Posted in Food allergies, Parenting

Bring Out The Cheese!

Last Thursday, we went for Little Dude’s follow-up appointment with his pediatric allergist.  It was freezing cold and there was oddles of traffic so I’m super happy we took the train and subway to go to the hospital.

We first sat down with the doctor who asked how things were going allergy-wise.  She was thrilled when I told her that we had successfully introduced milk in baking and cooking.  I also talked about the insane reaction that Little Dude had after taking Amoxil a couple of months ago.  Then, after some more waiting in the toy-filled waiting room, we went back in to see the nurse who would conduct the scratch test.  This time, she skipped the synthesized dairy altogether and used a drop of fresh milk right off the bat.  I was really eager to see how it would go, because last time, the test spot started reacting before we were even out of the nurse’s office.

Well, it turns out that we would be receiving good news.

1.  Despite the fact that Charles did react again to the fresh milk, his reaction was so small that the allergist gave us the green light to try hard cheeses with Charles.  She went on to say that if the hard cheeses were ok, that we could then try softer ones and even yogurt!

2.  Because Charles’ reaction was smaller than the control spot, the allergist is pretty confident that Little Dude’s dairy allergy will be history by the time he’s 3.  We will have a follow-up appointment in 6 months to keep monitoring his progress.

3.  It turns out that the little guy isn’t allergic to penicillin.  Though he had an immune reaction, it wasn’t an allergic reaction.  It was a serum-sickness-like reaction to either a virus or the Amoxil.  Since there’s no way to know which it was, I was told to avoid the Amoxil, but told that other forms of penicillin should be fine.

Perhaps, by his 3rd birthday, Charles will be able to have some buttercream icing or whipped cream on his cake!

Posted in Parenting

How To Give Your Toddler Biaxin

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So after waiting 3h at the walk-in clinic yesterday, we got the confirmation that Charles has yet another ear infection.  Given the unpleasant (to say the least) reaction he had after taking Amoxcillin last time, the doctor prescribed some Biaxin.  She also mentioned, almost offhandedly, that it didn’t taste quite as good as the banana-flavoured penicillin antibiotic that kids love so much.

‘No biggie’, I thought, Charles is quite good with taking medication.

Then I went to the pharmacy where, after explaining the basics on the medication (how to measure and administer & common side-effects), the pharmacist asked if my son liked yogurt.

“He’s allergic to dairy”, I replied.

“Oh…well…you might want to have a glass of juice ready for him after giving him the Biaxin, it has a slightly metallic aftertaste”, he said.

The comment brought in mind a conversation that I’d had with my little brother a couple of months ago when a pharmacist had told him the same thing about the antibiotic he was taking – that it had a slightly metallic taste to it.  My (grown) little brother had grimaced after swallowing his pill and exclaimed that to say that the metallic taste was slight was a BIG understatement.

I hoped that Charles’ experience with the medication wouldn’t be as bad as my brother’s was as it is rather difficult to reason with a 2 year old.

That evening, after supper, he had his first dose.  He kept it in his mouth for a while, wondering whether he should spit it out or swallow it eventually settling on the latter.  I filled up his glass with juice (hey, it’s as good a reward as any!) and he downed it.

This morning, I was ready with a glass of coconut milk for him to give him his second dose.  I measured the prescribed amount and gave it to him.  He again kept it in his mouth for a while and managed to swallow a little bit before spitting the rest out on me…and I’m pretty sure I know why.

You see, though it may taste awful, it also has an equally awful texture WHICH NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT!.  Fill a bottle with one third sand and two thirds water, give it a shake and that’s the texture of the metallic tasting medication I have to give my son for seven days.

Lovely…

So I managed to mix a little bit more in his glass of coconut milk (which he downed!) and that was the end of the second dose.

This evening was dose three.  I skipped the syringe in the mouth and just put the Biaxin in his milk without him seeing me.  Well, I’m pretty sure he noticed that something was up because it took him fooooooorever to finish his darned milk.  I had to semi-bribe him to get him to drink up (oh, look Charles, why don’t you show your little sister how to drink out of a straw?).

