The Total Elimination Diet and My Baby

A couple weeks ago, my sweet baby H started to show signs of acid reflux. I knew those signs because my other boys, L and D had reflux as well and I knew what signs to look out for:

  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting; discomfort when spitting up. Some babies with GERD do not spit up – silent reflux occurs when the stomach contents only go as far as the esophagus and are then re-swallowed, causing pain but no spitting up.

  • Gagging, choking, frequent burping or hiccoughing, bad breath.

  • Baby may be fussy and sleep less due to discomfort.

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I had noticed over the course of the next week that his reflux had improved. He stopped gagging and choking, his hiccups were not as frequent but he was still very fussy and hard to calm. There were times he would scream for hours and I had no way of making it better. I knew something wasn’t right. I made another appointment that covered his 1 month checkup and his reflux recheck. The doctor asked me to bring a dirty diaper just in case she needed to test it.

The first thing the doctor did when I got there was test that diaper. She had a hunch that H had something else going on besides acid reflux. She came back into the room and explained that yes, H has something called allergic colitis. I was already upset because I had spent over 3 hours the night before with my screaming baby that I couldn’t calm and didn’t know what the issue was. I tried very hard not to cry in front of the doctor who thinks I’m tough as nails since this is my 3rd baby. (I am so very much a wimp!!)

Allergic colitis just sounds scary! Basically, H is allergic to something in my breastmilk. Usually, an infant’s immune system overreacts to proteins typically found in cow’s milk and all products made from milk. It can also be an allergy from something in soy,(which I didn’t realize was in so much food!!) citrus fruits, eggs, nuts, peanuts, wheat, corn, strawberries, refined sugar and chocolate. (Well, there goes everything I eat!!) This is called the Total Elimination Diet. Cut out all basic allergens and then slowly reintroduce those foods to find which allergen is the culprit of all the pain and discomfort.

Here’s the fun part! This condition only affects 2-3 percent of babies. It causes inflammation and tiny breaks aka. ulcerations in the lining of the colon and/or intestines so I have to keep a lookout for blood in his stool. That is the reason the doctor wanted to check H’s diaper.

Allergic colitis caused H to progressively get fussier and more agitated over the course of each day to the point where he would be nearly inconsolable by bedtime. I would sit there for hours with him while he screamed in pain and he would eventually fall asleep from being to tired. I would usually go right to bed because I was so exhausted from crying right along with him. It was terrible. I felt helpless. I was so grateful for J because he would jump in and take over when I was too overwhelmed to be of any use. He has this ability to calm H in a way that I cannot and it made those very long nights so much easier.

I have omitted everything out of my diet that could cause H to be in pain and we can slowly incorporate the “forbidden” food back into my diet one by one. I have actually dropped 10 lbs just in the past 3 weeks due to eating so much healthier. I may just continue this way of eating to not only help H feel consistently better but it can help me improve my health as well!

Three weeks post diagnosis, to others, he is still fussier than many babies and he has trouble passing gas but to me, it is night and day! He has put on more weight and I am so grateful. As long as he continues to put on weight at a decent pace, we will not have to switch to a super expensive formula. This is the first time I have been successful with breastfeeding, I would be terribly upset if I had to change that now! H is smiling and cooing and even rolled over for the first time just the other day, I assume to try and catch up with his older brothers! Every smile reminds me that I am completely wrapped around his little finger!

We go to the doctor for another checkup in just over a week and I am so excited to see how much he’s gained! Until then, think heavy thoughts for him and maybe lighter, weight loss thoughts for me as I dream of eating everything cheesy and delicious!

Have a great weekend, enjoy this beautiful weather and as always, thanks for reading!