup solids and/or soy oil. She gave us some samples of Elercare, but that stuff tastes like vomit and my son won't have anything to do w/it. I'm going to try and pump and sneak some into the breast milk, but oh my gosh, it takes like vomit. I don't know how anyone gets their babies to drink that foul smelling/tasting stuff. Yech. Hear you on the medicine. If you're using steroids every day, why not switch to a weaker one for the face? Like Desonide ointment? (.05%) Maybe, you can stop the meds for awhile?

    Your E is just soo cute and way ahead for his age, I believe. Weight-wise, he sounds good too and looks very healthy! What a joy!

  2. Thanks!! I'm so glad to hear that your son's rash is under control. I hope that is still the case.

    I've been meaning to try okra but I keep forgetting to look for it while we're at the grocery store. I'll have to put it on the list. I've thought about bone broth but bones skeeve me out. Do you take the meat off first? I've read that it's supposed to be GREAT for you.

    You are absolutely right ... this is expensive!! Not only the doctor's visits and tests but the allergen free foods and healthy foods are pricey!

    I'm sorry your GI visit wasn't helpful. I've heard similar stories from other MSPI & food allergy moms. You have to follow your gut though. Those doctor's aren't there to see all of the symptoms (behavior, sleep, diapers, skin, etc). So have you completely eliminated corn to see if there is improvement? I've heard that is the toughest one as it is in even more products than soy.

    I can't even get Ethan to take a bottle of breastmilk, so I can pretty much guarantee that he wouldn't take Elecare of Neocate formulas. Did you try it with breastmilk? How did it go?

    We are going to switch to a lower hydrocortizone. First I'm going to try a few days with just Vanicream. We stopped the hydroxizine nearly a week ago and although he's itching his eyes still, it's not nearly as much. We're hoping we can continue w/o it.

    Keep me updated!

  3. I love those photos! He is so cute. I need to give my LO (little one) some diaper-free time. I'm sure he would love the feeling of freedom. Your son looks great - healthy, happy, and SITTING UP! I can't get mine to sit-up yet unassisted. I suppose it just happens one day. Just like yours he rolls around to get places and sort of creeps forward.

    Yes, I've eliminated ALL corn (citric acid included). I don't know if that helps or not, but my son's skin is doing much better. I had some chicken today and he had a watery diaper so I'm going to re-introduce that one month from now. The elecare has corn syrup solids and soy oil. He had a few drops of that from a bottle before protesting and also refuses to take a bottle now - even if it's only breast milk. He squirms around and escapes from the bottle (i've tried two diff kinds of bottles, trying to trick him, but no luck - as soon as even just breast milk comes out, he is struggling to get away). Sigh.

    He did not react to the couple of drops of Elecare he got before he realized how bad it tasted. And, I ended up drinking that bottle of Elecare (added it to my cereal) and nearly vomited myself from the FOUL taste. It is really, really FOUL. Tasted just like vomit. I can't imagine any 6 month old tolerating that. By 6 month I think they can taste pretty well. So, I don't know what to do now except lay off the bottle for awhile and hope that my son "forgets" and then try to re-introduce Elecare by mixing a little into my breast milk and getting it into him that way. So, my son didn't react to the corn syrup or soy oil in that one time feeding attempt, and I did drink about 1.5 ounces of Elecare and he didn't react. I think it's "volume" - tipping point. I'm pretty sure he's intolerant to coconut milk too - if I drink a lot of it, he seems to get a bad diaper. And, he might be intolerant of tapioca too. Not sure. THIS IS HARD. It's hard to eat a balanced diet and trial, especially when there really seems to be a tipping point to when they start to react to something, depending on amt eaten, etc.

