Sunday, November 15, 2009

Squash, baby food, and allergy update

How have I missed winter squash all these years?! I think I've eaten it if someone else has made it but never prepared any myself until this year. Butternut squash is so good! Ethan really enjoys it too.

Before I discovered how simple it is to prepare, I fed Ethan Earth's Best brand of winter squash. He developed a flaring red rash all around his mouth and was fussy. I tried another brand of organic winter squash baby food and he didn't have an allergic reaction. I tried Earth's Best again and he had the same allergic reaction. Our allergist thought that Ethan may have been reacting to a preservative in it or that Earth's Best was cross contaminated. Making squash at home has been more successful, very easy, and prompted me to eat some with him.

I found spaghetti squash at a local market and decided to give it a try with Bertoli sauce (it's soy free). I'm making enough homemade food these days and needed a quick dinner so I haven't attempted making my own sauce. If anyone has a recipe for one though, I'd love to try it. The first time I baked spaghetti squash it was fantastic ... just like spaghetti! The next two times it turned out crunchy. Maybe I need to bake it for longer? I'm hoping to introduce spaghetti squash into Ethan's diet soon too.

I plan to try this recipe for acorn squash soup.

Other foods I've made that Ethan has loved are mangos, peaches, pears, and green beans. We've bought a few other pre-made baby foods but plan to make and freeze more homemade food. It seems more economical this way and then I will KNOW what is in it. Plus, Ethan is moving past the smooth purees and needs more of a variety of textures which I can easily accomplish by making his food.

I have also started giving Ethan whole peas to help him work on his pincer grasp. He can pick the peas up and has made a few attempts to put them in his mouth! It's wonderful to watch him develop and enjoy food. The sound of him smacking his lips makes us laugh. Anyone who tried to feed him just a couple of months ago is amazed at the difference between then and now. He went from clenching his mouth closed and refusing all food (except nursing) to showing excitement when he knows it's time to sit at the table to eat. What a difference!!

Although we've made such progress with his willingness to eat foods, we've had a setback with his reactions. We were doing so well and moving right along w/o reactions. Well, now that he's eating foods it has been even more difficult to determine what he is reacting to. Is it something I ate or something he ate? I haven't been introducing more than one thing at a time but some of his reactions are very delayed reactions. Since he didn't react when I ate the sprouted grain bread I figured gluten was ok and added oatmeal back into my diet. I didn't notice any reactions so we tried giving him oatmeal. All of the store-bought baby oatmeals have either dairy or soy in them so I made Ethan's from plain organic rolled oats. He was fine for nearly a week of him consuming oatmeal so I reintroduced one of the Enjoy Life Foods rice milk chocolate bars into my diet. That night was TERRIBLE and symptoms started. I can't decide if it is a delayed reaction to the oatmeal or a reaction to the chocolate bar. Regardless, both are gone until he feels better. Rashes, mucousy diapers, several night wakings, screaming & arching his back in the middle of the night, and overall fussiness have returned. It's been difficult on all of us.

*Oh and I had previously cut ALL rice out of my diet to see if his eczema patches on his face cleared up. After nearly 4 weeks of being rice free his cheeks were still pink but no bumps! They looked so great and didn't require any maintenance! It could have been the rice or possibly that the cat dander had finally died down enough. He still reacts to the cat dander/carpets in our bedroom though. So, another mystery still unsolved... is he intolerant to rice? The chocolate bar was a test to see if he reacted to rice milk. I should have waited more than a week after introducing the oatmeal into his diet or used something else to test rice. Ugh.


  1. Mine reacted to winter squash too - forgot which brand, but it was probably earth best. Ditto w/the earth best apple sauce which has ascorbic acid in it. Mine reacted to the winter squash and apple sauce via spitting up or vomiting. He was enjoying the winter squash and ate a decent amount (for him), and then threw up that morning. Later, I heard from someone else that winter squash, rice, and sweet potatoes are high on the list for eosinophilic and t-cell disorders (delayed immune response reactions).

