Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jaxon's Story

As my first post, I thought I would share Jaxon's story and how we came to find out he had food allergies.  I was always curious to know about other children and what their symptoms were or how their parents found out about their allergy.  Every child is different and some are less obvious than others but this was our experience!!

I chose to breastfeed Jaxon but the hospital gave me some ready-to-serve formula bottles so I always carried them with me in case I couldn't nurse him. They actually came in handy when driving in the car!  We gave him some when he was maybe around 3 months but that was the extent of his formula intake.  When he was around 6 months though, my husband was watching Jaxon and I had left some powdered formula with him just in case he needed it.  I was on my way home from a dance class when Jeff called me and asked if I had ever given Jaxon this formula before.  I told him no, but that he had had the ready-to-serve formula so I thought he should be fine.  Jeff said that he tried to give Jaxon a bottle but that he wouldn't really drink it and was spitting it out.  That was not what concerned my husband though.  Everywhere the formula had touched Jaxon's skin, he had hives.  Jeff said Jaxon was ok and he was just wiping his skin down with a wet cloth.  I began to worry and felt bad Jeff had to go through that on his own but luckily I was close to home.  When I saw my little Jaxon though it broke my heart.  His little chin and chest were covered in big red bumps.  He was a in a perfectly good mood though!  The hives did not seem to bother him at all. 

It concerned me though and I didn't understand why he had such a bad reaction to the formula.  I took him to his doctor but all the doctor told me was that it sounded like a skin reaction.  I was not happy with his response and still felt very uneasy.  I started to do my own research and learned that his reaction could be a sign of a milk allergy.  I also learned that since I was breastfeeding, I needed to cut dairy out of my diet!  I definitely had not been doing that one little bit.  Jaxon was not super fussy though like they say babies will be with a milk allergy so that also confused me.  I attempted to cut out dairy though just in case it was upsetting his tummy.  Jaxon had always been very gassy but it didn't seem to upset him.  He would just always be letting them loose and they would be loud!! It was to the point where I would look at my husband and not know if it was Jaxon or him!  After I cut out milk from my diet, I noticed the rumbles stopped!  Jaxon was around 8 months or so at this point and was beginning to eat table food but I made sure to not introduce any dairy into his diet.  I also had to supplement with formula so I first started with soy formula.  He seemed to be fine but I just wasn't comfortable giving him so much soy so I switched to Nutramigen.  Although it was more expensive I am so glad I stopped the soy! (I'll go into details why in another post maybe but from what I learned, soy formula should be the last resort!)  I also began a search for a new doctor for him.  A close friend recommended the doctor she took her kids to so we switched and didn't look back!  She was amazing and investigated as a doctor should!  Another friend recommended an allergist so I took him there as well.  The allergist had us do a blood test and tested for other common allergens as well.

We took him in to have his blood work done (not a fun experience with a baby) but necessary.  I was so anxious to get back his results and just wanted to finally know for sure what I was dealing with.  I still remember talking to the nurse on the phone and her telling me what they had found.  I was prepared for the dairy but was not expecting the rest.  She proceeded to tell me that his numbers were high in milk and casein, but then egg, tree nuts, and soy as well.  Wheat and peanut also showed some antibodies but they were on the lower spectrum.  I was floored.  I had had no idea!  After I got off the phone I was just in shock that my little baby had all these foods that could hurt him and I had no idea.  Panic then began to set in and then I started to think what am I going to feed him!  I cried, called my mom, then after the shock subsided started to feel a little better. We had a follow up with the allergist and did a skin test which confirmed the tree nut allergies.  He didn't test milk or egg because his numbers were high enough in the blood work that it wasn't necessary to do the skin test.  I had already given him wheat and he seemed fine so the allergist said not to worry about that one.  We ordered an EpiPen to carry just in case but I am relieved to say we have never had to use it. (I will share his actual numeric results in another post). 

We did all this before Jaxon's first birthday.  I had been planning his party and was prepared to do a dairy-free cake but not an egg -free one!  I am so glad I found out before and I am so glad I had not given him any eggs or any tree nut products up to this point.  I had read not to try those foods before the age of one and I tend to be a rule follower so if you tell me not to do something, I don't! 

Although it was daunting at first, it is normal life now.  Since he was so little and never had had those foods anyways, it was an easy transition.  It would have been harder if he was older and we had to cut out foods he already liked.  Although I would never wish him to have allergies, I feel like it has pushed us to be more healthy.  I feel most comfortable giving him things I have made since I know for sure what went in it so we avoid a lot of processed food.  I am thankful for the information I have learned along the way and I have enjoyed the experimentation with recipes!  That is what I'd like to share with you and any other helpful information.  Welcome to Jaxon Style!!

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