Et tu, Dairy? turns out that E. is allergic to milk (and by extension: normal baby formula, yogurt, cheese, the brand of teething biscuits he likes, and some baby cereals).

(Doesn't he look terrified? He is--terrified of a future without dairy!)

Anyway, I took E. to the allergist (Dr. Broadbent) on Friday afternoon. I told her about the allergic reaction E. had had to the formula. I also mentioned that E. might have had minor reactions to dogs (his face broke out after my sister's dog licked him) and something in humus (E. threw up after he had some last week, but it he might have just eaten too much). They did a skin test on his back for allergies to milk, dogs, sesame (it's in humus) and soy. He had strong reactions to milk and dog. (The doctor was surprised by the strength of his dog reaction and said it would be best to not have pets in the home for at least a couple of years - sad!)

(This is his marked-up back. By the time we got home and I took this picture, his reactions had mostly gone away. He had several little red welts on it.)

The allergist said that E.'s food allergy to milk, his allergy to dogs (and most likely cats), and his eczema all indicate that he will probably have ongoing issues with allergies and possibly asthma as he grows up.

Dr. Broadbent said the best thing to do would be to completely eliminate dairy from E.'s diet. That means eliminating all cow's milk from the breastmilk he drinks (and I produce) or switching him to a special hypoallergenic formula such as Nutramigen. The doctor also said that it would be best for him to avoid other highly allergenic foods such as eggs, peanuts, other nuts, and soy for a while. The theory is that the longer E. goes before he's exposed to a food, the smaller the possibility will be that he'll develop an allergy to it. That's why the doctor doesn't want to put him on soy formula right now. Because if you have allergies to both milk AND soy, well, you're basically screwed.

The current best case scenario is that E. continues to be breastfed or drinks Nutramigen until after his first birthday, at which time he can have soy milk. And then (fingers crossed) after a couple of years of being on soy, he will have out grown his milk allergy.

Since the doctor doesn't want E. to be exposed to any dairy, eggs, peanuts/nuts, or soy, I can't eat any of those things if I'm nursing him (I can have some soy if I don't overdo it). The restrictions are, to be honest, pretty daunting. Dairy would be hard on it's own (I love milk and we eat a lot of things with cheese in them), but over the weekend I've been trying to think of things to eat that also don't have eggs in them and it's been pretty rough. Most breads and pasta either have eggs in them or were processed on the same equipment as things with eggs were. I never really paid attention to it before, but the majority of foods I eat have either milk or eggs in them in some form or another (or I wash them down with a tall frosty glass of milk).

On Saturday N. and I went out for a 'last supper' of sorts: I had pasta with cream sauce and we split a slice of cheesecake for dessert. The waiter overheard N. said that we were 'celebrating' and so he comp-ed us the cheesecake and asked us if it was a birthday or anniversary. We explained the whole thing, which I think was more than he wanted to know. (But, um, yay for free cheesecake!) After that meal, I quit eating the offending foods. But I hadn't gone grocery shopping and so yesterday I basically ate just rice and kimchi.

I need to go shopping today to restock our kitchen with allowed foods. N. was pretty incredulous about all of the foods that are now off limits. He said that we should look at how E. does with the formula. It would be REALLY nice if formula was an option for E. I like nursing him, but even though I'm still pumping a couple times a day, I'm not getting as much milk out as I used to. Which means that it's hard to leave enough milk for E. to be babysat or to take along with us to a restaurant where breastfeeding would be difficult. Being able to give him formula once in a while would be really convenient and would take some of the pressure off of me.

While we were at the clinic they also did a skin test to see if E. reacted to Nutramigen. He didn't have a reaction, but Dr. Broadbent said to still be careful when I gave it to him for the first time. Last night I gave E. a couple sips of formula, and he later threw up. There's a chance that he just had an upset stomach, but he was also scratching at his face which doesn't bode well. There's a possibility that E.'s in the 5% of kids with milk allergies that can't drink this (or any) formula.

Sorry to go on and on and on. I was feeling pretty upbeat about everything over the weekend, but that was before I realized E. might not be able to take even the special formula. I'm going to wait a couple of days for his stomach to settle down and try the formula again, so I guess we'll see. Today I'm also going to make lists of things I can eat (so far I've thought of fruits, vegetables, pita bread, and soy milk) and go shopping.

Right now I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, but I think it will all be okay.

This little guy makes me feel better about it all.

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