She Says… The Great Allergy Experiment = Success!

Like I said in my update last week, the results from The Great Allergy Experiment were far from an overnight success; it took a solid 2 weeks for the transition to take hold. BUT, after 14 days of a cow’s milk protein-free, soy-free, wheat-free diet, I officially declare Owen eczema free. His sweet, soft cheeks are back, and I haven’t even noticed him itching his ears the way he used to.

The weather is getting a little warmer, but not dramatically, so I’m happy that we squeezed this experiment in before it begins to feel like spring so I can believe with some certainty that the clear cheeks are a result of our dietary changes and not the weather.

So, where does that leave us? 1) wondering which of the two things was actually causing the eczema (cow’s milk proteins or wheat) and
2) a little unsure of how to add them back into his diet to test my theory (try regular formula again? Or little bits of cheese/yogurt? Experiment with soy, since I’m not sure I ever witnessed a reaction to soy, but rather eliminated it since it’s closely tied to a cow’s milk protein allergy?). Frankly, unsure of if I should be adding them back in at all at this point. Thankfully we have Owen’s 9 month well visit on Monday so I can check in with my pediatrician on these questions. We’re also going to do a blood test for antibodies to milk and wheat to identify which of these (or both? neither?) are the culprit. My money’s on milk, but I’m kind of hoping it’s wheat. I think that’s easier to avoid.

I’m so relieved that my sweet baby has his soft skin back and that he’s not plagued with an itchy face and ears anymore. I’m thrilled that my detective work (finally) seems to have paid off with some sort of an “answer”, even if it’s vague at this point. But I’m also sad that I have to restrict so many fun foods from him at this point. Hopefully the blood test will give me some answers about what he’s REALLY allergic to, and we can introduce more foods from there. I guess the best possible outcome of this would be that it is just an intolerance, something he’ll grow out of, and that he can have all of these foods in moderation, or something like that. Who knows.

Check out these before and after pics to show you what a difference the experiment has had on his little face.

At its worst:

And this week (taken with my phone… don’t judge my photography skillz):


Cutie pie.

Very much looking forward to the doc appointment on Monday!


18 responses to “She Says… The Great Allergy Experiment = Success!

  1. Elizabeth McCracken

    That is great! What a relief for you. Goes to show- trust your mommy instinct!

  2. Follow your doctor’s advice first, but I was told to trial in baked/cooked dairy first. The heat denatures the protein and makes it easier for them to digest. If they can tolerate that, then my doc said to try just a little baby yogurt (early in the day) and see if there is a reaction. If there is no reaction for that, then try switching back to regular formula.

    I get to do all of that in May. I’m excited and nervous. I hope to avoid more mucous-poops (ew!) and one day be able to let my daughter experience the wonder that is pizza. 🙂

  3. So glad to hear you found some answers (and you’re on your way to finding out more). I’d wait & see what the doc says about adding stuff back just yet… I mean… if it’s not broke, don’t fix it? I dunno. :\

  4. Congrats! I’m glad you have an outcome, even if it is a vague one at this point! 🙂 His little cheeks look so much happier now!

  5. He still has the Best. Hair. Ever. Hope everything goes well at the ped’s on Monday!

  6. He looks fantastic! Good work, Mama!!

  7. good news for sure!

  8. Aw, those poor little red cheeks in that first picture 😦 Great work though!! He’s such a cutie and I’m glad he isn’t itchy anymore 🙂

  9. The Laundry Lady

    Absolutely listen to your doctor. But after that, I recommend yogurt. We opted to give my daughter yogurt before any other dairy product because it doesn’t produce a reaction in many people with lactose intolerance (I realize that is quite different from a dairy allergy though). As it turns out so far there is no sign of the dairy issues in our daughter that plague my husband’s side of the family. We started her on yogurt at 8 months and she’s never had a bad dairy reaction. She now drinks regular milk with no problem. I hope for your sake that your son outgrows these allergies.

