Allergies were never really something that I ever thought about before I had children. I get bad hayfever, and had a suspected egg allergy as a child, but it certainly wasn't something I thought would affect our life in the way it has.
My partner however, has multiple allergies, plus childhood asthma, which I've since learnt increased the chances of our children having allergies / atopic conditions.
When Violet was born in 2018, pretty much straight away we noticed that she was in a lot of pain and discomfort in her tummy. But as new parents, we had no idea what was considered normal. I remember telling the Health Visitor that she had stringy, mucousy bits in her nappies and was told 'well I haven't heard of that before but I'm sure it's totally normal'
V also got eczema patches and a raised rash all over her face, then at its worst was having eight horrendous nappies a day, pulling her legs up, screaming her lungs out and in constant discomfort. I went to the GP numerous times, but as she was breastfed I was told it was most likely a virus / baby acne / normal and sent on my way. It was only when another friend mentioned they suspected their baby had a cow's milk allergy that I looked up the symptoms and it was like a lightbulb going off. I saw another GP, who was brilliant, and suggested I eliminate all milk proteins from my diet for four weeks, then try reintroducing.
Well by 2 weeks into the challenge V was happier, clearer skin and much better nappies. When I tried to reintroduce at 4 weeks the pain, discomfort and nappies came back almost immediately. So I went back to the GP, and was referred to an allergy consultant who diagnosed her with non-IgE CMPA (Non-IgE = delayed symptoms that don't show as a positive result on a skin prick test, IgE = immediate symptoms, that do) We were also lucky enough to be referred to a remote dietitian who helped to guide us through weaning and eventually the milk ladder, which Violet finally completed age 3 (more on that in a future post!)
Jude was born in 2021 and to be honest, I thought we'd won the lottery and had avoided any allergies with him for the first few weeks. He was way more chilled than Violet, slept better, and I was so hopeful. Sadly, around seven weeks old his skin flared up with spots and eczema, worse than Violet's ever was. Then his gastro symptoms started showing. By this point I knew that it was more than likely CMPA and eliminated from my diet again. This time I also eliminated soya and egg, but managed to reintroduce them successfully. At time of posting, Jude is still dairy free and on amino acid formula, but we are going to start the milk ladder soon.
Jude has had other reactions where I've even rushed him to hospital as it was suspected anaphylaxis, but we're still trying to pinpoint the trigger as his skin prick tests have been negative.
The world of an allergy parent can be so confusing, scary and overwhelming. Through my instagram page I have met thousands of parents who are going through this journey, some with multiple IgE allergies. So I hope in some way, if you are also going through this, there is some reassurance in knowing you're not alone. And things DO get better.