Food allergies are a big part of our lives. Almost two and a half years ago our eldest son was diagnosed with Cows Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA) and a soya allergy. I didn’t realise the impact it would have on our lives. As I was breast feeding, I had to cut all dairy and soya products from my diet, then later tomato and nuts in order to heal him. It took 4 weeks to get out of my system.
CMPA is the most common allergy in infants and children, affecting up to 7% of babies. Symptoms can be very varied and can include:
- Gastrointestinal: Vomiting, Reflux, Colic, Diarrhoea, Constipation, Flatulence, Stomach pain, Mucous or Bloody Stools, Distended Stomach.
- Respiratory: Wheezing, Sore Throat, Persistent Runny Nose &/or Eyes, Ear Ache, Persistent Cough, Oral Irritation (itchy mouth, excessive dribble).
- Dermatological: Eczema, Rashes (skin and nappy), Hives (nettle sting type rash), Wheals, Contact Dermatitis, Swelling of the eyes and lips or the whole face or localised swellings (angioedema).
CMPA can be particularly difficult to diagnose and not all GPs are fully up to date with what the symptoms are and how to help. In our case, weeks went on, he improved and I became frustrated by the lack of foods on offer and general awareness from everybody. So often I heard, ‘Yes it’s gluten free’. Well great, but it still contains milk. Or ‘It’s lactose free’, no it’s the casein and whey protein I can’t have. People thought I was mad and expected us to put him on amino acid formula. Changing my diet seemed a small price to pay though. It consumed our lives, the hunt for places to eat and products to buy.
Now our son is almost three and has a varied diet, but I have to be seriously creative with treats and I am starting to dread birthday parties. Unfortunately it is looking like our second son George has the same set of problems and we are still trying to figure out if he has more allergies.
So here I am – dairy, soya and egg free for the second time in my life.
Over the coming months I’ll list places to eat out, the best supermarkets to shop at, milk reviews and anything else non dairy related.