What to expect when you don’t get what you were expecting…

If you’ve got a child with food intolerances or allergies – there’s a good chance I’m the other parent at playgroup trying not to look panicked as I shoo my kid away from wheaty crumbs and chunks of cheese.

Both my husband and I are afflicted with various intolerances and sensitivities (dairy, gluten, wheat, rye, sulphites, artificial colours, pollen, fur, wool, dust, grasses, mosquito bites, tea tree oil… the list goes on). When we talked about starting a family we joked that we might end up with a bubble boy/girl – what we didn’t know, was that your child has a 50% chance of having the same intolerance/allergy as you, and a 75% chance if both you and your partner have the same sensitivity. Ouch, those stats hurt!

Our new bundle of joy started having problems starting as soon as we got her home. She seemed to be in pain, wouldn’t settle, began getting eczema on her face and I saw colours during nappy changes that were not in ‘what to expect in the first year’.

I don’t know how many hours I spent googling to try to get some answers or a teensy bit of help but frustratingly I found there wasn’t much on offer. Everything was pretty generic with no pointers on where to really get some help.

So, ladies and gentlemen, if you are in my place right now and have somehow landed upon my page I will try my best to concisely take you through the ups and downs of our journey and hopefully point you in the right direction (which aint googling at 4am!) based on what worked for us.

Stage 1: Lactation consultant – Lactose overload? Not enough hindmilk? Eliminate dairy?

Stage 2: Paediatric Dietician – FODMAP in all its glory

Stage 3: Paediatrician – Weight gains, treating eczema and constipation

Stage 4: Naturopath – Gut health

Stage 5: Allergist – What the latest medical advice is on introducing foods, food challenges

 

Life’s pretty straight without twisties

I’m not ashamed to admit that I LOVE food, in all forms. I have never been known as someone who says no to indulging in tasty treats for fear of an expanding waistline because I’ve always had a healthy respect for food and don’t go too overboard simply because it doesn’t make my insides feel crash hot. We’ve all heard parents threatening their kids with the old ‘don’t eat too many lollies or you’ll get a sore tummy’, well, I was the kid with a sore tummy after gorging on sugary delights. I’ve also had a history with food intolerances and have had an on again off again relationship with wheat and gluten.

I’m not saying I’m an angel who eats mostly kale every day and snacks on an occasional piece of dark chocolate – far from it! I clearly remember being in the throes of labour being hand fed cheese twisties by my mother. “Twistie me up!” was the catch phrase that got me from 8-10 centremetres and brought my daughter into the world.

Flashback to approximately 11pm on the 1st of August 2014 and there I was, baby precariously balanced on a forearm, hospital table barely close enough to reach, on the worlds craziest adrenalin rush knowing I needed to eat but not feeling hungry. TheĀ  ‘essential’ nutritional choices I’d decided on just after I’d pushed my daughter out from my unmentionables were: bananas, gluten free bread, peanut butter, Lebanese cucumbers, party mix lollies and of course – a few remaining cheese twisties. Little did I know that I was already making the wrong choices for my food intolerant baby.

In the coming weeks I googled countless images of green ‘stools’ (surely stools would bring up more credible information than ‘poo’… right?) and sought the guidance of a private lactation consultant as I struggled with breastfeeding. That’s when my relationship with food began to take a dramatic turn and before I knew it I was eating chicken and lettuce and not much else.