My pregnancy with London was anything but easy. But because the details of my pregnancy don’t really relate to London’s food allergies, I’ll save that post for another day. Long story short – I had preeclampsia and had to deliver London at 37 weeks via scheduled c-section. The c-section went extremely well and London was born a healthy baby girl.
Fast forward to the following afternoon. After London was finished nursing, she began to scream. A horrible gut-wrenching scream. My husband and I had no idea what was happening, and when it happened more than once, we called our nurses into our hospital room. This happened several times. No one seemed to be worried, and suggested we offer her a pacifier to help soothe her after feedings. We definitely didn’t remember Noah doing this as a baby, so we were quite puzzled when this kept happening. The paci did seem to help somewhat, and since no one had any answers for us, we went on with every day life and were discharged from the hospital the following day.
It was night #2 at home, and I had just finished feeding London shortly before midnight, when she started screaming uncontrollably. Nothing we did seemed to soothe her. Something was not right. In a panicked state, we picked up our little newborn and started driving to the Children’s Hospital ER. When we were about 5 minutes from the hospital, London finally fell asleep. We waited in the ER parking lot and got on the phone with the on-call pediatric nurse who told us it was okay to go home since she seemed to be calm again, but we were to watch for a list of various symptoms. The screaming went on for several more weeks, but because it mainly seemed to happen at night, no one had any answers for us and chalked it up to a typical colicky baby. My mama intuition told me otherwise.
The day London turned 1 month old, I gave her a small amount of formula. I had been struggling with some milk supply issues and just wanted to see how she took to it, in case I needed to start supplementing. She seemed to drink it just fine, so I put her down for a nap. When she awoke an hour or so later, I discovered she was covered in hives from head to toe. Luckily my husband had just gotten home from work, so we loaded everyone in the car and immediately rushed to the ER. This time we were not turning around. We were seen immediately and London was hooked up to monitors for several hours. During this time, I was a Googling machine, and came across an interesting topic…milk protein allergy. I brought this up to one of the doctors who was monitoring London, and he didn’t seem to think that was the issue. Because of the wide-spread hives, he suggested perhaps she was allergic to our laundry detergent or baby lotion. All of London’s vitals had checked out fine, so we were sent home with no answer yet again. I left the hospital extremely frustrated.
The next morning I called our pediatrician’s office and was seen first thing. Our specific pediatrician was not available, so we were seen by his nurse practitioner. I will forever be thankful for her. When I told her what had been going on, she immediately asked for a stool sample from London’s diaper. She was testing her stool for blood, and sure enough, it was positive for blood. London was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy.
Finally, it ALL made sense. The screaming. The gas. The hives. Turns out, my mama intuition was right. Part of me was glad to finally have an answer. The other part of me was angry at the other doctors and nurses who brushed my concerns with London off as “just another colicky baby”.
I wish I could say that things got immediately easier once we learned about her allergy; however, that was not the case right away. The weeks that followed were incredibly challenging as we began to navigate the waters of a dairy-elimination diet, hypoallergenic formula choices, and an acid reflux diagnosis. Next week, I will share more about my dairy-elimination diet and the (lengthy) process of finding the right formula for London.