  10. Hooray! His cheeks look amazing. Congrats, Detective Mom 🙂 My sister-in-law has EBF my almost-10-month-old niece – but my niece has had reactions to gluten and soy. SIL has been on a gluten- and soy-free diet, as well as restricted dairy much of that time. They went to an allergist last month and the tests showed that Abby isn’t allergic to gluten or soy, just has an intolerance (that they’re also hoping she will grow out of), and now they’re just trying to figure out how sensitive the intolerance is … I hope you all find some more answers and ways to proceed ASAP!

  11. Just a note from a celiac – which I hope isn’t Owen’s problem and it probably isn’t as the symptoms don’t line up – but wheat, and especially gluten, aren’t that easy to avoid as they masquerade as so many other foods and aren’t even always listed in the ingredients. You have to be a super sleuth to find all the hidden sources and, as manufacturers continually change formulations, you have to read every ingredient on everything you buy every time. **sigh**. Even something like “modified cornstarch” is suspect – what did they modify it with? However, as I said, Owen’s symptoms don’t sound consistent with celiac disease. The same thing is true with milk (says the mother and wife of lactose intolerant peeps). Allergies are a real drag but you learn to live with them. Hopefully Owen just has an immature digestive system and will outgrow this problem.

  12. It’s so great to see a mom who is so aware and understands allergies! You’re not sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away. Just wondering, have you tried goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk? He might react better to that. Also, I’ve heard hemp milk is fairly “safe”.

    Love your blog – I’m 11 weeks pregnant and looking forward to starting the adventure you are on now. I’ve learned so much from you! Thanks!

  13. I’m so glad you researched the eczema issue. So many parents just slap some cream on and don’t look for an underlying issue. My sister in law EBF her daughter and never thought twice about the awful eczema (Grace was an April baby in TX so no cold issues) and just did the cream as directed by her doctor. Come to find out, she was eating peanut butter like crazy and the baby was allergic…since she was continually exposed, she now has an awful peanut allergy.

    I have food allergies that are just bizarre so when our baby is born, we will be on the lookout for sensitivities.

  14. He looks so great! Way to go on figuring it out.

    I may have mentioned this before but I read that avoiding wheat, dairy, sugar and meat for the first year helps a baby’s digestive system develop to a point where those allergies can be completely avoided. So if they eat those things once they’re a year old they won’t be allergic. My son has a mild case of eczema right now and he’s never had those things at all yet….hoping they don’t make it worse! He was exclusively breastfed for the first six month and so far has only tried four or five foods (7 1/2 months old).

    I’ll try wheat, dairy, sugar and maybe meat, one at a time for him once he reaches a year old. Hoping for an allergy free boy! His daddy has a deathly allergy to nuts so I’m ‘deathly’ afraid to give hi nuts ever!

  15. @Diana @ frontyardfoodie, Thanks for your comment. Just so you know, I have ralso ead that waiting to introduce foods does not necessarily impact the child’s allergy to that food. Some of the recent research indicates that with early introduction or late introduction, kids with allergies will be kids with allergies. From what I can tell, the jury is still out on how best to avoid allergies, and I can’t yet agree with you that Owen’s allergies are a result of introducing foods too early. But I hope that works for your baby and he is allergy free!

  16. I don’t know if anyone mentioned this but the blood tests could tell you nothing. At this age, they are usually pretty inconclusive and the best way to diagnose is exactly what you are doing, cutting out and then adding back in.

    I’m 99% sure that Lucy has a wheat allergy but her doctor has advised me to give her wheat for now and deal with the eczema issues since she is so underweight (She doesn’t register on the charts). Other than her dry skin, she’s perfectly healthy AND the fact that she’s in daycare makes it almost impossible to do GF. If the eczema starts to bother her (it never has) we will go 100% GF. At home she is GF but at school she is not.

    She too, had a milk protein allergy but thankfully grew out of that at a year old-just in time for me to wean! 😉

  17. They had to run all 3 types of allergy tests on me because the blood test said I didn’t have allergies (raspberries and lemon cause my throat to swell up), the scratch test came up positive for some, and the individual subq one showed more. My allergist said that with food allergies, it’s only a 50/50 shot as to whether you get a true positive…but that’s been a few years.

  18. What a difference. Hopefully the pediatrician can give you come guidance on where to go next. Poor little guy.

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