    At least yours can tolerate a lot of foods! How wonderful to hear this. It gives me hope. Right now, mine is still rejecting foods. He tries it and then rejects it after. I guess it makes him feel weird. I gave him a gluten-free rice chex, and he nibbled some and that day he threw up a tiny bit. So, I figure his stomach just needs some more time. Sigh.

    I love the photos. Check your site constantly to see the l.o. He's soooo cute and looks smart too.

    There is a gluten-free oatmeal out there - I've been eating it, and it seems to help w/my milk production (probably very relaxing since it's a comfort food).

    Grains are supposed to be hard on the digestive system so maybe oatmeal was just too hard to digest for him. Hope he is back to normal!

    I ate some spicey turkey sausages that were soy/dairy free, but my l.o. got a rash from my eating it. So, apparently mine is sensitive to a lot of spices too. Sheeeesh.

    Can't wait to see the next set of photos!

  2. I forgot that Ethan spit it up too! Ugh, your poor LO and poor YOU! I don't know about you, but I go through stages where I feel like I can handle this well and others where I feel like I'm losing my mind. Those low points are really tough...especially when sleep deprived and hungry.

    Speaking of sleep, how does your LO sleep? Ethan has been terrible lately I think b/c of teething, illness, and these food reactions. He is ALL over his crib, very fitful, and up several times a night. Most times the only thing that soothes him back to sleep is nursing. I had him down to nursing for only 2 minutes in the middle of the night but now we're back to 2 full nursing sessions a night this week.

    Our allergist said that foods associated with food protein enterocolitis (FPIES) are grains, squash, sweet potatoes, legumes, and chicken. He seems to be fine with sweet potatoes and other squash so I don't think I would consider him FPIE, would you? We haven't introduced any meats yet.

    I'm so sorry to hear that yours is still rejecting foods & is still so sensitive. I've been thinking about you. I hope you turn a corner soon!!

    I will look for that gluten free oatmeal to try, thanks. I need something other than fruit and buckwheat pancakes in the morning. I usually need 2 breakfasts!

  3. I am eating the Bob's Red Mill GF Oatmeal. It's yummy. I cook it for a long time and add maple syrup.

    Up only 2 times? That's great. Mine co-sleeps w/me because otherwise, I would be dead from exhaustion. He nurses all through the night. He's up constantly. Sometimes, it's 30 minutes, 45 minutes, then 1 hour, and if i'm lucky 2 hours of sleep.

    Well, I"m not sure if mine or yours is classic fpies since eczema and reaction from b.m. is not present in classic fpies. However, it's probably a sub-category of a mild fpies. Don't know, but yes, I, too, have down days where I feel so tired of all this. If only he could eat a peanut butter sandwich! ha ha. That said, it's hard to be down for long with these incredibly cute/happy/adorable little ones in our lives! Life is great! This, too, will pass, and you are smart to focus on the positive and fun part of this time. It goes by too fast. But, yes.. me too. I'm always hungry and just wishing i could gobble a pepperoni pizza done w/abandon and not worry about it.

    I found a new product, Neocate Nutra. It's an elemental starter "food". I got mine to take some today. Yesterday, he rejected it, today, he took some of it. The key thing is not to let it sit. Whatever you make, serve immediately so that it doesn't get a chance to "smell". If it sits for longer than a few minutes, it starts to smell like vomit (juts like Neocate and Elecare formulas. Yech, yech, yech).

    Since yours is already doing very well on solids, except for this recent set-back, you might not need it, but for when your baby is sick, it might be an easier food for him to digest. Just a thought. I called the company that makes this stuff, and they insist everything in it is ultra-refined (even the corn starch, etc) and should not pose a problem, etc. And, so far, mine has not reacted to it at all. So, I'm hoping this will work out because he's not accepting solids at all.

    Hoping that corner is close too!

    More pics! :)