I never thought I would be able to write this post. For almost 2 years we have been battling against a milk allergy, one that has ruled our lives day-in day-out. It has been one of the most stressful things I have had to face but we have finally made it – we have completed the milk ladder and beaten the allergy.
It feels amazing!
When LJ was 6 weeks old she started to show signs that I recognised. Little G had a lactose intolerance as a baby and the symptoms are very similar. I thought I could just do the same as before and all would be well. I was breastfeeding at the time and so cut out dairy – switching it for LactoFree products. The symptoms remained.
By 7 weeks my milk had started to dry up – this was due to her also having tongue and lip tie but I wouldn’t find that out until many months later. Having a milk allergy when you cannot breastfeed is a total nightmare. The only option is formula and you can only get dairy free formula from a pharmacy. Now, a normal tin of formula is £9-12 roughly but a specialist tin of formula is £18 for a tub half the size. Thankfully we live in a country with the NHS and you can get it on prescription- if you are lucky.
When LJ was 8 weeks old I took her for her baby health check with the paediatric doctor at our practice. I explained that she wasn’t able to feed from me and that I thought she was allergic to dairy. She laughed at me and told me all babies have colic at one stage or another. I cried all the way home, unable to feed my baby without causing her more pain.
Never give up!
My mum told me to go to the health visitor, it was their day at the clinic and they could help. I was sceptical, never truly trusting of any health professionals but I was desperate. I don’t know that I have ever cried so much in front of a stranger, she must have thought I was absolutely mad! She tried to comfort me but what could she do really?
At that very moment, by the grace of God, LJ did a poo. The health visitor saw it as I changed her ready for being weighed and told me to take the nappy straight to the doctor. A green slimy poo is not one to be ignored. Armed with a fresh ammunition I marched to the doctors and asked to see my own, very lovely, doctor.
I am thankful every day to have such a caring doctor. He is old school, not one of these new ‘do it by the book’ sorts. He has seen enough in his life to know when someone is in real need. He did something that not many doctors will do these days- he believed a mother.
Mum knows best.
A mother’s instinct is very strong and she knows when something is wrong with her baby. I knew something wasn’t right and he listened. He gave me a trial prescription for some formula and told me to come back after the weekend. I could have kissed him. I could have also marched next door and shoved the prescription slip in the other doctor’s face! I didn’t, but I should have complained.
I was nervous giving her the first bottle- what if it didn’t work? What if I had been wrong? We fed her and waited. We waited for the screams, the writhing in pain, the spots on her face. We waited. Nothing. In fact, for the first time in 3 weeks she fell asleep- completely contented with life. I cried.
For the past 2 years we have had dairy free this, that and the other. We have avoided so many things so as not to exclude her from anything. I have made everything from scratch to make sure she was kept away from anything that could hurt her precious little tummy. We were in a happy dairy free bubble, but one that we knew couldn’t last. It was time for the milk ladder.
It sounds scary, especially when you know the reactions that could happen from eating a tiny piece of dairy product, but in actual fact it has been fairly easy going. We have moved from a fraction of a biscuit all the way up to a glass of milk and she has been fine. The other day she had a huge bowl of jelly and ice-cream. As I sat and watched her scooping it (spilling half on the floor) I couldn’t believe that she was that same tiny baby who was so sensitive to dairy that she reacted via my own milk. Just incredible.
2 years ago I never imagined I would ever get to write this post. It felt like I was in a very dark tunnel with no sign of light at the other end. But, if you are beginning that journey now, please have faith and believe that you can get to this stage too. You may come up against the medical profession, you may have to keep trying again and again to make it up the milk ladder but one day your little one will sit and enjoy a bowl of jelly and ice-cream too and you will be the happiest mummy alive.
Mummy knows best, just remember that.