My Advice for the Newly Diagnosed Baby
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Research shows that eczema is linked to food allergies. How does this work? It is my understanding that dust lives in your home. That dust contains food that you eat. Over time, that dust can sensitize an infant to the food in it through an issue with the skin barrier as in eczema. Do I believe this? I'm not sure, but my son had eczema, we didn't treat it as good as we should have, and here we are with him allergic to all the foods I ate pregnant, nursing, etc. The foods that would all be in my house dust. His eczema didn't look THAT bad so we didn't think it was a big deal. We have since learned that eczema doesn't have to look bad to be severe and often pediatrician's aren't trained recognize severe eczema well.
Further, if I could go back I would be more careful eating allergens, and then using dirty hands while handling a newborn.
Read more about the link between eczema and food allergies here:
Start a Probiotic
Research shows gut health is liked to food allergies. There is also some evidence that a probiotic during infancy can help with the development of food allergies. Will a probiotic make a difference? Who knows, but can it hurt?
Read more about this here:
Clean the House
After the diagnosis, we took every single possible allergen out of our home. Not only were we worried about the dust in our house, but even more of a concern was accidentally grabbing the wrong food or worse making a mess with the wrong food (we had a toddler at home too). Every spill seemed like a level 4 hazmat event. We wanted our son to have a safe place at home. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but it makes life less stressful not to keep these things in the house. I couldn't even enjoy eating the foods when I was constantly worried about crumbs.
Introduce Allergens Early & Often
Research shows that there’s a sweet spot before a baby's first birthday to help treat these allergies. Does that mean don’t do it after that? Of course not! Just try to start sooner rather than later.
Read more about the age of introduction here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4416404/?report=reader
Don't Take Shortcuts
Get the blood work, get the skin tests, do the food challenges. Component testing is especially of value in the blood work. With this type of testing you are able to get more information to what part of the food your child is reacting to and make more informed decisions about treatment as well as understand the likelihood they will outgrown them.
We got blood work done, not to test for more food allergies, but in order to determine what components my son was actually allergic to. What does that mean? What part of the food as each part is handled differently. For example, some proteins do better when exposed to heat & some don't. We also wanted to know if it would be safe to challenge similar proteins when we could and introduced those foods continuously into our child's diet in the hopes that it would help in the long run.
It's also good to establish a baseline for future testing. This way you can compare results later on to see if an allergy is possibly being outgrown.
Read more about component testing here:
My biggest advice: challenge everything (with doctor’s OK) and challenge now.
There is so much conflicting information. Blood tests and skin tests aren’t always accurate. Young babies who haven’t tried a food yet may avoid them without ever having a reaction. This is why the food challenge is the gold standard.
Read more about this here:
We challenged everything we felt was necessary (we must have done somewhere between 15-20 challenges), it was long, it was hard, and it was the best thing we’ve ever done. If we didn’t do this we would be avoiding another dozen foods unnecessarily not to mention possibly sensitizing our child to those foods through avoidance.
Treat and/or Avoid the Allergens
How are we treating our allergens? What made sense to me was not to avoid the food unnecessarily. For example, some people prefer when an allergist recommends to avoid all nuts, but I believe it's more important to find out what my child can tolerate and make sure there are less things he will react to. Not only this, but it opens up more foods they can eat with an already restricted diet.
Through component testing we were able to determine the specific milk protein, egg protein, and peanut protein, our son was allergic to. In doing so and through a multitude of research I completed on my own, we determined we could then challenge baked milk, baked egg, camel's milk, lupin, and boiled peanuts. Through challenges we were able to determine what we could use to make a nut butter of all the nuts our son could tolerate.
It is our hope that in a few more months of eating baked milk, baked egg, nut butter, lupin, boiled peanuts, and other proteins, we will challenge all of our allergens and pass. I will let you know how it goes!
Other Treatment Options
We stumbled upon other options while researching like OIT. Are these for you? Maybe, maybe not, but why not check them out. Our feeling was to do what we can ourselves for now, and see what allergies remain.