I’m thinking that tomorrow morning, I’m going to try to hide the stuff in his most favouritest (soy) yogurt and see how it goes.

At this pace, though, I’m thinking that he’s going to catch on quickly so I’m going to need to find new and creative ways to feed him his damned antibiotics. We’ve got 11 doses left…

*Sigh*

Does anyone have any ideas?  Do any of you have any experience with trying to give Biaxin to a toddler?  Please share your strategies!

Posted in Parenting

Updates!

So today was Amélie’s 1 month check-up.  Since her brother had had a mysterious illness over the weekend, we decided to bring him along as well to get him checked out.  It turns out that the pediatrician took more time with Charles than she did with Amélie.

ImageI commented a couple of days ago about how baby girl suddenly didn’t fit into her newborn clothing anymore.  It’s little wonder though as she is now measuring 54.5cm.  That means that in 14 days she grew 4.5cm (or almost 2 inches).  Holy crap!  Now that’s what I call a growth spurt.  She also gained 780g (or 1 pound and 11 oz).  It would seem that mama has got some pretty darned good milk.

As for Charles, well, the pediatrician was absolutely flabbergasted when she saw him and heard what had happened since last Friday.  She immediately told us that it was a pretty impressive allergic reaction (hives) and urged us to talk about it with Charles’ allergist the next time we go to see her.  She is pretty certain that the reaction is in response to the amox that he took to treat an ear infection as the hives started to appear the morning after he finished his prescription.  She’s asking us to continue to give him Benadryl every 4 h until the hives are all gone and had us meet with a pharmacist to see what was the maximal dose we could give him.

Dada and I are both conked out from the stressful weekend and the little guy (who has always been super good about taking medication) now has to be forced to take his Benadryl (we suspect it’s because he associates it with the intense itch his hives cause).  No fun!

To give you an idea of the progression of the hives, here’s what our weekend looked like:

On Friday, they were just small red spots here and there.  As the day progressed, the spots got redder and larger and had raised edges.

P1000858On Saturday, the spread the continued the spots changed again and became the crater-like spots that turned blue that you see in the picture below and his eyelids became swollen after his nap.

By  Sunday, most of his body was covered by either new or old spots.  BUT at least he started to be in a good mood in the afternoon and started to play so we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Finally, this morning, we’re noticing that there don’t seem to be many new spots and the ugly red-bue ones that were there yesterday are gone.  He also actually had breakfast: his first complete meal since Friday at lunchtime (we’ve been keeping him hydrated and have managed to get him to snack a bit over the course of the weekend).  However, because of the insane amounts of Benadryl he’s been taking all weekend, he now looks like a zombie.

Image 1Oh well, we’ll get through this!  I’m just happy nothing worse happened.

So milk and now, it would seem, amoxcillin.  Here’s to hoping we don’t discover any new allergies.

Posted in Food allergies

Back From The Allergist: And The Culprits Are…

We finally got to go to our appointment with a pediatric allergist last Wednesday at the Montreal Children’s Hospital after an approximately five month wait.  As the date approached, I became more and more anxious about what the consultation/results would yield (I’ve been having really weird dreams over the past 5 days), but now that it’s over, I must say that I am relieved.

I first met with an intern (the hospital is affiliated with McGill University) who took a brief family history with regards to allergies.  Then, we moved on to Charles’ allergies and she asked about what type of reaction he’d had and to what.  She was very thorough and specific with her questions asking about when the reactions were noticed (for Little Dude, it was after his third time eating a particular food item that he’d react), how quickly they manifested, what type of reaction (was it just on the skin as in hives, did it have an effect on the stools, did it affect the respiratory system…), how quickly the symptoms disappeared and how (for us, it was with the help of Benadryl).  I would strongly suggest anyone going in to meet an allergist for food allergies to keep notes and pictures documenting these informations.  (For the record, I actually did document all of this…except I forgot to bring my notes.)

After being sent back into the waiting room briefly, we were called in by the nurse who would perform the scratch test (aka:  prick test).  She tested cantaloupe, chicken, dairy, flaxseeds, eggs and two other things that I don’t remember for some reason.  After about a 5 minute wait, we rolled up the little guy’s sleeves.  Beside two of the 7 black dots, there was a very clear reaction.

