Arlo is now 6+ months old…the stressful journey of starting solids has begun. I say stressful because my kids suffer from food allergies and Arlo’s, while he has various symptoms, are still mostly unknown.
Arlo has been on hypo-allergenic formula (Similac Alimentum) exclusively since he was about 8 weeks old. He was the angriest baby and was just generally uncomfortable and terrible with breastfeeding (read more about our struggles here), but it helped him SO much. Since then, he’s been pretty happy, most of the time, he’s still a bit of a dramatic dude, but nothing like our first 2-3 months! The pediatrician recommended waiting until 6 months to start any solids and/or switch formulas, based on Lark’s history with food allergies.
6 months came upon us and with it, a sense of doom and fear. You see, Lark’s food allergies are so severe, a simple thing like milk or cheese could kill her, in addition to other things. But with Lark, her reactions were always immediate and extremely violent. Hives, swelling, projectile vomiting, you couldn’t miss it if you tried. Arlo is shaping up to be a bit more complicated. I really didn’t want to face this uphill battle again so soon, or at all, really…
We started with rice cereal a few weeks ago. I chose the Beech Nut brand, as it’s soy free and doesn’t have any additional additives. His formula does containing a bit of soy, but as of yet, we are unsure if he has a soy allergy. I initially mixed the cereal with his formula and he absolutely hated it, like, cringe, sour face, spastic fits of hatred hated it. After a few days, we were both over it and I switch him to homemade applesauce. I mixed applesauce with the cereal and he we a bit more into it, but still preferred his trusty bottle! Lark started solids at 4 months and pretty much liked anything we gave her, still does! Apples seemed to be fine with him so I decided to move on to sweet potatoes, baked and pureed by mama, of course. He actually really liked these! Took a greater interest in the process as a whole, watching and trying to grab the spoon, making a mess from lip-smacking and loving life as a big kid in the high chair.
Then he caught a stomach bug and all solids halted because he wasn’t keeping anything down for over 24 hours. After the flu had (mostly) passed, I started back up with sweet potatoes. This is where things got complicated…
He also contracted an eye infection recently, viral in nature which was causing disgustingly green and brown discharge, was coughing, and had suddenly become constipated, reverting back to his 5-6 week old ways where he’d just grunt and turn purple for what seemed like hours. He’s been like this for almost two weeks and I’ve been hesitantly and intermittently trying sweet potatoes during dinnertime every few days. He’s also been spitting up a bit more, much like his previous reflux days. And then…it happened…the eczema that completely disappeared when we switched to hypo-allergenic formula (aside from his scalp) has resurfaced, in a redder-than-fire way and has started to become weepy. So my mama gut was telling me that it was likely food-related. But due to the various viruses in his system, I also can’t be totally sure that it’s not just his immune system being overworked. Whatever the case, I suspect sweet potatoes may be to blame. OR my other thought is that he may have become intolerant to the formula, since he seems to be uncomfortable with any and all meals lately.
With Lark it was easy to find the culprit, due to her immediate reactions. But with Arlo, the reactions seem a bit delayed and are mostly digestive in nature, until the eczema reappeared.
The worst case scenario is coming to fruition at the moment. Another child with food allergies, and I really was hopeful we wouldn’t be facing this again. Yet, here we are. I can say at least we are prepared this time and know what avenues to take, like making his first allergist appointment yesterday, and trying out a different hypo-allergenic formula (Enfamil Nutramigen), which he seems to tolerate fine initially. But what his journey will be is completely unpredictable at the present time. The good news is that so far, he has no signs of asthma, whereas Lark was having asthma symptoms as early as 5 months, so that is very promising. Children with eczema have a higher chance of developing food allergies, and children with both eczema and food allergies have a higher chance of developing asthma, so we’re still at risk, but for now, I’m taking it one day at a time, saying no to sweet potatoes, and not forcing solids on him faster than he can tolerate. Luckily, he’s healthy otherwise and continues to grow and hit his milestones.
And this mama is having insane thoughts about relactation (google it) because I really have time to dedicate to something like that right now with two babies and two jobs ;-P Apparently I don’t value my sanity…
At any rate, I’ll keep the blog updated with Arlo’s food journey as we go about it and will try and stay positive.
Tonight we tried peas. After 5 bites, it turned into projectile vomiting…
Sigh…wish us luck…
(yes, this is a high chair with pink birds. He also takes baths in a pink sparkle bathtub. Life with a big sister…)