    I guess it's okay though - you're supposed to be able to breast feed and just do breast milk for one year w/o intro-ing solids. My husband wants to do solids NOW. I'm trying to delay it, but my husband is insisting. My husband is really getting on my nerves - he doesn't change the diapers or take care of the eczema, etc. so he doesn't understand. I feel like if I introduce solids, it might cause even more problems. What made you decide to introduce solids? Do your doctors feel that is the way to go despite his allergies/intolerances? From the "baby matters" book, it seems that solids should be delayed forever.... anyway, just wondering what the logic is there as I'll be intro-ing solids too but worried about how he'll handle it. Do I even bother when the solids he gets right now are mainly just carbs/sugar (rice/fruits don't have much food value). Anyway, my husband is getting adamant so it looks like i'm forced to do the solids... Sheeesh

  4. I think daycare has helped with some of E's milestones. They put him in the jumper before I even took ours out of the box. They have these U shaped foam things that go around the LO's back to help them when sitting on the floor. I think that gave E the needed support at first then the confidence & practice to be able to do it on his own. At home I was still sitting behind him or putting the Boppy behind him.

    I hope your LO is back to taking bottles. Taking a break helped us once. After that break we started offering E a bottle to drink on his own. At home he chews on the nipple, plays with it, and took a few drops but as soon as the daycare provider went to hand it to him he swatted it out of her hand. He wanted nothing to do with it. We'll keep offering it casually.

    So you think that your LO didn't react to the corn syrup or soy oil but if you/he had more then he would? Maybe his intolerance to those is less severe than his intolerance to other things?

    If E didn't have to go to daycare and wasn't refusing bottles then I would consider delaying solids even longer. It just throws another variable into the ever changing equation ... is he reacting to something I ate or something he ate? Both our pedi and allergist were on board with starting solids. I was the hesitant one but he needs something to eat while I'm at work. We waited until he reached a point of consistent normal diapers to introduce anything into his diet. So far it hasn't gone well. I hope it goes much better for you.

  5. Hi. Thank you for responding! I understand the ever changing equation & the push from doctors to start solids. We gave our L.O. solids yesterday for the 1st time - I made it from brown rice (used Hatsuga Genma which is germinated brown rice supposedly it is less allergic)and he did okay w/it. He did have some signs of a beg rash, but that went away in the morning - it could have been from the brown rice he ate or something else in my diet, etc. Yes, yes, yes. It is very hard. I can't imagine it was the kale, but I had a bowlful of that last night. Sigh. I really believe in the tipping point. YES, I do believe that if he got Elecare every day, the corn syrup/soy oil would cause him to break-out in an ugly way. I also agree w/the day-care - I was thinking that is very good for a baby to get that exposure. Would like to do it once a week at least for my son, but I'm barely surviving here as it is, and that adds another variable (environmental, etc). Still, we are enjoying this time. It is a really joyous time! They are so adorable. I love the photos - can't get enough of them! I purchased a rain forest jumperoo for my son from amazon, but had to return it because mine didn't enjoy it at all. In fact, he would arch his back and try to squirm out of it. Also, his legs were still not long enough to reach the ground so I had to pile a bunch of towels on top of a dictionary to support him. So, that didn't work out for him. Maybe, later I will try another jumperoo, but mine won't tolerate confinement of any kind. He doesn't like the car seat either so it's stressful for me to go long distances w/him. If he's not sleeping in the seat, he wants OUT. Now, I'm trying to find a good walker for him. Have you seen the bumbo seat? I was thinking of getting that, but just wasn't sure it was good for the L.O. - they are ready when they are ready sort of thing. I've read mixed reviews on that - i.e. not good for the spine if they are not ready. I think once mine has gained a few more ounces, he'll be sitting up on his own, and meanwhile, we hold him up. Sigh. I also think he is bothered by reflux when he is in a sitting position for any prolonged period - i.e. diaper pressure, etc. Oh well. It must be tough being a baby! They have so many hurdles and can't even communicate easily. Just have to keep showering them w/affection and pamper them as much as possible. Yours looks very pampered! Yours obviously likes jumperoos - I think I noticed more than one jumperoo in the photos :)