Had an anaphylactic reaction to peanut powder introduction at 9 months
Tested for allergies and found out he’s also allergic to milk, eggs, pistachios and cashews. Visited a dietitian and joined FB groups for support.
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Below is a timeline of Moose’s observed symptoms, diagnosed conditions, and treatments and therapies.
Signs & Symptoms
Treatments & Therapies
Doctors & Specialists
On Hymenoptera allergy
Broke out in hives following fire ant bites
On Baked milk tolerated
He passed the baked milk challenge so we give him a very specific baked milk muffin recipe at home
On Hypoallergenic formula
We started supplementing breastmilk with Similac Alimentum hypoallergenic formula and our cranky baby became chubby, happy and slept well. It was such a relief!
We did physical therapy for 5 months to address the torticollis. We stopped just shy of his first birthday. That combined with sitting up in his stroller and high chair definitely helped strengthen his neck muscles too.
Our pediatrician referred us to a pediatric GI specialist who prescribed Zantac for GERD and advised me to avoid milk completely (I’m lactose intolerant but steered clear of cheese and butter for a while after that). I also began exclusively breastfeeding and pumping since we had previously supplemented with formula due to his weight and jaundice issues at birth. It was a stressful time and neither of us slept well!
On Food allergies
It started in 2019 when we took a terrifying trip to the ER covered in vomit, after our hive-riddled 9-month-old ate a minuscule amount of peanut powder a couple of hours earlier. Ironically, what was intended to be an “introduction” to prevent the allergy is exactly what made its presence known. We weren’t properly educated about introducing allergens when your child has moderate eczema, like many babies do, or that doing so in a doctor’s office was an option. Haunted but stoic after spending our Friday night in the hospital, we armed ourselves with highly coveted Epi and AUVI-Q pens and slowly recovered from the emotional hangover of our baby’s anaphylactic episode. I flocked to Facebook groups looking for answers and camaraderie, like many food allergy moms do. Thirty painstaking days later, we finally got in to see an allergist and got our first dose of the ambiguity that comes with diagnosing food allergies. Skin testing, which involves a grid of needle pricks on your baby’s tiny back–which you must hold flat for 15 minutes–revealed not just peanut, but milk, egg, cashew and pistachio. (This is a short list, compared to many other families.) Follow-up blood tests could indicate the potential for tolerating an oral challenge of baked milk and egg, but were told by our allergist that bloodwork is even more rife with false positives than skin testing. Not to mention the trauma of trying to have blood drawn from the tiny, vanishing veins in your baby’s chubby little arm without success–which happened to us more times than I care to remember. The prospect of transitioning to finger foods and finding a substitute for milk-filled sippy cups at 12 months felt overwhelming, so we turned to a pediatric gastroenterologist and nutritionist with mixed results. Under our allergists’ guidance, we continued introducing all the allergens that we tested negative for, one at a time, holding our breath with each new addition. After learning about the nutritional deficiencies that milk-allergy infants and toddlers are susceptible to, we came up with a Google spreadsheet that left no stone unturned. We track every serving, every food group, every ounce of hypoallergenic formula and every critical nutrient’s daily recommended intake and tolerable upper limit. The menu changes as our now 3-year-old (and I) get more adventurous. Up until 15 months we were still combining fruit, veggie, meat and grain purees with healthy fats like olive oil, batch-tested salmon, almond butter and coconut milk yogurt that don’t have “shared lines” with any of our other allergens–all which help make up for the surprising variety of essential vitamins and minerals (like iodine) that can only be found in cow’s milk. When we finally regained enough confidence to leave the kids home for a quick overnight trip, it was a foreign experience to not constantly race through a mental checklist around the clock. I still diligently wash my hands after eating anything made with mayonnaise or dairy products, and shudder at the idea of peanuts anywhere in the house. I’m still wary of high chairs in restaurants and swings in the park. We prepare three different dinners, which is another story in itself. I can’t imagine sending our little guy away from our safeguarded cocoon out into the world, but seeing moms do it every day gives me courage. As years are layered upon the hearty foundation we established in the first six months, I know from experience it will get easier.
I delivered my “late pre-term” baby at 36 weeks + 4 days. That morning I had taken our first born to school, feeling like it might be my last time for a while. I took one more conference call and then walked into the family birth center to get checked out. While sitting there chugging water, I went from 4.5 cm to 6 cm, at which point they decided to admit me. The labor itself was about as comfortable and peaceful as you can get. I repeated the low-dose epidural that had worked well with my first delivery, and sat around waiting to progress. Meanwhile, we started to wise up to what it might mean to have a baby almost a month early. Despite reassurance from nurses and doctors that had preemies of their own who are now thriving 20-somethings, we didn’t know what to expect other than the immediate goal of delivering a 5-pounder. Well, our little guy arrived at 9:26 p.m. at a whopping 7 pounds. He passed all the tests they run for things like breathing, blood sugar and temperature regulation. He was sleepy during feedings, so the nurses encouraged me to try hand-expressing — but I quickly turned to my old friend Medela and a syringe to make it easier. We were released from the hospital on schedule, and made an appointment to return to the doctor 48 hours later to check for jaundice. The doctor’s main concern at that visit was his weight, which had dropped down to 6 lbs 6 oz, so my new goal was to make sure he was eating enough. Out came my brand new pocket-sized breast pump, bottles that claimed to be the next best thing to mom and a whole lot of math to figure out how often to pump, how long the milk could stay at room temperature, and how long before I had to toss a bottle he had started. (All while sleep deprived, since he was eating every 1-2 hours around the clock.) It wasn’t until 5 days later that our instincts told us that his coloring didn’t look right, so we requested a blood test. Our suspicions were confirmed with a phone call that I don’t wish upon anyone, telling us our 6-day-old newborn had to be re-admitted to the hospital. His bilirubin levels had spiked and he needed blue-light phototherapy to flush out the jaundice. One of the hardest parts of that dizzying moment was fighting back tears while telling our toddler that we needed him to be a big boy, and get back in the car to head to the hospital, right after he had walked in the door from school. This is one of the many reasons we’re so grateful to live near his grandparents. I grabbed all the bottles I had pumped and some basic necessities, and we rushed out the door. What followed were two days and two nights of sitting in a hospital room while our tiny, lethargic 6-pounder lay under a blue light with a mask on for hours at a time. My mission during that hazy hospital stay was simple: get him to eat and fill as many diapers as possible. I bottle-fed him under the light, and passed the hours by scheduling out feedings, pumping, and hand-washing bottles and pump parts, over and over again. The nurses came in every hour or so to check how much he was eating and what his diapers weighed. He passed his final blood test with flying colors, and we celebrated with our much more alert baby. We came home and started to settle back into what felt like the beginning of a new routine for our expanded family. We re-tested him after that scare to make sure his numbers came down and spent the first month of his life making sure he got sunlight on his bare skin for a few minutes every day.