Long time, no blog!
This is a subject I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile. I outlined Lark’s allergy issues in her 6 month and 7 month updates. We did find out that she is allergic to dairy and egg, as well as cats. I was confused as to how I should approach these findings, being that I was still breastfeeding. I could adjust my diet to help her, or I could find her an alternative formula. Her allergist advised heavily against Nutramigen, since it’s still technically made from cow’s milk. He also mentioned that the amino acid-based formulas, like Elecare, are sometimes not covered by insurance and are VERY expensive. I proposed an idea to him that I had researched online, which was a formula alternative using rice milk as a base. As with the pediatrician, he felt breast milk was a great option, but said the rice milk alternative was a good choice as well. Like I said, I wasn’t sure what to do at the time, knowing adjusting my diet would be very difficult, especially since you can never be sure about hidden allergens in pre-made foods. But I eventually decided to commit to that and continue breastfeeding, at least until I knew she could tolerate the rice formula version.
Within a few days, her skin was looking much better. The eczema was much less angry and we obviously were able to put an end to the vomiting and hives breakouts. Though she does still tend to get rashes and hives when she’s not feeling well, gets overheated, etc. She is her mother’s child with extra-sensitive, allergic skin! I also switched her soap, again…this time opting for the Eucerin Aquaphor Baby version and have started giving her colloidal oatmeal baths as well, which make her skin so soft! Her eczema has been flaring up the last few days, and I discovered today that her Burt’s Bees lotion we had been using on her has milk in it! So that lotion is pretty much a lost cause! But hopefully once she gets over being sick AGAIN and we get some new lotion, her skin will get even better!
I ran across this post on another blog that had the recipe for this rice milk formula, as well as this post, and sort of combined the two recipes to fit our needs. Now, I am, by no means, a doctor or nutritionist, so please consult your child’s healthcare provider or nutritionist when trying something like this, especially when they’re as young as Lark is. But I will say, I’m a researcher to a fault. I read too many medical websites even though people are always saying not to! And I also read a TON of natural/holistic resources. My mother’s own experience with me as a baby has helped me in this tremendously and I’m never afraid to kind of “go off the grid” with remedies because I feel natural and/or organic recipes such as this can’t really hurt my child, especially considering traditional formula and cow’s milk enzymes are what’s hurting her in the first place. I’m down for any alternative at this point!
My recipe, based on the above links, goes as follows:
Homemade Rice Milk-Based Infant Formula
4 cups of Enriched Rice Milk
2 tbsp of Rice Protein, Unflavored and Vegan
1-2 tbsp of Flax Seed Oil
1 tbsp of Blackstrap Molasses
1 full packet of Rainbow Light NutriStart Multivitamin plus Probiotic
Blend all ingredients together in a blender until combined. Store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days I use a glass container).
These are the ingredients I use in our recipe
|Organic Enriched Rice Dream Rice Milk // NutriBiotic Organic Vegan Plain Rice Protein // Barlean’s Organic Flax Seed Oil // Tree of Life Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses // NutriStart Multivitamin Powder with Probiotics (Dairy Free)|
I buy the enriched Rice Dream Plain milk for the added vitamins. One of the above mentioned recipes suggests gradually getting up to 4 tbsp of rice protein. I may increase that if I feel it’s necessary going forward, but now that she’s well into solids, she’s getting protein from other foods now as well. Flax seed oil is full of essential fatty acids and good for anyone. The blackstrap molasses is for iron, but I sometimes put slightly less than a tablespoon, since I know she’s getting iron elsewhere. I chose this powdered multivitamin with some added probiotics since I found that a lot of the refrigerated probiotics you find at most health food stores sometimes contain traces of milk. Check your labels people! I was putting vitamin D drops in her breast milk bottles, but since the rice milk and powdered vitamins both contain the vitamin D, I didn’t find it necessary to add more to the final product. Vitamin D is really important, but too much of it can be a bad thing sometimes. The one thing I’ve found though, is that the protein powder and bits of the probiotic don’t dissolve completely so I either re-blend it when making her bottles, or shake it really good. We also have to ‘swirl’ it while feeding her so she gets all the good stuff that settles. She seems to enjoy it and it actually tastes pretty good. She now gets at least one rice milk bottle a day and I also use it to mix her morning cereal. It’s been a great addition to Lark’s diet! Again, please consult your child’s doctor…unless you’re like me and would’ve tried it anyway…(just sayin’! Because sometimes you have to trust your instincts!) Often times we’re led to believe that because something isn’t the ‘traditional’ way to do things, it’s bad or harmful. I feel confident in this formula because it’s exactly what’s in mainstream infant formulas, the protein and added vitamins, but unlike mainstream formulas, it doesn’t have any added chemicals or unnecessary artificial additives. And that was important to us regarding our daughter since she’s forming a pattern of sensitivities in her life thus far.
It’s been difficult adjusting my diet, but made easier knowing it’s going to benefit her. Supplementing with the rice formula is working really well for us right now and I know trusting our instincts is going to help her in the long run. Hopefully she will outgrow her allergies, but for now, we just take it day by day…