It would seem that as of right now, my son is definitely allergic to dairy and flaxseeds.

*Sigh*

We then met the allergist who explained that the other reactions (which nearly all happened when solids were first being introduced) were probably caused by his system going into overdrive from the allergy to dairy.  She also prescribed an epinephrin injector (something our pediatrician didn’t want to do) because of the progression in symptoms in his allergy to dairy.  I had the choice between the epipen jr. and the allerject jr. and chose the latter because it “talks” the user through the procedure.

This is the one we have.  We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.
This is the one we have. We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.

Here’s what it looks/sounds like.

I picked the allerject instead of the epipen because I liked the it had voice instructions.  I figured that if my son does have a serious reaction to something he eats, I might be to panicked to remember what to do.  I also think that it’s great for when he’ll be staying with a sitter (whether it be my parents, in-laws or someone else).  This morning, I also went ahead and ordered an allergect tester and carrying case (free of charge).  The tester will allow me to hear and follow through the instructions as often as I want so that I can become more familiar with it.

What I really enjoyed about seeing the allergist is that, unlike our pediatrician, she didn’t make me feel like a bad mother for trying dairy and eggs so early in the first place.  She didn’t scold me and tell me I should have waited until 9 months for the eggs or 12 months for dairy.  In fact, she even told me that I had to become less shy with trying new foods.  She explained that just because my son had confirmed food allergies, to not shy away from peanuts and tree nuts or any other type of food.  Funny how the point of views differed vastly!

I was, of course, encouraged to continue to keep dairy out of my own (and his, of course!) diet until Charles is weaned and to be more attentive if I give my son other seeds like sesame seeds because the allergy to flaxseeds can mean an allergy to those too.

Call me crazy, but though a part of me is sad that he has food allergies for the moment, another part of me feels relieved that we know (at least part of) what’s going on with regards to food right now and that I wasn’t just imagining things and seeing a problem where there wasn’t one.  At the hospital, they’ll be doing follow-up appointments every 6 months to retest the allergy to dairy and flaxseeds and check out any new ones that might have become apparent.  Thought I’m kind of stressed out by the fact that I might actually have to use the epinephrin injector for my son in the future, I’m also feeling more confident in having him try new foods that I didn’t want to give to him because of the fear of a big reaction.

Here’s to hoping that the allergies will be temporary and there won’t be anymore in the future.

Did any of you have a child who grew out of a food allergy?
If you like what you just read please click to send a quick vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs- The best mommy blog directory featuring top mom bloggers

Posted in Blogging, Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: October 29th Edition

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  1. Tomorrow, I’m going to the Children’s hospital to see the pediatric allergist with Little Dude.  Finally!
  2. I’m hoping that the appointment will bring more answers than questions.
  3. November is coming fast and right now, two novel ideas are bouncing about in my head.  I need to choose SOON.
  4. November 1st is also the date at which I’m posting my post on toys.  I’ve received two awesome submissions so far, but I would love to get more.  For more details, check out this post.
  5. My attempt at making my son’s costume was a major fail, I’ll have to find something to do with his clothes for Halloween.
  6. I really need to write back to the two wonderful bloggers who sent me postcards about a month ago…
  7. …I also need to post their wonderful postcards on my blog.
  8. The little guy has started jumping.  Yes, jumping as in feet off the ground.  He has also taken a few steps on his own, but only when he thinks we’re not looking.
  9. I have no idea what we’re eating tonight given that I forgot to thaw the meat we needed…
  10. Just played bananagrams with a couple of students.  I absolutely love it because it resembles Scrabble, but it doesn’t take forever to play.

That’s it for today.  Look for an update post in the next days following our appointment with the allergist.

