EIimination diet while breastfeeding - Need Help!

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 4:46am
JacksonsMom's picture
Joined: 07/21/2002 - 09:00

I am very overwhelmed with 2 children and mutliple FA's right now so please forgive me if this post is all over the place!

A little background : DS is 4, allergic to peanuts, treenuts, soy, sesame, legumes.
Knowing his history I was prepared to avoid certain foods while pregnant with DD who is now 10 months old. I avoided fish, shellfish, and nuts during my pregnancy and while breastfeeding DD. When she was 3months old she began to have eczema and we suspected egg and soy. Took her for skin testing at 4 months and sure enough she was allergic to egg and possibly soy. (SPT for soy was questionable)
So I avoided all egg, nuts, fish, shell fish, and soy. Manageable but not easy.

We decided to take her for bloodwork now that she's almost one (before giving her cows milk). Lo and behold her CAP RAST was positive for milk and casein. Here is where I am freaking out. My allergist says to wean her and give her alimentum. Easier said than done. She has NEVER willingly taken bottles, will drink from a sippy cup but only small amounts. There is NO WAY I can get 28 oz a day into her from a cup. We can barely get her to take 4 oz. of the ALimentum over a course of several hours.

SO , I am now avoiding dairy, egg, soy, nuts, fish, shellfish, sesame, and beans.... and I AM STARVING. Rice milk is nauseating. I know that I can eat meat, veggies, and fruit.
But what else? I know some of you guys have to avoid dairy and may have some ideas. I don't know how long I can starve myself for the sake of breastfeeding. If DD would take the Alimentum I would have no problem weaning her, but I am scared that I'll let my milk go away and she will be on a hunger strike and then we're left with nothing.
I had planned to nurse her a year, and then just wean her onto a cup, but the big problem, I think, is the taste of the Alimentum. She drinks water , diluted juice or breastmilk just fine from a cup.
I definately can't stay on this diet until she outgrows her milk allergy (if and when).
Sorry this is so long and rambling. I can't seem to get a handle on this, and it is getting to the point where I just wish she'd have ONLY a peanut allergy, because I can deal with peanuts. KWIM. We already do. It's all the other stuff that is impossible to avoid.
Thanks in advance for any help....

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 6:07am
Corvallis Mom's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Can you do an elimination diet WHILE you transition her to the Alimentum? (So mix with breastmilk and ONLY feed from sippy cup?)
The reason I say ONLY sippy cup is that she needs to move mentally from nursing in order for you to have any hope of succeeding in transitioning her. Maybe dad or another trusted adult can hold her while she drinks-- that way she won't be thinking about her "usual" source of food but will get used to the idea of the sippy cup still being "fun time" or "cuddly" like she's used to with the BFing...
You'll have to pump to maintain your supply, but this might buy you some time to transition her over and also give you a time-line for your own elimination diet. (That way it won't seem so daunting since it 'isn't forever.' KWIM? )
In the meantime, experiment with different brands of ricemilk. I actually like the vanilla Rice Dream, and you can get it in a calcium fortified version. If you can't stand it plain, make fruit smoothies with it or something. You really have to have good calcium intake for BFing or your body will harvest the nutrient [i]from your own bones.[/i] Not good unless you are opting for a future which includes hip fractures. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]
Another idea is to look for a calcium supplement powder-- there is a thread about this in Manufacturers. I'll see if I can pull it up. Here's the link to the other thread:
ETA: I wouldn't be too worried about losing your milk supply right away-- a lot of women can express milk for as long as a year after they wean a child who has nursed for 6-14 mo. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by Corvallis Mom (edited October 10, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 6:41am
cgroth's picture
Joined: 01/25/2006 - 09:00

I totally understand how you feel! DD was diagnosed at 12 months and I was still breastfeeding her. I had to avoid nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, corn & pork for the next month until I weaned her. I too was starving & lost about 10 pounds. Not healthy!
Now she is allergic to, or we are avoiding nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, legumes, fish & shellfish. I have learned to cook new things and we eat rather well although it is very hard.
Some things we eat are: Homemade pasta sauce or she also eats Preggo organic on bagels. If you can't find a safe pasta, polenta is good. Sloppy joes, hamburgers & homemade potato wedges, turkey burgers, chili, taco's with out cheese, fajitas, chicken, chicken nuggets (Tyson), meatloaf.
I highly recommend the cookbook The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook by Cybele Pascal. Someone on this site recommended it and it is great. I checked it out from our library & have since purchased it. It is free of all the top 8 allergens. Some of the recipies include legumes but you can leave them out. Everything I have tried so far has been good.
Why did your allergist want you to wean her? Was he concerned about your diet?

