It’s been 9 full days since we started The Great Allergy Experiment, removing all dairy and wheat from Owen’s diet. The impatient side of me wanted immediate results. I wanted those cheeks to clear in two days so I had my magic bullet answer. BAM.
As anyone who has ever done an elimination diet or a similar test on their own body knows, that’s not how it happens.
It is slow. And painstaking. And so gradual you might not even notice it at first. However, I have slowly but surely seen an improvement in Owen’s eczema. In fact, this morning the skin on his cheeks even felt smoother and almost all of the red bumps were gone. He scratched his face last night so he had a little scab, but other than that, his cheeks were wholly clear. CLEAR. The change has been so gradual that it was almost hard to recognize, but when I look back at these pictures of his cheeks from several weeks ago, it’s obvious just how far we’ve come.
I really think I’ve figured it out. And although we’ve eliminated both milk and wheat, I have a strong feeling that the issue here is milk. Cow’s milk proteins to be more exact, not lactose. People often confuse a cow’s milk protein allergy with lactose intolerance, when really, they are completely separate issues that bother completely different parts of the baby’s body. While the idea of an allergy to cow’s milk proteins makes me sad for Owen (a life with no cheese! no milk! no butter! no baked goods with milk or butter!), I read a statistic that keeps me optimistic. Of the 3% of babies who are allergic to milk, most outgrow this allergy by age 3.
Three is really not that far away. I can handle keeping him milk-free until then. Obviously if he’s one of the unlucky ones who is allergic for the rest of his life, we’ll deal with it, and, as a reader suggested a few posts ago, learn to see it as an opportunity to try new things.
In the meantime, we’re going to keep him on the (expensive and yucky smelling) Nutramigen formula and do a blood test for milk and wheat allergies at his 9 month well visit. Even though this isn’t the diagnosis I was hoping for, it is exciting to have a possible plausible answer to why Owen’s poor cheeks have been covered in a rash for the last 4 months.
I’m still not putting all my eggs in one basket, though.