Posted in Blogging

Ten Thought Tuesday

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  1. Today, my son has officially survived his 11 first months of life.
  2. I was so excited yesterday when I received the email confirming that I was accepted into the Top Mommy Blog directory.  There are so many great blogs there.
  3. The little guy gets so excited when he plays with crayons at daycare.  When he realized that he was coloring his page yesterday, he let out a war cry and was so pleased with himself.
  4. I have a cold…and it sucks…
  5. In light of Valerie’s recent posts on weaning, I’ve started thinking about how and when to start my own weaning process with Little Dude.
  6. Now that I think about it, I would really love a guest post on weaning for Write for me Wednesdays.
  7. I finally managed to finish Splinter Cell: Blacklist, on to Red Dead Redemption.
  8. Halloween is coming up and I still don’t know what I’m dressing up as.
  9. Next week we are finally going to our appointment with the pediatric allergist for my son’s food allergies.
  10. I really need to finish the custom MOC LEGO post office for my partner; he’s participating in an exposition in a month.
Posted in Parenting

I’m Allergic to Dairy.

Actually, I’m not.

But it feels like it.

Here’s the thing though, I’ve been dairy free for a little over a month (I think) now.  As hard as it was in the beginning, it has now become normal for me.  I don’t look longingly at cheese anymore.  I don’t miss milk or ice cream or yogurt anymore.  I’ve become adept at recognizing the hidden milk names in the ingredient lists and am starting to know which products are safe to eat.  Instead of looking at what I can’t eat, I look at what I can eat.  And there is PLENTY that I can still eat.

However, I wonder when I will be eating dairy again.  You see, as you can imagine, I’ve been reading a lot on food allergies since I first “diagnosed” my son when he was six months old (need I remind you that he hasn’t been officially diagnosed because our appointment with the allergist is at the end of October?) and there is a lot of research.  Among this research there is – you guessed it! – contradicting information.

Some sources say to try again after a few weeks.  Others say to do so after a couple months.  I’ve also read to wait until the age of 1.  And then there’s all of the other foods that I’ve opted not to try yet.  This includes nuts and strawberries, to name a few.  A part of me is afraid that he’s going to have a severe reaction but a part of me wants to try the foods out anyways.  Although “common knowledge” dictates to wait until the child is 2 to introduce peanuts and tree nuts (some say to wait until the 4th birthday for kids who have allergies or who have parents with allergies) new research has revealed that the sooner you expose your child to a food, the less likely they are likely to develop an allergy to that food.

I was thinking of reintroducing dairy in my own diet first to see how my son reacts to it.  If his eczema doesn’t come back and his stools stay nice and solid (I’m sure you’re all very happy to read about my son’s bowel movements haha), it would be a good sign that he’s on the right track to eating dairy himself.

What to do, what to do?

I’m reluctant to speak to our pediatrician about this.  I’m also reluctant to reintroduce dairy in my own diet lest my son develop bad eczema again by his next appointment at the end of the month and she indirectly accuses me of being a bad mom again.  Perhaps I should just wait and talk to the allergist about it at the end of October.

Thoughts?

Posted in Parenting

Dairy Elimination

A little under three weeks ago, I wrote about how I had eliminated dairy from my diet to see if it would have an impact on my son’s eczema after finding out that he was allergic to dairy when we started solids.  At first, I considered just weaning my son, but I have become very attached to breastfeeding and so I decided that taking milk products out of my diet was a small price to pay to provide my son with free milk that is adapted to his needs (even though I really, really love dairy, especially yogurt and cheese!).

To help me make sure my body got everything it needed despite removing a whole food group from my diet, I went to see a dietician who not only helped me figure out what I could and couldn’t eat, but also gave me some great tips on nutrition in general (especially with regards to snacks).  To read more about smart snacking, you should definitely go check out my guest post on Valerie’s blog over at atlantamomofthree!

It was difficult at first because I had to remind myself that I couldn’t eat certain things.  I have also gained a new respect for those of you who have food allergies.  Wow!  I’ve been reading every label to make sure there is no dairy and when I ate out, I always have to ask whether there is dairy in a certain food or not.