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 8:36am
krc's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

My youngest had dairy and soy allergy and tomatoes along w/avoiding all nuts due to siblings allergy. She was dx at 6 weeks? and we continuted nursing until 15 mos. It was really hard at first and then I guess I adjusted. The doctor kept telling me to wean her to alimentum also, that it was going to be too hard to eliminate so much from my diet but dd WOULD NOT drink alimentum and I was determined to continue breastfeeding (especially since she was so young).
I'm not going to be too much help here because I basically lived on grilled chicken, pasta w/olive oil, brown rice, salad, pears and cheerios w/rice milk for over a year! The diet did get so tiresome but thank god it wasn't forever.
I never did get to where I could drink rice milk by the glass but it is what I weaned dd to and she liked it. It was HER diet that really worried me (and our doctor). She only weighed @16 lbs at 1 year. But I think she is just supposed to be petite because she outgrew the soy and dairy allergy @2yo and still only weighs 28lbs at 3.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 10:18am
JacksonsMom's picture
Joined: 07/21/2002 - 09:00

Thanks for your replies.
CorvallisMom; good idea with the fruit smoothies-- since I really don't like the taste of the rice milk I'll definately try the smoothie idea (I miss yogurt!) I definately need more calcium, I do have the fortified OJ, and still take a prenatal vitamin.
cgroth; what did you wean your DD to at 13 months? Rice milk? Just curious because my allergist said the rice milk is too low in fat for a one year old's main source of milk. So I am assuming she (allergist) will want us to stay on Alimentum after 12 months. Also thanks for the cookbook info - will check it out. Yes the reason the allergist wants me to wean is for my own well being. I have lost over 60 pounds since DD was born (gained 45 with the pregnancy) so I'm much thinner than my 'usual' weight. Not that I mind being back to my high school weight [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] but realistically it's probably not healthy.
krc; I was so happy to hear that someone else was able to survive this diet for 15 months! So it is possible for me to continue? What made you decide that it was time to wean? Your DD does sound petite! My DD is the opposite , quite chunky at 10 months and 22 pounds. She loves any food I put in front of her (except the Alimentum) but I can't blame her - that stuff smells horrible.
Thanks again for all of the suggestions [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
[This message has been edited by JacksonsMom (edited October 10, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 10:52am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I would try Neocate instead of Alimentum. You can get it by calling (800) NEOCATE. Alimentum tastes gross and Neocate is actually even less allergenic than Alimentum for babies with cow`s milk allergy. There is also a 1+ version (for babies 12 months and over)---you might have better luck with that flavor and she is almost a year anyhow.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 11:18am
krc's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

Jacksonsmom- wow- that is alot of weight to lose!
My main worry was that I wasn't getting enough calcium so I took supplements and bought (like you) fortified oj.
I weaned at 15 mos because dd loved nursing so much and was so little that the pediatrician thought it was interfering w/her nutrition. She still wanted to nurse more than eat table food! They also told me that the rice milk was too low in fat and to give her the alimentum- but like I said- she hated it. But, once I weaned, her appetite for table food increased so much and she began to gain a bit.
I also have heard good things about the Neocate. (I've also heard it is quite expensive but can it really be too much more than the Alimentum?) I have a friend who weaned 2 kids with MFA's to the Neocate w/o a problem.
Good luck- I feel for you- it can be really hard!
Corvallis Mom did have a great idea w/the smoothie. I made them often! Even if you don't like the rice milk to drink- I used it as a substitute for things that called for milk (like mashed potatoes) and although it was not as good as the real thing it was still better than plain boiled potatoes every night [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Although it took away any joy for food I once had, I wasn't ever really starving. I only lost @20 lbs (was hoping for a little more actually [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]You have lost alot of weight!! Are you able to find enough things to eat regularly or are you bored w/the horrible options and not able to eat much?
[This message has been edited by krc (edited October 10, 2006).]

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 11:39am
cgroth's picture
Joined: 01/25/2006 - 09:00

JacksonsMom -
I tried to wean DD to rice milk. She refuses to drink it. I've tried flavoring it and she spits it out. I haven't tried in a few months and should probably give it another go. I am concerned about her calcium intake. She drinks Ca fortified OJ & water. I do use rice milk in cooking sometimes. I'm going to try to find a good supplement for her, although many have diary in them.
She weighed 18 lbs at 1 year and now is up to 24 lbs (21 months)! She only weighs 2 lbs less than her big sis who is 3. She looks very healthy despite all of her diet limitations. I got down to about 105 lbs at the end of breast feeding. Everyone I saw continually commented that I was too thin. It got so old - I wasn't trying to loose weight! I have gained back about 10 lbs of it & am happy with where I am now.
Try the cookbook. Not all of the recipes are great for kids but mine will at least eat the chicken out of it or something. It keeps me sane by not having to make 3 different dinners every night. I also sub regular flour for all the different flours she uses. Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 11:50am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Our insurance covered the Neocate, but not Alimentum. I don`t recall the cost, since it was covered.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 11:59am
JacksonsMom's picture
Joined: 07/21/2002 - 09:00

Carefulmom; thanks for suggesting Neocate. I hadn't heard of it, but will give it a try. Checked their website ,it is really expensive and you have to buy a case. I'd hate to spend over $100.00 and have her spit it out! Maybe I'll see if they can send me a small sample size to try...
krc; good idea for the mashed potatoes! I think part of my problem is that I am in a rut eating the same boring things every day. As an Italian girl I was raised to EAT and now it just seems like another chore to find something safe and somewhat tasty. I totally understand what you mean about losing your enjoyment of food. Unfortunately it makes me DREAD the upcoming holidays....but thats a whole other topic.
Thanks so much everyone.

Posted on: Tue, 10/10/2006 - 12:09pm
JacksonsMom's picture
Joined: 07/21/2002 - 09:00

cgroth; sorry I didn't answer you in my last post. Wow you got really thin too - don't you hate how people look at you as if you are doing it on purpose? I get that too, as if I like not being able to eat anything in a restaurant or at a social function.
I will definately get the cookbook - even if I just find a few ideas for some variety.
I'll still have to make 2 dinners every night because I won' t make DH or DS give up cheese and butter because of DD and me! We just have to be super careful about cross contamination.


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