The first week or so was also rather discouraging as my son’s eczema didn’t seem to let up.  The creams we were prescribed worked great, but when we forgot to put some on my son, we would notice it quickly.  I started wondering if I would have to remove other foods from my diet (because he has had reactions to things other than dairy so far).  I knew that I had to wait a good two weeks to start seeing results, but we only really noticing a change a couple of days ago.  The thing with dairy is that it takes a loooong time for everything to get out of your system.  According to what I read, I need to wait a full three weeks for all traces of dairy to be out of my system then another two weeks for it to be out of my son’s system!  So far, so good though.  I think I really hit the nail on the head when I decided to remove dairy.  Too bad I didn’t know beforehand that this is what was likely causing his bad eczema…

Posted in Parenting

Sloooooooow Down Little Dude!

Everything is going by so quickly!

My son has passed the 7 month mark.

He now has five teeth which he loves to grind together and run his tongue on.

Crawling is not far away, it seems, as he has become rather mobile.  Today marks the first day he was able to get on his hands and knees.  Only yesterday, he wasn’t able to make the transition from one knee to two.

He keeps on impressing me with regards to food.  He is now able to manage slippery foods like cucumber and soft foods like banana and he is eating more and more.  In fact, BLW has worked so well that now, when I have to give him some benadryl for an allergic reaction or advil to help him through teething, he keeps his mouth resolutely shut if I do not let him hold onto the medication syringe by himself *sigh*.

He almost always falls asleep on his own and very seldom accepts to be rocked anymore.

And now…he is starting to pull up from a seated position.

It seems that the helpless newborn that came into this world at the end of November is definitely gone.  And, while I’m excited about the emergence of his new skills and his gained autonomy, I can’t help but feel a little sad.

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Posted in Parenting

Allergy Elimination Diet, Part 1: Dairy

After finding out that my son is currently allergic to dairy and that his bad eczema is most likely caused by the dairy (and/or something else) in my own diet, I’ve started an allergy elimination diet in hopes of controlling his eczema without the use of prescription creams.  I decided to start with eliminating dairy first because that is something I am certain his body can’t handle now that he’s started solids.

To help me with this, I went to see a dietician last Saturday.  I needed to make sure that my body had everything it needed (emphasis put on vitamine D and calcium) even though I’d be removing a whole food group from my diet.  The dietician I met with was really nice and had a lot of resources to share with me.

Among the food other than dairy that contains a decent amount of calcium that is well-absorbed by the body, there is:

– Enriched soy beverage (except we agreed that I should try to stay clear of soy as it is very common for children who are allergic to dairy to also be allergic to soy);

– Sardines (with bones);

– Pink and Sockeye salmon (also with bones)

I also told her that I had been drinking almond milk and rice milk (which are both very yummy) and she suggested I check if they contained decent amounts of vitamin D and calcium (which they do so yay!).

She also told me to check the list of ingredients in things such as cold cuts, bread products, cereal, mayonnaise and chips because they are all things that could contain milk ingredients.

Speaking of milk ingredients, did you know that there are a whole bunch of hidden names for milk protein?  I found this pdf document that lists them all from kidawithfoodallergies.org an awesome site full of ressources on food allergies.  They also provide a list of hidden names for other common allergens such as eggs and wheat.

I’ve been at it for a little less than a week now and though it is hard (as I LOVE dairy) it’s not as bad as I though.  There are so many great products out there after all.  The hardest part is thinking before I order something while eating out.  For instance, having the cheese sandwich at a local sub shop is not a good idea when one is not allowed to eat cheese.

Right now, my son’s eczema seems to be under control (I must grudgingly admit that the prescription creams are doing wonders in that department) and hope that the fact that I’m not having dairy anymore will have a positive impact once the creams run out.  Changes don’t happen overnight and I know that I have to wait at least two weeks until I see changes caused by my change of diet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed so that I don’t have to eliminate another major allergen from my diet.

I’m also happy to say that we have not had any allergic reactions since my son’s smoothie last week so I’m hopeful that his other reactions were just caused by his immune system being on high alert from the dairy he’d consumed.

Now, I just have to find a dessert that I can have when my friends come over this weekend.  Hey, I don’t suppose anyone knows a good dairy-free recipe eh?  (You know, the kind that doesn’t contain milk, butter, cream, chocolate or the like…)